Desmond Tutu, the noted civil rights leader who became the first black archbishop of Cape Town, compared Israel's treatment of the Palestinians to the apartheid regime that discriminated against blacks in his native South Africa.
Tutu, the Nobel Peace laureate, told News24, a South African media entity, criticized Israeli policies toward the Palestinians in the territories as "humiliating."
"I have witnessed the systemic humiliation of Palestinian men, women and children by members of the Israeli security forces," he said in a statement.
"Their humiliation is familiar to all black South Africans who were corralled and harassed and insulted and assaulted by the security forces of the apartheid government."
Observers in South Africa are preparing to mark "Israeli Apartheid Week" on Monday. Tutu, meanwhile, has declared his support for the use of boycotts and economic sanctions as a means to compel Israel to alter its policies.
"In South Africa, we could not have achieved our democracy without the help of people around the world, who through the use of non-violent means, such as boycotts and divestment, encouraged their governments and other corporate actors to reverse decades-long support for the apartheid regime," he told News24.
"The same issues of inequality and injustice today motivate the divestment movement trying to end Israel's decades-long occupation of Palestinian territory and the unfair and prejudicial treatment of the Palestinian people by the Israeli government ruling over them."
"'Those who turn a blind eye to injustice actually perpetuate injustice. If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor," Tutu said.
"It doesn't matter where we worship or live. We are members of one family, the human family, God's family."
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