Tutu endorses UCC divestment: ‘It is unconscionable to remain silent’

Activism
on 16 Comments

The United Church of Christ will hold its general synod in Cleveland June 26-30 and consider a divestment resolution targeting the Israeli occupation. Today Archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu issued a statement supporting the resolution.

My dear sisters and brothers in the United Church of Christ,

Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ, through whom we share work and witness on behalf of God’s love and God’s justice.

I write to endorse, “A Call for the United Church of Christ to Take Actions Toward a Just Peace in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict”, Resolution #4, which will be put to the vote at your 30th General Synod later this month in Cleveland, Ohio.

We grieve over Israel’s decades long oppression of Palestine and Palestinians: The illegal occupation; the expanding West Bank settlements; the separation wall; the siege of Gaza; the manipulation of water rights; the network of checkpoints and settler bypass roads; the detention of people without charges; the travel restrictions, identity cards, and disruption of every aspect of daily life for Palestinians.

We condemn the brutality of Israel’s policies. But we do not condemn Judaism or Jews.

As South African, we recognize institutionalized racism when we see it. We have experienced the corrosive effects of segregation – and have witnessed the healing power and joy of reconciliation.

It is unconscionable to remain silent, or neutral, in the face of injustice. Neutrality maintains the status quo and compounds the injustice.

The depth of my commitment to justice in the Holy Land has cost me friends and elicited vehement criticism. It is the cost of discipleship that requires us to name evil and clearly oppose it. Calling me anti-Semitic will not stop me from speaking out for justice.

We do not seek to demonize the architects of Israel’s occupation of Palestine, but to implore those with the political power to change their policies and their ways. Injustice brutalizes the humanity of the oppressors as well as that of the oppressed. Freedom for Palestinians will liberate Israelis, too.

We are sisters and brothers of one family, the human family, God’s family. We are made for each other, for inter-dependence, for goodness and for love. When we recognize each other for what we truly are, we make the impossible possible.
Thank you for recognizing our common humanity, for taking a stand for justice. Your resolution places you on the side of justice and human rights for all.

I endorse fully your resolution’s proposal to use the powerful non-violent tools of economic leverage. These tools helped us to engineer a new day for my own country, South Africa. With you, we proved that economic pressure can force the most powerful to the table. I am grateful that your denomination stood with us then, voting to join the South African divestment movement, and that you are prepared once again to take this stand for justice.

I applaud your decision to be guided by the faithful voice of the Christian community of Palestine, and to encourage widespread study of Kairos Palestine – a Moment of Truth (2009). It was just such a document which, in 1985, allowed the world to hear our voice and learn the depth of our oppression in South Africa. May we all heed the Kairos Palestine call, as people of faith, to engage in “resistance with love as its logic”.

I affirm your resolution’s condemnation of all violence and your uncompromising commitment to the path of non-violence and inter-religious dialogue. And I commend the resolution’s call for accountability from your own, United States, government over its annual $3.1 billion in military aid to Israel.

As US citizens you have the responsibility to speak truth to the power of your own government. As Christians you have the duty to side with the oppressed and by so doing to liberate the oppressor.

I endorse your resolution, and fervently pray for the day when Palestinians and Israelis will be reconciled and live together in dignity, security, and peace, with equal rights for all. When that day comes our collective hallelujahs will resound across the world we share.

God bless you.

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu Cape Town, South Africa

About Mondoweiss Editors

Other posts by .


Posted In:

16 Responses

  1. oldgeezer
    June 17, 2015, 2:56 pm

    As always a brave man. Thank you Archbishop Tutu.

    • Kay24
      June 18, 2015, 9:33 am

      He is very brave indeed. He has been demonized, called anti semitic, by various ugly hasbara commenters on websites. He unlike others has stood his ground and not wavered from his quest to call a spade a spade. Rev. Tutu unlike most others, has the right, and the knowledge, to name Israel as an apartheid nation, he has lived and breathed in one for years, until they were free.

  2. lysias
    June 17, 2015, 3:53 pm

    The link doesn’t work. Can you please provide another. (I would like to be able to cite to the Archbishop’s statement.)

  3. Parity
    June 17, 2015, 4:48 pm

    He says everything with love.

  4. Bornajoo
    June 17, 2015, 5:58 pm

    Wonderful. Beautifully stated

    Many thanks Archbishop Tutu

  5. Walid
    June 18, 2015, 2:06 am

    While the million member UCC is debating the divestment and may still come out against BDS, another UCC (United Church of Canada) with half a million members along with the Canadian Quakers has been active riders on the BDS bus since 4 years and for them it’s not just a matter of shifting investment portfolios. The UCC and the Quakers are actively campaigning for BDS by issuing regular circulars to their members encouraging them to boycott Canadian department stores that carry Israeli settlement-produced products. To simply divest is not enough.

    The recently passed Canadian anti-terrorist (and zero-tolerance of boycotts of Israeli products) law C-51 takes direct aim at Canada’s UCC and the 50,000-member Canadian Union of Postal Workers that’s also on the BDS bus. Major clashes are anticipated between the pro-BDS groups and the government if it tries to enforce the new law.

    • oldgeezer
      June 18, 2015, 2:26 am

      Both loblaws and shoppers drugmart should be boycotted and i do so. Avahi and israrli produce, hummus are carried there. Sobeys is almost as bad although i have had responses from them it is not enough to boycott israel but also their enablers

  6. Kay24
    June 18, 2015, 8:37 am

    With SO MANY Jewish millionaires/billionaires in Israel and abroad, it is hard to understand why the US tax payer must keep sending aid to a wealthy nation that has a good share of rich folks.
    Take, take, take, and then whine, whine, whine for more.

    NETANYAHU WEALTHIER THAN OBAMA

    http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Forbes-Israel-Netanyahu-wealthier-than-Obama-406445

  7. CigarGod
    June 18, 2015, 9:05 am

    Beautiful support. Should encourage other churches to take one step forward.

    Im interested in his statement on the economic boycott of SA. Having a discussion with ecchinoserous (sorry man, im on my phone and i know im incorrect on the spelling). Economic versus shaming value.

  8. ejran
    June 18, 2015, 10:03 am

    “Injustice brutalizes the humanity of the oppressors as well as that of the oppressed. Freedom for Palestinians will liberate Israelis, too.”
    If only the world truly, fundamentally understood this.

    Reminds me of a moving quote from Long Walk to Freedom, the Mandela movie: “I admit I want revenge, but I want something more than that, and that is to live without fear and hatred. I have seen what fear has done to your people; you have always been afraid of us, and it has made you an unjust and brutal people.”

  9. eljay
    June 18, 2015, 1:48 pm

    We grieve over Israel’s decades long oppression of Palestine and Palestinians: The illegal occupation; the expanding West Bank settlements; the separation wall; the siege of Gaza; the manipulation of water rights; the network of checkpoints and settler bypass roads; the detention of people without charges; the travel restrictions, identity cards, and disruption of every aspect of daily life for Palestinians.

    Yup, there’s all that and more AND the fact that Zio-supremacists despise justice, accountability and equality.

    But none of that matters because – haven’t you heard? – Zio-supremacists say they want “peace”.

  10. Citizen
    June 20, 2015, 6:00 am

    Maybe Goldhagen needs to do a second version of “God’s Willing Executioners”?

  11. diasp0ra
    June 20, 2015, 11:24 am

    I am humbled by the continued support and solidarity of Archbishop Tutu. I think having suffered under Apartheid, he and his countrymen are in a unique position to understand the case for Palestine. It’s no wonder that South Africa is a strong bastion of support for Palestinians and BDS.

  12. lysias
    June 23, 2015, 10:37 am

    Just heard on today’s (June 23) Democracy Now!: Columbia University is divesting from the U.S. private prison industry.

Leave a Reply