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Apr-11-2010 18:25printcomments

Archbishop Desmond Tutu to UC Berkeley: Divesting is the Right Thing To Do

Sent from Emily Schaeffer, human right lawyer in Israel/Palestine, who asked Archbishop Tutu to write the letter.

Desmond Tutu
Tutu is an active and prominent proponent of the campaign for divestment from Israel. Courtesy:

(CAPE TOWN) - Dear Student Leaders at the University of California – Berkeley

It was with great joy that I learned of your recent 16-4 vote in support of divesting your university’s money from companies that enable and profit from the injustice of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land and violation of Palestinian human rights. Principled stands like this, supported by a fast growing number of US civil society organizations and people of conscience, including prominent Jewish groups, are essential for a better world in the making, and it is always an inspiration when young people lead the way and speak truth to power.

I am writing to tell you that, despite what detractors may allege, you are doing the right thing. You are doing the moral thing. You are doing that which is incumbent on you as humans who believe that all people have dignity and rights, and that all those being denied their dignity and rights deserve the solidarity of their fellow human beings. I have been to the Ocupied Palestinian Territory, and I have witnessed the racially segregated roads and housing that reminded me so much of the conditions we experienced in South Africa under the racist system of Apartheid. I have witnessed the humiliation of Palestinian men, women, and children made to wait hours at Israeli military checkpoints routinely when trying to make the most basic of trips to visit relatives or attend school or college, and this humiliation is familiar to me and the many black South Africans who were corralled and regularly insulted by the security forces of the Apartheid government.

In South Africa, we could not have achieved our freedom and just peace without the help of people around the world, who through the use of non-violent means, such as boycotts and divestment, encouraged their governments and other corporate actors to reverse decades-long support for the Apartheid regime. Students played a leading role in that struggle, and I write this letter with a special indebtedness to your school, Berkeley, for its pioneering role in advocating equality in South Africa and promoting corporate ethical and social responsibility to end complicity in Apartheid. I visited your campus in the 1980’s and was touched to find students sitting out in the baking sunshine to demonstrate for the University’s disvestment in companies supporting the South African regime.

The same issue of equality is what motivates the divestment movement of today, which tries to end Israel’s 43 year long occupation and the unequal treatment of the Palestinian people by the Israeli government ruling over them. The abuses they face are real, and no person should be offended by principled, morally consistent, non-violent acts to oppose them. It is no more wrong to call out Israel in particular for its abuses than it was to call out the Apartheid regime in particular for its abuses.

To those who wrongly accuse you of unfairness or harm done to them by this call for divestment, I suggest, with humility, that the harm suffered from being confronted with opinions that challenge one’s own pales in comparison to the harm done by living a life under occupation and daily denial of basic rights and dignity. It is not with rancor that we criticize the Israeli government, but with hope, a hope that a better future can be made for both Israelis and Palestinians, a future in which both the violence of the occupier and the resulting violent resistance of the occupied come to an end, and where one people need not rule over another, engendering suffering, humiliation, and retaliation. True peace must be anchored in justice and an unwavering commitment to universal rights for all humans, regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender, national origin or any other identity attribute. You, students, are helping to pave that path to a just peace. I heartily endorse your divestment vote and encourage you to stand firm on the side of what is right.

God bless you richly,

Desmond Tutu. Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town.

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CSanders November 9, 2010 6:01 am (Pacific time)

Article VII: "There is a Jew . . . Kill him, Sin of Islam".

It's there.

Stop your vile hatemongering and own up to it.

Be a good human being and stop defending racism.

That's all.

Editor: What? This is about Israel's theft of land, it is about oppressing other human beings.  That line at the top doesn't cut it.  And for God's sake don't call me those things, you know they describe the complete opposite of my position.   

CSanders November 8, 2010 12:44 pm (Pacific time)

Editor, be careful who you call a liar. The "Kill the Jew" language is in fact in the Hamas Covenant. Go to the Yale Law School library for the text.

Editor: I'll worry about when I need to be careful, thanks all the same.  There is not a specific call to 'kill Jews' as you state; if you believe this information exists then send a link to the source.  I researched Hamas recently and learned things that most people would be shocked to learn; like how they halted suicide bombings in 2005 and then stated the following year that they were wrong for ever having planted bombs.  The 'rocket attacks' so constantly touted by the pro-Zionist media would have one thinking that Israeli citizens were constantly running for cover.  Then you read the statistics and discover that a total of 28 Israeli citizens have perished in the 'rocket attacks' since 2001.  That is comparitavely small when compared to the number of Palestinians who have been killed by the Israeli military and also awful things like bulldozer operators.  So, in the end there is no peace because Israel sees itself as superior and Zionist Jews actually consider themselves a superior race.  I mean I'm just a goyam right?  How could my theories about fairness in humanity make sense when a band of religious fanatacs in Israel believe they are more important than other human beins because of the Biblical scripture proclaiming them as the Chosen People.  Now, I am as much for the welfare and benefits of Jewish people as I am for any group, and I would stand up for any person of any race who was suffering discrimination.  With that thought in mind, I question how Israeli Zionest 'settlers' believe they have the right to squat on land historically owned by other people.  Look at Palestine, there is a map series with the story at the link below, it shows how little of Palestine is left; Israel has absorbed almost everything, and that is bad enough; millions of refugees are displaced as a result of it do not have the right of passage or the right of return as granted by the United Nations Human Rights Declaration.  

Jul-08-2010: If  HAMAS is a Terrorist Organization, What Does That Make Israel? - Political Perspective by Tim King

CSanders November 3, 2010 4:57 pm (Pacific time)

The Editor here seems to have a problem with Israel's existence, saying that it is only here to "kill Arab and Christian people." Isn't it interesting how most Zionists are actually Christian?

Meanwhile, Hamas's own constitution states in plain words to Arab Muslims: "KILL THE JEW!" And to the extent they can, they do . . . whether in Tel Aviv or in Argentina, in Istanbul or in New York, in Rome or in Mumbai.

By the way, any of you non-Muslims been to Mecca lately? Of course not! A Christian is absolutely prohibited, as a devil infidel. Even the good archbishop cannot enter the city. Talk about segregation!

Editor: Sometimes you just have to say, 'You're a damned liar Col Sanders'.  Hamas absolutely does not in any way, shape or form reflect that specific clause in any specific political documents.  Hamas is the last group with the brass to defend the tiny remaining amount of land under Palestinian control.  They simply don't want to be oppressed, treated like the Jews during the Second World War, and have all of their land and homes stolen from them.  Most of the problems that stem from Islam are a result of Zionism.  If you are talking about the Wahhabit sect then you are dealing with some lunatice, but then the Saudi's and Israelis are allies more or less, aren't they?  Along with the good old genocidal supporting USA.  No Palestinians want to 'kill the Jew' as you so crudely state, they want their land back.  Get it right next time, lay off the fried chicken, Israel must simply be a decent nation, that is all that is required.  Roll back the borders to where they were in 1967.


And watch this video to see how settlers behave:

naivetutu November 1, 2010 6:07 pm (Pacific time)

Yes, the Palestinian Arabs endorsed Hitler's Final Solution. But that would never be acknowledged by Archbishop Tutu, who has his own agenda.

factsfactsfacts November 1, 2010 12:23 pm (Pacific time)

The leader of the Palestinians, the Grand Mufti, met with Hitler during world war II and pladged his allegiance to help keep the areas under hius control Judenfrei. But this was only after a wave of Jews had fled in large numbers to Palestine to escape European antisemitism, which changed Palestinian demographics substantially.

Mark Bernadiner September 28, 2010 7:53 am (Pacific time)

In compliance with the 1920 League of Nations Resolution, two-state solution was implemented in
1922 when british administration of occupied Israel allocated more than 70% of Israel territory
to palestinian arabs and created Transjordan (now Jordan) where today over 90 percent of the
population identify themselves as Palestinian Arabs. Every party, including UN, EU, US, etc.,
must respect League of Nations Resolutions, adopted and accepted by UN. Therefore, all so
called "palestinians" must be relocated there. Enough stealing Israel land. Britain and Jordan
must compensate Israel for stolen land and natural resources. All "palestinian" constructions on
occupied Israel land Judea, Samaria, and Gaza are illegal, according to international law and
must be removed.

Mark Bernadiner, PH.D.

History of "palestinians":

Article 24 of the 1964 PLO Charter addressed to UN stipulates: "Palestinian muslims do not claim
West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and Gaza their territories”

Arab leaders like Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi told the Peel Commission in 1937: "There is no such country
as 'Palestine'; 'Palestine' is a term the Zionists invented!"
In 1946, Arab historian Philip Hitti testified before the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry
that "there is no such thing as Palestine in history.”
In 1947, Arab leaders protesting the UN partition plan argued that Palestine was part of Syria
and “politically, the Arabs of Palestine (were) not (an) independent separate … political
An executive committee member of the PLO Zahir Muhsein confirmed that there is no such thing as a
separate “palestinian” people of Arab descent. In an interview with the Dutch newspaper Trouw in
March 31, 1977, he stated the following:
"The palestinian people do not exist. The creation of a palestinian state is only a means for
continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity.

P.S. Tutu has no credible highschool education and his knowledge on ME history is based on "street-popular"crup, he created. He is profoundly ignorant idiot, pathological liar, and islamofascist prostitute.

Editor: During WW1 the British told the Arabs that if they helped take Jerusalem, that the Arab world would be left alone.  The person who made this promise was sir Lawrence of Arabia.  Then, the Balfour declaration came along and voided the promise of the English, making them little more than dirty liars.  "Israel" doesn't even exist according to the UN, it is the most dangerous nation in the world.  It is funded by US taxpayer money to act like the Nazis who inflicted the Holocaust.  The Palestinians did not kill any Jews, they were not part of Hitler's Third Reich.  There is no justification for Israel's theft of the land it currently possesses.  We will soon see things return to where they were in '67 and that is bad enough.

mark andrews June 11, 2010 3:32 pm (Pacific time)

The comment left by the "editor" on April 13, 2010, is a despicable lie. Israel is not out to kill Christians and Arabs, and anyone who says they are is an obscene Jew-hating bigot of the most despicable kind.

Editor: No, you just don't know very much.  Israel has apartheid laws, do you know what that means?  We are providing a strong moral point of view, study history, current events, and then come back and talk to me.  If you rely on right wing propaganda sources, then just forget it.  Oh, and I work with Jewish people every day, they are some of my very best friends, they just aren't out to hurt other cultures as Israel's government is.  Whether you know it or admit it, or not. 

Norberto April 24, 2010 3:01 pm (Pacific time)

I totally support Tutu's message. Everyday more people are waking up to the truth... I recommend everyone watching these documentaries on YouTube: "Occupation 101" - "Defamation"

ricardo April 15, 2010 12:10 am (Pacific time)

Thanks for publishing this excellent statement from Bishop Tutu. South Africa still has plenty of problems but they have at least overcome overt racism. The same goal applies to Israel Palestine.

Gábor Fränkl April 14, 2010 5:12 pm (Pacific time)

Both tutu and the eunuch who gave the platform for him are pathologically racist, deluded, but very dangerous Nazi antisemites. That is crystal-clear.
Gábor Fränkl
Budapest, Hungary

Editor: You are talking about a black African; using the term 'Nazi' removes all of your credibility.  Criticizing Israel's deadly racist apartheid genocide politics is not racist.    

CW April 14, 2010 10:52 am (Pacific time)

I've spent some time in South Africa and this place produces far more murder victims and violence in one month than Israel and the Palestinians do in several years. Maybe Tutu should get his own house in order before passing judgements in other locales. In fact the last time I went to Capetown and visited a friend's office in a high rise I had to be escorted by security to the 38th floor because of the ongoing gang gunfights within the building. Elevators had been destroyed. Goats, chickens and pigs along with their digested food were all over the stairs. The murder rate is so high government prosecutor's only get to a small fraction of the crimes. Yes you have some nice area's in this country, but the security is intense and each day the criminals encroach on more area's. Apartheid has once again taken hold and who knows what the future holds, but change via non-violence is not going to be a method used. As bad as it is in the middle east, different countries in Africa make that area look like Disneyworld.

Reality April 13, 2010 5:14 pm (Pacific time)

The editor above is insane. israel is not 'wiping people out.' Israel has one million arab citizens, and none of them are being wiped out. The 'Palestinians' aren't being wiped out, either. Their population goes up each year. Do you live on Mars?

Editor: That one got to you did it?  Well, go back and put it together in your mind; Israel and its servants in the U.S. media talk about Iran's intentions toward Israel every day, all day, on the mainstream news channels- constantly lying about Iran's imaginary nukes while Israel has them pointed at everyone around them.  What a load of crap, what a pile of deception!  We disseminate information from non-U.S.  and non-Israeli sources, and the real facts are surprisingly different from what you would like people to know.  As a humanitarian, I don't need a license nor do I lose credibility as a journalist, for citing a simple obvious observation like the one I stated.  And yes, people will read this and continue to discover how Americans have been deceived and their support of Israel is used for genocidal means.      

Reality April 13, 2010 5:13 pm (Pacific time)

Israeli Arabs and Israeli Christians are more FREE, SAFE AND SUCCESSFUL than ARabs in actual arab countries that are near Israel. You are insane.

Editor: I love the insults, you are so incapable of lying like this and sounding intelligent at the same time, it just can't be.  But aside from that, if you truly believe you are right, then perhaps you can explain how this story happened:

Mar-10-2010: The Heart and Soul of IsraelSad Saga of Azad Restaurant - Tim King 

jerry hurtubise April 13, 2010 2:59 pm (Pacific time)

As someone who doesn't have a dog in this fight, so to speak, I can't help feel the pain of those on both sides. I suppose what I am saying is I don't see Isrealis or Palestinians, I simply see People. I also know that all the anger expressed in the comments section is not healthy. As long as there are non-violent actions, that is what I am favor of.

reality April 13, 2010 12:25 pm (Pacific time)

What a clueless, ridiculous editorial. Desmond Tutu doesn't like Israel's security barrier, yet doesn't utter a word about crazed islamic fundamentalists not trying to destroy Israel anymore. Tutu doesn't like checkpoints, yet doesn't utter a word about all the terrorism from Palestinians against Israel that caused the need for the checkpoints in the first place. Tutu doesn't mention Hamas, Islamic Jihad, etc. a single time in this useless editorial. Tutu doesn't mention all the wars against Israel at all. Tutu also MAKES UP A FALSE CLAIM that there are 'racially' separated roads. There are not. Israel, a country, does have some roads where only Israelis can travel on them, but Isrealis are not all one race, and the only reason such roads exist is because people who are not Israelis have a habit in the past of trying to blow Israelis up. Useless, nonsense editorial from Desmond Tutu who is clearly not educated or fair on this particular topic.

Editor: Do you even know who you are talking to?  We cover what this honorable humanitarian talks about on a daily basis.  We show the video, the proof; you can't change  the fact that Israel is a nation based in religious extremism here to kill Arab and Christian people within or near their own borders.  Israel wants to wipe out people who don't conform to their rules. 

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.