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Isha Bekia

Chief Rabbi's press release about Archbishop Tutu and the Holocaust Centre

Jan 14, 2011 | Bill of Responsibilities, Israel, Israeli affairs


I believe it is wrong to call for the resignation of Archbishop Desmond Tutu as a patron of the Holocaust Centre. In deference to Archbishop Tutu’s widely-recognised leadership role in the struggle against Apartheid and to his revered position in South Africa, it would be an act of disrespect to remove him as a patron. The Holocaust Centre, of which I am also a patron, is a vitally important institution in our country. The Centre honours the memory of the six million Jewish martyrs, and also educates thousands of South Africans in the vital lessons of the Holocaust, lessons of the horrific consequences of hatred and racism. The Centre preaches and teaches sensitivity and commitment to human rights, tolerance and the dignity of all people, irrespective of race, colour or creed. For this holy and vital work to be disrupted by the divisive politics of the Middle East would be a real tragedy. The correct approach, I believe, to the Archbishop’s unfair criticisms of Israel is not through protest action of petitions, but rather to engage with him in a dignified and respectful manner on the substance of the real issues from a rational, intellectual and historical point of view, so that truth and peace can ultimately triumph.