June 11, 2014

Pope Francis’s unfriendly visit

Our world: Pope Francis’s unfriendly visit
By CAROLINE B. GLICK, The Jerusalem Post
May 27, 2014
The Golden Age of Catholic-Jewish relations seems to have come to an
end during Francis’s visit to the Promised Land this week.

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

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

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.

As 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 Palestinian neighbors.

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.

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.

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 world.

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.

“Are 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 eliminate him?” During 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 path.”

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
anti-Jewish direction.

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