Know More About Palestine

Sunday Sept. 26, 2010 5:46 PM (EST+7)
INTERVIEW: Archbishop Desmond Tutu on boycotting Israel

Read more: Archbishop Desmond Tutu, BDS, boycott, academic boycott, Ben Gurion University

RAMALLAH, Sept. 26 (JMCC) - Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a hero of the South African struggle for equal rights, weighs in on the debate surrounding the University of Johannesburg's decision to possibly cut ties with Israel's Ben-Gurion University in the Negev, in the TIMES Live.

'The temptation in our situation is to speak in muffled tones about an issue such as the right of the people of Palestine to a state of their own.

We can easily be enticed to read reconciliation and fairness as meaning parity between justice and injustice. Having achieved our own freedom, we can fall into the trap of washing our hands of difficulties that others face. Yet we would be less than human if we did so. It behoves all South Africans, themselves erstwhile beneficiaries of generous international support, to stand up and be counted among those contributing actively to the cause of freedom and justice. - Nelson Mandela, December 4 1997

Struggles for freedom and justices are fraught with huge moral dilemmas. How can we commit ourselves to virtue - before its political triumph - when such commitment may lead to ostracism from our political allies and even our closest partners and friends? Are we willing to speak out for justice when the moral choice that we make for an oppressed community may invite phone calls from the powerful or when possible research funding will be withdrawn from us? When we say Never again! do we mean Never again!, or do we mean Never again to us!?

Our responses to these questions are an indication of whether we are really interested in human rights and justice or whether our commitment is simply to secure a few deals for ourselves, our communities and our institutions - but in the process walking over our ideals even while we claim we are on our way to achieving them?

The issue of a principled commitment to justice lies at the heart of responses to the suffering of the Palestinian people and it is the absence of such a commitment that enables many to turn a blind eye to it.

Consider for a moment the numerous honorary doctorates that Nelson Mandela and I have received from universities across the globe. During the years of apartheid many of these same universities denied tenure to faculty who were too political because of their commitment to the struggle against apartheid. They refused to divest from South Africa because it will hurt the blacks (investing in apartheid South Africa was not seen as a political act; divesting was).

Let this inconsistency please not be the case with support for the Palestinians in their struggle against occupation...

Read the full statement at the TIMES Live...






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