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Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Support Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu

Tutu's life has been lived in the spirit of "never again" - the ultimate lesson of the Holocaust
The South African Zionist Federation, which never, not once, criticised Apartheid until it was on its way out, and indeed which fully supported Israel’s military support for Apartheid, is now criticising one of the real heroes of the anti-Apartheid struggle, Archbishop Tutu.

Indeed the South African Jewish community, the most Zionist in the world, was also fulsome in its support of Apartheid. Those Jews who opposed Apartheid, like Joe Slovo, Dennis Goldberg, Ronnie Kassrills, Albie Sachs and Ruth First (murdered by an apartheid letter bomb) were ostracised. They were bringing danger down on the community was the pretext.

At the time of Apartheid’s official inauguration under Daniel Malan in 1948 a deal was struck with the leaders of the Jewish community. The nationalists would abandon their previous overt support of the Nazis’ anti-Semitism and the organised Jewish community would become part of the white community and in support of separatism and apartheid.

Today the same treacherous leaders of this community have transferred their support from South African to Israeli Apartheid and have focussed their attacks on those who oppose or upset the leaders of Zionism. First it was Richard Goldstone’s meticulous report on Israeli war-crimes in Israel. These creatures tried to prevent him attending his grandson’s bar mitzvah. Now they are attacking Desmond Tutu. Show your support for the Archbishop by signing the petition below:

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has publicly criticised Israeli policy towards Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank. He has also criticised Palestinian attacks on Israeli civilians. These criticisms are well-known.

Recently, his criticisms of Israeli policy have elicited bitter personal attacks. Amidst calls for him to be removed as Patron of the Cape Town and Johannesburg Holocaust Centres of the South African Holocaust Foundation, Tutu has been attacked and labelled an "anti-Semite" and a "bigot". Disagreements should be debated openly, but these personal attacks are totally unacceptable.

During the Second World War, which killed 60 million people, Nazi Germany killed socialists, gay men and lesbians, Roma people, and resistance fighters, but its most systematic destruction was of the Jewish people. Six million Jews were transferred to ghettos and concentration camps before being murdered. This grotesque crime against humanity must never be forgotten. Its legacy and lessons belong to and must be guarded by all of humanity.

Racism -including anti-Semitism- sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, and inhumanity must be resisted wherever they occur. As stated in the Mission Statement of the South African Holocaust Foundation, we must build "a more caring and just society in which human rights and diversity are respected and valued." This is precisely the cause to which Tutu has dedicated his life. He represents the finest tradition of resistance to all forms of oppression. He has taught us that understanding the Holocaust begins with appreciating that the only way for each of us to be safe is for all of us to be safe. He embodies the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a document born of the horrors of the Second World War, the rights contained in which pertain equally to Israelis and Palestinians.

To use the Holocaust in an attempt to de-legitimise Tutu is to undermine its legacy and insult the memory of its victims. To call him an anti-Semite, because he has attacked the policies of the Israeli government, is outrageous, renders the term meaningless, and enfeebles the necessary efforts to defeat real anti-Semites and racists.

We give our support to Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu as a most appropriate patron of the South African Holocaust Foundation


Anonymous said...

Archbishop Desmond Tutu was instrumental in the fight against Apartheid in South Africa:There are no paralles between Israel and South Africa. One had a government where only a minority could vote for it.One doesn't, and a thousand other examples. Actually, the archbishop is believed to have been complicit in certain activies that I believe you would approve as you appear to support the destruction of Israel.

Why do you obsess about something else for a change?

Tony Greenstein said...

Now let me see. There about 4 million Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. Israel has ruled them for 43 years. They do not have their own state or government, merely a quisling regime in Ramallah.

Israel makes the laws, enters all areas with impunity, tries in its military courts Palestinians under occupation, starves them in Gaza and confiscates their land. And they don't have any vote in the Knesset over the army that terrorises them.

Doesn't seem much different to South Africa does it?

Anonymous said...

You say that the SA Jewish community was "fulsome" in its support for Apartheid.

It is true the Board of Deputies and rabbinate were slow to condemn the system but to label Jews as supporters of apatheid is misleading

Most Jews, in fact, had actually voted against the apartheid National Party, casting their votes for either the Progressive Party or the United Party. One organization, the Union of Jewish Women, sought to alleviate the suffering of blacks through charitable projects and self-help schemes. Fourteen of the 23 whites involved in the 1956 Treason Trial were Jewish and all five whites of the seventeen members of the African National Congress who were arrested for anti-apartheid activities in 1963 were Jewish.

Nelson Mandela, wrote this about SA Jews: “I have found Jews to be more broadminded than most whites on issues of race and politics, perhaps because they themselves have historically been victims of prejudice." Mandela's defence attorney, Isie Maisels, was Jewish

Why don;t you balance your opinions at all?


Tony Greenstein said...

It is true that Jews, being a minority amongst the Whites, did have a more liberal attitude than the Afrikaaner working class. But the white British of Cape Town, where Helen Suzmann's constituency was, were also more liberal.

The United Party was barely an improvement on the Nationalists. It wasn't an anti-apartheid party and was in fact the old party of Jan Smuts who introduced the colour bar and much else besides. of course Smuts was the most pro-Zionist member of Lloyd George's cabinet and a faithful supporter of Zionism all his life.

Yes it is true that Jews were disproportionately involved in the anti-apartheid struggle compared to other whites. But they were not representative of the Jewish community either and were effectively disowned by them as a danger and embarrassment. When I have time I will go through some press cuttings on this and post them.

It's no surprise that among South African Jews, there was not only a Zionist political tradition but also a much smaller Communist one. Most if not all such whites were members of the SA CP. People like Dennis Goldberg, Ruth First and Ronnie Kassrills.