Tutu applying double standards on Israel - SAJBD

David Jacobson says boycott campaigns only serve to harden attitudes


The South African Jewish Board of Deputies (Cape Council) strongly rejects the recent appeal by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu for Cape Town Opera not to visit Israel.

Peace and understanding is best served through constructive and positive engagements between Israel, South Africa and the Palestinian regions, not by boycotts.

With the belief that music could work in areas where politicians are unable to do so, the late Palestinian scholar, Edward Said and Argentinean -Israeli pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim established a joint orchestra with young Palestinians and Israelis, named the West-Eastern Divan in 1998. The orchestra plays throughout the world and promotes cultural dialogue between Israelis and Arabs. There are many such initiates taking place in Israel.

Boycott campaigns work counter to such projects of peace and serve only to harden attitudes on both sides of the Israeli- Palestinian divide.

The SAJBD Cape Council further completely reject's Archbishop Tutu's claim that Israel is founded on "discriminatory laws and racial exclusivity". There is in fact no other country in the Middle East that can claim to be as inclusive, non-discriminatory and multi-cultural than Israel. Furthermore the Archbishop applies double standards by singling out Israel as a target for special criticism. This discriminatory treatment crosses the red line between legitimate criticism of a government or country and delegitimizing the right of that country to exist as a sovereign state.

In the interesting of furthering co-existence through music, we urge Cape Town Opera to add their beautiful voices to those of reason and let their outstanding production sound in the ancient land of the prophets.

Statement issued by David Jacobson, Executive Director of the SA Jewish Board of Deputies (Cape Council), October 27 2010

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