By Karima Freidemann, Muslim Media News Service (MMNS)
October 27, 2007, Boston, MA — Nancy Kaufman of the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC), under the leadership of Hillel Stavis of the David Project, which is an Israel advocacy group, stationed themselves on the corner next to Old South Church in order to protest the Palestinian Christian organization Sabeelâ€™s annual Conference entitled â€œThe Apartheid Paradigm in Palestine/Israel: Issues of Justice and Equality.â€
Despite inclement weather, a far larger audience attended the conference than was expected, and far fewer stuffed grape leaves were available than the number of attendees.
After the audience sang â€œHappy Birthdayâ€ to Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Nobel Laureate gave the keynote speech.
Tutu first discussed the slander to which he was subjected by President Rev. Dennis Dease of the University of St. Thomas. Although Tutu was grateful for the gracious apology and for the invitation to come to speak, he reiterated his unwillingness to visit the University before it reinstated Professor Cris Toffolo to her position as director of the Universityâ€™s peace and justice studies program with her personnel file cleared of all criticism related to the incident.
Next, the Archbishop observed the similarity of the seizure of Palestinian property and forced relocation of the native Palestinian population to squalid refugee camps in 1947 to the seizure of property and forced relocation of the non-white population of Capetown to squalid ghettoes at the beginning of the 20th century. The Archbishop remarked that Palestinians were subjected to forms of oppression that non-whites had never experienced in South Africa.
Then, Desmond Tutu discussed several Bible passages in order to demonstrate that God demands justice and that therefore Palestinians have the right to justice. He asserted, â€œWhen you uphold an unjust dispensation it corrodes your humanity.â€
Overall Desmond Tutu sent an extremely mixed message. Tutu claimed to support justice for Palestinians even as he advocated a two-state solution that unjustly sacrifices Palestinian property rights to illegitimate Zionist claims. Tutu confused modern Ashkenazi Jews, who have no ancestral ties whatsoever in Palestine, with the Judeans and Galileans of the time period of Jesus (as).
At the conclusion of the Archbishopâ€™s address, the conference organizers requested that the audience not engage the protesters as it departed for the rally in Copley Square, where peace marchers circled the Square to express solidarity with the Sabeel Conference.
In Copley Square, American Jews harassed two women in hijab, trying to intimidate them into expressing support for Israel.