MARTY'S WORLD.

Marty Peretz, continuing to rise below even my worst estimation:

"Archbishop Desmond Tutu preached in Boston on Saturday "in a lengthy and emotional address to a packed Old South Church," according to Sunday's Globe. And what did he preach about? The same topic he's always preaching about these days: the evil the Jews are inflicting on the Palestinians. You wonder why a South African cleric of the Anglican Church is fixated on Israel, or at least I wonder. It could be for the same reason that many Christian clerics have always found reason to damn the Jews.

With his characteristic sneer he actually threatened Israel -- and not just the State but the whole People. 'Remembering what happened to you in Egypt and much more recently in Germany -- remember and act accordingly.'"

This is, quite simply, libelous. I was present at Old South Church on Saturday, and without getting too deep into some of the issues I'm hoping to deal with in an upcoming article relating to the event, I'll just say that the idea that Desmond Tutu, one of the great moral tutors of our age, a man who has dedicated himself to non-violence and reconciliation, at real and repeated risk to his own life, would "threaten" Israel with violence (From the pulpit of a church! With a characteristic sneer!) simply beggars the imagination. More to the point: It didn't happen.

Here is the text of Tutu's address. There is simply no way that any reasonable person could interpret his words as anything other than what he intended: A call for people of all faiths, including Jews (whom he refers to as "my spiritual relatives"), to be true to what Tutu believes is Judaism's prophetic and ethical heritage, which Tutu also explicitly claims as his own heritage, and support the end of Israel's brutal and illegal military occupation of the Palestinian territories.

For this, Marty Peretz implies that Tutu is a Jew-hater, and shamefully (if Peretz had any) attempts to tie him to the blood-libels of European anti-Semitism. What a strange moral universe Peretz has created for himself. It's reprehensible that he seems to throw accusations like this around with about as much thought as he gives to breathing.

--Matthew Duss

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