Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League is urging Michigan State University and the University of North Carolina to deny Nobel Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu a spot at the podium:
“Desmond Tutu is a poor choice for commencement speaker. His statements about Israel have time and again conveyed outright bigotry against the Jewish homeland and the Jewish people, and his deepening involvement in the anti-Israel boycott effort should have raised a red flag. This is not someone to be held up as a model or awarded an honorary degree, given his history of bombastic rhetoric and unceasing support for the anti-Israel boycott effort.”
NEW YORK (JTA) – The Anti-Defamation League is urging the president of a Minnesota university to invite Archbishop Desmond Tutu to speak just days after it was revealed that he had been disinvited because of fears he might offend Jews.
Tutu had been slated to visit the University of St. Thomas next spring as part of a program that brings Nobel laureates to teach youth about peace and justice. But university administrators, after consulting with Minnesota Jewish leaders, concluded that Tutu has made hurtful comments about Israel and the Jewish people that rendered him inappropriate as a speaker.
“Tutu has certainly been an outspoken, sometimes very harsh critic of Israel and Israeli policies, and has sometimes also used examples which may cross the line,” said Abraham Foxman, the ADL’s national director. But, he added, Tutu “certainly is not an anti-Semite and should not be so characterized and therefore refused a platform.”
And the difference, Abe, would be???
The good news? Two years ago, the Minnesota university banned Tutu, but then reversed the decision under immense pressure. This time, both Michigan and North Carolina have told the ADL, “thanks but no thanks. Tutu is our man.” It’s a good time to revisit South African journalist Tony Karon’s piece, My Favorite ‘Anti-Semite’.