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He has compared Israel to Hitler’s Germany, Stalin’s Soviet Union and Apartheid South Africa, saying that they too were once “very powerful” but they “bit the dust,” as will “unjust” Israel.
He has denied that Israel is a “civilized democracy” and has singled out Israel—one of the world’s most open democracies—as a nation guilty of “censorship of their media.” He has urged the Capetown Opera to refuse to perform Porgy and Bess in Tel Aviv and has called for a total cultural boycott of Jewish Israel, while encouraging performers to visit the most repressive regimes in the world.
He has claimed that his God sides with Palestinians, whom he compares to the Israelites under bondage in Egypt, and has sought to explain, if not justify, how Israeli actions lead directly to suicide bombings and other forms of terrorism.
He has been far more vocal about Israel’s imperfections than about the genocides in Rwanda, Darfur and Cambodia. He repeatedly condemns Israel’s occupation of the West Bank without mentioning the many other occupations in the world today. While attacking Israel for its “collective punishment” of Palestinians—which he claims is worse than what Apartheid South Africa did—he himself has called for the collective punishment of Jewish academics and businesses in Israel by demanding boycotts of all Jewish (but not Muslim or Christian) Israelis. (This call for an anti-Jewish boycott finds its roots in the Nazi “Kauf Nicht beim Juden” campaign of the 1930’s.) When confronted with his double standard against Jews, he has justified it on phony theological grounds: “Whether Jews like it or not, they are a peculiar people. They can’t ever hope to be judged by the same standards which are used for other people.” There is a name for non-Jews who hold Jews to a double standard: It is called anti-Semitism.
Tutu has acknowledged having been frequently accused of being anti-Semitic,” to which he has offered two responses: “Tough luck;” and “my dentist’s name is Dr. Cohen.”
I am confident that President Obama was not aware of Tutu’s sordid history of anti-Jewish rhetoric and actions when he awarded him the Medal of Freedom in the White House in 2009. The sad reality is that Bishop Tutu’s beneficent look is the new face of the oldest of bigotries.
The decent people of South Africa have become aware of Tutu’s bigotry, because they have seen and heard it up close. It is time for the rest of the world to recognize that the Bishop is no saint. When it comes to Jews, he is an unrepentant sinner.
Though he is now retired, he still has the opportunity to repent and to end the sordid history of applying an unacceptable double standard to the Jewish state, the Jewish people and the Jewish religion.
Professor Alan Dershowitz’s latest book is a novel, The Trials of Zion.
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