Tutu’s Crusade Against Israel [Excerpts]
At first blush, the suggestion that a Nobel Peace Prize winner would have anything in common with a pack of unabashed, poison-tongued Jew-haters seems preposterous. But Desmond Tutu, the former archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa, who in 1984 won the coveted Nobel award for his campaign against apartheid in that country, is today one of the most celebrated supporters of the “Divest from Israel” movement. Particularly widespread on university campuses across America, this movement routinely offers a high-visibility propaganda forum for some of the most rabid, combative anti-Semites of our time.
At its heart, the campus divestment movement aims to cripple Israel’s economy by compelling universities to withdraw whatever funds they may have invested in Israeli-based or -affiliated corporations. These efforts are founded on the premise that Israel is guilty of practicing apartheid and ethnic cleansing against the Palestinian people. According to the divestment movement’s leaders, the human rights violations perpetrated by Israel are on par with those of the former apartheid regime in Desmond Tutu’s South Africa; many critics go so far as to liken modern Israel to Nazi Germany. When UC Berkeley administrators recently decided to divest the university’s money from Israel, Tutu praised their “principled stand” against the “injustice of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land and violation of Palestinian human rights.” “[I]t is always an inspiration when young people [the Berkeley students who pressured the administrators] lead the way and speak truth to power,” said Tutu.
The philosophy underlying the divestment movement has been displayed in stark relief recently at a number of University of California campuses, where Muslim student groups sponsored events under the banner of “Israeli Apartheid Week: A Call to Boycott, Divest, and Sanction Israel.” At a Muslim Students Association (MSA) event at UC San Diego, for instance, one MSA member explicitly affirmed that she supported Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah’s assertion that “if Jews all gather in Israel, it will save us [jihadists] the trouble of going after them worldwide.” Meanwhile, UC Irvine’s Muslim Student Union promoted its own “Israeli Apartheid Week” festivities by featuring, as guest speakers, such luminaries as Norman Finkelstein (who assertsthat the Holocaust has been exaggerated and exploited by Jews to justify Israeli human-rights violations and crimes against humanity); Hedy Epstein (who contends that the only “lesson” Jews “learned from the Holocaust” was how to “become the persecutors” of vulnerable people like the Palestinians); Hatem Bazian (who, at an American Muslim Alliance conference promoting the creation of an Islamic State of Palestine, approvingly quoted a hadith calling on Muslims to “come and kill” the Jews); Alison Weir (who characterizes the Israeli-Arab conflict as nothing more complex than a battle between “the brutalizer and the brutalized”); and Amir Abdel Malik-Ali (an open supporter of Hamas and Hezbollah who has warned that he and his fellow Muslims “will fight” the Jews “until we are either martyred or until we are victorious”).
Such are the worldviews and sentiments of the leading lights in today’s “Divest from Israel” movement. By no means, however, is it surprising that Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu would support such bellicose rhetoric, given his own long history of condemning and smearing Israel and the Jews. Noting that divestment campaigns helped bring about the end of apartheid in South Africa, a development he calls “one of the crowning accomplishments of the past century,” Tutu is delighted that a “similar movement” now aims to put “an end to the Israeli occupation” in the Middle East. Notably, Tutu makes no call for divestment from any other Middle Eastern nation – though the political oppression, human rights abuses, and barbaric atrocities characterizing life throughout much of that region dwarf anything that the Palestinians have ever suffered in Israel, to which Tutu refers as America’s “client state.”