Israel-Hater Tutu Calls For Artists To Boycott Israel
November 1, 2010


ADL’s Foxman should reconsider his former support for giving Tutu a platform




The Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, Desmond Tutu, has asked the Cape Town Opera to cancel a planned trip to Israel, making the false analogy that, just as it was wrong for artists to visit South Africa under Apartheid, it would be wrong of the Cape Town Opera to visit Israel. The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has condemned Tutu’s latest Israel-hating outburst. We also respectfully urge the anti-Defamation League’s Abraham Foxman to reconsider the support he gave Tutu in 2007 in successfully having a major speaking engagement that had been cancelled by a Minnesota college president, reinstated. The College had initially rescinded the invitation to Tutu to speak, after learning of the ZOA’s articles details Tutu’s vicious, harsh statements against Israel and Judaism.


In a letter to the opera company, Tutu wrote that, “Cape Town Opera should postpone its proposed tour next month until both Israeli and Palestinian opera lovers of the region have equal opportunity and unfettered access to attend performances. Only the thickest-skinned South Africans would be comfortable performing before an audience that excluded residents living, for example, in an occupied West Bank village 30 minutes from Tel Aviv, who would not be allowed to travel to Tel Aviv, while including his Jewish neighbours from an illegal settlement on occupied Palestinian territory. The Tel Aviv Opera House is state sponsored. By luring international artists to perform there, it advances Israel’s fallacious claim to being a ‘civilised democracy’. Yet, every day, millions of citizens are denied the right to educational and cultural opportunities in Israel and the Palestinian territories it occupies. In South Africa, people opposed apartheid in many different ways. Those of us who believed in peaceful means of forcing change, received enormous assistance from our friends abroad in isolating the apartheid state: economically, politically, socially and culturally … Much as it offers you opportunities to travel abroad and show the world what we can do, listen to your conscience. God loves Jews and Muslims equally. To perform Porgy and Bess, with its universal message of non-discrimination, in the present state of Israel, is unconscionable” (Aziz Hartley and Sapa, ‘Boycott Israel, Tutu tells opera,’ IOL News, October 27, 2010).


Desmond Tutu has a long record of hatred of Israel and defamation of Judaism:


·        Compares Israel to Hitler, Stalin and apartheid: “I have been very deeply distressed in all my visits to the Holy Land, how so much of what was taking place there reminded me so much of what used to happen to us Blacks in Apartheid South Africa … The Apartheid government was very powerful, but we said to them: Watch it! If you flout the laws of this universe, you’re going to bite the dust! (applause) Hitler was powerful. Mussolini was powerful. Stalin was powerful. Idi Amin was powerful. Pinochet was powerful. The Apartheid government was powerful. Milosevic was powerful. But, this is God’s world. A lie, injustice, oppression, those will never prevail in the world of this God. That is what we told our people. And we used to say: those ones, they have already lost, they are, they are going to bite the dust one day. We may not be around. An unjust Israeli government, however powerful, will fall in the world of this kind of God” (Tutu in an address delivered at Old South Church, Boston, to the Friends of Sabeel North America’s conference, [ZOA: a body whose leaders say that Israelis are “crucifying” Arabs like the Jews did Jesus], April 13, 2002). [ZOA: The full text of this address was once available on-line at, but disappeared sometime after ZOA cited it at length in a press release of October 12, 2007].


·        G-d sides with the Palestinians: In a speech delivered to a two-day conference titled, ‘The Apartheid Paradigm in Palestine-Israel,’ Tutu was reported to have cited passages from the Bible to argue that the God worshiped by Jews would champion the cause of Palestinians, “Remembering what happened to you in Egypt and much more recently in Germany — remember, and act appropriately … If you reject your calling, you may survive for a long time, but you will find it is all corrosive inside, and one day you will implode” (‘Tutu urges Jews to challenge oppression of Palestinians,’ Boston Globe, October 28, 2007).


·        Condemns Israel before investigation:  In November 2006, Tutu was appointed by the same UN Human Rights Commission previously headed by Mary Robinson to head its “investigative commission” to the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun to investigate “human rights violations” by Israel” which Tutu had already condemned as “an outrage that cries out to heaven and we must condemn it unequivocally.” The commission never investigated Sudan, or other scenes of genuine, massive human rights abuses.


  • Criticizes Jewish Arrogance & lobbying efforts on behalf of Israel: 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, November 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.” (Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Response magazine, January 1990).


  •  Offers absurd disavowal on any anti-Semitism: During the 1989 visit to Israel, Tutu remarked “If I’m accused of being anti-Semitic, 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 G-d: 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)


  • The Jewish lobby intimidates: “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.”



ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “Having observed Desmond Tutu’s conduct over many years, the ZOA is outraged, but not surprised, by the malicious distortions, paraded with hypocritical sanctimony, contained in Tutu’s latest foray into demonizing Israel.


“Tutu is dishonest enough and filled with enough hatred for Israel to argue that Israel is a racist society. This is the same, discredited and internationally repudiated libel imposed on the world via the UN in 1975 by the majority of dictatorships that to this day dominate it – which Tutu repeats, while ignoring the racist Palestinian program seeking a Jew-free Palestinian state and the appalling, genuine human rights violations that occur in Palestinian-controlled areas.


“Tutu knows this claim about Israeli racism to be a lie – Israeli Jews and non-Jews equally are able to live their lives, including attending an opera performance, so Tutu tries to smuggle in this canard by alluding to the inability of Palestinians to attend from Judea/Samaria and Gaza. The one is run by a terror-sponsoring regime that promotes incitement to hatred and murder of Jews, which Tutu has not criticized; the other is run by a regime that calls for the worldwide murder of Jews, something else Tutu doesn’t mention.


“Moreover, Arabs in Israel enjoy more rights than they do in Arab majority countries; but Tutu evidently doesn’t care about Arab rights because he only seems to notice an alleged deficit of such rights when it comes to Israel. He speaks of denial of education to Arabs by Israel – a country in which Arabs study in all universities and achieve accomplishments that their brethren under Arab regimes could only envy. Desmond Tutu often claims to be driven to speak by conscience, but he evidently has no compunction engaging in outright lies.


“Arab Christian communities are shrinking all over the Middle East, with the exception of Israel, where they are flourishing. Only yesterday, 51 Christians were murdered at prayer in a Baghdad church by Islamist terrorists. But Tutu devotes his energies to libeling the one country in the region that successfully protects the rights of Christians.


“Given all this, we wonder if the ADL’s Abraham Foxman has had second thoughts regarding his efforts to obtain for Tutu a platform that had been originally denied to him on account of his vicious attacks on Israel. In 2007, Tutu was invited to speak at the Minnesota’s University of St Thomas but its President, Father Dennis Dease, rescinded the invitation when Tutu’s record of virulent anti-Israel words and actions were brought to his attention. Nevertheless, at this point, the Anti-Defamation League’s Abraham Foxman called President Dease and succeeded in convincing him to reinstate the invitation to Israel-hater Tutu.


“In light of Desmond Tutu’s latest vicious maligning of Israel as an Apartheid state – and let’s be clear; anyone who calls Israel an Apartheid state supports its disappearance, just as one would support the disappearance of the Apartheid regime in South Africa – we would urge Mr. Foxman to reconsider his efforts to secure a platform for a defamer of Israel like Desmond Tutu. It would be much better if the head of the Anti-Defamation League, who is supposed to be fighting those who defame Israel and Jews, cease helping them retain speaking engagements.”

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