— Sharon Bender
B’nai B’rith International is deeply disappointed at retired Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s effort to encourage a cultural boycott of Israel. Tutu urged the Cape Town Opera to cancel a tour of Israel scheduled for November, condemning what he described in a statement as “discrimination” in Israel.
Tutu also said Israel makes a “fallacious claim to being a ‘civilized democracy.'”
“It is unfortunate that Desmond Tutu is ill-informed and misled about Israel,” B’nai B’rith International President Dennis W. Glick said. “Following his recent call for an academic boycott of Israel, he is working hard to delegitimize the Jewish state.”
More after the jump.
This troubling campaign demonizes Israel and undermines peace efforts.
It is disturbing that Tutu fails to note that Israel is the most open and welcoming nation in the Middle East; a democracy where Israeli Arabs have full voting rights. Israel provides access in its capital to all religions to worship at holy sites.
In condemning Israel, Tutu ignores reality: Israel has pressed for peace with the Palestinians over and over, only to be met with excuses and stall tactics, as well as rockets, mortars, and savage terrorist attacks. Tutu’s failure to condemn the terror group that calls for Israel’s destruction, Hamas, is curious.
“His claim to being an advocate for peace is once again being brought into question. He should focus on engagement, rather than efforts to delegitimize one of the parties to the process,” B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said. “He should use his microphone to promote peace, not restrictions.”
B’nai B’rith commends the Cape Town Opera’s decision to reject the boycott calls and travel to Israel to perform as planned.
B’nai B’rith International, the Global Voice of the Jewish Community, is the oldest and most widely known Jewish humanitarian, human rights, and advocacy organization. For 167 years, BBI has worked for Jewish unity, security, continuity, and tolerance.