Archbishop Tutu offers a judgement.
– How did he reach his conclusions?
1. That Israel is an “apartheid state”?
Just to cite three examples: (I am sure we could supply others.)
a. Has he attempted any comparison of the policies of the South African National Party Government and the various Party Governments of the State of Israel which would provide a striking difference between the two?Just to cite one example: between “Bantustans” and the West Bank and Gaza
b. Is he aware that there is an Arab party in the State of Israel and that there are arabs who (as far as I know) are members of the Knesset. Was there any such similar situation under Nationalist Party South Africa?
c. Is he aware of Egypt’s or Jordan’s policy with respect to the Palestinian Refugee Camps? Again, how does this compare with the situation in Israel? Did he ever raise his voice in protest regarding the deplorable conditions that the Palestinians at the time were forced to live in?
2. What are the sources of Archbishop Tutu’s judgement.
– What books has he read on the subject? Can he provide some kind of bibliography on which he has based his conclusions and show that they are objective, thoughtful and based on a knowledge of the subject of the Middle East…. at least to a point that he is in a position to use his tremendous moral suasion to suggest the policies he advocates? Short of this we are looking at a judgement based on common perceptions which are quite possibly erroneous.
If he is capable of answering these and similar questions, then we – and he – might be justified in taking the action that he has. Short of this, his opinions are simply that: opinions, and while he may have the right to express himself any way he chooses; his title and the position he occupies place a moral imperative on him to make sure that his facts are straight and that he demonstrate an awareness of the history and cultures of the region and how they affect the Israeli – Palestinian conflict.
There may be prophetic passion in Archbishop Tutu’s plea, but if it is not based on knowledge of the subject he chooses to judge, then such an outcry as his is nothing short of misguided if not deplorable.
Mordecai Miller, Rabbi
Brith Sholom Kneseth Israel Synagogue
St Louis, MO USA
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