We are a grass roots organization located in both Israel and the United States. Our intention is to be pro-active on behalf of Israel. This means we will identify the topics that need examination, analysis and promotion. Our intention is to write accurately what is going on here in Israel rather than react to the anti-Israel media pieces that comprise most of today's media outlets.
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Pope Francis’s unfriendly visit
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.
Pope Benedict XVI was perceived as a friend of Israel, despite his
childhood membership in the Hitler Youth. His opposition to Islam’s
rejection of reason, eloquently expressed at his speech at the
University of Regensburg in 2006, positioned him as a religious champion
of reason, individual responsibility and law – Judaism’s primary
contributions to humanity.
His predecessor Pope John Paul II was less willing to confront Islamic
violence. But his opposition to Communism made him respect Israel as
freedom’s outpost in the Middle East. John Paul’s visit to Israel in
2000 was in some ways an historic gesture of friendship to the Jewish
people of Israel.
Both Benedict and John Paul II were outspoken champions of the Second
Vatican Council and maintained doctrinal allegiance to the Church’s
rejection of anti-Judaism, including the charge of deicide, and its
denunciation of replacement theology.
Alas, the Golden Age of Catholic-Jewish relations seems to have come to
an end during Francis’s visit to the Promised Land this week.
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.
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
the former Cardinal of Buenos Aires, Francis may have heard of the
November 2002 massacre at Kibbutz Metzer. Metzer was founded by
Argentine communists in the 1950s. Metzer is located 500 meters from the
1949 armistice lines which made it an obvious beneficiary of the
security fence. But true to its radical roots, in 2002 members of the
kibbutz waged a public campaign against the planned route of the
security fence. They feared that it would, in the words of Metzer member
Danny Dovrat, “ignite hostility and create problems” with the kibbutz’s
Thanks to that concern, on the night of November 10, 2002, a gunman from
the “moderate” US- and EU-supported Fatah terror organization faced no
physical obstacle when he entered the kibbutz. Once there he killed two
people on the street and then entered the home of Revital Ohayon and
executed Revital and her two sons, Matan, 5, and Noam, 4 years old.
Fatah praised the attack on its website and pledged to conduct more
assaults on “Zionist colonizers,” and promised to continue “targeting
their children as well.”
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.
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.
Although the economic consequences of the campaign of economic warfare
against Israel in the West have been negligible, BDS’s goal is not
economic. The goal of the movement is to dehumanize Israelis and set
apart for social ostracism anyone who refuses to embrace the anti-Jewish
slanders that Jews have no right to self-determination and are morally
inferior to every other religious, ethnic and national group in the
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.
At mass at the Church of the Nativity on Sunday, Pope Francis prayed
with Latin Patriarch Fuoad Twal. In his sermon Twal accused Israelis of
being the present-day version of Christ killers by referring to the
Palestinians as walking “in the footsteps of the Divine Child,” and
likening the Israelis to King Herod.
In his words, “We are not yet done with the present-day Herods, who fear
peace more than war… and who are prepared to continue killing.”
Rather than condemn these remarks, Francis echoed them.
“Who are we, as we stand before the Child Jesus? Who are we, standing as we before today’s children?” the pope asked.
we like Mary and Joseph, who welcomed Jesus and cared for him with the
love of a father and mother? Or are we like Herod, who wanted to
his visit Monday to Jerusalem, Francis embraced the Palestinian mufti
of Jerusalem, Sheikh Muhammed Hussein. Departing from his scripted
remarks which called for the pope to refer to the mufti and his
associates as “dear friends,” Francis called them his “dear brothers.”
Hussein has been condemned by the US and the EU for his calls for the annihilation of Jews in the name of Islam.
In 2012, Hussein said it was the destiny of Muslims to kill Jews, who he
claims are subhuman beasts and “the enemies of Allah.” He has also
praised suicide bombers and said their souls “tell us to follow in their
Francis didn’t condemn him.
Francis stridently condemned the anti-Jewish attacks in Brussels and
Paris. And during his ceremonial visits to Yad Vashem, the Wailing Wall
and the terror victims memorial he said similarly appropriate things.
But all of his statements ring hollow and false in light of his actions.
Israelis and Jews around the world need to be aware of what is
happening. Francis is leading the Catholic Church in a distressingly