28 October 2007 - Tutu: Blame the Jews. Only the Jews.
Archibishop Desmond Tutu’s speech on Saturday afternoon at the Israel=Apartheid conference at Boston’s Old South Church has been posted on the web. (Note that the pages are a bit out of order.) One of the 200 protesters outside the church on Friday afternoon carried a poster with a photoshopped image of the church sign saying: “Today’s Sermon: Blame the Jews.” That turns out to have been pretty accurate.
Tutu’s entire sermon is addressed to Jews. Not Israelis, but Jews. The Jews who would not, could not have come to the church to attend a meeting on the Jewish Sabbath. The Jews who had been vilified from the pulpit throughout the conference. It is “the Jews” who must change their ways. Not once—not once!—during his speech does Tutu call on Palestinians or “the Muslims” or “the Arabs” or whatever.
The speech is deceitful throughout. Tutu claims that he could have gone the route of comparing Israel to every horrible feature apartheid South Africa, but didn’t—and then proceeds to do exactly that: “I could have bemoaned the illegal wall . . . I could have said things that even apartheid South Africa had not done, for example collective punishment. I have not gone that route.” Does he remember apartheid?
Again and again, he exhorts Jews to remember the lessons of the Hebrew Bible. He uses the second person plural—“you” and “your”—despite the fact that his audience is almost entirely Christian and Muslims and the few Jews in the church would not have counted themselves among those he blames for Israel’s sins. And he accuses Jews of fighting against God—“your God, our God.” He concludes:
“The world needs the Jews, Jews who are faithful to their vocation that has meant so much for the world’s morality, of its sense of what is right and wrong, what is good and bad, what is just and unjust, what is oppressive and what sets people free. Jews are indispensable for a good compassionate, just and caring world.
“And so are Palestinians.”
That’s it—nothing exhorting Palestinians or Arabs in particular to change their ways, aside from the catch-all “We condemn acts of terrorism by whoever they are committed.” Jews—not Israelis—are blamed for the conflict. And only the Jews, who are described as fighting against God and humanity. There can be no question of “anti-Zionism, not anti-Semitism.” Tutu’s words and intent are unmistakable.