Monday, October 18, 2010

Ta-Ta Tutu

Archbishop Desmond Tutu is retiring:
Obama praises 'moral titan' Desmond Tutu on his retirement

President Barack Obama congratulated Archbishop Desmond Tutu on his official retirement, praising him for the extensive list of accomplishments in his decades-long career.

"For decades he has been a moral titan -- a voice of principle, an unrelenting champion of justice, and a dedicated peacemaker," Obama said in a written statement.

The president praised Tutu for his crucial role in South Africa's anti-apartheid movement and reconciliation. The archbishop has also been involved in speaking out on issues such as gay rights, HIV/AIDS prevention, and freedom and justice around the world.
While the good that Tutu did is undeniable, there is another side to him that should not be overlooked--his anti-Israel bias, as reflected in the outrageous things that Tutu has said over the years about Israel (from an article that is now longer online but is archived here)

* "Israel is like Hitler and apartheid" "I've been deeply distressed in my visit to the Holy Land it
reminded me so much of what happened to us black people in South Africa ... I have seen the humiliation of the Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks, suffering like us when young white police officers prevented us from moving about... "I say why are our memories so short? Have our Jewish sisters and brothers forgotten their humiliation? Have they forgotten the collective punishment, the home demolitions, in their own history so soon? ... The apartheid government was very powerful, but today it no longer exists. Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Pinochet, Milosevic, and Idi Amin were all powerful, but in the end they bit the dust. Injustice and oppression will never prevail."

* "The Jewish lobby is very powerful": "People are scared in this country [the U.S.], to say wrong is wrong because the Jewish lobby is powerful--very powerful."

"Critics of Israel are being smeared": "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."

Tutu's remarks at a conference in Boston, as reported by Ha'aretz (April 29, 2002)


"Jewish Arrogance" Tutu accused Jews 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,"(Jewish Telegraphic Agency Daily News Bulletin, Nov. 29, 1984)


"Jewish Monopoly of the Holocaust Tutu complained about the Jewish monopoly of the Holocaust." (Jerusalem Post, July 26, 1985)


"Forgive the Nazis" During his 1989 visit to Israel, Tutu "urged Israelis to forgive the Nazis for the
Holocaust" (Jerusalem Post, Dec. 31, 1989), a statement which the Simon Wiesenthal Center called "a gratuitous insult to Jews and victims of Nazism everywhere." During the visit, Tutu remarked "If I'm accused of being antisemitic, tough luck," and in response to questions about his anti-Jewish bias, Tutu replied, "My dentist's name is Dr. Cohen." (Simon Wiesenthal Center's Response magazine, January 1990)


"Zionism Is Racism" Tutu has claimed that Zionism has "very many parallels with racism." (American Jewish Year Book 1988, p.50)


"Jews Thought They Had a Monopoly on God" Speaking in a Connecticut church in 1984, Tutu said that "the Jews thought they had a monopoly on God; Jesus was angry that they could shut out other human beings." In the same speech, he compared the features of the ancient Holy Temple in Jerusalem to the features of the apartheid system in South Africa. (Hartford Courant, Oct. 29, 1984)


"Palestine, Not Israel": In conversations during the 1980s with the Israeli ambassador to South Africa, Eliahu Lankin, Tutu"refused to call Israel by its name, he kept referring to it as Palestine." (Simon Wiesenthal Center's Response magazine, January 1990)


"Jews Cause Refugees": Asked about the Zionism-is-racism resolution, Tutu complained that
"the Jewish people with their traditions, religion and long history of persecution sometimes appear to have caused a refugee problem among others." (South African Zionist Record, July 26, 1985)
On some issues Tutu may have acted as a moral giant, but his record overall, based on his statements--is flawed. Unfortunately, his combination of superficiality combined with ignorance and outright bias is shared by many who self-proclaimed moral leaders.

Desmond Tutu's retirement is a welcome event.

[Hat tip: Jeff Dunetz]

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