Op-Ed: The Pope Separates Jews from Israelis
Pope Francis has praised Jews for keeping their faith despite the Holocaust and other “terrible trials” throughout history, and reaffirmed Judaism as the “holy root” of Christianity.
In a letter, published on the front page of La Repubblica Italian newspaper, the Pope writes that "since Vatican Council II, we have rediscovered that the Jewish people are still for us the holy root from which Jesus germinated".
As archbishop of Buenos Aires, Bergoglio had celebrated Rosh Hashana in local synagogues, he had voiced solidarity with Jewish victims of Iranian terrorism and co-written a book with a rabbi, Avraham Skorka. He attended a commemoration of Kristallnacht, the wave of Nazi attacks against Jews in November 1938.
But as this new letter shows, one of the grave dangers in the Vatican's dialogue with Judaism is the Church's attempt to drive a wedge between the “good” and docile Jews of the Diaspora and the “bad” and arrogant Jews of Israel.
Pope Francis has never addressed the Israelis in his messages, nor has he openly defended the Jewish State since he was elected by the college of the cardinals. It seems that there is no room for stubborn, faithful Zionists in the Pope's lenient smile. In his speeches, Jewish national aspirations are ignored, if not denigrated.
The definitive proof is in Washington.
It seems that there is no room for stubborn, faithful Zionists in the Pope's lenient smile.
While the Pope was distributing that letter, in a new event co-sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Catholic University of America was hosting a special conference about “religious freedom and human rights issues in the Holy Land”. The speakers included Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, archbishop emeritus of Washington, D.C., Jessica Montell, executive director of B’Tselem anti-Israel group, and Mustafa Barghouti, the prominent member of the Palestinian Legislative Council.
Cardinal McCarrick said that “the expansion of Israeli settlements into occupied territories provokes violence”, in a self-evident justification of Arab terrorism. Montell, who accepted money from BDS, added that “settlement expansion is a primary source of human rights violations for Palestinians” and that “human rights violations are inherent to a prolonged military occupation”.
"When you live under occupation, you come to accept things you shouldn't accept,” Lubna Alzaroo, a Muslim graduate of Bethlehem University and Fullbright scholar studying at the University of Washington, said at the D.C. event of the Catholic Church.
Among the organizations invited by the Catholic bishops there was also the Society of St. Yves, which charges "Israeli colonization, occupation and apartheid" and works for "the Palestinian refugees’ rights to return to their homes and places of origin". The Society of St. Yves shares also the "Nakba” ideology, the “catastrophe”, as the Arabs call the date of the creation of the State of Israel in 1948.
While the Pope was penning his letter about Jesus, the US' highest Catholic political body was giving a platform to the boycotters of Israel, it was calling for the indefensible-for-Israel partition of the holy land and it was exculpating the Palestinian Arab for their jihad.
The Vatican, as always happened in the past, will be silent during the next "terrible trials" for the Jewish people, if they occur, should it be Iranian nuclear or Arab terrorism.
When Pope Francis was elected, a media outlet asked me to comment. My reply was: "I hope the next Pope will avoid the ecumenical mistakes of his predecessors, he will address the challenge of political Islam and understand the Jewish revolution of returning to the land after Auschwitz. Otherwise, any Jewish-Catholic dialogue will be empty, or worse, it will be a show for hypocrites".
Was I right to be skeptical?