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Jimmy Carter Wins The Scroll Peace Award

Devaluing peace awards has never been so fun

Adam Chandler
April 09, 2013

Tomorrow, Cardozo Law School’s Journal of Conflict Resolution–the resume-padding work of some industrious law students–will award its annual International Advocate for Peace Award to James Earl Carter, Jr., the 39th American President and, as of last year, the former president with the longest retirement after the presidency.

Needless to say, some alumni of Cardozo (and its parent Yeshiva University) aren’t thrilled. A website called Shame on Cardozo is highlighting their beef with the selection and tomorrow, some Yeshiva University graduates plan to (non-violently) block Carter’s entrance to the ceremony, which it’s safe to say, won’t work out for the alumni. Cementing the issue, the school’s top brass has backed the students’ decision to give the award to Carter.

Throughout this extended retirement, Jimmy Carter has–at least in some corners–had the chance to outlive his integrity and–in others–has been handsomely rewarded with a boatload of various awards and honors including the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize–Carter’s the only president to win it for work done after serving in office–as well as the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He has honorary degrees from the finest schools, but you know he only used to get juiced in it.

Carter has spoken out against drones, the prohibition on marijuana, the Iraq War, President Obama’s inability to close Gitmo, gender inequality, poverty, and various causes and issues that make him worthy of honor, in addition to his landmark work on the 1979 Camp David Accords, his formal opening of diplomatic relations with China, and his SALT II treaty with the Soviet Union.

Despite all this, he remains a bête noire on the very issue that would cause the most consternation at a Jewish university: the Arab-Israeli Conflict. Carter’s record is far too long to list and bends towards injustice. His inability to evenly broker the charged rhetorical minefield of the Israeli-Palestinian dialogue and his inflammatory writing–stamped by the prestigious colophon of a POTUS–has now unfortunately defined him. And, no doubt knowing this, Cardozo law students aren’t doing much to help themselves out with their decision to honor him.

So what’s there left to do now? Give him another award, of course. So today, I hereby grant President Jimmy Carter the inaugural Scroll Peace Award. The prize comes with no money and very little glory, in fact, the only thing the SPA aims to do is dilute the prestige of all other peace awards to the point where no one will be outraged when someone who advocates on behalf of Hamas wins another peace award.

I reached out to Scroll alumnus Marc Tracy to inform him of my decision to grant Carter the award. He’s what he had to say:

Carter? No comment!

There you have it.

Adam Chandler was previously a staff writer at Tablet. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, Slate, Esquire, New York, and elsewhere. He tweets @allmychandler.