December 6, 2013

Popes vs. Jews

J’accuse, of course, is the title of the most famous open letter ever published, in which Emile Zola, the most celebrated French author of his time, charged the French government, in January 1898, with illegally sentencing Captain Alfred Dreyfus to life in prison.

Dreyfus, who was Jewish, had been charged with spying and convicted of treason, and Zola charged that Dreyfus had been framed precisely because he was Jewish. The Italian writer Giulio Meotti’s decision to give his new book the title The Vatican against Israel: J’accuse is no coincidence. His topic, like Zola’s, is institutional anti-Semitism – the institutions, in this case, being Christian churches. He doesn’t ignore the Church of England and the various Protestant and Eastern churches, but his focus is on Roman Catholicism, and especially on the last several Popes. Like Zola, Meotti is unsparing. 

Citing historian Daniel Goldhagen’s statement that the Catholic Church, after the Shoah, had the moral obligation to defend Israel and Jews, Meotti flatly sums up his thesis: “This book shows that the Vatican tragically failed, and has forsaken the Jews again.”

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