Archbishop Tutu: Boycotting Israel is right and moral

April 9, 2011

Below is an extract of a letter Archbishop Desmond Tutu sent to the student leaders at UC Berkeley in March 2010 regarding Berkeley’s decision to divest from Israel.

* * *

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 Occupied 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 nonviolent means, such as boycotts and divestment, encouraged their governments and other corporate actors to reverse decades-long support for the apartheid regime.

The abuses the Palestinians 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.


we need many more strong voices to support the sanction of Israel and force them to permit full independence for the Palestinians
Apartheid ? Did the old South Africa have any black Supreme court judges? Ambassadors? speakers of Parliament? Doctors who practiced with whites in white Hospitals etc etc The "new " South Africa has reverse apartheid and a shameful record for keeping Mugabe in power and defending the butcher of Sudan Al Bashir,from the Hague. None of the Arab despots have aroused his ire Bishop Tutu is playing 3rd world politics.
We have one of the highest crime rates in the world, Farm murders are increasing, South-Africa's infrastructure is in decline it is a mess, most of our state institutions are disfunctional corruption is rife, we have uge immegration and emigration problems our army cannot patroll the borders. There is a misperseption oversees that we are more safe now than before. Since the ANC took over power people have been murdered at a rate equal and sometimes surpassing some war zones. Here is the number of people that have been murdered from 1994 - 2000 after the first election since Apartheid. 174200 this is close to an small genocide. Is this really less of a problem than the problems in Israel.

You need Green Left, and we need you!

Green Left is funded by contributions from readers and supporters. Help us reach our funding target.

Make a One-off Donation or choose from one of our Monthly Donation options.

Become a supporter to get the digital edition for $5 per month or the print edition for $10 per month. One-time payment options are available.

You can also call 1800 634 206 to make a donation or to become a supporter. Thank you.