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Letter to the editor: Tutu’s dangerous flaws

While his campaign against discrimination in South Africa was laudable, much of the media glossed over a dark aspect of Tutu’s legacy: his anti-Israel agenda.
Desmond-Tutu-002
Photo Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation

Re: Gerry Chidiac’s "Bishop Tutu's legacy of peace.”

On Boxing Day 2021, Desmond Tutu died at the age of 90. The South African archbishop, known for his anti-apartheid activism, was eulogized around the world and in the Prince George Citizen by Gerry Chidiac as a campaigner and advocate for human rights.

And while his campaign against discrimination in South Africa was laudable, much of the media glossed over a dark aspect of Tutu’s legacy: his anti-Israel agenda.

Tutu, an outspoken proponent of the BDS campaign against Israel, referred to Israel’s defense against Hamas missiles from Gaza as “a gross violation of human rights.”

Tutu said that anyone who continues “to do business with Israel” was promoting a “profoundly unjust” situation in the Middle East.

Tragically, Tutu’s statements often veered into classical antisemitism. In some of his public remarks and writings, Tutu referred to the prominent “Jewish lobby” in the United States, rather than the accurate “pro-Israel lobby.”

According to law professor Alan Dershowitz, Tutu 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.’”

Unfortunately, that’s not the end of Tutu’s inflammatory remarks. Zionism is "a policy that to me looks like it was very many parallels with racism,” the archbishop once stated in an interview.

Archbishop Tutu’s statements not only delegitimized Israel; his words were effectively a statement that the Jewish People had no historical right to their ancestral homeland.

In 2014, when Tutu told an anti-Israel rally that “We are opposed to the injustice of the illegal occupation of Palestine,” he was erasing three thousand years of Jewish history and depicting Jews as illegal interlopers in their own land.

After Tutu’s death, Gerry Chidiac justifiably lauded his work in South Africa, but whitewashed his longstanding anti-Israel fixation, creating a hero out of a man who held extremely flawed and dangerous views.

Mike Fegelman

Executive Director

Honest Reporting Canada