TORONTO — Though known for his censorious statements about Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians and his vocal support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, human rights activist and retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu met May 27 in Toronto with a delegation from the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA).
The archbishop was in Canada to attend an international gathering of the Order of St. John, of which St. John Ambulance is a service organization, and met privately with Shimon Fogel, CIJA’s chief executive officer, along with CIJA chair David Koschitzky, board member Berl Nadler, philanthropist Michael Dan and former CEO of Canadian Jewish Congress, Bernie Farber, for about 40 minutes in his suite at the King Edward Hotel.
A Nobel laureate and the first black archbishop of Cape Town, the archbishop rose to renown in the 1980s for his ardent criticism of the South African government’s treatment of blacks and his encouragement of non-violent measures of protest, including boycott and divestment. He has been widely disparaged within the Jewish community for likening Israel to apartheid-era South Africa and for endorsing international boycotts against it.
Fogel stressed that CIJA, part of whose mandate is to build relationships with other faith communities, did not initiate the meeting, but when approached by the Order with a request to meet with Archbishop Tutu, “felt there might be some value in sharing our perspective with him… an opportunity to speak directly and forthrightly about the extent to which [his] statements [about Israel] are misguided, hurtful and offensive.”
He said the meeting focused exclusively on the Arab-Israeli conflict and gave CIJA the chance to express its dismay at Tutu’s articulation of anti-Israel views over the years.
“We characterized his views as deeply hurtful and harmful to the one state in the region in which the Christian community can practise their faith free of the kind of intimidation, threats and that exist elsewhere.”
The archbishop was, according to Fogel, “entirely unrepentant and unapologetic,” showing no willingness to amend his position...He was? And here I thought these full-of-themselves O.J.s, with their remarkable powers of persuasion, would be able to set Tutu straight. ;)
Update: Israel reminds me of apartheid: Tutu
Tutu reminds me of the Grand Mufti: Scaramouche.
Update: Oh wait--so now he's an expert on "climate change," too.