Thursday, October 11, 2007

Archbishop Unbanned

AFTER our story about Archbishop Desmond Tutu being barred from accepting an invitation to speak on a Minnesota campus, the good news is that following protests, the college authorities saw sense and have invited the South African churchman back after all.

The University of St.Thomas, a Catholic institution, had initially listened to Zionists, including some rabbis, who said Tutu was "offensive" because of his criticisms of Israel, which concerned the Occupation and mistreatment of Palestinians.

But other American Jews, on and off the campus, denied that the archbishop had said anything antisemitic, and urged the authorities to rescind their ban.

I may as well let Jewish Voice for Peace, the US organisation which drew attention to this issue and campaigned for Tutu to be allowed to speak, urging letters to St.Thomas' dean, take over the story.

"We have just learned that the president of the University of St. Thomas acknowledged he made the wrong decision and invited Archbishop Tutu to campus!

Your letters worked! Thanks to you, we generated over 2,700 letters of protest. Please support our work.

With your help, we kept the issue on the news and the editorial pages of a number of local, national, and international newspapers (see a partial list below), including an op-ed published today by JVP's Cecilie Surasky and Mitchell Plitnick.

This op-ed in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune finally demolishes the myth that Tutu compared Israel to Hitler, putting the libel to rest in an American paper for the first time.

After an exchange of letters between JVP and the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA), which mistakenly attributed the false quote to Tutu, the JTA reported today that the Zionist Organization of America incorrectly quoted Archbishop Desmond Tutu as comparing Israel to Hitler and apartheid, despite the ZOA's protests to the contrary.

At the same time, eighteen member's of the university's law faculty released a letter urging the university to reissue the invitation.

Help us to continue doing our work.With your help, Jewish Voice for Peace spearheaded a true voice of reason—a voice of Jews and allies that oppose censorship and will not stand idle when people of conscience are falsely called anti-Semitic simply for opposing the policies of the Israeli occupation. Help us to continue doing our work.

The press is paying attention (partial list):
Editorial: The Tutu Heave-Ho,
The Jewish Daily Forward, Oct 12
Mitchell Plitnick and Cecilie Surasky: A disservice to Jews, with best intentions, Minneapolis/St. Paul Star Tribune, Oct 10
School drops Tutu speech, but ADL says let him speak,
Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Oct 10
ZOA defends Tutu news release that contained incorrect quotes, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Oct 10
ADL urges university to invite Tutu, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Oct 9
Freedom Rider: Desmond Tutu Silenced, Black Agenda Blog, Oct 10
Concerns over Tutu speech, Totally Jewish, Oct 10
Land of the free? American debate about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is being stifled by an insidious form of pre-emptive censorship,
The Guardian, Oct 9
Editorial: A profile in cowardice, The Minnesota Daily, Oct 9
Faculty members in St. Thomas School of Law weigh in on Tutu controversy, Minneapolis/St. Paul City Pages, Oct 9
Tutu barred from speaking at school, African Path, Oct 9
Universities bow to right wing pressure, censor scholarship, cut off debate, The Michigan Journal , Oct 9
Protests greet American university ban on Desmond Tutu,
Ekklesia, Oct 9
A campus conundrum: Should all be heard?, Minneapolis/St. Paul Star Tribune, Oct 9Free speech on campus? Not always, ScrippNews, Oct 9
Banning Desmond Tutu is NOT Minnesota Nice. It's Downright Icky., Huffington Post, Oct 8
St. Thomas scratches Tutu because of views,
Rochester, MN Post Bulletin, Oct 8
Letter on Abp. Tutu and St. Thomas, Mirror of Justice, Oct 8
The Tutu episode -- whither academic freedom?,
Twin Cities Daily Planet, Oct 7
Two open letters to Father Dease, Twin Cities Daily Planet, Oct 7
US university urged to lift ban on Tutu, Jerusalem Post, Oct 6
Minnesota university urged to reverse ban on speech by Nobel Peace laureate Desmond Tutu, International Herald Tribune, Oct 6
Editorial: St. Thomas wrong not to invite Tutu,
Minneapolis/St. Paul Star Tribune, Oct 6
Editorial: Our View: Nay to U of St. Thomas, yea to SCSU,
St. Cloud Times, MN, Oct 6
Editorial: Our View — A missed opportunity, Mankato, MN, The Free Press, Oct 6
Was Desmond Tutu comparing Israel and Hitler?, Haaretz, Oct 6
St. Thomas urged to reverse decision and invite Tutu to campus, Minneapolis/St. Paul Star Tribune, Oct 6
University of St. Thomas president defends decision to not allow Desmond Tutu to speak on campus, St. Paul Pioneer Press, Oct 6
U of St Thomas letter about Tutu from president to students, MuzzleWatch, Oct 5
Tutu: Anatomy of a smear, the appalling double-standards of the thought police, MuzzleWatch, Oct 5
Is Tutu anti-Semitic?, South Africa's The Star, Oct 5
Desmond Tutu Unwelcome at St. Thomas University, The Third Way, Oct 4
U.S. college decides against hosting Desmond Tutu, citing his criticism of Israel, International Herald Tribune, Oct 4
University of St. Thomas won't let Desmond Tutu speak on campus, Twin Cities Pioneer Press, Oct 4
Archbishop Tutu barred by U. of St Thomas because of criticism of Israel, American Muslim, Oct 4
St. Thomas urged to reconsider its decision not to invite Tutu, Minneapolis/St. Paul Star Tribune, Oct 5
Desmond Tutu, Persona Non Grata,
Chronicle of Higher Education, Oct 4
Tutu Excluded: Double Standard at the University of St. Thomas, Informed Comment, Oct 4
St. Thomas won't invite Nobel Peace Prize winner Tutu to speak,
KKMC, Minot, MN, Oct 4
Archbishop Tutu barred by U. of St Thomas because of criticism of Israel, MuzzleWatch, Oct 3
Nobel Laureate Desmond Tutu Banned From Campus Over Israel Criticism, AlterNert, Oct 3
Tutu appearance canceled amid Jewish concern, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Oct 3
Banning Desmond Tutu, Minneapolis/St. Paul City Pages, Oct 3..

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