Archbishop Desmond Tutu will speak at a Minnesota university after all.
Less than a week after it was revealed that Tutu’s appearance at the University of St. Thomas was nixed over comments deemed offensive to Jews, the university’s president announced Wednesday he had made a mistake by disinviting Tutu.
“I have wrestled with what is the right thing to do in this situation, and I have concluded that I made the wrong decision earlier this year not to invite the archbishop,” the Rev. Dennis Dease said. “Although well intentioned, I did not have all of the facts and points of view, but now I do.”
It was reported last week that Dease had disinvited Tutu after consulting with local Jewish leaders.
Jewish critics pointed to a speech Tutu delivered in 2002 in which he compared Israeli practices to those of the apartheid regime in South Africa.
The university’s decision to rescind the invitation to Tutu, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and internationally recognized humanitarian, prompted an uproar and revived claims that U.S. Jews seek to quash public criticism of Israel.
On Tuesday, Anti-Defamation League National Director Abraham Foxman wrote to Dease urging him to reconsider his decision about disinviting Tutu.
University officials did not say whether Foxman’s letter affected Dease’s decision, but they said Dease received a steady stream of phone calls and e-mails when the story broke last week.