As the year draws to a close one of the most highly respected voices in the international community says that he has genuine fears for the welfare of Israelis who have become “dehumanised” by their treatment of the Palestinian people. Drawing parallels with those who self-harm, Archbishop Desmond Tutu has catalogued the shocking behaviour of the Zionist war machine as seen through his own eyes.
It is a powerful testament from a man who recognises the evils of Apartheid when he sees them and highlights the futility of Western support for a regime which is destroying itself through its own hatred towards its fellow human beings. Very few parents or friends would stand by and watch their loved ones self-harm without intervention, but it appears that friends of Israel are doing exactly that by offering unconditional support, as evidenced at the UN.
To its eternal shame Britain – a once great, influential nation – scuttled in line like an obedient, toothless cur on the heels of the US to block a draft Palestinian resolution in the UN Security Council calling for an Israeli withdrawal from the occupied West Bank by 2017 and the establishment of a Palestinian state with borders based on the pre-1967 armistice lines. British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant claimed that his delegation could not support the current draft because of “some difficulties with the text, particularly language on time scales, new language on refugees.”
Typically, the US said that it would not support the resolution because it did not “advance the goal of peace.” Quite why anyone would think that America is genuine about working towards peace anywhere, let alone in Israel-Palestine, when it has bombed, invaded, attacked or occupied more than 30 nations every single year for the past 70 years is beyond me. Apparently, though, people are still taken in by US propaganda.
Both Britain and the US use their absurdly undemocratic veto in the 15-member Security Council to support the government in Tel Aviv despite the swelling tide of public opposition to the war crimes and human rights abuses committed by Israel against the Palestinians whose land it occupies so brutally. Jordan, currently the only Arab member of the Security Council, says that it will still submit the resolution, but needs nine votes in favour for it to pass, although there are few countries willing to stand up to the US apart from the ever pragmatic Chinese and Russians.
However, while America continues to give its unstinting support to its miniature attack dog in the Middle East – Israel, remember, is barely the size of an African game park – resentment over the Zionist state will continue to fester as we enter 2015. Moreover, it appears that US support for Israel could be self-defeating.
Archbishop Tutu, a visionary of the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, and now Palestine, is a brave man who refuses to indulge anyone, including the American politicians on Capitol Hill. In a thought-provoking message he sent to Jewish Voices for Peace, he talks about the dehumanisation of the Israelis who, he fears, are destroying themselves by losing the capacity to love.
It is a poignant message, some of which is reproduced below, which should be read by all supporters of Israel in Washington and London if they really – I mean, really – care about the people who live there. The archbishop knows what he is talking about; he lived through South African Apartheid which was overcome by people who engaged in heroic resistance and struggle not dissimilar to that of the Palestinians.
Tutu knows the pain of living under the rule of a people eaten away by their own hatred; that pain was shared by the late, great Nelson Mandela who made his own position clear: “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”
“My greatest anguish is beholding what the Israelis are doing to themselves,” says Archbishop Tutu. “We saw what apartheid did to the white people, making it possible for them to commit horrendous atrocities. In dehumanising others, they were themselves dehumanised in the process. I saw it in the callousness of young Israeli soldiers at checkpoints when they could decide to let an expectant mother desperately needing a hospital to deliver her baby go through, or not, as the whim struck them. I saw it when they bombed schools and hospitals in Gaza. I saw it when settlers uprooted hundreds-year-old Palestinian olive trees.”
Such “dehumanisation” pains the archbishop no end, “especially when I see it happen to a people that has suffered for millennia. What gave us strength to rebuild after apartheid in South Africa was believing in every person’s capacity to turn pain into healing, and fear into love.”
The fact that Tutu’s message has been released by Jewish Voices for Peace is hugely significant, for it was people of all faiths and none who struggled against South African Apartheid. The same is true of the current struggle for justice for the Palestinians as they face apartheid Israel-style. It is this that gives Archbishop Desmond Tutu moral authority to speak out; we would all do well to listen when he does, not least the pro-Israel lobbyists in Western capitals. Israel is self-harming with their support; is that what they really want?
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.