Reviews | Tutu’s courage against Israeli apartheid downplayed in US media


The Guardian has published an important praise to the late Desmond Tutu by Chris McGreal, saying what so many in the Palestinian solidarity community are saying: After fighting apartheid in South Africa, Tutu used his stature to call apartheid in Israel and Palestine, and he paid a high price to do so.

Indeed, opposing apartheid in Palestine has been one of Tutu’s major achievements. And yet the US media – unsurprisingly – downplays this angle by commemorating Tutu as a great moral leader. They seem embarrassed by this aspect of Tutu’s legacy.

PBS News Time gave the Anglican Archbishop’s work on Palestine a line in a long obsession, between his visit to Rwanda after the genocide and his opposition to the war in Iraq. “He weighed on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, sometimes comparing Israeli actions to apartheid-era South Africa,” the News Hour said simply.

National Public Radio repeatedly failed to mention Tutu’s position on Palestine in its coverage here, here and here– even as his correspondents were discussing how Tutu “has used his reputation” since the fall of apartheid by speaking “the truth in power”.

New York Times also scanned Tutu’s Courage on Palestine in his obituary, titled “Desmond Tutu, whose voice helped kill apartheid, dies at 90”. This paragraph came at the very end, and it scorns Tutu’s direct accusation of apartheid against Israel.

He has remained just as outspoken even over the past few years. . .

In 2010 he unsuccessfully asked an opera company touring Cape Town do not play in israel, invoking South Africa’s struggle against apartheid by criticizing Israel’s policy towards the Palestinians. He said the company’s production of “Porgy and Bess” should be postponed “until Israeli and Palestinian opera fans in the region have equal opportunities and unlimited access to attend performances.”

the Washington post adopted the same approach. Its main obit left Tutu’s pro-Palestinian views at the end of the fourth paragraph, and gave them half a sentence.

He also called on President Barack Obama to apologize for the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 and has repeatedly compared Israel’s treatment of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza to South Africa during the regime. apartheid.

the To post partly compensated for that with an editorial by the South African journalist Redi Tlhabi on Tutu’s activism for world justice, including his opposition to the Iraq war and his statements on climate change. The Tlhabi editorial had Palestine in the headline – “Desmond Tutu Represented Palestinians And Many Others” – and this good summary in the text:

But perhaps it was his support for the Palestinians and his criticism of Israel that put him in trouble with many who wanted to preserve it in amber, a sort of living monument to a past struggle. “When you go to the Holy Land and see what is being done to the Palestinians at the checkpoints, for us that’s the kind of thing we experienced in South Africa,” he told the Post in 2013.

Many around the world have come to the inevitable conclusion that Israel is an apartheid state, including the main human rights organizations.

Chris McGreal made a similar point to Tlhabi in his article in the Guardian. Tutu has crossed the line with his position on Israel, but the world is catching up with him.

“Tutu’s real crime in the eyes of Israel’s most relentless supporters was to compare his rule over the Palestinians to apartheid and then refuse to back down in the face of a wave of abuse,” McGreal said. He gives some of these statements.

“I know firsthand that Israel has created a reality of apartheid within its borders and through its occupation. The parallels with my own beloved South Africa are indeed painfully striking,” [Tutu] wrote in 2014 in a call to the Presbyterian General Assembly in the United States to support sanctions against Israel.

Tutu alarmed the government of Israel with these testimonies, writes McGreal, and the situation has only worsened. With the “dying” two-state solution, the apartheid rhetoric gathered pace over the past year, with two main human rights groups accusing Israel of the crime.

Learn more about myopia from the general public. Terry Gross ran yesterday excerpts from two superb interviews she did it with Tutu on “Fresh Air”, in 1984 and 1999. Gross is an excellent interviewer, but she made no reference to Israel and Palestine in the 43 minute segment. Gross has long opposed apartheid discourse on Israel, as when she assailed Jimmy Carter for using the word in 2006 and cited Alan Dershowitz as an authority on the matter.

Dershowitz is always with us too: he published an editorial saying that Tutu was a fanatic who hated the Jewish people. And this editorial has attracted a lot of attention from Israel and its friends.

J Street tweeted Tlhabi’s excellent Washington Post article on Tutu, but the liberal Zionist organization did not directly praise Tutu, although it did mourns the loss of Harry Reid. Greeting Tutu might be too far a bridge for liberal Zionists, as the Democratic majority for Israel ignores Tutu’s death and Dershowitz slams Tutu.

By the way, Terry Gross’s interview with Tutu from 1984 is particularly insightful. Tutu has repeatedly said that the only thing that will bring down a hateful and brutal order is international pressure. “What do you think other countries can do to support the dismantling of the apartheid system? »Wholesaler requested. Tutu’s brilliant response:

I think they have to make it very clear that there is no way that the authors of apartheid will ever become respectable, and that apartheid will ever become acceptable. I think, I mean, that the authors of apartheid must continue to be treated as outcasts in the world community. And the world community must impose strict conditions. I think the global community can say – I mean, especially the business community, who are the ones with huge clout, you know? This is indicated by the fact that if I were to say in your program that I support economic sanctions against South Africa, divestment is a criminal offense. And until recently, if I was convicted, the mandatory minimum sentence would be five years in prison, showing that those who invest have considerable leverage, which they refuse to use.

And so I would tell them, please remember that your investment in South Africa is as much a political and moral factor as it is an economic one, that you are strengthening one of the most vicious systems in the world.

This lesson applies today, when only external pressure will bring down Israeli apartheid. But so far the powerful media in the United States cannot report this news.


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