Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who won a Nobel Peace Prize for his role in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, appealed yesterday to Jews to challenge what he described as the Israeli government's oppression of Palestinians.
In a lengthy and emotional address to a packed Old South Church, where the faint din of pro-Israel protesters could be heard through the stone walls, Tutu cited passages from the Hebrew Bible to argue that the God worshiped by Jews would champion the cause of Palestinians.
"Remembering what happened to you in Egypt and much more recently in Germany - remember, and act appropriately," he said, alluding to the enslavement of Jews in Egypt described in the book of Exodus, as well as to the Nazi Holocaust. "If you reject your calling, you may survive for a long time, but you will find it is all corrosive inside, and one day you will implode."
His remarks, to a congregation of about 850, created controversy even before they were delivered. A wide array of Jewish community leaders and organizations denounced Sabeel, the Palestinian Christian organization that put together the conference at which Tutu spoke, as anti-Israel, and rued Tutu's support of the group. (MORE)