At the risk of publicly acknowledging my unhealthy obsession with the lies of Alan Dershowitz, here is yet another installment in his seemingly endless repertoire of mendacity. If you think that Dershowitz’s smears of his ideological opponents are venomous and even hyperbolic in tone – “there is a special place in hell” for Jimmy Carter; Desmond Tutu is “one of the most evil men in the world” – simple fact-checking reveals that over-heated language is not his worst feature; that is reserved for his brazen (how does he expect to get away with this?!) dishonesty.
Consider his fulminations against just one of his many targets, South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu. In 2010, Dershowitz unloaded on Tutu while speaking to Australian journalist/activist Antony Loewenstein:
Archbishop Desmond Tutu is one of the most evil men in the world. He never condemns China, rarely Zimbabwe or any other county, it’s only Israel.
If this were factually true, Dershowitz’s reasoning would still be absurd. Tutu need not familiarize himself with, and speak out against, every human rights violation around the globe before he has earned the right to criticize Israel.
But since it’s Dershowitz speaking, it’s not true. Not even close.
Tutu has repeatedly and bitterly criticized both China and Zimbabwe, recommending international action equal to or much worse than that urged by the BDS Campaign against Israel. In 2008, two years before Dershowitz’s outburst to Loewenstein, Tutu criticized China for failing to act on behalf of Darfur, and called for a boycott of the Beijing Olympics unless China changed its policy. A month later, Tutu published a statement in the Washington Post strongly expressing solidarity with the Dalai Lama and bitterly denouncing China’s arrogance toward Tibet. In June 2008, Tutu was in San Francisco, speaking at a rally to protest China’s hosting of the Olympics. Here is what he had to say about the country he supposedly never criticizes:
At a candle-lit vigil on Tuesday near City Hall, South African Archbishop and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu urged world leaders not to go to the Games. “For God’s sake, for the sake of our children, for the sake of their children, for the sake of the beautiful people of Tibet – don’t go,” he said.
So Tutu had repeatedly urged a boycott of the Beijing Olympics on human rights grounds, well before Dershowitz called him “most evil” for “never” criticizing China.
Tutu’s condemnations of China continued afterward as well, when he co-authored an op-ed in the WashPost bitterly criticizing China for its treatment of Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo, and celebrated his own 80th birthday by denouncing the ANC government in South Africa for toadying to China by denying a visa to the Dalai Lama.
With respect to Zimbabwe, in 2008, Tutu requested that the African Union refuse to recognize Robert Mugabe as Zimbabwe’s president, and even called for an international peacekeeping (military) force to invade the country and “restore order.” He also called Mugabe a ”Frankenstein”. The following year, Tutu accused Zimbabwe of “making a mockery” of African democracy and called the country a “huge blot on the record” of Africa.
More Tutu denunciations of Zimbabwe are easily accessible to anyone who can use google.
Thus Tutu was on record for having repeatedly called for a boycott of the Beijing Olympics and for international military intervention in Zimbabwe when Dershowitz called Tutu “one of the most evil men in the world” because “he never condemns China, rarely Zimbabwe.”
In 2011, Dershowitz doubled down on this claim:
the South African government, the African National Congress and Bishop Tutu himself have far worse human rights records than does Israel. They have supported some of the most despotic regimes in the world, simply because the despots who head these regimes in Libya, Iran, Cuba, China, Zimbabwe, and the Palestinian governments in the West Bank and Gaza–sided with their legitimate struggle against apartheid in years past.
How could Dershowitz have missed this copious evidence of Tutu’s repeated denunciations of both China and Zimbabwe? It took me less than five minutes to find all of this material, and I’m slow at online research. Was Dershowitz acting in deliberate deceit or willful ignorance by not even doing a cursory check before condemning Tutu? It doesn’t really matter.
I would have emailed Dershowitz to ask for his response to this article, but I already can guess his reply. “Why are you focusing on me? There are plenty of other liars out there whose lies are worse than mine, but you’re only attacking my lies because I’m Jewish and a supporter of Israel.”