Sabeel is a Jerusalem-based ecumenical effort of Palestinian
churches of the Holy Land that seeks to interpret the Bible from
the perspective of the poor and oppressed. It has support groups
in North America, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Scandinavia and
"I am honored to have been asked to be a patron of Sabeel,"
Tutu, the retired archbishop of the Anglican Church of South
Africa, in his acceptance letter. He has participated in the
work of the organization over the years and was keynote speaker
at the Sabeel conference in Boston in March 2002. He has accused
Israel of practicing apartheid against Palestinians and said
that the United States should demand that Israel withdraw from
the West Bank and Gaza.
"Archbishop Tutu's courageous leadership in confronting the evil
of apartheid in South Africa makes it particuarly significant
that he has now agreed to be our patron, because the occupation
of Palestinians has shown itself to be similar and detrimental
to both Israelis and Palestinians, just as apartheid was to all
South Africans," said the Rev. James Wall, former editor of the
Christian Century and an advisory board member.
Elizabeth Barlow of Michigan, another board member of Friends of
Sabeel, said that "Tutu's name brings credibility to the
struggle of the Palestinian people."