by Desmond Tutu
The world owes a great deal to the Jews. I know that I certainly do. My identity as a believer would be nonexistent without my particular antecedents. I thank God that I am a spiritual descendant of God's friend, Abraham. My ministry and witness have been undergirded and informed by the imperatives and the verities expounded in the Hebrew Bible which forms the Old Testament of our Christian Bible. I would have been at a loss to justify my opposition to the injustice and viciousness of apartheid had I not been able to refer to the teachings of the Torah and the proclamations of the prophets.
Without the Jews and all that they have given to the world in the realm of morality and the standards and values that they have proclaimed concerning human conduct, we would all have been much impoverished. It is almost bizarre that I have first to establish my credentials and my bona fides before I can speak about this book, though they have said about self-justification that your friends do not need it and your enemies do not believe it. It seems that I am following the trite cliché: “Some of my best friends are. …” But it is nonetheless necessary, as I shall show. I am at present a member of the board of directors of the Shimon Peres Peace Centre in Tel Aviv (as are several other Nobel Peace laureates). I am a patron of the Holocaust Centre in Cape Town. The chairs of the Boards of the Desmond Tutu Peace Centre in Cape Town and of the Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation in New York are both Jews. When Leah and I were ill simultaneously in Atlanta, our neighbour across the road from us used to ply us with food parcels left on our doorstep and she has ever since become our Jewish momma.