Desmond Tutu: U.S. Christians (Presbyterian Church USA) must recognize Israel as Apartheid state


Activists want the church and its institutions to use their investment dollars to punish Israel over its treatment of the Palestinians, such as by withdrawing investments from companies whose products are used by the Israeli government in the Palestinian territories . . .

The sustainability of Israel as a homeland for the Jewish people has always been dependent on its ability to deliver justice to the Palestinians," Tutu wrote. “I know firsthand that Israel has created an apartheid reality within its borders and through its occupation. The parallels to my own beloved South Africa are painfully stark indeed” . . .

Tutu stressed that the resolutions that will be voted on the General Assembly "are not about delegitimizing the State of Israel, but about ending its suppression of 4,000,000 Palestinian sisters and brothers. It’s about naming an unjust system and refusing to participate in it.

Guess I have to rely on the Israeli Press to know what’s going on in my backyard, or that Desmond Tutu is in Detroit. :o

Not even the Detroit Free Press is covering the Nobel Peace Prize Winner’s arrival and speech at the Presbyterian Church USA’s General Assembly. Nor is any other Major Media Outlet in the world for that matter. :o


Seriously. And of course, the people who continually get ignored in the Israel/Palestine conflict are… drumroll please… Palestinian Christians! When Christian Zionists hoot and holler about the protection of Israel, they continually forget that a small but important percentage of Palestinians are Christians. And, honestly, if Palestianians are considered second-class citizens in Israel/Palestine, Palestinian Christians are considered THIRD-class citizens. The only person that seems to be raising this trumpet is the Pope himself - in world affairs, the Christians in Palestine are all but ignored.

Plus, when Middle-Eastern Christians emigrate to the US, they get oppressed here, too (because a lot of people in the US think that Middle-Eastern = Muslim). In Albuquerque, recently, a Chaldean Catholic couple who had recently received their US citizenship (they came here as refugees from Iraq) were the victims of a hate crime (the perpetrator thought they were Muslim). The perpetrator broke into their house and tore their citizenship documents into shreds. They came here because they were persecuted in their home country due to their religion, and now, they feel unsafe due to their ethnicity. Go figure.


Arab Christians are safe in Israel and can work at anything they’re capable of doing. The only thing they can’t be are holders of the very highest offices, out of security concerns. But then, they can’t be drafted into the army either, like Jews, Druze and Circassians are.

But it’s really incorrect to assert that Middle Eastern Christians get oppressed in the U.S. Remember Casey Kasem? Remember Danny Thomas? Every hear of the Kardashians? Ara Parsegian? Think for a moment about the tremendously successful Lebanese and Armenians in this country. For goodness sake, Ray LaHood is an Arab-American. Joseph Aboud is too. Cher Bono, Andre Agassi. It goes on and on and on.

One weird story does not make an oppressive nation.


It does for liberals.


It’s not that, so much as it’s recent immigrants that have had problems. Honestly, though, most (if not all) of the examples that Ridgerunner mentioned are of people whose families immigrated here a long time ago, pre-9/11. Most of them have been made so much a part of American society that, honestly, most Americans have no idea that they’re of Middle-Eastern decent. The Kardashians, of course, are Lebanese. Andre Agassi is of Iranian decent. But no one pays attention to them because they’re part of our culture. When I went to college, a retired film professor that I knew was of Lebanese decent - but no one had any idea. The couple I mentioned in my post spoke primarily Arabic. They had come to the US within the past 10 years (after the beginning of the Iraq war).

When Obama was running for President in 2008, there were huge rumors that he was Muslim. His father was a non-practicing Muslim, and under Sharia law (which Indonesia bases its laws on), he was considered a Muslim, though, in all reality, he was raised agnostic, and eventually joined the United Church of Christ. But because of this, John McCain had to correct many people at his own town halls who thought that Obama was a secret Muslim and even Arabic.

Honestly, an injustice is an injustice. And in the Middle East, Christians are quite often persecuted. Christians may be semi-tolerated in Israel, but many of the areas where the Israelis insist on building settlements in Palestinian territories have substantial Christian populations, and the Christians thus feel the brunt of the settlement building. The largest Christian settlement in the West Bank is Bethlehem. Yet the Israelis insist on settling Bethlehem because it was the city where King David was born. There was fear among some hard-liners in Israel that Israel would cede the Cenacle to the Vatican - and huge protests insisting that this not happen. Currently today (or at least before Pope Francis’s visit), Christian services at the Cenacle were only allowed on Holy Thursday and Pentecost - the two feasts connected to the Cenacle.

The Christians in Syria support the dictatorship government. Why? Not because they’re necessarily well-treated by the government, but because they’ve seen the hardships faced by Christians in Libya, Egypt, and Iraq after their dictatorships fell - the Christian minorities went from being simply a minority, however poorly treated, to being severely persecuted. Yet they really don’t want to be under a dictatorship, either. Their rights are at the whim of the dictator. They simply want their freedom to worship and practice their religion. And as they are our brothers and sisters in Christ, we should pray constantly for their protection - and if we have a chance to help them even more, we should do so.


I wouldn’t be surprised if JCPA and perhaps other pro-Israel groups put pressure on small media outlets to engage in some damage control by ignoring what would otherwise be a notable event. They’re still miffed with them since they released their publication “Zionism Unsettled”. You have to admire them for that - it takes a lot of courage to go up against the organized Jewish community in this country.

It’s incredible how much discrimination and oppression Israel gets away with by labeling everything as a “security concern”. I’m actually okay with them maintaining Jewish/Semitic domination of the government in Israel proper, but just out of curiosity’s sake, what security concerns coming from Christian (or Muslim, for that matter) Arabs do they describe? I’ve heard that phrase many times, but it seems a bit vague.

Even though Christian Palestinians haven’t been drafted yet, the IDF has been recruiting them to join voluntarily. I can’t think of anything that would do more to pit Christians against Muslims. Then again, maybe that would be the point of it.::shrug::


One would have to ask the Israeli government why they’re leery of having Arabs of any religion in their most security-sensitive posts. But it’s not hard to imagine.

Israel has never drafted Arabs other than Druze. Israel drafts Circassians, but I don’t think they’re really Arabs. It has, however, encouraged Arabs of any religion to join the IDF volunarily. Some have, and some have high rank, but most don’t volunteer, except the Bedouin, whose recruitment rate is higher than the others. There’s nothing new with that. It’s a bit “tinfoil hat” to think there’s some new and nefarious purpose behind it.


This is true, but Arab Christians in Palestinian controlled areas have it REALLY hard. The Israelis don’t trust them and the muslim Palestinians have contempt for them. They really do get the rawest deal of the bunch. It’s awful, but I can’t agree with Tutu that Israel is the cause of their plight. I’d say the blame for their plight is more like 70%/30% muslim Palestinian / Israeli. It really bugs me when guys like Tutu shine the spotlight of blame so simplistically like this.


Calling a spade a spade.


The following news article doesn’t mention Desmond Tutu, but given the closeness of the vote, I have to wonder if his speaking out may have tipped the balance:

Presbyterians Vote to Divest Holdings to Pressure Israel

After passionate debate over how best to help break the deadlock between Israel and the Palestinians, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted on Friday at its general convention to divest from three companies that it says supply Israel with equipment used in the occupation of Palestinian territory.

The vote, by a count of 310 to 303, was watched closely in Washington and Jerusalem and by Palestinians as a sign of momentum for a movement to pressure Israel to stop building settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and to end the occupation, with a campaign known as B.D.S., for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.

The measure that was passed not only called for divestment but also reaffirmed Israel’s right to exist, endorsed a two-state solution, encouraged interfaith dialogue and travel to the Holy Land, and instructed the church to undertake “positive investment” in endeavors that advance peace and improve the lives of Israelis and Palestinians. It also said the motion was “not to be construed” as “alignment with or endorsement of the global B.D.S.” movement by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The language was written by the church’s 65-member Middle East committee.


The government spokespeople are fairly vague, though, so I’m left to speculate.

I certainly could be wrong about the motivations, but then the concept of “divide and conquer” has been used since times of antiquity. Increasing the numbers of Christians in the IDF could serve two purposes: it would create tension and hostility between Christians and Muslims, and it would get Christian westerners who might be ambivalent in their views on the middle east to identify more strongly with the Israeli military.

If the numbers of Christian Arabs serving in the Israeli military increase, I would expect to see future MSM headlines reading “Christian IDF soldier attacked by Muslim rebel!” “Christian soldier dies from bomb blast!” You could imagine what kind of emotional effect that would have on so many Christians in the west who might feel that in order to support Christians in the middle east, they would have to support Israel by default. It could also encourage a lot of westerners to approve of increased financial and military support for Israel, something which it already depends highly upon.

The above could only work out in Israel’s favor, so it would indeed be a smart move on their part. Nothing tinfoil hat about it – just good strategy.

But it’s not only guys like Tutu who feel this way - it’s pretty much the entire international community who agrees that Israel’s aggressive occupation is the main obstacle to peace.


Why do you suppose that he singles out Israel, and ignores the REAL apartheid of virtually every other Middle Eastern country? Jews and Christians are regularly slaughtered, and houses of worship other than mosques are destroyed. Very strange focus, don’t you think? :confused: Rob


They are all very wrong, and might I opine, anti-Semitic. :frowning: Rob


One would think the Palestinian refusal to recognize Israle as a valid state and vows to completely eliminate them would be the main obstacle to peace.


Yes, very strange indeed. Why focus on a small state surrounded by hostile powers that do much worse things.


I would say a state that has had as it’s leader a major war criminal in recent years and which has had previous leaders who have gloated about killing Palestinians might also constitute something of a problem. Both sides have leaders who have not only their hands but their whole arms covered in blood.


So where is the basis for peace when one side has vowed to wipe the other side of the face of the earth? Isreal given land to the Palestinians in the past.Did that advance peace or just give the Palestinians better platforms to launch their rockets from.?




I agree with the comments from our past few Popes that of necessity the right of the Palestinians to a state of their own must be recognised for any possibility of a solution to emerge.


In conversations here about why it is that people look at the crimes of the Nazis as different from the Soviets I’ve suggested that you have to remember that there’s a many centuries long history of Western Europeans looking at Eastern Europeans as somehow ‘different’ – that barbarity is somehow to be expected, that Russians behaving badly was business as usual. The Germans, on the other hand, were ‘civilized’ people ‘like us’ and their behaviour was therefore much more shocking.

The same sort of thing may apply in attitudes to Muslim countries, a kind of ‘well, they’re like that, aren’t they and there’s nothing anybody could possibly do about it, look at Iraq and Afghanistan?’

Meanwhile us Jews, while we’re notoriously very, very naughty, are a naughty version of ‘people like us’ who should be punished in some way because then we might learn to be a bit less naughty.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit