My calendar must be wrong – I thought April Fools’ Day passed a week or so ago. Someone at Yeshiva University may be playing bad jokes as there are many distortions taking place there recently.
A few years after honoring former YU Board Member and criminal Bernard Madoff with an honorary degree, the president of YU wrote “We all should use these times to reflect on our blessings, but also to reflect on our responsibilities…. The times are appropriate for us to focus on our core values, to practice and refine them, and to share them with the world.”
If one reflects on the last few months of Yeshiva University’s conduct, it is far from acceptable Jewish conduct, and certainly far off from honorability. This week, The Cardozo Law School, a prominent part of Yeshiva University’s network of schools, is presenting its International Advocate for Peace Award from the Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution to former American President Jimmy Carter. Carter has long bashed Israel and is clearly no friend of the Jewish state. His Anti-Israel record is long-standing, couched in a appearance of human rights advocacy,
Carter often ignores the blatant atrocities committed against women, opposing tribal factions and the impoverished within Arab lands and decries Israel for the bulk of the Middle East’s problems Last year alone he blamed Israel for Christians leaving the state, and said “if Iran has one or two nuclear weapons, it is no big deal.” As the New York Post wrote on January 15, 2007, “Carter isn’t calling on the Palestinians to give up terror and murder now as a way to convince Israel they are serious about peace. Rather, he says they can wait until they’ve achieved their goals at the bargaining table.”
Carter has met numerous times with Hamas, treating them as statesmen and world leaders. That is not someone who should be honored by YU. One can visit the website of the Coalition of Concerned Cardozo Alumni to learn more about this event as well as receive more information on Carter’s infamous words and deeds regarding Israel and the Middle East.
This conduct, which flies in the face of Jewish values, occurs in the same year that YU has taken many suspect actions on issues of child abuse and sexual misconduct. At least 20 former students of YeshivaUniversity’s high school have accused former staff members of sexual or physical abuse, yet there is still no indication from the school that the findings of a report it has sanctioned will be made public. Rabbi Norman Lamm, who was president of YU at the time of this occurrence has faced no action whatsoever despite the fact that he said “My question was not whether to report to police, but to ask the person to leave the job.” Was not that an admission of a cover up?
Rabbi Benjamin Blech of YeshivaUniversity said: “…. Ritual alone is not the sole determinant of our Judaism, that it must be combined with humanity, with ethical behavior, with proper values, and most important of all, with regard to our relationship with other human beings… We need a total rethinking of who the heroes are, who the role models are, who we should be honoring….”
YeshivaUniversity may have a long-standing record – but clearly the last year is one where they need leadership and guidance. Perhaps a Public Relations campaign advises them to honor former American Presidents – but no Jewish institution should honor President Jimmy Carter with anything.
To contact the Dean of Cardozo and President of YU to urge them to cancel the award to Jimmy Carter:
Professor Matthew Diller, Dean of Cardozo: Ph: (212) 790 0310; E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Professor Richard Joel, President of Yeshiva University: ph: (212) 960 5300; E: email@example.com