YU President Explains Invitation to Jimmy Carter


richard-joelThank you for sharing with me your concerns; I so appreciate and value your input.

Please take a moment to read the statement below which I hope will help you more fully understand Yeshiva University’s stance on this situation.

The student-run Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution has invited former United States President Jimmy Carter to receive its Advocate for Peace Award. President Carter’s invitation to Cardozo represents solely the initiative of this student journal, not of Yeshiva University or the Benjamin N. Cardozo Law School. The university recognizes the breadth of impassioned feelings engendered by this appearance, and is mindful of the diversity of expressed opinions on the matter.

At the core of Yeshiva University’s expressed mission and sacred mandate stands an unwavering and unapologetic commitment to the legitimacy, safety, and security of the State of Israel. Israel remains not just a critical, but an essential pillar of our institutional and communal ethos. We’ve built a campus in Israel; our students study there in droves; our alumni make aliyah by the thousands; all of our schools engage in collaborative programs with Israeli institutions. Both literally and emblematically, Yeshiva University proudly flies the degel Yisrael, the Flag of the State of Israel, both on our campuses and in our hearts.

While he has been properly lauded for his role in the Camp David Accords of 1978, I strongly disagree with many of President Carter’s statements and actions in recent years which have mischaracterized the Middle East conflict and have served to alienate those of us who care about Israel. President Carter’s presence at Cardozo in no way represents a university position on his views, nor does it indicate the slightest change in our steadfastly pro-Israel stance.

That said, Yeshiva University both celebrates and takes seriously its obligation as a university to thrive as a free marketplace of ideas, while remaining committed to its unique mission as a proud Jewish university.

Richard M. Joel

President and Bravmann Family University Professor

{Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. I have read and reread this letter several times and in no way does it explain or justify the invitation of an openly anti semitic and pro arab personality to a jewish institution. yu should swallow their pride or get some Jewish pride and cancel immediatly
    hashem yerachem

  2. This is why, years ago, Daas Torah said: this shita of “Torah Umaada” is dangerous & will fail! From TOEIVAH clubs to honoring this Rasha! Torah is NOT a hefker velt! The Torah is not about open idea’s and thoughts! This is Apikursus 101!

  3. So let me understand you point “Uptown Man” , Mr. Billy Joel…If Adolf Hitler was available to express his viewpoint on “organized killings” you would be delighted to have The Murderer… as per your statemnt..

    “That said, Yeshiva University both celebrates and takes seriously its obligation as a university to thrive as a free marketplace of ideas, while remaining committed to its unique mission as a proud Jewish university”.

    That said..i see a man and school with no spine!!!!!

  4. The fact that any organized group of students at YU is interested in giving the worst president in at least fifty years any award, let alone an award as an advocate for peace, is clear evidence that YU is failing in its mission as a Jewish University.

  5. Just wait and see the former Mr. Peanut President castigate Israel and the Jewish communtiy while he accepts his YU award. When will we learn not to kiss the hand that bites us?

  6. It would be more comforting if the university assumed some responsibility for teaching its students the difference between truth and lies. Then the students would be less likely to honor a liar in public.

  7. “That said, Yeshiva University both celebrates and takes seriously its obligation as a university to thrive as a free marketplace of ideas, while remaining committed to its unique mission as a proud Jewish university.”

    And in what is an obvious conflict here, he chooses to uphold the anti-proud Jewish position. The result of ‘Torah and Moda’ on an equal basis.


  8. Since this guy, Joel, took over, he changed everything that was truly Jewish about YU. Too many negative changes, which should be questioned; such as, with their original logo Torah/Umadah taken away and on and on. People are not falling for excuses. It has a beautiful history of the Rav Soloveichik, and now everything has been turned upside down.

  9. For all the bluster and demonizing this invitation caused, yesterday, the event went off without even a protest. Cardozo and YU students tried to rally some people to show up and protest – but no one could care enough to do anything. 10 years ago, when the same journal honored Desmond Tuttu – there was a protest and a pretty embarassing one.

  10. I believe he is correct. True strength is evidenced by the ability to hear opposing thoughts. Shutting out differences and dissent is a sign of insecurity. In the marketplace of ideas, the best will win out.

  11. Next time you hear a Modern Orthodox or Dati Leumi person tell you about how Charedim sell their souls for money or self-interest, read him this letter.
    Ask him how inviting a virulent anti-semite to Yeshiva University – the flagship of Modern Orthodoxy – is not a sellout to their own “cherished ideals,” money, or prestige?

  12. Remember what Rav Gifter said in 1988 about YU: “If it’s just a free marketplace for ideas, then who needs a ‘Jewish University'” –

    I haven’t heard an answer since…

  13. There are reshaim who want to destroy yeshivos in E”Y and this is what gets our goad ? What`s the big deal. This is not a fight worth having.

  14. Someone posted this response on a different website:

    Mr. Richard M. Joel, President Yeshiva University

    Despite your nice words, a published anti Semite such as this former President would not be permitted to enter the doors of almost any other thinking Jewish institution anywhere in the world. I guess other Jewish institutions are not as open minded and do not take the concept of “free marketplace of ideas” to the extent your institution has. My first obligation is to the Jewish nation. Not to a “free marketplace of ideas”. I am first and foremost a proud and unapologetic Jew. Your actions state that you are first and foremost a forum for “free marketplace of ideas”.

    If someone were to publicly and shamefully make outrages statements about your mother, if he were to publicly repeat them time and again, publish and distribute them, would you invite that person to your home for dinner in the name of “free marketplace of ideas”?

    It is not too late for Yeshiva University to examine their place in Klal Yisroel, and to make a stand for decency and morals.

  15. I too have read this letter several times and frankly it is extremely lame and self-serving. How many times have we heard such banal rehetoric? Too many times unfortunately. Joel Prez. Allowing Jimmy Carter, a vile anti-semite to attend the Yeshiva University. Shame on You Joel Prez. You are an embarrassment to the Torah world, and no less than a traitor to Israel. You desperately need to do teshuvah.

  16. Thanks to Jimmy Carter (JC) and his ilk, “peace” has become a code word for giving away Jewish sovereignty and Jewish Land. The word “peace,” with it’s new perverted definition, has also become a rallying cry for progressives and other anti-semites world-wide. To them the word ‘peace’ is seen as equivalent to the destruction of Israel. For this we can also thank the Oslo ‘peace’ plan which included Arafat; who was another friend of JC’s; or have you forgotten?- look at the company you are keeping? By allowing JC onto the campus you, Richard M. Joel, are revealing your true (and quite ugly) colors. Obviously Torah ideology is not your primary motivation for this.

  17. Why don’t they give an award to the president of Iran , the muslim brotherhood,the Taliban or othrs who seek to cause the downfall of the state of Israel.

    Only amongst us does one find such ludicrous standards.

  18. Richard M. Joel: One can only conclude that your stance of “a free-market place of ideas” is indicative of an inappropriate appeasement to western secular ideology. Know who you are: you are a sell-out to secularism.