Between Apartheid, the Holocaust and the Nakba: Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s Pilgrimage to Israel-Palestine (1989) and the Emergence of an Analogical Lexicon

Roni Mikel Arieli*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


On 22 December 1989, the anti-apartheid activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Archbishop Desmond Tutu conducted a Christmas pilgrimage to Israel and the Occupied Territories. Tutu used his visit to relay political messages in support of the Palestinian liberation struggle and to criticize Israeli-South African ties, and his statements evoked sever criticism on the part of Zionist Jewish constituencies. Through a tighter focus on Tutu’s various public statements and their reception in the years leading up to the visit, this article traces the history of different sets of interlocking analogies in Tutu’s thought, positioning his 1989 visit to Israel-Palestine—neglected thus far in the critical literature —as a landmark in his thinking. In so doing, it offers a critical analysis of another instance of the Israel-apartheid analogy in the political struggle against the Israeli occupation. At the same time, it points to the genesis of the analogy in Tutu’s ongoing engagements with the suffering of Jews during the Holocaust.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)334-353
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Genocide Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2 Jul 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Roni Mikel Arieli is a Scholion postdoctoral fellow, as a member of the research group “In Someone Else's Shoes: An Interdisciplinary Research Group for the Study of Empathy in History, Society, and Culture,” at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She wrote her PhD dissertation, “Remembering the Holocaust in a Racial State: Cultural and Discursive Aspects of Holocaust Memory in South Africa from Apartheid to Democracy (1948-1994),” in the Department of Jewish History and Contemporary Jewry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She is a member of the 2014 class of the Hoffman Leadership and Responsibility Fellowship programme and holds a PhD fellowship in the European Research Council (ERC) project “Apartheid: The Global Itinerary: South African Cultural Formations in Transnational Circulation 1948–1990,” under the direction of Professor Louise Bethlehem.

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the European Research Council under the European Union?s Seventh Framework Programme (FP/2007-2013) / ERC Grant Agreement no. 615564.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Apartheid
  • Holocaust
  • Nakba
  • analogical lexicon
  • memory


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