Former President Jimmy Carter is scheduled to receive the International Advocate for Peace Award at Cardoza, Yeshiva University’s Law School on Wednesday, April 10. The following is a copy of the email I sent to the Dean, Mathew Diller. Should any of you wish to do the same, his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dear Dean Diller,
I am deeply saddened and dismayed by your intention to honor former President Jimmy Carter. As an American I strongly believe in showing respect to the office of the president and would never urge anyone to do otherwise. However, to honor now citizen and proud anti-Semite Jimmy Carter is very disturbing to me. You are honoring a man who equated Israeli policy with apartheid in the title of one book, claimed the Jewish lobby was too powerful in another book, publicly stated Israel’s nuclear capability against their will, and my personal favorite, as I write this immediately after Yom HaShoah, is how then President Carter once complained that there were too many Jews on the Holocaust Memorial Council.
I do not know you nor do I know the people responsible for this decision. In lieu of that I will refrain from any personal attacks in this email. I will however ask you this question. How can you justify this? How does this man deserve to be honored by any Jew?
Is this an attempt to come across as enlightened Jews? The Jews of Germany were considered enlightened as well. Looking for heroes of the Jewish people? How about honoring my 91 year old mother, a Holocaust survivor from Holland who still speaks to synagogues and children’s classrooms and then proceeds to enjoy the life God has given her as a Jew.
This is not an issue of freedom of speech. I am not asking you to silence Jimmy Carter if taking that stance takes strength no one in your institution has. I am also not declaring him our worst enemy. Clearly he is not. However, he is the one you have chosen to honor and that presents a serious problem.
No one, clearly not even concerned Jews can decide who you choose to honor, but know this and know it well. In honoring a man whose ideas and concepts puts the safety and lives of Jewish people at the back of his priority list, you dishonor yourselves, your institution, Jewish people worldwide, and all those whose lives were sacrificed so that we can live as Jews today. Your mission should always be putting the well-being of the Jewish community before any political or financial gain. With that in mind I urge you to reconsider your decision to honor Jimmy Carter.