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Thursday, May 24, 2007

What Were You Thinking Oprah?

Yesterday Ynet ran an article which also appears on the state blog of Israel, that Oprah Winfrey had accepted an invitation from Elie Wiesel to visit Israel in what the headlines claim is a "solidarity visit". The article reads in part:

Wiesel called on Winfrey to visit Israel, where "the major war against terror is currently taking place."

In her speech, Winfrey said she sympathized with the suffering of the people of Israel, and that she intended to accept Wiesel's invitation and come with him to Israel.

Wikipedia writes of Oprah: "She has been ranked the richest African American of the 20th century, the most philanthropic African American of all time, and the worlds only black billionaire for three years. She is also according to several assessments, the most influential woman in the world.

She also is the honorary co-chairman of the Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation

Question 1: How is Oprah going to explain her "solidarity visit" to her dear friend Desmond Tutu to whom Israel denied passage to Gaza through Israel on a UN fact-finding mission investigating the massacre of nineteen civilians in Beit Hanoun by the IOF?

Question 2: How is Oprah going to explain her "solidarity visit" to her dear friend Desmond Tutu who wrote the following on divesting from Israel due to it's refusal to end the occupation of the Palestinian Territories:
If apartheid ended, so can this occupation, but the moral force and international pressure will have to be just as determined. The current divestment effort is the first, though certainly not the only, necessary move in that direction"

Yesterday's news of Oprah's "solidarity visit" also coincided with the release of Amnesty International's Report on Israel and the Occupied Territories which can be found here.
The first paragraph of this report reads:

Increased violence between Israelis and Palestinians resulted in a threefold increase in killings of Palestinians by Israeli forces. The number of Israelis killed by Palestinian armed groups diminished by half. More than 650 Palestinians, including some 120 children, and 27 Israelis were killed. Israeli forces carried out air and artillery bombardments in the Gaza Strip, and Israel continued to expand illegal settlements and to build a 700-km fence/wall on Palestinian land in the Occupied Territories. Military blockades and increased restrictions imposed by Israel on the movement of Palestinians and the confiscation by Israel of Palestinian customs duties caused a significant deterioration in living conditions for Palestinian inhabitants in the Occupied Territories, with poverty, food aid dependency, health problems and unemployment reaching crisis levels. Israeli soldiers and settlers committed serious human rights abuses, including unlawful killings, against Palestinians, mostly with impunity. Thousands of Palestinians were arrested by Israeli forces throughout the Occupied Territories on suspicion of security offences and hundreds were held in administrative detention. Israeli conscientious objectors continued to be imprisoned for refusing to serve in the army. In a 34-day war against Hizbullah in Lebanon in July-August, Israeli forces committed serious violations of international humanitarian law, including war crimes. Israeli bombardments killed nearly 1,200 people, and destroyed or damaged tens of thousands of homes and other civilian infrastructure. Israeli forces also littered south Lebanon with around a million unexploded cluster bombs which continued to kill and maim civilians after the conflict.

An excellent assessment of this report can also be found on Sabbah's Blog

Oprah also has so much respect for Amnesty International that she donated two million dollars to them. Has she read this report?

In addition, Oprah accepted an invitation for a "solidarity visit" from Elie Weisel who just recently at the Petra Conference sponsored by the King Abdullah Fund for Development and his own Elie Weisel Foundation for humanity, denied the use of the term "occupation" Raghida Dergham writes of the Conference which he attended:

" During a working luncheon and the discussion between Peres and the Advisor to the Palestinian Authority President, Yasser Abd Rabbo, Peres emerged with an amazing statement in response to Abd Rabbo, saying: "There is nothing called occupation". In saying so, Peres completely abolished the term 'occupation' from the Israeli-Palestinian relationship and refused employing such description to the Israeli role with the Palestinians....

The author of this article posed a question about the reason for the absence or deliberate abstention of the term 'occupation' as a contributing factor in the deteriorating Palestinian situation, and also posed a question to Elie Wiesel asking him - in his capacity as a staunch advocate of human rights - whether he believed that the occupation was incompatible or in violation with human rights. Elie Wiesel's answer revealed an amazing capacity for double standards, as he grimaced and frowned before tersely replying: "The answer to this question was given yesterday by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shimon Peres"

So here we have a definite dilemma, Oprah Winfrey has accepted an invitation from Elie Weisel, a Nobel Peace Laureate for a "solidarity visit" to Israel, where Shimon Peres also a Nobel Peace Laureate governs as Vice Prime Minister, and who BOTH deny the term "occupation". In addition, she now has to explain to her friend Desmond Tutu, who has compared the OCCUPATION to South African apartheid, why she has accepted an invitation for a "solidarity visit"

My suggestion is that Oprah needs a DEFINITE education in the quagmire she has stepped so ignorantly into.
I also suggest that Elie Wiesel and Shimon Peres get a dictionary. Better yet, look up the UN Resolution 242 calling for Israel's immediate withdrawal from the OCCUPIED TERRITORIES written in 1967 and not implemented by Israel in forty years!!

Oprah, as a woman of great integrity, I urge you to rescind your acceptance of this invitation and to stand on the side of justice in this matter. Stand with your dear friend Desmond Tutu, on whose Peace Institute you sit as honorary co-chairman, and CONDEMN the occupation of Palestine.

Contact the Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation here:

Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation

205 East 64th Street
Suite 404
New York, NY 10021

Tel: 212-750-5504
Fax: 212-371-2776

From Sabbah's Blog:


Please write to her and send whatever information you can including reports from human rights organizations (Example: Yesterday’s Amnesty report) and/or articles. Even recommendations for books that might educate her. I’m sure she will change her mind if she knows more about the racist state she intend to visit.

This is a page where you can write your thoughts:

Also, you can send your ideas in for a future show, which might be about the suffering of the Palestinians, and their Nakba. This is a page where there are a few email addresses:

Please write to her and spread the word widely. Tell her:
We love you, Oprah! We don’t like to see Zionist dirt on your hands.

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