After 1700 years of ongoing harassment, forced conversions, massacres and pogroms, one was looking forward to a different relationship in the 21st century between the Jewish world and Catholicism.
The latest Papal visit has destroyed a great deal of the good work of Vatican II and those who laboured in the fields of building bridges. Each Papal visit to the Holy Land is filled with symbolic gestures and each move is calculated and orchestrated, and this visit was meant to embarrass and berate the Jewish State.
The visit by Pope Francis with his two wingmen, Rabbi Abraham Skovka and Imam Omar Abboud, was all part of the effort to help set the stage for a most severe attack by the Vatican on the Jewish homeland.
Pope Francis chose first to visit with Abu Mazen who is in the midst of forming a National Unity Government between Fatah and Hamas (a recognized international terrorist organization). Also, His Holiness would fly directly into what he calls the Palestinian State and not the Palestinian Authority.
Pope Francis’ dramatic gesture at the security barrier was a paparazzi delight. It created an instant iconic photo that will be used by Islamists around the world. The Pope, dressed in his splendid white robe, accorded this security barrier the same status as the holy Western Wall of the Temple.
His hand and head were gently placed next to the antisemitic graffiti comparing the security wall, which has protected Israeli civilians from Islamist terrorists, as a wall that symbolized the Warsaw Ghetto wall. The Pope could not have chosen to insult the Jewish people with any greater gesture. What an insult to the victims of Nazism. What a mockery of history.
The Warsaw Ghetto confined destitute Jews prior to their departure to Auschwitz. They were starved, beaten and deprived of all human dignity by the Nazis. How grotesque to compare the security barrier wall to the Warsaw Ghetto wall. Of course, the analogy is not lost. The Nazis built the wall and now Jews have built what Pope Francis deems to be a similar wall to contain the Palestinians. A new lie in the history of blood libels against the Jewish people.
Just as the Jewish world was finally beginning, in the post Holocaust era, to feel a sense of comfort and understanding from the Vatican, Pope Francis has destroyed the trust of the average Jew on the street. Of course, Jewish leaders will still rush to the Vatican for the five minute talk and photo op and the wonderful smiles that will be exhibited at those meetings. It will take more than photo ops for the Jewish street to trust the Vatican.
Every person of faith should ask a simple question: Why would His Holiness, Pope Francis, invite Abu Mazen who is planning an entente with Hamas, whose mission is the destruction of the Jewish homeland, to come to Rome and pray together with Shimon Peres, the outgoing President of Israel, when there is an opportunity to pray together in Jerusalem (inviting Peres was not lost on the Israeli Government, as an insult to the Prime Minister).
There will be many apologists, many interpretations, and many efforts, I am sure, by good Catholic leaders to try to heal the wounds and the insults, and not even the forced visit by His Holiness, Pope Francis, to the Jewish victims of Islamic terror will make amends for the damage. Giving aid and comfort to the Fatah-Hamas Alliance will long resonate with the Jewish people who are fulfilling the words of the Covenant and returning to build the Jewish Homeland.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman were right when they blamed the noxious anti-Israel incitement rampant in Europe for Saturday’s murderous shooting attack at the Jewish Museum in Brussels and the assault and battery of two Jewish brothers outside their synagogue in a Paris suburb later that day.
Anti-Israel incitement is ubiquitous in Europe and is appearing in ever-widening circles of the Western world as a whole.
Until this week, the Catholic Church stayed out of the campaign to dehumanize Jews and malign the Jewish state.
In one of his blander pronouncements during the papal visit, Netanyahu mentioned on Monday that Jesus spoke Hebrew. There was nothing incorrect about Netanyahu’s statement. Jesus was after all, an Israeli Jew.
But Francis couldn’t take the truth. So he indelicately interrupted his host, interjecting, “Aramaic.”
Netanyahu was probably flustered. True, at the time, educated Jews spoke and wrote in Aramaic. And Jesus was educated. But the language of the people was Hebrew. And Jesus preached to the people, in Hebrew.
Netanyahu responded, “He spoke Aramaic, but he knew Hebrew.”
Reuters’ write-up of the incident tried to explain away the pope’s rudeness and historical revisionism, asserting, “Modern-day discourse about Jesus is complicated and often political.” The report went on to delicately mention, “Palestinians sometimes describe Jesus as a Palestinian. Israelis object to that.”
Israelis “object to that” because it is a lie.
The Palestinians – and their Islamic and Western supporters – de-Judaize Jesus and proclaim him Palestinian in order to libel the Jews and criminalize the Jewish state. It seems like it would be the job of the Bishop of Rome to set the record straight. But instead, Francis’s discourtesy indicated that at a minimum, he doesn’t think the fact of Jesus’s Judaism should be mentioned in polite company.
Francis’s behavior during his public meeting with Netanyahu could have been brushed off as much ado about nothing if it hadn’t occurred the day after his symbolic embrace of some of the worst anti-Jewish calumnies of our times, and his seeming adoption of replacement theology during his homily in Bethlehem.
Consider first Francis’s behavior at the security barrier.
Reasonable people disagree about the contribution the security fence makes to the security of Israelis. But no one can reasonably doubt that it was built to protect Israelis from Palestinian terrorist murderers. And Francis ought to know this. Francis’s decision to hold a photo-op at the security barrier was an act of extreme hostility against Israel and the Jewish people.
Had he actually cared about the cause of peace and non-violence he claims to champion, Francis might have averred from stopping at the barrier, recognizing that doing so would defile the memory of the Ohayons and of hundreds of other Israeli Jewish families who were destroyed by Palestinian bloodlust and anti-Semitic depravity.
Instead, Francis “spontaneously” got out of his popemobile, walked over to a section of the barrier, and reverentially touched it and kissed it as if it were the Wailing Wall.
The graffiti on the section of the barrier Francis stopped at reinforced his anti-Semitic position. One of the slogans called for the embrace of the BDS campaign.
And that is nothing compared to the other slogan on the barrier. That one equated the Palestinians in Bethlehem to the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto. In other words, it denied the Holocaust.
By standing there, kissing the barrier with its Holocaust denying slogan, Francis gave Vatican license to Holocaust denial.
And that was just the beginning.
Pope Francis met with Fatah chief Mahmoud Abbas at his presidential palace in Bethlehem. When Israel transferred control over Jesus’s birthplace to Abbas’s predecessor Yasser Arafat in 1996, Arafat seized the Greek Orthodox monastery next to the Church of the Nativity and turned it into his – and later Abbas’s – official residence.
Standing next to Abbas on seized church property, the pope called Abbas “a man of peace.”
Abbas returned the favor by calling for Israel to release all Palestinian terrorists from Israeli prisons. And the pope – who interrupted Netanyahu when he told an historic truth – said nothing.
Israelis and Jews around the world need to be aware of what is happening. Francis is leading the Catholic Church in a distressingly anti-Jewish direction.
A lot happened in Europe over the (United States celebrated) . But none of it was good for the Jews.
On Saturday there was a shooting that killed four at a Brussels Jewish museum. Soon after, two Orthodox Jews were severely beaten in Paris. For those who don’t know, Belgium and France are hotbeds of anti-Semitism. At the same time, the elections to the European Union parliament were held, and the anti-EU parties, many of whom are also anti-Semitic, saw a huge surge in their vote. For example, thanks to this election, the European Parliament is set to seat its first fully-fledged neo-Nazis members, from Germany and Greece. Also, parties which have been dominated by or made up of anti-Semites in the past or present, like the French National Front, the Italian 5-Star Movement of former comic Beppe Grillo, and theFreedom Party of Austria, have all had strong showings.
All of this was easily predictable. In fact, I predicted a rise in anti-Semitic sentiments and attacks in Europe more than a year ago. And let me reiterate what I wrote earlier -- the Jews of Europe need to leave Europe now, before it is too late.
Why? Consider these facts:
1) Europe is dying demographically. As David Goldman has said of Southern Europeans, “You are dying because you wish to die; that is, because you do not wish to rear children.” By 2040, Southern Europeans will have about 60% more elderly dependents than now, and about half as many young workers. And things are not much different for the rest of Europe. This will inevitably lead to chaos and violence, which will (in turn) inescapably negatively impact European Jews.
2) The only demographically growing populations in Europe are Muslim immigrants, who are also not assimilating into the general , but instead radicalizing against it. These Muslims are increasingly anti-Semitic, but because the European elites are unwilling to limit the inflow of these immigrants or to police the Saudi Arabian or Muslim Brotherhood sponsored imams, who indoctrinate this vicious anti-Semitism, there is no hope that anything effective will be done to mitigate the damage.
3) The European economy, outside Germany, is also (economically) dying. Partly as a result of their demographic problems, the European economies willeventually collapse, along with their social safety net. Poor fiscal management by Europe’s public officials is another big problem. “The best economic estimates are that Europe is facing another ‘lost decade; of economic growth -- stagnant economies will do nothing to reduce sky-high among young people, and the need for more Eurocrisis bailouts will keep taxes high.”
4) Many mainstream European groups or leaders dislike or hate Israel, and rarely distinguish between Jews and the State of Israel. They are representative of the European (non-Muslim) population, where anti-Semitic attitudes remain at “disturbingly high levels.” For this reason, the Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions movement is flowering in Europe, even as the Palestinians have been proven, again and again, to be the real impediment to peace in the region.
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu had truth on his side when he explained, regarding the attack in Brussels, “This act of murder is the result of constant incitement against Jews and their state. Slander and lies against the State of Israel continue to be heard on European soil even as the crimes against humanity and acts of murder being perpetrated in our region (by others) are systematically ignored. Our response to this hypocrisy is to constantly state the truth, continue a relentless fight against terrorism and build up our strength.”
However, the truth alone will not save the Jews of Europe. They need to leave, and leave now, before things get any worse.