One of the most famous speeches in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar takes place after the Emperor is murdered. Its the one that starts:
Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears; I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him. The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interrèd with their bones. So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus Hath told you Caesar was ambitious. If it were so, it was a grievous fault, And grievously hath Caesar answered it Here under leave of Brutus and the rest (For Brutus is an honorable man; So are they all, all honorable men),
In the course of the monologue Antony destroys Brutus by praising him. It is the same approach used by Desmond Tutu when talking about the Jews at last weeks Sabeel conference in Boston as reported by CAMERA:
Spiritually, I am of Hebrew descent. That legacy has been of crucial importance to me in our struggle against Apartheid.”The Archbishop picked an odd place to express his philo-Semitism, however. Tutu was speaking at a conference organized by Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center, an organization led by Anglican Canon Naim Ateek, who has written, among other things, of an “Israeli government crucifixion system operating daily” in the disputed territories. ….
While Archbishop Tutu offered no rebuke for Ateek’s hateful writings, he himself spoke of the Jewish people in loving terms. “The world needs the Jews, Jews who are faithful to the vocation that has meant so much for the world’s morality, of its sense of what is right and wrong, what is good and bad, what is just and unjust, what is oppressive and what sets people free. Jews are indispensable for a good compassionate, just and caring world. And so are Palestinians.”
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Sadly, Archbishop Tutu’s insistence that Jews struggle with their conscience over Israeli policies is coupled with a failure to acknowledge that they are also fighting for their lives in the Middle East. For all his philo-Semitism, Archbishop Tutu could not bring himself to condemn by name those who would murder Jews because they are Jews. At no point in his speech did he mention groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, or other groups in the Middle East that deny Israel’s right to exist and which espouse vicious attitudes toward Jews. (Hamas, for example, has posted video on the Internet of a suicide bomber expressing a desire to drink Jewish blood.) Archbishop Tutu remained silent about this hate but instead focused exclusively on Israeli checkpoints and the security barrier.
But instead of acknowledging Palestinian misdeeds that might explain why Israel instituted the checkpoints or built the security barrier, he directed a cri de coeur exclusively toward the Jewish people to “be on the side of the God who revealed a soft spot in his heart for the widow, the orphan and the alien.” He cautioned Jews to not fight against the God, their God who hears the cry of the oppressed, who sees their anguish and who will always come down to deliver them.”This is the Jewish calling, Archbishop Tutu said. “If you disobey that calling, if you do not heed it, then as sure as anything, one day you will come a cropper.” At no point in his speech, however, does the archbishop direct any such theological demands or warning toward the Palestinians to exhibit mercy toward Jews. Yes, Archbishop Tutu does condemn “acts of terrorism by whoever they are committed,” but when it comes to naming the perpetrators of misdeeds, he names only the Jewish people and their institutions.
If Archbishop Tutu truly loves both the Palestinians and the Jewish people, he must direct his cri de coeur at both Israelis and Palestinians. To target Israel, and only Israel, with theological condemnations rooted in Hebrew scripture, and to remain silent about Arab hostility toward Jews, is using the Bible as a club against the Jewish people. That’s not love. It’s abuse of both scripture and of people.