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Among the world’s most respected figures is South Africa’s Bishop Desmond. His recognizable face—with its ever present grin—has become a symbol of reconciliation and goodness. But it masks a long history of ugly hatred toward the Jewish people, the Jewish religion and the Jewish state. Bishop Desmond Tutu is no mere anti-Zionist (though Martin Luther King long ago recognized that anti- Zionism often serves as a cover for deeper anti-Jewish bigotry). He has minimized the suffering of those killed in the Holocaust. He has attacked the “Jewish”–not Israeli–”lobby” as too “powerful” and “scar[y].” He has invoked classic anti-Semitic stereotypes and tropes about Jewish “arrogance”, “power” and money. He has characterized Jews a “peculiar people,” and has accused “the Jews” of causing many of the world’s problems. He once even accused the Jewish state of acting in an “unChristian” way.
Were he not a Nobel laureate, his long history of bigotry against the Jewish people would have landed him in the dustbin of history, along with a dishonor roll of otherwise successful people, whose reputations have been tainted by their anti-Semitism such as Henry Ford, Charles Lindberg, Patrick Buchanan and Mel Gibson. But his Nobel Prize should not shield him from accountability for his long history of anti-Jewish bigotry, any more than it should for Yassir Arafat, Jimmy Carter and Jose Saramago.
Let the record speak for itself, so that history may judge Tutu on the basis of his own words—words that he has often repeated and that others repeat, because Tutu is a role model for so many people around the world. Here are some of Tutu’s hateful words, most of them carefully documented in a recent petition by prominent South Africans to terminate him as a “patron” of the two South African Holocaust Centers, because he uses his status with these fine institutions as legitimization for his anti-Jewish rhetoric.
He has minimized the suffering of those murdered in the Holocaust by asserting that “the gas chambers” made for “a neater death” than did Apartheid. In other words, the Palestinians, who in his view are the victims of “Israeli Apartheid,” have suffered more than the victims of the Nazi Holocaust. He has complained of “the Jewish Monopoly of the Holocaust,” and has demanded that its victims must “forgive the Nazis for the Holocaust,” while refusing to forgive the “Jewish people” for “persecute[ing] others.”
Tutu has asserted that Zionism has “very many parallels with racism,” thus echoing the notorious and discredited “Zionism equals racism” resolution passed by the General Assembly of the United Nations and subsequently rescinded. He has accused the Jews of Israel of doing “things that even Apartheid South Africa had not done.” He has said that “the Jews thought they had a monopoly of God: Jesus was angry that they could shut out other human beings.” He has said that Jews have been “fighting against” and being “opposed to” his God. He has “compared the features of the ancient Holy Temple in Jerusalem to the features of the apartheid system in South Africa.” He has complained that “the Jewish people with their traditions, religion and long history of persecution sometimes appear to have caused a refugee problem among others.” He has implied that Israel might someday consider as an option “to perpetrate genocide and exterminate all Palestinians.”
He has complained that Americans “are scared…to say wrong is wrong because the Jewish lobby is powerful—very powerful.” He has accused Jews—not Israelis—of exhibiting “an arrogance—the arrogance of power because Jews are a powerful lobby in this land and all kinds of people woo their support.”
“You know as well as I do that, somehow, the Israeli government is placed on a pedestal [in the U.S.] and to criticize it is to be immediately dubbed anti-Semitic, as if Palestinians were not Semitic.”
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