Tutu: Israel has forgotten the scriptures

2011-11-05 22:30

Cape Town - The suffering inflicted by Israel on the Palestinian people shows that it has forgotten the Jewish scriptures, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu said on Saturday.

"They have forgotten their own history. They have forgotten what their own prophets have said about our God," Tutu said in his opening address to the International Russell Tribunal on Palestine.

"We worship a God that is naturally biased in favour of the suffering, the underdog, those who are suffering underfoot... God is always on the side of the oppressed. In the Holy Land, the Palestinian people are the ones suffering."

Tutu said it pained him that a people who went through great suffering could in turn cause others to suffer.

"There is a great deal of preventable suffering being caused by people who themselves suffered so deeply... who have gone through a crucible of suffering.

"Those of us who are Christian have been influenced very greatly by what one might call the Jewish scriptures. The biased God of the past is the biased God of the present... and if God is to be God, watch out," he added.

"This is the anguish that I bear."

The tribunal is an international forum aimed at promoting peace and justice in the Middle East and is meeting until Monday at the District Six Museum.

It met in London and Barcelona last year and a fourth and final meeting will take place in New York later this year. The current session is widely expected to see speakers draw links between the policies of Israel and those of apartheid South Africa.

Panel members include Holocaust survivor Stephane Hessel, author and poet, Alice Walker, Irish Nobel peace laureate Mairead Maguire and former South African Cabinet minister Ronnie Kasrils.

Several Jewish bodies, including the SA Jewish Board of Deputies, have dismissed the tribunal as a kangaroo court.

  • MyOpinion - 2011-11-05 22:54

    You my dear TUTU have also forgotten the scriptures. You want white Tax? So tell me, did you pull out the part of your bible where it is written about forgiveness?? Looks like you need to take up the reading again.

      Pierre - 2011-11-06 01:49

      I realise rules on the comments allow for wide variety of responses and that is good. Personally I just find it strange that what ever the topic of the article is, somebody will always weave their pet views into a comment, ignoring the article topic. This article talk about Palestine and Israel and there definitely are issues to be raised. Read up on “Sabra and Shatila massacre”. Remember we still arrest German War Criminals for crimes up to 1945, and rightly so, thus war crimes in 1982 should not be above investigation. But commenting on “MyOpinion”: the whites has not really asked for forgiveness or acted in a way that show remorse. It is only accusations and blaming others.

      Dirk - 2011-11-06 04:07

      Tutu manipulates the Scriptures to suit the circumstances. He also insisted that the Dalai Lama should go to heaven, while the very scriptures to which he refers, says very clearly and beyond any doubt, that Jesus is the ONLY way. As far as Israel is concerned, they have the sovereign right to defend themselves from relentless attacks by terrorist barbarians from surrounding territories. May the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the only Living God, bless Israel. Getting to the prosecution to war crimes, as long as there is consistency, no problem- Former government, the ANC in exile, as well as the genocide currently( unborn babies and farmers just 2 examples) and then, in the rest of Africa. Now, that will be a challenge.

  • Mike - 2011-11-05 23:01

    Good Arch, somebody had to take a stand for this. I am a non believer but still just from human rights Israel is not doing what is preach in the bible. The Nazi's killed them, you would have think they know how it feels.

      Myth - 2011-11-06 00:50

      Perhaps you would tell us exactly what the Bible does preach?

      Pierre - 2011-11-06 02:57

      Myth lets start with Matt 7 or Luke 12 or as Confucius wrote it around 500 BC: “Do not do unto others, which you do not want others to do unto you.” Which version does not matter, this thought had also strong support in early Greek philosophy and therefore scriptures and religious teachings from the era, including Biblical ones. But people seem to want to forget this very basic principle.

      Fred - 2011-11-06 05:18

      What is needed is the dumping of all the fictional scriptures, Jewish, Christian and Islamic. There can never be peace in the Middle East while all these imaginary gods compete to kill off the followers of all the other versions of imaginary gods.

  • OzzyIn - 2011-11-05 23:11

    @SAPA, there is no such thing as the Jewish scriptures. If you are referring to the Bible, there is the Hebrew scriptures (Old Testament) and the Greek Scriptures (New Testament). There is no such thing as the "Jewish Scriptures". Mr. Tutu, you are not a man of God, you do not even know your Bible. The Jews rejected the Bible and live by the Torah based on the Hebrew scriptures even though those scriptures pointed to the coming of the Messiahm (Jesus) through the propehts. History and the Bible shows that the Jews (Israelites) in the Bible constantly went against God's commands. They are no longer His chosen ones and there is a new "spiritual Israel" on earth now. Mr. Tutu would not know what that is.

  • Hermi - 2011-11-05 23:16

    With respect Mr Tutu, I don't think you have the insight to make a comment like that, especially..."Those of us who are Christian have been influenced greatly by what one MIGHT(?) call the Jewish scriptures." Be careful in trying to be this special agent speaking out and generalizing. There is suffering but it is not one-sided......there is a bigger agenda.... I am a nothing, but throughout history, and now, generalizations are made and used to make outrageous comments like this. I respect you as being a great spirit and the advocate of all those who suffer and I admire you for that, but to say that Israel has "forgotten" the scriptures is as far-fetched to say that you have just written the Torah....hardly ever are not a prophet sir and definitely not in a position to really have any weight behind your statement......I am basically objecting to your comment and I don't think you can really say.."watch out"....if you know your "scriptures", it is merely just to get political leverage......not even Jesus did are a popular (sometimes unpopular, martyrlike figure, and you obviously love that, it's good for popular history and sensation...) Only the Only One G-d of Avraham, Yitzchak and Ya'akov can convey that and fascillitate a solution to the Jewish People, not you....with respect. I shall not keep will do better to try and do something for this damaged HIV, rape of women and children corruption etc......

  • Greg - 2011-11-05 23:36

    Tread carefully on Israeli issues Arch. Btw, you claim to be a Christian, so do I, but one of us is seriously wrong.

      Fred - 2011-11-06 05:24

      Actually you are both seriously wrong. You are worshiping an imaginary supernatural entity. Neither of you can can prove that your god exists. You cannot know for certain that your revelation is trust worthy and you have to eventually admit that your beliefs are entirely a faith position, unsupported by any evidence whatsover. You believe because others told you what to believe. You may claim the contrary, but then you are simply speaking from within a deep seated delusion.

  • Edward - 2011-11-05 23:45


      Fred - 2011-11-06 05:25

      Why are you shouting? Are you so insecure in your beliefs that you feel the need to shout to drown out the voices of reason?

  • Skaballas - 2011-11-06 00:19

    Why do people bash the Palestinians for wanting human dignity? All Palestinians are not terrorist, just as all black people are not thieves or all whites are not racist! When Israel declared independence in 1948, many Palestinians (probably wrongly) feared the Jews and fled to neighboring countries (we can't point fingers - we all ourselves ate beans and bullybeef for months after the 1994 elections!) now they are not allowed to return!?? Why? If Palestinians do not have a right to return to homes they had, then Jews can not claim back property or treasures they lost in Germany if they do not allow the exiles to return - unless they of course have double standards! Why should there be a two state solution in any case? Why not have all live happily together, like we do in South Africa. We have more religions/ beliefs, languages and cultures than Israel and yes, there is tension, but in all it works. Maybe the world should force them to live together and find a solution like they did with us! Oh, how dare I forget - The Bible says different! I am a proud Christian, I am not anti Jew, and my Bible says God made a promise to Abraham that he will give a land to his children and their children and they will be many like the stars in heaven or the sand on the beaches and they have to make a pact and as sign they will circumcise their young male born sons. Funny, but Abraham had one son, Izak, and he had two, Jacob and Esau, and both their heirs now live in the promised land.

      henrileriche - 2011-11-06 05:14

      Happily together? What country do you live in?? You know what "idealism" is? Seems you got it bad. Let me tell you something skaballas. Everywhere where multiculturalism was forced on people, it's a cest pool. You don't force people together, then you're in for trouble. South Africa is close, so my guess is you probably live in Cape Town and only read Government sponsored english news. If so South Africa is a shining "example". (of a failure) Most strong companies in Europe (UK, France, Netherlands, Spain) declared multiculturalism a failure. (Google it) Some people live with their heads up their arses, and inside im sure there's a bubble too.

      Pierre - 2011-11-06 10:12

      Henrileriche, lets quickly look at what your so-called “forced multiculturalism” brought, by looking at just a few points. Note, 1994 was what was handed over from Apartheid. SA was described as practically bankrupt in 1994. Today SA is a strong world economy and measure favourable among over emerging economies. Per capita income rose (although modestly due to population increase), but the gross domestic product more than doubled. Inflation was double figures now it is between 5-6%. From 1994/1995 murder is down by more than 40%. From 2003 Aids infection rate was down and are still declining. From 1994 more than 1.5 million people got access to housing, electricity and health care (through mobile clinics). Home ownership in SA is among the highest in the world (as recently reported by ABSA). The gap between rich and poor did increase, but as a group South Africans of all races had strong income and wealth increases since 1994. Of course there are problems and in my opinion some big problems, but if you don’t recognise the progress since 1994, you are utterly blinkered.

  • Skaballas - 2011-11-06 00:31

    Therefore I think the bible is right, the Jew have a right to Israel, but so do the Palestinians, any any side denying the other space to live is wrong. If the Israelis want a two state solution, why are they building on occupied land? Again double standards! Mr Tutu, I am not a fan, but I agree with you! The world needs to apply sanctions and boycots to put pressure on the Israelis to see the light. And before you start bashing me - I did NOT for one moment say wipe Israel off the face of the earth, or agreed with Iran or Ghadaffi's Libya or deny the Jews a place in Israel. What I am saying, they have a right equal to the Palestinians to a country, and maybe, they should stop being so self righteous and take a step back and see how their fascist Nazi like behavior is making them the aggressors rather than the victims. If someone attacks them, investigate, arrest and try them in a court, don't bulldoze houses and send rockets to kill innocent bystanders! They have no idea, and in time, they will find, their friends are becoming fewer and fewer.

  • MaxOdin.SA - 2011-11-06 01:42

    Wow what a loaded topic. The old testament, the torah and the quraan are basically the same thing. So though I'm christian i think twice about saying another person's faith is lacking or that they are no longer God's chosen. That is for God to decide. I think any holy war or war on behalf of God is blaphemy. The scriptures preach peace. if ever there is a mention of vengence or wrath, it's God's wrath. He will hand out the punishment himself. until then love thy neighbour as thyself.

  • Lauden Kirk - 2011-11-06 01:42

    Does anything really matter? What will be will be. Chose one, only one. Don't mix it up. God is not religion is not politics is not race. God and the way of his love. 1) god 2) religion 3) political 4) race

      Fred - 2011-11-06 05:28

      What love? If a man is caught in the act of raping a young woman who is not engaged, he must pay fifty pieces of silver to her father. Then he must marry the young woman because he violated her, and he will never be allowed to divorce her.” - Deut. 22:28-29 "No wickedness comes anywhere near the wickedness of a woman..... Sin began with a woman and thanks to her we all must die"; (Ecclesiasticus 25:19,24) When a woman has her regular flow of blood, the impurity of her monthly period will last seven days, and anyone who touches her will be unclean till evening. Anything she lies on during her period will be unclean, and anything she sits on will be unclean. Whoever touches her bed must wash his clothes and bathe with water, and he will be unclean till evening. Whoever touches anything she sits on must wash his clothes and bathe with water, and he will be unclean till evening. Whether it is the bed or anything she was sitting on, when anyone touches it, he will be unclean till evening. - [Leviticus 15:19-20] Now kill all the boys and all the women who have slept with a man. Only the young girls who are virgins may live; you may keep them for yourselves. - Numbers 31:17,18 Nice guy?

  • Sunshine246 - 2011-11-06 04:38

    Very selective morality....from a high profile individual....and a complete lack of consistency....another example of how religion is used (abused?)to justify an wonder more and more people are becoming increasingly "cold" towards religion...

      henrileriche - 2011-11-06 05:19

      Religion, including Human rights organisation's, is used by a selected few as "weapons" for their political beliefs. They big ones at the top, use the well meaning sheeple at the bottom for their goals. Some humans have more rights than others. It all depend what colour you are, and political influence (socialism/marxism) <------ Which makes out the basis of most human rights organisations, and a strategy to break down western culture.

      Fred - 2011-11-06 05:35

      It is time that the Jews, Muslims and Christians started reading something more meaningful that their great cult classics. You won't find the answers to life in them. All you will find are instructions to commit murder and lists of dead people."

  • Rolene - 2011-11-06 06:00

    Yes Tutu, G-d IS watching us here in Israel. And thank goodness - because his watchfful eye keeps us safe from the barrages of missiles and mortars fired at us ona daily basis and the threat of genocide from some of the people YOU embrace. I notice you are silent on education for hate in palestinian schools and don't you think encouraging children to grow upp to be "martyrs" is child abuse? Ever heard of Darfur or Myanmar or your own backyard? Am Yisrael Chai. The people of Israel love!

  • Tsametse Mohlamonyane - 2011-11-06 06:26

    Is their Verwoerd superiority story really the true story of God? What is it that they have touched and made it turn into gold, what?

  • Pur - 2011-11-06 06:47

    God gave Israel to the followers of Moses after the Exodus. Since then the Babylonians took it, but the Jews came back. Then the Greeks took it, but the Jews drove them out. Then the Romans took it and drove the Jews out - but they came back. Then the Arabs took it. Then the Crusaders took the same land. Then the Byzantines took it, followed by the Mamelukes, and still Jewish settlers came back. Lastly the British took it and promised it to both the Jews and the Arabs. When the British moved out the Arabs tried to annihilate every Jew but failed - the Jews took their land back. This time round they are damned well keeping it. I am not a Jew but historically it is their land and they are certainly the only ones who have done anything to develop it. Forget religion, just look at history and the facts.

  • Attie - 2011-11-06 07:12

    And so has South Africans ..... Read news 24 and then go read Mathew 24 and decide for yourself. All you see is the promotion of Hate, murder, rape and on and on the list goes. What happened to the values and morals of this country, What happened to respect, love, sympathy, empathy. Maybe it is all forgotten as well and we are living with the consequences there of.

  • sarel.pretorius2 - 2011-11-06 07:27

    Wat Tutu van enige Skrif weet is net mooi 'n nil!!!! Dit bewys net dat die kerk se skrif nie ooreenstem met die Skrif van ons Vader nie! God het Israel opdrag gegee om hierdie nasie met die banvloek te tref," man,vrou,kind,ja selfs hulle diere mag nie lewe nie" Dit is die God van die Skrif Tutu! Jy wat op TV gese het dat die Messiah nie opgestaan het nie! Wil jy dat ek hierdie opname vir jou en die publiek gee? Hou jou uit die Vader se werk,want jy sal in die hiernamaals daarvoor betaal! Sarel Pretorius

  • Malcolm - 2011-11-06 07:30

    Now back to the topic at hand: Bishop Tutu,the Scriptures to which you refer apply as much to the Jew as they do to the Palestinian for the simple reason that they are of the same blood. If one reads the book called "The Eternal Jihad" by Hal Lindsay, which is supported by the same scriptures, the animosity that exists has been there for thousands of years due to a jealous fall out between 2 brothers, Jacob and Esau, when their father Isaac blessed Jacob and not the older Esau due to their mother's deception and favour for Jacob. Jacob's lineage is today the Israeli Jew and Esau's lineage is today the Palestinian Jew. Since that day, there has never been peace between these factions, with tit for tat attacks and reprisals and neither will there ever be peace, despite the best efforts of world leaders, and that includes you Sir.

  • Nathan - 2011-11-06 07:44

    The russel tribunal-circus is happening this weekend in Cape Town, tickets available at your nearest anti-semitic outlet. It's amazing how this event is called a tribunal when the delegates have already made their mind up.

  • Vince.York - 2011-11-06 07:46

    Here is seemingly all scriptures CRUSHED in a bloody morass, paling the Israeli protection of SELF into insignificance! MUSLIM_CEREMONY_IN_VIENNA - YouTube South Africa's swing to support of the Paletinian's and the "gospel of hatred" maybe needs to be re-looked at with more varied and appropriate views by not only Tutu.

  • Paul-Louis - 2011-11-06 07:54

    oh Desmond sometimes it's better not to interfere. Who do you think you are to single handedly condemn a nation's actions. I don't care what you say Israel is a minority, why can't they defend themselves? Rather focus on the salvation of your own nation..

  • harry.meyerowitz - 2011-11-06 08:02

    The 14th of May 1948 David Ben Gurion proclaims the state of israel, The longest exile ever endured by a people was at an end. After almost 2000 years of homelessness the Jewish people came home. Its a story without paralell in history, the story of the love of people for a land, the love of Jews for Israel, there in ancient times our people were born and in modern times our people were reborn. Judasim was born in the hope of a land and Israel is the Jewish land of hope. Because of the suffering we endured throughout our history it added new words and meanings to... Pogrom, Ghetto, Disputation and auto du fe. We have transformed a desert into an oasis. Israel is all we have, lets remember that Israel is now smaller than the Kruger National Park, we are dwarfed by surrounding arab states who want to drive us out. We can only defend what little we have. Tutu I think it's time to take a history lessson and comment on things once you understand.

  • André Swanepoel - 2011-11-06 08:04

    Tutu, your Bible could be different to mine. Mine teaches me that God said that there will always be contention between Isaac and Ishmael's offspring - go and read it. Furthermore God will not contradict what He said to the Israelites; You are my chosen nation. I am seriously beginning to think that you are part of the last days prophecy, ushering in the new world order - pls re-evaluate your statement!

  • Leah Adams - 2011-11-06 14:11

    Seeing the foolish and tilted comments here in favour of an apartheid state, I start to wonder if you all don't deserve what will inevitably be your lot in this country. Only then, will you realise what it is like to be a Palestinian. Ask those whites in Zimbabwe how they felt when Mugabe took their land. I hope the same befalls you. If nothing else, at least the Africans are not so blinded by prejudice. And Malema, he sees you all for what you are. Furthermore, it is a well known fact that Israel and the former apartheid government shared a very good relationship, and even advised each other in terms of methodology. Even the weapons that we produced were replicas of their designs. Change your attitude before its too late.

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