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Monday, 29 April, 2002, 11:55 GMT 12:55 UK
Tutu condemns Israeli 'apartheid'
Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Tutu said 'oppression' would not bring security
South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu has accused Israel of practising apartheid in its policies towards the Palestinians.

The Nobel peace laureate said he was "very deeply distressed" by a visit to the Holy Land, adding that "it reminded me so much of what happened to us black people in South Africa".

The Jewish lobby is powerful - very powerful. Well, so what?

Archbishop Desmond Tutu
In a speech in the United States, carried in the UK's Guardian newspaper, Archbishop Tutu said he saw "the humiliation of the Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks, suffering like us when young white police officers prevented us from moving about".

The archbishop, who was a leading opponent of apartheid in South Africa, said Israel would "never get true security and safety through oppressing another people".

Archbishop Tutu said his criticism of the Israeli Government did not mean he was anti-Semitic.

"I am not even anti-white, despite the madness of that group," he said.

Jewish lobby

The archbishop attacked the political power of Jewish groups in the United States, saying: "People are scared in this country, to say wrong is wrong because the Jewish lobby is powerful - very powerful. Well, so what?

"The apartheid government was very powerful, but today it no longer exists.

Israeli checkpoint
Tutu said Israeli checkpoints were humiliating Palestinians

"Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Pinochet, Milosevic, and Idi Amin were all powerful, but in the end they bit the dust," he said.

Speaking at a conference called Ending the Oppression in Boston, Archbishop Tutu told delegates Jewish people had been at the forefront of the struggle against apartheid in South Africa.

He asked: "Have our Jewish sisters and brothers forgotten their humiliation? Have they forgotten the collective punishment, the home demolitions, in their own history so soon?

"Have they turned their backs on their profound and noble religious traditions?"

The archbishop said that while he condemned suicide bombings by Palestinian militants against Israel, Israeli military action would not bring security to the Jewish state.

Israel must "strive for peace based on justice, based on withdrawal from all the occupied territories, and the establishment of a viable Palestinian state on those territories side by side with Israel, both with secure borders," he said.

See also:

03 Sep 01 | Africa
US abandons racism summit
03 Sep 01 | Africa
Racism summit turmoil: Reactions
10 Aug 01 | Middle East
Anger over Zionism debate
22 Aug 01 | Africa
South Africans urge tolerance
17 Aug 00 | Africa
Tutu returns for quiet life
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