NEW YORK (JTA) – Former President Jimmy Carter accepted an award from the Yeshiva University law school’s journal, despite protests from pro-Israel supporters.
On Wednesday, the Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution at a ceremony in New York bestowed its International Advocate for Peace prize on Carter for his political activism.
“[The event was] totally peaceful, totally nonviolent, totally friendly,” Brian Farkas, the journal’s editor, told The New York Times. “People were laughing, people were smiling, we engaged in an extremely respectful dialogue.”
Carter’s nomination had came under attack by pro-Israel groups, who accused the former president of having a bias against the Jewish state. They noted his likening of Israel’s West Bank policies to apartheid and his meetings with Hamas leaders. Carter wrote a 2006 book titled "Palestine: Peace not Apartheid."
The Forward had quoted one alumnus as saying that a dozen or so alumni would attempt to block Carter physically from receiving the award.
Prior to the ceremony Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard law professor and pro-Israel supporter, challenged Carter to a debate.
“Carter has prevented peace, encouraged terrorism and done more than anyone else to isolate and demonize the Middle East’s only democracy, Israel,” he said.
Some of Carter’s meetings with leaders of Hamas, a terrorist group, involved relaying messages from the family of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier held captive by the group from 2006 to 2011.