Tutu, Part Two


Last week I noted that the University of St. Thomas had rescinded a speaking invitation to Archbishop Desmond Tutu because administrators deemed Tutu’s previous criticisms of Israel to be “hurtful” to some Jews. This morning, Scott Jaschik of InsideHigherEd has some good news: St. Thomas’ president has reversed his decision and will invite Tutu to campus after all.

The twist here is that Anti-Defamation League director Abe Foxman wrote a letter to St. Thomas objecting to its decision to cancel Tutu. This is an unusual outburst of sanity from Foxman and the ADL, which Glenn Greenwald has been pounding in recent days for seeming to apply “its outrage practices selectively and politically” and marching in lockstep with the right on issues like Iran. While Foxman still indulges in his annoying tic of describing people in terms of whether they are, in his opinion, “a friend of Israel”—in the letter, he deems Tutu “not a friend of Israel” simply for voicing a criticism of an Israeli policy—the ADL deserves credit here for standing up for free exchange on campus. Maybe the group is taking Greenwald’s criticisms to heart.

—Justin Elliott

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