Cardoza Law School Ignores Dershowitz To Honor Jimmy Carter

by James M. WallCarter courtesy Carter Center crop

Despite vicious opposition from the Alan Dershowitz conservative wing of the American Jewish community, Cardoza Law School honored former President Jimmy Carter April 10, for his career of work on peace and conflict resolution.

The International Advocate for Peace award was given to Carter by the student-run Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution.

The journal cited “Carter’s brokering of the 1979 peace accord between Israel and Egypt and the SALT II nuclear weapons treaty with the then-Soviet Union.”

The presentation ceremony was held at the Cordoza Law School, a part of New York City’s Yeshiva University.

Since it began as a university more than a century ago, Yeshiva, according to its website, “has been dedicated to melding the ancient traditions of Jewish law and life with the heritage of Western civilization”.

With that tradition, Yeshiva University was hardly an institution the Dershowitz radical wing of American Jewry, expected to honor Jimmy Carter. The Cardoza Law School took its name, at the time of its 1976 founding, in honor of Supreme Court Justice Benjamin N. Cardoza (1870-1938).

The loudest protest voice leading the demand that Cardoza “withdraw” Carter’s award, came from Professor Dershowitz, a law professor at Harvard University since 1967.

Dershowitz seldom misses an opportunity to demand that Carter confront him in a “public debate” on any campus where Carter is invited to appear.

The Wikipedia page on Dershowitz gives some of  “that debate that did not happen”, history:

Carter book cropWhen former U.S. President Jimmy Carter had his book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid (2006) published—in which he argues that Israel’s control of Palestinian land is the primary obstacle to peace—Dershowitz challenged Carter to a debate at Brandeis University.

Carter declined, saying, “I don’t want to have a conversation, even indirectly, with Dershowitz. There is no need to debate somebody who, in my opinion, knows nothing about the situation in Palestine.”

Dershowitz repeated his demand for a debate when Carter spoke at Brandeis in January 2007. Brandeis refused to invite Dershowitz to debate Carter, but the school did invite him to respond to Carter on the “same stage” after Carter had left.

USA Today reported that the award presentation “has drawn a harsh response from alumni, who called on graduates to withhold donations to the school.”

Confronted with this usual tactic of alumni opposition to a university decision, the Cardozo Law School leaders stood their ground and continued to support the award.

Yeshiva’s president, Richard Joel, and the university’s board of overseers, said in statements that they object to Carter’s views on Israel, but that the university is a “free marketplace of ideas,” as Joel put it, and the students had the right to invite the former president.

Alex Kane reported on the threats and protests against Carter that began the moment the award was announced. The previously loud opposition, however, was quiet on Wednesday, the day Carter received his award.

Cardozo Law School’s decision to honor former President Jimmy Carter generated a lot of bluster and outrage from the reactionary wing of the Jewish community. But after all that, the event with Carter came and went yesterday with a whimper.

There was no protest. Nobody blocked the door, as one alumnus had threatened to do to prevent Carter from entering. The former president strolled in through a side door without many people noticing.

An earlier Cardoza conflict resolution award was given to Dennis Ross, the former US government official who worked on Middle East issues within several presidential administrations, including the Carter administration. Another award was given to Desmond Tutu. Neither of these awards drew the attention and resistance of Carter’s award.

As it turned out, the “bluster and outrage” of the Dershowitz wing exhausted its fury in its losing battle to force the school to withdraw Carter’s award.

Kane described the calm that prevailed on award day:

The activists who did come out were a small group of supporters of Carter, most of them affiliated with the National Lawyers Guild. They sent a radically different message than the one Alan Dershowitz and others disseminated in the days leading up to the event.

“We wanted to make it clear that not all Cardozo alumni are comfortable with bullying,” said Maria Chickedantz, a graduate of the law school and a member of Jewish Voice for Peace who was there to support Carter. “The entire Alan Dershowitz style of bullying—that’s what we’re against.”

The Cardoza Law School’s support of its students is a testimony to the fact that it is also against the Dershowitz style of bullying.

The Jimmy Carter photo at top is from the Carter Center.

About wallwritings

From 1972 through 1999, James M. Wall was editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine, based in Chicago, lllinois. He was a Contributing Editor of the Century from 1999 until July, 2017. He has written this blog, wall, since it was launched April 27, 2008. If you would like to receive Wall Writings alerts when new postings are added to this site, send a note, saying, Please Add Me, to Biography: Journalism was Jim's undergraduate college major at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia. He has earned two MA degrees, one from Emory, and one from the University of Chicago, both in religion. He is an ordained United Methodist clergy person. He served for two years in the US Air Force, and three additional years in the USAF reserve. While serving on active duty with the Alaskan Command, he reached the rank of first lieutenant. He has worked as a sports writer for both the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, was editor of the United Methodist magazine, Christian Advocate for ten years, and editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine for 27 years. James M Wall died March 22, 2021 at age 92. His family appreciates all of his readers, even those who may have disagreed with his well-informed writings.
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7 Responses to Cardoza Law School Ignores Dershowitz To Honor Jimmy Carter

  1. AWAD PAUL SIFRI says:

    Congratulations to Jimmy Carter for being awarded “The International Advocate For Peace Award”, by Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution of Cardoza Law School.

    And thank you, Jim, for making us aware of this event, which is blacked out in our mainstream media. It was good to know that persistence paid off.

    What President Jimmy Carter did for the cause of peace and justice in the Middle East alone is enormous and we do hope that it will continue to have a ripple effect that will eventually reach Israel-Palestine.

    “Der-Bully-showitz” and his ilk and their “NAKBA Deniers” will be buried in the sinkholes of history.

  2. sam Kahlil says:

    This is great change of leadership for America to save it from intelectual terrorism of Dershowitz that has no limit to intimidate good honest icons of the USA and the world such as Jimmy Carter and I hope the action of Cordza Law school becomes contagious and affect other institutions to behave the same way without fear .
    Sam Kahlil

  3. Basim says:

    I met “Der-Bully-showitz” twice. He was bad mouthing my brother and even writing editorials against him in the New York Times. He did not know what he was talking about, exactly as Carter stated and why the less we say about him the better.

    He is ego hungry for media attention. He is always trying to protect Israel’s image and reputation even when he knows they are in the wrong. He tries to use his lawyering(lying) skills to twist the truth upside down. I can not believe anyone believes a word this character utters out of his warped mouth and twisted tongue..

    Thanks for renaming him, Awad. Good job?

  4. Dennis Ross…conflict resolution?? Give us a break, Cardoza! The only thing that guy ever did, for decades and generations, was contribute to conflict perpetuation by continually steering the US ship in favor of the Zionist — whichever Zionist — that was in charge of the Israeli regime at the time, to the exclusion of justice and freedom for the Palestinians. And Ross is still at it, now in thinktankdom and punditdom…plotting, sowing discord, the antithesis of “conflict resolution”!

    Tutu and Carter, yes; Ross, NO!

  5. Thank you, Jim Wall, and thank you, Awad Paul Sifri, for your comments and for contributing to peace and understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian tragedy. Surely, in the long run, extremism among Jews, Muslims, and Christians must lose if the majority grows in tolerance and understanding. The Holocaust must not be forgotten, but neither the rights of the Palestinians to justice and peace. As for the U.S., I believe that some day we will recognize that we, including Americans of Jewish faith or heritage, must recognize the damage done by white man’s treatment of Native Americans and their “holocaust.” How can compassionate Jews and all Americans not realize that we cannot support the claim of the Jews to return to Palestine/Israel without supporting the rights of Native Americans to their ancestral lands.

  6. judy neunuebel says:

    Thank you, James Wall, for this. Always nice to see good news.
    Judy Neunuebel

  7. MIKE G says:

    You are comparing a peace maker with a man who does not know how to spell peace. He spells it piece, meaning more piece of land to Israel from palestine

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