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ADL Troubled By Implications Of Cancellation Of Tutu Speech

Update: (October 10, 2007) The president of the University of St. Thomas announced he made a mistake in disinviting Tutu, and said he would re-extend the invitation.  "I have wrestled with what is the right thing to do in this situation, and I have concluded that I made the wrong decision earlier this year not to invite the archbishop," the Rev. Dennis Dease said. "Although well intentioned, I did not have all of the facts and points of view, but now I do."


New York, NY, October 9, 2007 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today said it was troubled by the implications of the decision of the University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul, Minnesota, to cancel a visit by Archbishop Desmond Tutu because of his past statements about Israel.

The following is the text of a letter from Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, to Father Dennis Dease, President of the University of St. Thomas:

Dear Father Dease:

According to your letter to the students, faculty and staff of the University of St. Thomas, you have canceled a visit by Archbishop Desmond Tutu to your campus because of Tutu's "widely publicized statements that have been hurtful to members of the Jewish community."

We appreciate your sensitivity and your willingness to take a stand and refuse to let your institution give a platform to someone you believe has been hurtful to members of the University community.

While Archbishop Tutu is not a friend of Israel, we do not believe he is an anti-Semite.  As you rightly point out in your letter, his words have often stung the Jewish community.  However, while he may at times have crossed the line, we believe that he should have been permitted to speak on your campus. 

I welcome the opportunity to discuss this matter further with you.

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.

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