Archbishop Desmond Tutu, whose role in the fight against South African apartheid in the 1980s gained him the Nobel Peace Prize and global fame, is among the world’s most respected figures.
Barack Obama awarded him the US highest honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Tutu has been called “an inspiration" and was compared to Albert Schweitzer and Gandhi. The Wall Street Journal labeled him “the best known priest in the world.” Tutu was even asked to donate his genome to scientists to discover the African roots of mankind.
With Nelson Mandela in jail, it fell to Tutu to steer the struggle against institutionalized racial oppression in a nonviolent direction. From his church in segregated Soweto, Tutu urged the imposition of economic sanctions against the white government. Since then, Tutu’s face has become the symbol of tolerance and goodness.
However, the Archbishop’s iconic voice has also found another cause no less popular: The global campaign against Israel and the Jewish people. Tutu just promoted an appeal to the US pension fund of the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association for cutting the partnership with Israeli companies. He also helped the Australian Marrickville Council approve a boycott of Israel's goods.
Recently, Tutu convinced the University of Johannesburg to end its relationship with Ben-Gurion University as part of a boycott against Israeli academic institutions, resembling the dark time when German universities banned famous Jewish intellectuals such as T.W. Adorno and Albert Einstein. Archbishop Tutu also promoted the boycott of all Israeli goods by the US Food Co-Cop and he became the poster leader of the Western NGOs promoting campaigns for divestment and sanctions against the Jewish State.
Last week, the Archbishop sponsored a call for an arms embargo against Israel. Next November, Tutu will open in Cape Town the third session of the anti-Israeli Russell Tribunal, a standing organization that held two tribunals against Israel last year in Barcelona and London. During this event, Tutu will seek to determine whether Israel’s policies fit the international legal definition of the crime of “apartheid."
Tutu has ideologically built this conceptual mousetrap of “Zionist apartheid," where the Jewish question is the cheese and the victim. The Archbishop perfectly knows that charging Israel with apartheid is simply a blood libel, as Arabs and Jews live and work together in Israel, while sharing all public facilities (hospitals, schools, malls, buses, cinemas, parks.)
Making apartheid accusations against a state that undertook major operations to save black Jews in Africa is ludicrous. But the Christian Archbishop is not interested in preaching the truth, but rather, in promoting the liquidation of Israel, creating a new, horrible Jewish Diaspora. On university campuses worldwide, in the mainstream media and in large parts of Western public opinion, Tutu’s analogy is a very popular cause and “Zionist apartheid” is already the new codeword for racist evil.
Thanks to Tutu, the World Conference against Racism, held by the United Nations in Durban in 2001, was transformed into a racist conference against Israel. In the same city where President Mbeki held his festival of victory against apartheid, another death sentence for the Jews was being pronounced under Tutu’s umbrella and that of the United Nations.
Tutu has demonized the “Jewish lobby” as too “powerful” and “scary," resorting to a vile myth rooted in anti-Jewish stereotype, whereby the Jews control Washington. According to Tutu’s horrific and false accusation against the Jewish people, Israel is a sadistically colonialist entity, a blind persecutor of children, and a mad builder of apartheid walls.
Tutu proclaimed, many years before Iran’s Ahmadinejad, that the West had muted criticism of Israel because of guilt over the Holocaust. He has accused Israel of acting in an “un-Christian” way. He has complained of “the Jewish monopoly of the Holocaust” and has demanded that its victims must “forgive the Nazis for the Holocaust,” while refusing to forgive the “Jewish people” for “persecuting others.”
Tutu has asserted that Zionism has “very many parallels with racism.” He has compared Israel to Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Soviet Union, saying that they too were once “very powerful” but they “bit the dust,” as will “unjust” Israel. Tutu has claimed that the Christian God sides with the Palestinians, whom he compares to the Israelites under slavery in Egypt.
Tutu is also responsible for the “apartheid wall” mythology that has been one of the most repugnant propagandistic manipulations that Israel has ever suffered, because it is based on ignoring of the cause-effect nexus. All decent people know that Israel is not Soweto. But Tutu resembles those Christian bishops who fomented the Final Solution by the idea that the wandering Jew is the symbol of God's rejection of the Jewish people.
Tutu's cassock masks a long, hateful history of ugly intolerance toward the Jewish people and Israel. Under a new guise, the Nazi appeal “Kauft nicht bei Juden…” (Don't buy from Jews) is back.
Giulio Meotti, a journalist with Il Foglio, is the author of the book A New Shoah: The Untold Story of Israel's Victims of Terrorism