Bassam Dally (SA) writes an open letter to The Australian Editors on Tutu and BDS 10Jun11 June 11, 2011

The Australian: “Tutu is wrong on Israel boycott”, editorial, 8 June 2011

On the 8th of June you published an editorial titled “Tutu is wrong on Israel boycott” where you
argued that “His (Tutu) interference promotes the falsehood that life in Israel is akin to South Africa
under apartheid”. As many of our letters have not been published to refute your claims I write this
open letter to show how wrong and blinded you are.

The first thing that came to my mind after reading the editorial is to send you a copy of President
Jimmy Carter’s book “Palestine: Peace not Apartheid” but thought if you don’t respect Tutu you
won’t respect Carter.

Then I thought of sending you a book by Dr Uri Davis (Israeli Jew) “Israel: An Apartheid State (1987)”
but again I thought you will not be swayed by him.

Then I thought what about Prof Noam Chomsky (8th most cited source in history). I know you don’t
think he deserves the Sydney Peace Prize but he is an intellectual respected world wide. He says:
“The Zionist dream is to construct a state which is as Jewish as England is English and France is
French. At the same time, this state is to be a democracy on the Western model. Evidently, these
goals are incompatible. Citizens of France are French, but citizens of the Jewish state may be non-
Jews, either by ethnic or religious origin or simply by choice … To the extent that Israel is a Jewish
State it cannot be a democratic state.” He also says: “It’s not exactly like the South African apartheid.
In some respects it’s not as bad, but in some respects it’s worse.” But again he is nuts according to
you. What do these hundreds of millions of people who read his 150 books and thousands of articles
know after all. They all must be leftists’ nut cases who have no clue about world affairs.

Then I got a bright idea. What about the most decorated soldier in Israel, an ex-Prime Minister and
the current Defence Minister? Sure that will change your mind. After all you cannot be more
Catholic than the Pope. Ehud Barak said: “As long as in this territory west of the Jordan river there is
only one political entity called Israel it is going to be either non-Jewish, or non-democratic,” Barak
said. “If this bloc of millions of Palestinians cannot vote, that will be an apartheid state.” What Barak
is describing is the exact current state of affairs in Israel/Palestine. There is only one country west of
the Jordan River and Palestinians cannot vote to elect representatives in the Knesset. But again who
is Barak to know.

Then I thought how about a right wing ex-prime minister of Israel Ehud Olmert. He said Israel was
“finished” if it forced the Palestinians into a struggle for equal rights. If the two-state solution
collapsed, he said, Israel would “face a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights, and as
soon as that happens, the state of Israel is finished. Israel’s supporters abroad would quickly turn
against such a state. The Jewish organisations, which were our power base in America, will be the
first to come out against us because they will say they cannot support a state that does not support
democracy and equal voting rights for all its residents,” he said.

Well, Olmert is known for his pro-Palestinian views after all. The two-state solution has collapsed
and Palestinians don’t have equal rights. Can we call it Apartheid NOW?

Then I thought, what about some data to help you grasp the injustice that is inflected on at least
Arab Citizens of Israel? And, then I remembered a talk I gave not long ago. Perhaps, learning that 21
racist laws were proposed in 2010 that directly discriminate against the Arab citizens of Israel may
give you food for thought about Apartheid. Or maybe if you know that 62% of Arab citizens live in
fear of being ethnically cleansed from Israel may also make you think again.

Then I gave up.

I came to the hard cold reality that no evidence I can show will change the rosy image of Israel that
you have. Despite the above, your belief in Israel will stay strong. You will always thing that “Israel
will always be the beacon of democracy which the rest of the world should follow”. Also, nothing I
can present will change your mind about Israel “existential threat”. A country with the fifth strongest
army in the world, reportedly has 250 nuclear warheads and has the support of the only superpower
in the world still need Hamas to “recognize it”. I’m sure Khaled Mashal feels empowered to know
that Israel with all its might still needs his approval to “exist”. Following the same logic and in
recognition for his importance and power, Mashal should also be given a permanent seat in the UN
Security Council and should be given the right of veto. Another interesting thought also came to me,
and that if Mashal is to address both houses in the US he won’t be able to put a word in as politicians
will be clapping for hours just to please him.

Your editorials are misguided to say the least and are going to come back and bite you.
I leave the last word to Miko Peled, the son of an Israeli Major General Matti Peled who took part in
the 1948 and 1967 wars and later became a Professor at Tel-Aviv University. He says:
“So those people who want to associate themselves with Israel, Zionism and drape themselves in the
Zionist flag – the flag that has come to symbolise intolerance, hatred, racism and brutality – they can
feel free to do so.

But, they need to know this:

that when the trials begin and the tribunals take their place, and when the truth and reconciliation
commission begins its work and they are finally shamed into admitting they were wrong, they need
to remember to go down on their knees and beg forgiveness from the people they so greatly
wronged. They need to realise that we will never forget them and that their conscience will never
allow them to forget that they supported the killings, that they draped themselves in the flag and
that they mocked the bereaved.

The rest of us will move on in line with the rest of the Middle East which will follow the example of
the people of Egypt to create something that will surely be a tremendous accomplishment – a
democratic, secular state in our own shared homeland – a state where Muslims, Christians and Jews
live as equals and educate their children to love their homeland with its multitude of cultures, its
rich history and its promising future.”

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