Simon Wiesenthal Center: Bishop Tutu's Remarks on the Lessons of the Holocaust Untrue

AUGUST 27, 2009


The Simon Wiesenthal Center criticized remarks about the Holocaust made by Archbishop Desmond Tutu during a visit to Israel.

In an interview with the Haaretz newspaper, Bishop Tutu said, "The lesson that Israel must learn from the Holocaust is that it can never get security through fences, walls and guns.” Additionally, Bishop Tutu said that the West was consumed with guilt and regret toward Israel because of the Holocaust, as it should be, but who pays the penance? The penance is being paid by the Arabs, by the Palestinians.

“With all due respect to Bishop Tutu, that is not what Jews have learned from the Holocaust" said Simon Wiesenthal Center Founder and Dean, Rabbi Marvin Hier. "What we learned from the Holocaust is that never again will the destiny of our people be placed in the hands of others. For 2,000 years, Jews depended on the pity of others - we had no land and no army. And what did we get in return?
We got inquisitions, pogroms and finally the Holocaust. If there is one thing the Holocaust has taught us, it is that
freedom and justice come to those who are prepared to fight for it,” he said.

With respect to his remarks that the Palestinians are paying the penance for the Holocaust, Rabbi Hier said, "The only penance the Palestinians are paying for are the continuous mistakes of their leaders. Had they recognized the State of Israel in 1948 or even in 1967, they would have had a much larger Palestinian state than the one they are now negotiating for," he concluded.

For more information, contact the Wiesenthal Center public relations department, 310-553-9036.