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"Tutu": The soap opera?

November 24, 2016 22:57

Cape Times Wednesday, 27 October 2010
Boycott Israel, Tutu tells city opera

ARCHBISHOP Emeritus Desmond Tutu has urged Cape Town Opera to postpone its trip to Israel to stage Porgy and Bess, in much the same way he had called on the international community to boycott apartheid South Africa.

In a letter to the group yesterday, Tutu said the trip to Israel would be wrong. During the struggle against apartheid it was inappropriate for international artists to perform in South Africa with its discriminatory laws and racial exclusivity. So, too, would it be wrong for Cape Town Opera to perform in Israel, said the Nobel Peace Prize winner.

“Cape Town Opera should postpone its proposed tour next month until both Israeli and Palestinian opera lovers of the region have equal opportunity and unfettered access to attend performances.

“Only the thickest-skinned South Africans would be comfortable performing before an audience that excluded residents living, for example, in an occupied West Bank village 30 minutes from Tel Aviv, who would not be allowed to travel to Tel Aviv, while including his Jewish neighbours from an illegal settlement on occupied Palestinian territory.

“The Tel Aviv Opera House is state sponsored. By luring international artists to perform there, it advances Israel’s fallacious claim to being a ‘civilised democracy’. Yet, every day, millions of citizens are denied the right to educational and cultural opportunities in Israel and the Palestinian territories it occupies.
“In South Africa, people opposed apartheid in many different ways. Those of us who believed in peaceful means of forcing change, received enormous assistance from our friends abroad in isolating the apartheid state: economically, politically, socially and culturally,” Tutu wrote. He also appealed to Cape Town Opera’s singers to reconsider their participation

“Much as it offers you opportunities to travel abroad and show the world what we can do, listen to your conscience. God loves Jews and Muslims equally.

“To perform Porgy and Bess, with its universal message of nondiscrimination, in the present state of Israel, is unconscionable,” Tutu wrote.

Contacted for comment, Cape Town Opera marketing manager Lesléy Liddle initially said the organisation’s director, Mike Williams, would respond when rehearsals finished last night. Later Liddle issued a short e-mail notice that said: “Kindly be advised that CTO will forward an official release with regards to the Archbishop Tutu’s media statement of CTO’s Israeli tour of Porgy & Bess at 11:00 tomorrow 27 October 2010.”

Attempts to contact her for an explanation proved fruitless as messages left on her cellphone went unanswered. The Israeli embassy in Pretoria was approached, but a man who answered the phone refused to comment and suggested that the ambassador be contacted today.

“If he has the information and if he wants to, he will give you the information you need,” he said.

Asked for the contact details of the ambassador and of the embassy’s public relations officer, the man refused: “This is not an emergency. Call tomorrow,” he said in response to the Israelis being afforded the opportunity to comment.

David Hersch responds:

Apart from answering Tutu, can we get a clearer example and justification to call on the Cape Town Holocaust Centre and the new Johannesburg Holocaust and Genocide Centre to remove Archbishop Tutu as a patron of these two centres? What sycophancy impels them to appoint and keep him on? I will send a copy of this to Richard Freedman, the director of the Cape Town Holocaust Centre for onward transmission to his board. I am calling on all of you to do the same and the email address of the Cape Town Holocaust Centre is: admin@ctholocaust.co.za

Now to Tutu. In my opinion, circumstances thrust "greatness" upon Tutu and he ventures where angels fear to tread. In truth, there are things that are way beyond him. He has reached an untouchable status, which is absolute nonsense and it is time he was solidly stood up to and told how wrong he is. When it comes to Israel, he is hugely, persistently and deliberately ignorant and I have to wonder why he persists in remaining so when I am sure certain parties may have tried to correct his misconceptions, or has he simply not been accessible or available?. Where is the Jewish Board of Deputies, not to mention the almost invisible South African Zionist Federation? Tutu is not an untouchable!

In all these cases and attacks, we can answer ad nauseum with facts and whilst this may fall on deaf ears, we nevertheless have to keep on answering and trying to get through to the Archbishop, his fellow travellers and his ilk. Tutu's simple analogy is inappropriate and does not for one nano-second take into account the realities of the area and the continued threats against Israel. Is this "great genius" actually aware that every single day the Israel security forces thwart on average fifty (50) attempts from the West Bank areas to infiltrate Israel with the intention of carrying out terrorist attacks including suicide bombing? No Archbishop, it is not a simple case of "an occupied West Bank village 30 minutes from Tel Aviv", as you so emotively and in correctly put it. In terms of the Oslo Agreements, the Palestinian Authority have jurisdiction over their areas and villages and the use of the emotive term "occupied" is inappropriate and not applicable in law. What would the South African government do if people crossed willy nilly from Lesotho to attack South Africans and place suicide bombers on buses in this country? Allow me to remind you that it was this government that massively invaded Lesotho when there was an attempted coup there and no one so much as threw a rock across the Caledon River at this country. What would the great moral anchor of this country, Archbishop Tutu, have said under such circumstances? Did he protest South Africa's invasion of Lesotho at the time?

Quite honestly Archbishop, Israel can do without the Cape Town Opera in lieu of suicide bombers and other attacks. Israel, I can assure you is culturally rich, vibrant and so active it would surprise you. The ultimate benefit of an intended tour by the Cape Town Opera is to to this company and its members and not really to Israel. Israel has so much culturally constantly on the go that whether the Cape Town Opera performs there or not is absolutely immaterial and will not be noticed or missed in the slightest. Do you not think that if we wanted to see Porgy and Bess, composed and written, just by the way, by two Jewish men, George Gershwin and his brother Ira, that we could not import a company from America and the accents would be more genuine. And just for the Archbishop's information, George Gershwin stipulated that Porgy and Bess can only be performed by a black company. This is how we the Jewish people are, Archbishop, and you have much to learn about us, about Israel and about the truth.

What an ignorant, arrogant and opinionated man you really are, Archbishop! There is no comparison between Israel and Apartheid and in your heart of hearts, you know this is so. You have shown your constant bias and bigotry on so many occasions in the past. Are you so addicted to publicity that you will seek it no matter what? Could there be other reasons for your repetitive attacks on Israel? Who is influencing you and feeding you "information" that makes you act the way you do? How come a man like you is so impervious to real information and truth? Surely you should be open to be shown both sides? It is well known that as a commissioner representing the UN, you were not allowed into Gaza via Israel, and justifiably so, it was proved. Is this the source of your bias, but were you not already biased before you even started? Israel is always such an inexpensive, cheap way of building one's name.

Have I ever heard the Archbishop comment on suicide bombing, Israel's security needs, on Hamas' rockets, in excess of 12,000 fired at Israel, on all the terrorist attacks on Israel and Jews around the world? Has he said anything about Ahmadinejad's threats to wipe out Israel and Iran's ambition to acquire nuclear weapons? What has he said about what goes on in Africa and has he made any comment about the genocides in Rwanda and the Congo and definitely Darfur, remember he is a patron of the Johannesburg Holocaust and Genocide Centre. Does he even know how Israel has assisted and succoured the Sudanese refugees who have escape Sudan, walked to Egypt, been maltreated and abused there and then walked through Sinai to Israel? Has he said anything about what is going on in Lebanon, it is after all also mentioned in the Bible, just as a reminder? And what about the murder of Hariri? Does he know of Israel's assistance in so many fields throughout Africa and even in this country? What does he really know?

DAVID HERSCH
Cape Town

November 24, 2016 22:57

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