Italian journalist and author, Giulio Meotti, writes for Il Foglio and Arutz Sheva. His Arutz Sheva columns have appeared on Frontpage, Gatestone and other major sites and he is quoted extensively, including in the Iranian press. His first book, "A New Shoah", published by Encounter, brought Israeli victims of terror back from anonymity, leading to the realization of how much the world lost due to their barbaric murders.
Arutz Sheva interviewed Meotti about his new book, "The Vatican Against Israel: J'Accuse", which takes its title from Emil Zola's brave attack on the 19th century French sanctioned anti-Semitism that influenced the infamous Dreyfus Case. The thoroughly-research evidenced in Meotti's book exposes the real relationship between the Vatican and Jews today, and the fearless conclusions the author presents place him squarely in the same category as Emil Zola.
To quote Norman Podhoretz on "J'Accuse":
Question: Why did you write the book?
Meotti: I wanted to investigate a mystery. For over 100 years, and half a century after the Holocaust, the Vatican has been hostile to the creation of a Jewish homeland in the Middle East with its capital as Jerusalem.
For the sixty years after the Jewish State gained independence in 1948, the Catholic Church adopted a policy fitting to Israel’s Arab-Islamic enemies: total non-recognition of Jewish statehood and peoplehood.
Despite acceptance by every Western nation, Israel was not accorded formal diplomatic recognition by the Vatican until 1993. Think about it: the Church formally recognized Israel’s existence two decades after Israel’s great foe, Egypt’s Sadat, signed a peace treaty with the Jewish State.
Apparently, the Vatican considered only the State of Israel undeserving of its recognition. Why? To answer that question I wrote this book.
Question: What are the reasons that you found?
Meotti: Throughout Christian history, Catholicism had long viewed Judaism as a pariah faith, and the Jews as a group destined to wander the earth for their complicity in the death of Jesus. Jews were called Antichrists, avaricious beings, blasphemers, cheats, circumcisers, cowards, crucifiers, deiciders, desecrators of the Host, devils.
The Second Vatican Council partially revoked this horrible anti-Semitic doctrine in 1965. But since then, the Vatican's rapprochement with the Jewish people took place at two levels, which the Vatican kept carefully separate: the theological level and the political level. Each advance on the first plane was counterbalanced by a deeper regression on the second, as if the two movements were synchronized.
Indeed, the closer the Vatican seems to draw toward reconciliation and dialogue with Judaism, the louder grows the clamor supporting the Arab cause against Israel. For example, when in 2000 the pontiff John Paul II ascended to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Judaism’s most holy site and under Israeli rule, he wasn’t welcomed by any Israeli official, but by representatives of the Palestinian Authority, and the holy complex was bedecked in Arab flags. It was an implicit recognition of Muslim hegemony.
Question: But didn't the Vatican recognized the State of Israel in 1993?
Meotti: The diplomatic relations between Israel and the Vatican created the illusion of normalcy. Despite the formal agreement, the Vatican is still ‘at war’ with the State of Israel when it deals with military self-defense, global anti-Semitism, Jewish attachment to the land, Islamic rejectionism, support for Arab irredentism, a retrograde Catholic anti-Zionist theology, and a strategic terrorist campaign against Israeli civilians.
Question: What are the major points of the book?
The book shows how the Vatican glided smoothly from classic anti-Semitism to its new form, anti-Zionism. It proves that the Christological themes of Palestinianism were based on the Judeophobic schemas of Catholic crucifixion; that the Arab Churches, supported by the Vatican, transfigured Palestinian terrorism into a Jesus-like image of martyrdom.
It shows, among other things, that during the last fifty years, the Vatican authorities obfuscated the reality of a Jewish State as democracy under siege by calling it “occupation”; that the Vatican has been able to impose a narrative in which “peace” is contingent on Israeli concessions and efforts to dismantle the Jewish State; that the Vatican took part in international conferences in which Zionism was associated with racism; that a Middle Eastern version of liberation theology, supported by high profile Catholic clergy, presented the Palestinian Arabs as “the true Israel”, oppressed by a malevolent occupation government of theologically cursed Jews.
The State of Israel was abandoned by the Vatican during its darkest periods, such as the Second Intifada of the suicide bombers, the wars in Lebanon and Gaza, the Church of Bethlehem’s siege, Iran’s Holocaust denial. Since the First Intifada, the Palestinian Liberation Organization found an ally in the Vatican in its war against Israel.
Contrary to what is generally believed, the latest Vatican synods have demonized the “unchosen” Jewish people. The Vatican has abused the Holocaust memory and used it as a weapon against Israel.
The list is very long and this is just part of it.
Question: do you think that the Vatican slanders the Israelis as a whole?
Meotti: Yes. L’Osservatore Romano, the official newspaper of the Vatican, on April 2, 2002 in an article on the front page, came to the point of accusing the Jewish state of carrying out a campaign of “extermination.” This is a blood libel.
Question: Can you provide us some examples of the Vatican's new anti-Semitism?
Meotti: Here are a few:
October 2010, Vatican synod of the Middle East bishops in Rome: the clerics proclaim that there is no “promised land” nor “chosen people”.
April 2002, Palestinian terrorists entered Bethlehem’ Jesus Nativity Church: the Catholic authorities became the world wide leaders of an unprecedented campaign of verbal assault against the State of Israel. The Vatican, from the NGOs to the Pope to the Osservatore Romano, sanctioned the terrorists’ right to use the church as a shelter and turned Israel into the aggressor.
2009, Cast Lead Operation: Pope Benedict condemned the “massive violence” in Gaza only after Israel bombed the terrorists’ installations, not before when rockets were fired against Israeli civilians. Cardinal Renato Martino, head of the Vatican Council for Justice, called Gaza “a concentration camp”.
July 2005: Pope Benedict condemned a litany of terrorist atrocities, avoiding mentioning the 57 Israelis killed in that year of Second Intifada. In this pro-Palestinian Vatican mantra, epitomized by humanitarian Catholic organizations such as Caritas and Pax Christi, Arabs are the innocent “victims” of Israeli occupation.
The corollary is that the Palestinian Arabs are a priori exculpated from any responsibility for their plight, especially terrorism against civilians, including the use of suicide bombers and rockets.
Question: What do you expect for the future?
Meotti: The Christian West has authority and power concerning Israel’s existence and survival. It must act now to condemn the appeasement of Israel’s enemies and to recognize that Israel’s existence is a gift to the Gentile community of nations. A century ago Europe was the center of Jewish life. More than 80 percent of world Jewry lived there. The Holocaust pulverized that Jewish existence and the Vatican almost stood silent. In the near future, the same percentage of world Jewry will live in the State of Israel.
That is why the Vatican’s stance on the Jewish State is the only measure of whether the Church is really serious about atoning for its sins against the Jewish people.
Question: What is the most telling conclusion of your book?
Meotti: After centuries of anti-Semitism spawned by the Church, the Vatican had the religious, moral and political obligation to help make the world a safer place for Jews. I believe the Catholic Church has failed, tragically so. That is why I wrote my own 'J'accuse'.