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article imageZionist Federation of SA claims Archbishop Tutu is an anti-Semite

By Andre C James     Jan 13, 2011 in World
A recent controversial online petition submitted by the Zionist Federation of SA, calling for the Archbishop to be removed as patron of the Holocaust centres in Cape Town and Johannesburg has been met with strong resistance.
Desmond Tutu who is the Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, Bishop of Johannesburg and Bishop of Lesotho, received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984, the Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism in 1986, the Gandhi Peace Prize in 2005 and the SA Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009. The Archbishop is a veteran anti-apartheid activist and was instrumental in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission which was established in the mid 1990’s to study the effects of Apartheid and allowed perpetrators of state sponsored terrorism to speak out on crimes committed and in return receive impunity for their crimes.
The petition, launched by David Hersch, vice-chairman of the SA Zionist Federation has been signed by 343 people. The petition claims that Tutu’s call to stop the Cape Town Opera Company from performing in Israel in 2010, and for South African academic institutions to cut ties with those in Israel, as “only the most recent examples of Archbishop Tutu’s anti-Israel behaviour”.
The Archbishop has been outspoken on the Israeli government and its policy on Palestine and Gaza. In 2002, when delivering a public lecture in support of divestment, Tutu said "My heart aches. I say why are our memories so short. Have our Jewish sisters and brothers forgotten their humiliation? Have they forgotten the collective punishment, the home demolitions, in their own history so soon? Have they turned their backs on their profound and noble religious traditions? Have they forgotten that God cares deeply about the downtrodden?"
Prominent South Africans of Jewish faith have come out in support of the Archbishop, they include Arthur Chaskalson, former head of the SA Constitutional Court and now president of the International Commission of Jurists, human rights lawyer Geoff Budlender and Nathan Geffen of the Treatment Action Campaign (a South African support group campaigning for people living with HIV and AIDS).
Their petition acknowledges that the Holocaust was a crime against humanity and should not be forgotten and that the mission of the Holocaust Foundation is to build “a more caring and just society in which human rights and diversity are respected and valued.”
They go on to say, “This is precisely the cause to which Tutu has dedicated his life. He represents the finest tradition of resistance to all forms of oppression. 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,”
Tutu, who was in Zurich on Monday where he received the Fifa (the international governing body of soccer) Presidential Award for 2010, was not available for comment.
More on Archbishop Tutu can be found on the Desmond Tutu peace foundation web site
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