From London to Jerusalem

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From London to Jerusalem

Post by pizza » Mon Jul 25, 2005 7:36 am

The Jerusalem Post Internet Edition

From London to Jerusalem
Tom Gross, THE JERUSALEM POST Jul. 24, 2005

Last Friday, as British police frantically searched for four presumed suicide bombers on the run, the people of London had a glimpse of what the people of Israel live with daily. The explosive devices of all four men had failed to go off properly on London's transport system the day before, and the men had subsequently escaped.

Throughout Friday there were roadblocks and house searches throughout London. Closed-circuit TV footage of the four was released to the public in the afternoon, and by evening two suspects had been taken into custody. The people of London expressed the fear of "living with terror 24/7," the world expressed its sympathy, and there was much supportive and understanding coverage of Britain's plight by international media and politicians.

Palestinian terrorists have carried out over 25,000 attacks on Israelis since September 2000, resulting in thousands of deaths and injuries. Israeli security forces have thwarted thousands of attacks, and Israelis have grown used to living with manhunts of the kind seen in London on Friday; yet they are barely reported abroad.

The head of the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) confirmed last week that Israel presently receives some 60 intelligence warnings of potential Palestinian terror attacks every day, and this month alone several Israeli women and teenage girls – and now Rachel and Dov Kol – have been killed in various attacks.

Such was the nervousness in London on Friday that, at 10 a.m., a dark-complexioned man was shot dead on a train at Stockwell Tube station in south London. Witnesses on the train immediately said it was clear the man had been unarmed. In the words of one, he was "literally executed." He was already lying on the ground motionless, having tripped, when British police pumped five bullets into his head at close range. On Saturday evening the police confirmed what had been fairly apparent from the time of the shooting – that they had mistakenly targeted an innocent man. It turned out he was a Brazilian Catholic.

Israel has taken enormous care in its "targeted killings" of "ticking bombs," almost never killing anyone in a case of mistaken identity.

CONTRARY TO the absolute lies told in British media in recent days, the Israel Defense Forces have not instituted a shoot-to-kill policy, or trained the British to carry out one. For example, on Friday, at the very time British police were shooting the man in the Tube, the IDF caught and disarmed a terrorist from Fatah already inside Israel en route to carrying out a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv. Israeli forces didn't injure the terrorist at all in apprehending him and disarming him of the 5-kg. explosive belt he was wearing.

And yet, for taking the bare minimum steps necessary to save the lives of its citizens in recent years Israel has been mercilessly berated by virtually the entire world.

Had Israeli police shot dead an innocent foreigner on one of its buses or trains, confirming the kill with a barrage of bullets at close range in a mistaken effort to thwart a bombing, the UN would probably have been sitting in emergency session by late afternoon to unanimously denounce the Jewish state.

By evening, 12 hours had passed since the shooting, but the BBC still hadn't interviewed a grieving family, no one had called for British universities to be boycotted, Chelsea and Arsenal soccer clubs hadn't been ordered to play their matches in Cyprus, and The Guardian hadn't yet called British policy against its Pakistani population "genocide."

As for London Mayor Ken Livingstone, who is in overall control of transport in the city, including the train where the man was shot, and who strongly defended the shoot-to-kill policy as a legitimate way to prevent suicide bombings, he was not yet facing war crimes charges – as Livingstone himself has demanded Israeli political leaders should be.

Instead on Friday, Polly Toynbee, leading commentator for The Guardian, wrote that the terrorists were "deranged," "savage" and "demented" "killers" who "murder in the name of God." This is a far cry from the habitual manner in which The Guardian and others describe the suicide killers of Israelis as "fighters" and "activists."

ONE OF the London terrorists responsible for the bombings on July 7, Muhammad Sidique Khan, traveled to Israel in February 2003. He stayed in Israel for just one day, and we can surmise that he wasn't there to volunteer on a kibbutz or visit Yad Vashem.

Two months later, on April 30, 2003, two other Britons of Pakistani origin (whom Hamas has since admitted training) were involved in the suicide attack on Mike's Place, a popular bar in Tel Aviv, killing or wounding 58 people.

Khan's visit to Israel was the main international headline in The Washington Post last Tuesday. Yet most British papers have completely ignored it. The Independent and The Daily Telegraph didn't mention it at all; the Scotsman, the Times and Sun newspapers only very briefly.

There seems to be little interest in Britain in the murder of Israelis by British citizens. Many British journalists evidently have difficulty in admitting that people murdered on buses in Israel are as much victims as those murdered on London buses. Another British citizen, Richard Reid, who became known as the "shoe-bomber," also visited Israel and the Gaza strip for 10 days in July 2001.

If people in Britain want to stop terrorists they need to recognize the inspiration, and quite possibly training, that Hamas, the masters of the suicide attack, have given to would-be British and other terrorists, such as Reid. Instead British officials continue to embrace Hamas, and hold talks with them.

Britons will also need to stop listening to the lies propagated by large sections of their media. For example, the cover story of this week's New Statesman, the favored publication of many in Britain's ruling Labour party, says: "There were no suicide bombers in Palestine until Ariel Sharon, an accredited war criminal, sponsored by Bush and Blair, came to power."

You begin to wonder whose side some in Britain's media are on.

The writer is a former Jerusalem correspondent for the Sunday Telegraph.

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Post by Donald Isler » Mon Jul 25, 2005 9:00 am

Haaretz

Last update - 17:45 25/07/2005

Israel criticizes Pope for failing to condemn terror attacks

By The Associated Press

The Vatican envoy was summoned to the Foreign Ministry Monday as Israel expressed its outrage that Pope Benedict XVI failed to condemn terror against Israelis.

On Sunday the pontiff prayed for God to stop the "murderous hand" of terrorists, during his noontime blessing delivered from his Alpine retreat in Italy's northwestern Valle d'Aosta region, where he is vacationing.

Benedict referred to the recent "abhorrent terrorist attacks" in Egypt, Britain, Turkey and Iraq but did not mention attacks in Israel.

"The pope deliberately failed to condemn the terrible terror attack that occurred in Israel last week," a Foreign Ministry statement said.

A July 12 suicide bombing in the seaside city of Netanya killed five Israelis. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility.

"We expected that the new pope, who on taking office emphasized the importance he places on relations between the Church and the Jewish people, would behave differently," the statement said.

The statement called on the pope to condemn attacks "against Jews in the same way he condemns terror attacks against others."

Copyright 2005 Haaretz. All rights reserved.
Donald Isler

Ralph
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Post by Ralph » Mon Jul 25, 2005 9:37 am

That's it! I'll never become a Catholic now although I remain intellectually committed to a catholicity of interests.
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Post by karlhenning » Mon Jul 25, 2005 9:47 am

WWDD

(What Would Dittersdorf Do?)
Karl Henning, PhD
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Boston, Massachusetts
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Post by Ralph » Mon Jul 25, 2005 11:07 am

karlhenning wrote:WWDD

(What Would Dittersdorf Do?)
*****

Order another pint of strong beer and compose a great work of music.
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Post by karlhenning » Mon Jul 25, 2005 12:06 pm

Then, I am no Dittersdorf ... strong beer and work don't go together for this composer :-)
Karl Henning, PhD
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston, Massachusetts
http://members.tripod.com/~Karl_P_Henning/
http://henningmusick.blogspot.com/
Published by Lux Nova Press
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pizza
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Post by pizza » Tue Jul 26, 2005 12:15 am

Donald Isler wrote:

The Vatican envoy was summoned to the Foreign Ministry Monday as Israel expressed its outrage that Pope Benedict XVI failed to condemn terror against Israelis.

On Sunday the pontiff prayed for God to stop the "murderous hand" of terrorists, during his noontime blessing delivered from his Alpine retreat in Italy's northwestern Valle d'Aosta region, where he is vacationing.

Benedict referred to the recent "abhorrent terrorist attacks" in Egypt, Britain, Turkey and Iraq but did not mention attacks in Israel.

"The pope deliberately failed to condemn the terrible terror attack that occurred in Israel last week," a Foreign Ministry statement said.

A July 12 suicide bombing in the seaside city of Netanya killed five Israelis. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility.
I'm sure the reason for the Pope's failure to condemn attacks on Israel isn't lost on the attackers.

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Post by Ralph » Tue Jul 26, 2005 5:20 am

karlhenning wrote:Then, I am no Dittersdorf ... strong beer and work don't go together for this composer :-)
*****

At least you're honest enough to acknowledge your limitation.
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pizza
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Post by pizza » Sun Jul 31, 2005 11:53 pm

The Jerusalem Post Internet Edition

Analysis: The big picture behind the Vatican spat
Herb Keinon, THE JERUSALEM POST Aug. 1, 2005

When the Foreign Ministry went very public last week with its protest to the Vatican over Pope Benedict XVI's failure to condemn the July 12 Netanya suicide bombing, it clearly wanted to get the Vatican to stand up and take notice.

Otherwise, the ministry could have done what it had done numerous times in the past when John Paul II also did not condemn terrorism in Israel: protest quietly and through more conventional diplomatic channels – and not alert the press.

But unlike the previous low-profile attempts, this time the ministry got its wish and the Vatican paid attention. And then some.

Senior Foreign Ministry official Nimrod Barkan's comment to The Jerusalem Post last Monday, charging that the late Pope John Paul II had not made it a practice of condemning terrorism in Israel, led to an uncharacteristically strident response by the Vatican on Thursday in which it told Israel to butt out of papal statements. The Vatican explained it couldn't condemn all attacks on Israel, because these attacks were often followed by unlawful Israeli actions.

The Foreign Ministry, since it first summoned the papal envoy last Monday to protest – and since Barkan's comments to the Post that same day – has steadfastly declined to comment on the matter, not wanting to exacerbate tensions with the new Pope.

Nevertheless, one can only assume that the ministry and Barkan, the director of the ministry's World Jewish Affairs Bureau and a seasoned and well-respected diplomat, realized from the outset that their words would anger the Vatican and create friction with Benedict and his staff.

Which leads to the question: What did Israel hope to gain by forcing this issue and, in the words of one news report, create "the biggest challenge yet to face Benedict's 100-day-old papacy?" Like so much else here these days, the answer has to do with disengagement or, more precisely, the day after disengagement.

Barkan, in his candid remarks to the Post last week, said that Israel was trying to create a new modus operandi in the Vatican, which had, up until then, not made it a practice to condemn attacks in Israel.

The Vatican responded by saying that Barkan was making things up and issued a statement that included a two-page document that mentioned the times John Paul spoke out against Middle East violence.

But a careful parsing of that document indicates that – with the exception of a condemnation of the February 2004 bus bombing in Jerusalem that killed eight and wounded over 60 – the incidents mentioned, dating back to 1982, dealt with general condemnations of violence in the region, many of them coming after Israeli military reactions to Palestinian attacks. They did not, however, deal with specific attacks against Israelis.

This accumulated silence on attacks against Israelis has not been lost on Israeli policy makers who believe that the level of Palestinian terrorism is dictated to a large extent by the level of international legitimacy the terrorists feel they have for their actions.

If the world would roundly condemn all attacks in Israel, this argument runs, then the level of terrorism against Israel would decline dramatically.

Which explains Israel's frustration with the Vatican. Israel is trying to shape an unequivocal no-tolerance attitude toward terrorism in Israel in the post-disengagement era, and wants to get the Vatican on board.

Jerusalem is bracing for a situation where, soon after all the Jews are removed from Gaza, the world – including the Vatican – will applaud briefly and then say it is time for Israel to re-enter negotiations with the Palestinians on the basis of the road map.

Israel's answer to this will be that negotiations can only take place when the Palestinians dismantle the terrorist infrastructure. Jerusalem is then preparing for a state of affairs in which, rather than tackling the terrorist infrastructure, the Palestinians will unleash a wave of terror to "convince" Israel to negotiate.
According to this scenario, if the world only offers weak condemnations, the Palestinian extremists will to turn to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and ask why he wants to confront them, when the world is not all that concerned about suicide bombings in Israeli cities.

And it is within this framework that the Vatican's condemnations becomes so important.
Israel is concerned about the Vatican – and the world – delegitimizing terrorism around the globe, but continuing to wink at it in Israel.
And this is precisely how Benedict's condemnation last week of terror in Turkey, Egypt, Britain and Iraq – but not in Netanya – appeared in Jerusalem.

For the Netanya attack that killed five wasn't an attack in the territories, or against soldiers, which some around the world would seek to justify. Rather, it was an attack in the heart of the country, aimed at killing as many civilians as possible – just like in Turkey, Egypt, Britain and Iraq. Furthermore, this particular attack was not immediately followed up by any Israeli military response.

That the pope publicly ignored this attack sent alarm bells ringing in Jerusalem, not only regarding what was, but also what – in the absence of public action – could very well be in the future, after disengagement. This was a mini-crisis the Vatican weighed, approved and – duly – generated.

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Post by pizza » Mon Aug 01, 2005 5:25 am

The Vatican's Terrorism Omission
By Alan M. Dershowitz
FrontPageMagazine.com | August 1, 2005

Let us now try to understand the Vatican’s bizarre policy on terrorism. Recently Pope Benedict XVI condemned terrorist attacks against civilians in Great Britain, Egypt, Iraq, and Turkey. In a pregnant omission – very pregnant in light of the Vatican’s long history of silence in the face of attacks against Jews – the Pope omitted any mention of the country that has suffered the largest number of terrorist attacks against civilians since 9/11, namely, Israel. When the Israeli government understandably protested the omission, the Vatican’s position became even more troubling. It singled out Israel for criticism, saying that that beleaguered nation’s responses to attacks against its civilians was “not always compatible with the rules of international law.” It then went on to say that the Vatican could not protest every Palestinian attack against Jewish civilians if Israel did not always follow international law.

Let’s try to understand what this means. Unless a country is absolutely flawless in its response to terrorism, the Vatican will not condemn terrorism against its civilian citizens. This seems to justify the killing of civilians as a protest against violation of international law. If that “moral” position is not bizarre enough, let us turn to the actual facts. Egypt’s response to terrorism is far, far more violative of international law than Israel’s. Egypt routinely tortures – I mean really tortures to death – suspected terrorists, to say nothing of mere dissidents. Turkey’s record is not all that much better. The U.S. and Great Britain have killed many more civilians in responding to terrorism in Iraq than Israel has done. So even if the Vatican’s statement of principle were morally acceptable – which it surely is not – that principle would in no way justify leaving Israel off a list that includes many worse violators of international law.

Moreover, the Vatican’s snippy condemnation of Israel for its reprisals is particularly untimely. Israel, unique among nations victimized by terrorism, has refrained from any significant reprisals over the past several months, despite the facts that terrorist attacks against its civilians continue. It has made a point of withholding its right to respond in the interests of facilitating peace.

Why, then, did the Vatican deliberately refuse to condemn terrorist attacks against Jewish civilians in Israel? I fear it is for the same reason that the Vatican took too long and did too little in protesting against the mass extermination of Jews by Nazi Germany. I suspect that it also has something to do with the Vatican’s love fest with the godfather of international terrorism, Yasser Arafat. Pope Benedict XVI’s good and decent predecessor met with Arafat so often – more often than with almost any other world leader and certainly more often than with any terrorist – that he came to be known as “Arafat’s Pope.”

The truth is that the Vatican has always had a Jewish problem. Today that problem focuses more on the Jewish state than on the Jewish religion. But the Vatican’s perverse refusal to condemn attacks against Jewish civilians in Israel raises even broader questions of discrimination.

So enough of the Vatican’s arrogant refusal to be scolded on moral grounds. Listen to its recent statement about Israel’s mild criticism: “The Holy See cannot take lessons or instructions from other authority on the tone and content of its own statements.” Well, it better learn to start taking such lessons when it makes immoral and bigoted statements. The days are long gone when the Vatican, or any other religious group, is exempt from outside criticism, especially when it makes political pronouncements which can have the effect of encouraging terrorism. Good Catholics should begin apologizing right now for this most recent manifestation of a double standard against Jewish victims by the Vatican.

A recent fatwa issued by American Muslim leaders might serve as an example to the Vatican. It condemned all suicide bombings as in violation of Islamic law. Certainly Catholic morality demands no less.

Far be it for me to try to teach the Pope something about Catholic theology, but I seem to recall that for centuries Catholic teaching has distinguished between the willful targeting of innocent civilians, on the one the hand, and the inadvertent killing of civilians while pursuing appropriate military targets. The former is always morally prohibited, whereas the latter is permitted under the principle of double effect, unless the number of civilians killed is out of proportion to the military benefits obtained. Under this very Catholic principle, the Pope should always condemn all suicide bombings, and should only condemn disproportionate reprisals. If those principles were applied fairly to all nations, then the Vatican would have to include all terrorist attacks that target Israeli civilians. The Vatican should do that now, without equivocation.

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Post by Ralph » Mon Aug 01, 2005 6:17 am

Here's an issue that really puzzles me. The Vatican's stand (because I don't think the pope acts by himself) makes no sense. Given the continuing dialogue between the Catholic Church and Jews of various backgrounds and beliefs failing to include a condemnation against terrorism in Israel is strange.

It's a rare occasion when I'm on the same page as Dershowitz but he's pretty on target here.
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Post by Donald Isler » Mon Aug 01, 2005 7:17 am

In any case the Vatican should be denouncing terrorism in Israel, especially as it is usually aimed at civilians, even if it disagrees with Israel's military tactics. When is terrorism against civilians justified anywhere??
Donald Isler

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Post by pizza » Mon Aug 01, 2005 7:21 am

Ralph wrote:Here's an issue that really puzzles me. The Vatican's stand (because I don't think the pope acts by himself) makes no sense. Given the continuing dialogue between the Catholic Church and Jews of various backgrounds and beliefs failing to include a condemnation against terrorism in Israel is strange.

It's a rare occasion when I'm on the same page as Dershowitz but he's pretty on target here.
I'm not an expert on Catholic beliefs, but perhaps the root of the failure to condemn is theological. Maybe the Vatican simply can't reconcile the return of Jews to the Holy Land in a position of self-rule with what they've been saying about it throughout the last two millenia.

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Post by pizza » Mon Aug 01, 2005 8:26 am

Some other views of the relationship between the Vatican and Israel:


The Visit of the Pope to the Holy Land - Sergio Itzhak Minerbi
1 Jul 2000
PAPAL VISIT TO ISRAEL - SELECTED VIEWS

The Visit of the Pope to the Holy Land

by Sergio Itzhak Minerbi

The visit of Pope John Paul II to the Holy Land in March 2000 is undoubtedly an historical event. The only previous visit of such a high-ranking pastor of the Church was that of Pope Paul VI on 4 January 1964. Observers have underlined the many differences between the two visits, above all the fact that Paul VI stayed only a few hours and not six days, as did Pope John Paul II. Paul VI entered the State of Israel near Megiddo; he never addressed President Shazar by his title. Even when he sent a telegram with his thanks, it was sent to Tel Aviv, not to Jerusalem, the residence of the President of the State of Israel. John Paul II's visit was distinctly different since he arrived at Ben-Gurion airport, where he was formally received by President Ezer Weizman and Prime Minister Ehud Barak. He visited the two Chief Rabbis at Hechal Shlomo in Jerusalem, and the President of the State in his official residence in Jerusalem. However, beyond the formalities the two visits were dissimilar because of the tremendous difference in the relations between the State of Israel and the Holy See in 1964 and today.

The Six Day War of 1967 resulted in the reunification of Jerusalem under Israeli rule. Subsequently, the peace process has seen the signature of peace treaties with Egypt in 1979 and with Jordan in 1994. The Oslo talks brought about a first meeting between the late Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat in Washington on 13 September 1993, and some months later the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Israel. Evidently the international position of Israel has improved dramatically since 1964.

The visit of John Paul II should be analyzed on several levels: the pastoral level, by far the most important to the Church; the political level, since the Pope is also the sovereign of the Holy See; and last but not least the inter-religious level.

The Pastoral Level

On the pastoral level, which has received very little attention in the Israeli press, I wish to recall the Mass at Korazim on 24 March. This site was chosen because the Catholic movement of the neo-catechumens is building the "Domus Galileae", a huge building on the slopes of the nearby Mount of Beatitudes. The neo-catechumens, a movement which tries to convince young people to return to the moral values of primitive Christianity, brought to the Mass some 45,000 young people from all over the world. The large picture of Jesus behind the Pope was painted by one of their leaders, and they received a special blessing at the end of the Pope's homily. The Pope invited the audience to come to the World Days of Youth in Rome, from 15-20 August 2000, in which the neo-catechumens will play a major role. In his homily, the Pope urged them to be faithful to the Ten Commandments and to the Sermon of the Mount, believed to have been delivered at that place by Jesus.

It is therefore his wish that the faithful return to the moral values of the primitive Church while the implementation of those principles would be left to the neo-catechumens. If this interpretation is correct, John Paul II leaves a moral testament to his Church, returning to ancient values upheld by the neo-catechumens, while indicating the means of implementation of those values through this movement.

Neo-catechumens are part and parcel of the campaign of re-evangelization launched by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, President of the Italian Episcopal Conference. The neo-catechumen movement is defined by some as "the catholic alternative to Jehovah's witnesses".1 Jews should be especially alert in examining the activities of the neo-catechumens, which resemble all too closely some Jewish customs. Neo-catechumens prolong the Easter period of festivity to almost a week, like the Jewish Passover, dance the Jewish "hora", an Israeli folk dance, and copy the Jewish "tikkun" with long nights spent in prayer. Is this one more example of appropriation of Jewish symbols by the Church, or is it a kind of syncretism, confusing the mind of some Jews - thus facilitating their conversion? As a recent sociological research has proven, there are many Jews in the United States who believe that they can be at one and the same time Jews and Protestants, or Jews and Catholics, or Jews for Jesus. Moreover about half of all American Jews are marrying non-Jewish partners. Only 25% of their children are Jews, while the rest of them are either Christians, or want to be Jews and Christians at the same time.2

Therefore, there is enough confusion of mind among young Jews, ready to become a fertile ground for syncretism leading to Christianization.

The Political Level

The question of Jerusalem

On the political level, several journalists have reported the tremendous achievement of the visit; one of them wrote that it was "one of the greatest diplomatic successes of Israel since its foundation".3 Far from sharing such enthusiasm, I would recall that a few days before the Pope's arrival in the Holy Land, on 15 February 2000, the Holy See signed an agreement with the PLO. The agreement itself engages the PLO to recognize "that Palestinians, irrespective of their religious affiliation, are equal members of Palestinian society". It is therefore a very important treaty for the Holy See as the first of such agreements with a Moslem entity.

The Preamble to the agreement deals at length with the question of Jerusalem. The Holy See and the PLO do not recognize Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem. According to this Preamble: "unilateral decisions and actions altering the specific character and status of Jerusalem, are morally and legally unacceptable", and they call for a "special statute for Jerusalem, internationally guaranteed".4 On other occasions the Holy See has criticized the so-called "Judaization" of Jerusalem. Msgr. J.L. Tauran, Secretary for Relations with States of the Holy See, said that "the Popes, as also the international community, have never accepted, and this still remains true today, the annexation of territory by force." Tauran also added: "The Holy See has absolutely not abandoned its principles: the peaceful resolution of differences, rejection of the forcible occupation by one of the parties of an area of the City of Jerusalem and the request for an internationally guaranteed statute for the most religious parts of this unique city. [...] Since 1947, the Popes have made themselves the defenders of the preservation of the unique and sacred character of that City."5

When he came to the Synod of the Bishops in Jerusalem on 25 October 1998, Msgr. Tauran said: "East Jerusalem is illegally occupied. It is wrong to claim that the Holy See is only interested in the religious aspect of the City and overlooks the political and territorial aspects. Both aspects are closely linked." He thus clarified the stand of the Holy See, as one that does not only deal with the Holy Places but would like to have a say on all the questions concerning Jerusalem.

The mosque in Nazareth

Another item of disagreement between the Holy See and Israel is the future mosque in Nazareth. Msgr. Tauran said on this subject: "The Secretariat of State is particularly preoccupied with the situation in Nazareth at present. To build a mosque just a few meters away from the Basilica of the Annunciation is certainly not the way to strengthen respect and conviviality between Moslems and Christians. If there is a need for a mosque, could it not be built elsewhere?"6 During his visit in Israel the Pope sent a letter protesting the approval given by the Israeli authorities for the building of the mosque. This is a rather rare and strong act of censure, which surprisingly could not wait for the Pope's return to the Vatican. Apparently it had to be made hic et nunc (here and at once).

The Israeli authorities were accused by the Catholic Church that the Christians in Nazareth had requested assistance and protection by the police and never got it. Perhaps the government's mistake was to consider the mosque in Nazareth a local problem, and therefore the authorities consulted with the Mayor, rather than with the Bishops.7 On the other hand, the Catholic Church under the guidance of Msgr. Michel Sabagh, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, has reacted violently to the government's authorization to build a mosque in front of the Basilica of Annunciation. Msgr. Sabagh succeeded in closing down the Christian Holy Places for two days in protest and managed to create a united front with other Christian communities. Sabagh also accused the Israeli Government of fomenting tension between Christians and Moslems; an accusation promptly re-echoed by the Holy See's spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls.8

These very unusual and undiplomatic declarations were totally unwarranted. According to its policy, the Israeli government has no interest whatsoever in "fomenting divisions" between faiths, and even less in diminishing the position of the Catholic Church in Israel. Moreover, one must recall when the Catholic Church was prepared to allow two cathedrals in Algeria (in Algers and Constantine) to become mosques in 1962, and transferred 94 churches to the Tunisian Government in 1964.9 This means that the Church is once more using a double standard: a lenient one for the Moslems and a very severe one for the Jews.

Let us also recall that a mosque is situated just in front of the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem to which no objection was ever raised. Furthermore, during the visit of the Pope to Bethlehem, his Mass in Manger Square was interrupted by the muezzin of a nearby mosque, and the Pope had to stop in the middle of his prayer in order to let the muezzin end his call. No Catholic representative to the Palestinian Authority raised any protest following this incident. On the contrary, the spokesman of the Holy See said that the incident serves as an example of respectful coexistence between religions. It seems therefore evident that His Beatitude Msgr. Sabagh was more than eager to find a good occasion to attack the Israeli Government with the full and loud support of the Holy See.

Last but not least is the position taken by some Moslem extremists, which is counter-productive because it undermines the flow of Christian tourism to Nazareth. Yasser Arafat, the Chairman of the Palestinian Authority, won a lot of points in the Christian world when he suggested building the mosque elsewhere. Thus he is strengthening his claim to be the protector of all Holy Places, Christian ones included. This claim is further reinforced by the fact that Arafat is married to a Christian and he was host to President Bill Clinton in December 1998 when the latter visited the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

Nomina odiosa sunt?

A well-known French Rabbi, Josy Eisenberg, has noted that "not even once was the name of Israel pronounced" by the Pope during his visit.10

This is not true; there was no omission of the name of the State of Israel. For instance arriving at Ben-Gurion airport, the Pope said: "Mr. President, I thank you for your warm welcome, and in your person I greet all the people of the State of Israel".11

The Pope seemed more friendly, however, when he spoke on arriving in Jordan (20 March 2000), where he said: "In a spirit of profound respect and friendship, I offer greetings to all who live in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan."12 The Pope was even more cordial in Bethlehem where he said: "I am grateful to the officials of the Palestinian Authority who are taking part in our celebration and joining us in praying for the well-being of the Palestinian people."13 A few hours later at the Mass in Bethlehem, the Pope reiterated: "I am grateful to the officials of the Palestinian Authority who are taking part in our celebration and joining us in praying for the well-being of the Palestinian people."14

In his remarks at the President's residence, the Pope said: "I am most grateful, Mr. President, for the welcome you have given me to Israel."15 There has been no other public expression of thanks to the Israeli authorities. The Pope and his assistants received Minister Haim Ramon, coordinator of the visit, for an interview; while this was certainly a great personal honor, no public statement was made at this or at any other occasion, thanking the Israeli authorities for their tremendous efforts in making the Pope's visit a success.

Peace in the Middle East

Addressing King Abdullah II of Jordan, the Pope said: "Your Majesty, I know how deeply concerned you are for peace in your own land and in the entire region." The style in Israel was a little cooler when the Pope said to President Weizman: "Mr. President, you are known as a man of peace and a peacemaker. We all know how urgent is the need for peace and justice, not for Israel alone but for the entire region."16 At the residence of President Weizman, the Pope said: "We know that real peace in the Middle East will come only as a result of mutual understanding and respect between all the peoples of the region: Jews, Christians and Muslims". But there were no compliments, no recognition of Israel's will to proceed towards peace or of the personal role of the President in the peace process. On the same occasion the Pope added: "It is my fervent hope that a genuine desire for peace will inspire your every decision."17 He only "hopes"; he is not really sure that Israel has a "genuine desire for peace".

A different style with the Palestinians

The Pope's visit was not free of political overtones and sometimes looked one-sided. This fact was especially clear during the visit to Bethlehem on 22 March. Politicization was inherent, in a sentence repeated by the Pope upon arriving in Bethlehem: "No one can ignore how much the Palestinian people have had to suffer in recent decades." In the Pope's messages, only the Palestinians suffered. Terrorism against Israelis doesn't exist in papal rhetoric. The call for a Palestinian homeland, included in the papal message, was not a new one. Haim Ramon, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office responsible for Jerusalem Affairs, said after this speech that the Palestinians' rights have been accepted as part of official Israeli policy since 1978 [at Camp David] and are today in the process of being realized, although within the context of Israel's security interests.

However when it was linked, as it was in John Paul's speech, with the words "international law and the relevant United Nations resolutions", this was a definite reference to the many anti-Israel UN resolutions passed by a General Assembly in which political factors weighed against Israel. It was also the line of the PLO.

John Paul II also called for and emphasized the words, "stable guarantees for the rights of all the peoples involved". This could be a reference to the aforementioned recent agreement between the Holy See and the PLO, which called for guaranteeing the rights of religious minorities. Even in a series of passages, which were ostensibly purely religious in nature, one could detect a political note. The Pope linked the life of Jesus with the events of today, thus comparing the suffering of Jesus with that of the Palestinians. "This is a place that has known 'the yoke' and 'the rod' of oppression. How often has the cry of innocents been heard in these streets?" the Pope asked.18 That evening, while meeting Yasser Arafat in the evening, the Pope offered him fourteen sea shells representing the fourteen stations of the Way of the Cross and the Pope explained that this was a way to symbolize the Passion of the Palestinians. So again the Pope made the comparison between the suffering of the Palestinians and those endured by Jesus.

In that same homily, the Pope said that only with a just and lasting peace, "not imposed, but secured through negotiation," would legitimate Palestinian aspirations be achieved. Since it is Israel which holds the power, it was clearly to Israel that the Pope referred when speaking of "imposing" a peace.

Finally, in his address at the Dehaishe refugee camp, the Pope spoke of the suffering of the refugees, but made no reference to the fact that it was the Palestinian Authority that was now responsible for the welfare of the refugees. There was no call to the Palestinian Authority to improve their condition, but rather a reference to "the sad memory of what you were forced to leave". The questions regarding the reasons for which the Arabs left their homes, thus becoming refugees, are still debatable, as well as who encouraged them to leave. Later, rehabilitation became impossible when the Arab states opposed any action by the United Nations in this direction and kept the refugees in camps, not allowing them any resettlement nor to live freely in the Arab countries.19

Political overview and diplomatic relations with Israel

By and large one can say that the Pope managed to avoid most of the political "mines" during his visit, although he did not react to the violent anti-Israeli speech of Sheikh Tatzir Tamimi, head of the Palestinian Authority' religious courts,20 at the Interfaith meeting, thus giving it a kind of tacit approval. He also refrained from becoming involved in the question of Jerusalem during the visit, perhaps because the stand of the Holy See was already very clear.

On the positive side, we can recall that the Pope visited the Chief Rabbis at their offices, and President Weizman at his residence, in conformity with the customary courtesy of visits by heads of states that have normal diplomatic relations. Many also stressed that the Pope's visit itself gave a kind of legitimization to the State of Israel. However such a legitimization is hardly necessary any more. On the contrary, one could question the fact that it took such a long time, from 1948 until 1993, for the Holy See to establish normal diplomatic relations with the State of Israel.

As a direct consequence of the Madrid Conference in November 1991, the Holy See accepted the creation of a "Permanent Bilateral Commission" with the State of Israel in 1992. The question of Jerusalem was left out of the negotiations with Israel, as the Holy See's spokesman Navarro-Valls declared that this was a multilateral question not to be discussed on a bilateral basis with Israel.21 The Holy See signed the Fundamental Treaty with Israel in Jerusalem on 30 December 1993. In its wish to minimize the importance of this event, the Holy See sent Msgr. Claudio Maria Celli, Undersecretary for Relations with the States, to the signing ceremony, and not Msgr. J.L. Tauran. Following the conclusion of the agreement between Israel and the PLO in Cairo, the Holy See accepted the exchange of Ambassadors with Israel. Clearly the Holy See wanted to follow suit with the PLO in order to avoid criticism from the Arab countries. This was confirmed by Msgr. Tauran in Jerusalem when he said: "If the Palestinian partners, supported by the Arab world, were seated around the negotiating table, who could blame the Holy See for pursuing a more formal dialogue with the Israeli authorities?"22 For Israel, the signature of the Fundamental Treaty was a kind of dividend of the peace process.

The Inter-Religious Level

The importance of television

Jews all over the world, and Israelis in particular, will remember this visit mainly for the gestures made by the Pope, which were interpreted as an exceptional proof of goodwill towards Jews. Two images, broadcast on television, will remain in the collective memory: the first of the Pope at Yad Vashem with several Jewish survivors from his own village, Wadowice, in Poland; the second when the Pope stood alone at the Western Wall and inserted a piece of paper into its crevices, according to Jewish custom. Symbolically too, the Catholic Pope arrived on board a Jordanian aircraft, which flew two small flags, one Israeli and one of the Holy See.

One is reminded of the visit of the Pope on 13 April 1986 to the Jewish Synagogue of Rome, a first in history. The television image of that event is most memorable, but what made an impact on the doctrine of the Church was the Pope's speech. Certainly this Pope, who is a master of mass communication, took the image to be presented by the media in full consideration. Every detail was studied in advance.

Thus during his visit to the Holy Land, while the Pope was praying alone in Nazareth, seemingly in complete isolation, a camera situated just in front of him was actually breaking into the intimacy of his meditation allowing millions of people to see him at prayer. At the Mass in Korazim, a camera situated behind the Pope was filming his silhouette, reflected in the Sea of Galilee. One could almost imagine him walking on the water, like Jesus is believed to have done. Again near the Wall, everything was carefully coordinated for the image on the TV screen.

One cannot reproach the Pope for his concern with television: it is a sign of youth to conform to the imperatives of modern life and television is certainly one of them. Naturally all those ceremonies had been studied for the impact they may have upon the faithful sons and daughters of the Catholic Church. But the unbelievable enthusiasm of most of the Jews following these ceremonies proves that they too accepted the superficial television images, not trying to understand the subliminal message and the hidden meaning behind those images.

The problem is that all those images do not change even one iota in the Catholic doctrine. What matters are the texts in their official version and therefore we must analyze those texts even if Prime Minister Barak encouraged everyone to focus on the gestures instead.

No symmetry between Christians and Jews

Analyzing the texts of the Pope's speeches in Israel, we find that he drew a parallelism or symmetry between antisemitism and anti-Christianity three times; a parallelism which does not really exist. Upon his arrival in Tel Aviv he said: "Christians and Jews together must make courageous efforts to remove all forms of prejudice. We must strive always and everywhere to present the true face of the Jews and Judaism as likewise of Christians and Christianity."23 He was partly repeating a concept already expressed in his visit to the Synagogue in Rome, on 13 April 1986, and in the document on the Shoah of 16 March 1998. Two days later at Hechal Shlomo in front of the two Chief Rabbis, he said: "We must work together to build a future in which there will be no more anti-Judaism among Christians nor anti-Christian sentiment among Jews".24 At Yad Vashem the Pope repeated: "No more anti-Jewish feeling among Christians or anti-Christian feeling among Jews."25

I strongly reject this convenient symmetry between Jews and Christians because it is not supported by history. For centuries the Jews have suffered from the antisemitism of the Church, its false accusations of ritual murder, desecration of Hosts (Eucharist), and deicide. The consequences of the Catholic doctrine were tragic: Jews were persecuted, tortured and murdered. On the other side, after the year 135, no Christian was ever murdered by Jews according to Jewish doctrine.

The impression is that the Pope is trying to justify past persecutions by Christians against Jews by presenting them as a reaction to supposed anti-Christian feelings. This impression is reinforced by the fact that during his visit to Jordan and the Palestinian Authority, the Pope never used a similar remark towards Moslems. There historical facts would corroborate the necessity for reciprocal eradication of hate between Christians and Moslems.

A Godless ideology

The Pope refuses to admit that the "Church as such" is guilty of anti-Semitic feelings against the Jews. Supporters of this view explain that it would be against Catholic doctrine to admit such guilt since the Church is "holy and immaculate". The fact is that the German Bishops, who are well versed in Catholic doctrine, declared in 1995 that insofar as the indifference to persecutions of Jews is concerned, the "Church which we recognize as holy and we venerate as a mystery is also a sinner Church that needs conversion".26 An Italian monk, Enzo Bianchi, prior of the monastic community of Bose, wrote: "Today we know it tragically well: the antisemitism practiced by Christian towards Jews was not an incident due to some fanatics, it was instead the consequence of a theology, of a liturgy, of a catechesis which were existing already in the second century."27

However, the Pope said at Yad Vashem: "How could man have such utter contempt for man? Because he had reached the point of contempt for God. Only a Godless ideology could plan and carry out the extermination of a whole people." In other words, the whole responsibility falls upon a "Godless ideology", unrelated to or even opposing the Church. Already in March 1998, in the Holy See's document "We remember: a Reflection on the Shoah", it was stated: "The Shoah was the work of a thoroughly modern neo-pagan regime. Its antisemitism had its roots outside of Christianity. "28

By presenting matters thus, the Pope denies that Christian doctrine with its accusation of deicide against all Jews, as well as of ritual murders, allegedly done by Jews, did effectively prepare the ground for nazi antisemitism.

He also leaves room for a further claim that such an ideology was also used against the Church itself and therefore the Church was no less a victim of the Nazis than the Jews. The Church "as such" need not modify anything in its teaching. The fact that Pope Pius XII was actually a collaborator of the Nazi regime, helped Hitler in gaining power, and went as far as asking the German Bishops to pray for Nazi victory, is well established today. But according to Pope John Paul II, all the blame for the Shoah lies only with the pagan people who had adhered to a "Godless ideology". The Pope disregards the fact that the Nazi campaign against the Jews was, from the very beginning, based on hatred and prejudice as old as Christianity itself.

Significantly the Church is going forward with the process of beatification of Pius XII. There will be no more room for doubts or second thoughts about Pius XII's behavior, and above all his silence during the Second World War, when a beatified Pius XII will be above any criticism from within the Church.

At Yad Vashem the Pope said: "The Catholic Church [...] is deeply saddened by the hatred, acts of persecution and displays of antisemitism directed against Jews by Christians." "Saddened": is this statement satisfactory?

Moreover, the Pope also said at Yad Vashem: "I remember my Jewish friends and neighbors, some of whom perished, while others survived." Jacques Graubart, President of Yad Vashem Belgium, himself a Polish-born survivor of the Shoah and Resistance fighter, has voiced strong objections to the Pope's words. He wrote: "Does the Pope not remember that more than 3.5 million Polish Jews perished and not even 200,000 survived? [...] How can he then mention in one breath the millions who perished and the thousands who survived, as if there were some sort of equity or balance? [...] This passage of the Yad Vashem speech is unhistorical, shockingly offensive to the victims of the Shoah, offensive to those who perished as much as to those who survived. [...] Could it be that 55 years later, there still is no genuine understanding by the Catholic Church of the enormous moral implications of the Shoah? Could it be that the Catholic Church still perceives the Shoah as an 'act of God', on a level with storms, landslides, epidemics and shipwrecks, where some perish and others survive? Should not Yad Vashem, both as a memorial and a scientific institution, point out the doubtful implications of this passage in the Pope's speech?"29 I personally could not agree more with Mr. Graubart.

One of the few criticisms of the Pope's visit is found in a letter to the editor sent by Serge Grinberg from Paris to the daily Haaretz. He wrote: "If any chief of state would say at Yad Vashem the same things that were said by the Pope John Paul II, nobody would care. In the speech of the Pope there was almost nothing, as if it was still 1946. The Pope is not only a leader of the world; he is also the highest authority of a religion that had a role in the cruel and wicked war against Judaism as a religion and the Jewish people as a nation. The least he could have done was to admit responsibility for persecutions for 2000 years of a people whose only guilt was not to accept one of his sons who claimed to be God. [...] There is nothing essential and significant in the Pope's speech at Yad Vashem at the beginning of the 21st century. [...] The people of Israel and the Jews in general should not express any appreciation for such a poor presentation."30

At the Western Wall

Visiting the Western Wall was certainly one of the highlights of the Pope's visit to Israel. Near the Wall, the Pope completed the circle initiated with the virtual trip to Ur, the birthplace of Abraham. The spiritual patrimony of the Church includes Abraham and then Moses, as stressed by the visit to Santa Caterina near Mount Sinai where the Ten Commandments were given to the Jewish people. According to the doctrine of the Church, Judaism is "accomplished" in Christianity and the Sermon of the Mount is a kind of summing up. Coming to the Western Wall, the most important Jewish holy place, the Pope demonstrates to Catholic faithful that the prophecy of Jesus is still valid, since the Temple has not been rebuilt. For centuries, Christians have brought the pilgrims to look at the ruins of the Jewish Temple finding in them a proof of the veracity of the prophecy of Jesus according to which of the great buildings in Jerusalem: "Not one stone here will be left on another". (Mark 13:2) While every Jew visiting a Church abides to Christian customs, the Pope did not deem it necessary to demonstrate a parallel behavior near the Western Wall: he came with his pectoral cross and at the end he made the sign of the Cross.

The symbolism is evident: the condemnation of the Jewish people still exists. Some wish to believe that now the leader of an important Christian religion has visited, he cancels the condemnation altogether. Receiving him, the Minister for Jewish Affairs Melchior gave one of the most significant speeches by any Jewish leader during this visit. The symbolism and the TV image were perfect.

It is therefore a triumphalist Church that reaffirms its principles in the land of the Jews, even receiving the enthusiastic approval of the Jews. The "price" paid for it is really very low: some smiles, some expression of sadness for the Shoah, some good words on the necessity of dialogue. Nothing more. The only modification of the Catholic doctrine towards Jews took place well before John Paul II, in 1965 in the declaration "Nostra Aetate" which limited, but did not render null and void, the guilt of the Jews in killing Jesus.

Pope John Paul II, who did not save one single Jew from the gas chambers, is received as one of the "Righteous Among the Nations". The Pope is praised even by Jews for his definition of the Jews as "our elder brothers" which could be interpreted in a negative way. One should well have in mind the passage in which Paul writes: "The older will serve the younger. Just as it is written: 'Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.'" (Romans 9:12-13) This hypothesis is strengthened by the memoirs of Bishop Joerge Mejia, who was invited to accompany the Pope to the Tempio Maggiore in Rome where "the brothers, the older ones and the younger ones, met each other again and hugged each other, just like one time Esau and Jacob."31

The Pope, who spoke about Auschwitz as "the Golgotha of the modern world" in 1979, is the same pope who initiated the process of beatification for Pius XII. John Paul II also decided to canonize Edith Stein, a woman who was born Jewish and became a Catholic nun. He established the day of the death of Edith Stein, 9 August, as the day of the Shoah for the Church, thus presenting the conversion of Stein as an example to be followed.

In Auschwitz, 300 crosses were planted near the death camp by a group whose leader was Kazimierz Switon. After more than a year, they were removed by the Polish authorities on 27 May 1999, because of public protest. But a large cross, seven and a half meters high, remains on the spot, notwithstanding all the Jewish and international protests. Archbishop Tadeusz Rakoczy came to pray near the big "papal" cross, giving it the full support of the local Church.

With such precedents it would be only normal to check accurately every detail of the Pope's visit. We should analyze all the texts of his speeches and declarations including the prayer put into the Western Wall. When, on 12 March 2000, the Pope asked in Rome that God should forgive for the deeds of "those who in the course of history have caused these children of yours to suffer", many Jews protested that the Shoah was totally omitted from his speech. Yet when the Pope put into the Western Wall in Jerusalem the same identical text, everyone enthusiastically praised his act. Seemingly the packaging is what matters, not the content.

The text reads:

God of our fathers, / you chose Abraham and his descendants / to bring your Name to the Nations: / we are deeply saddened / by the behavior of those / who in the course of history / have caused these children of yours to suffer, / and asking your forgiveness / we wish to commit ourselves / to genuine brotherhood / with the people of the Covenant.

The descendants of Abraham are the Jews, the Christians and the Moslems, so in this text each of them may be chosen to bring the name of God to the Nations. Moreover, the Jews are not expressly mentioned and "these children of yours" could be also the Christians or the Moslems. Nor are expressly named "those who [...] have caused [...] to suffer". Finally "the people of the Covenant" are not necessarily the Jews. But even accepting that the Pope is speaking about centuries of Christian persecutions against the Jews, this oppression is reduced to the "behavior of those who have caused these children of yours to suffer". Not a word about the doctrine of the Church, which induced the persecutions, and the only reaction of the Pope - as in Yad Vashem - is to be "deeply saddened". According to the Pope, God should forgive "the behavior of those" unnamed people, and in exchange the Pope is committed to "genuine brotherhood" (indeed not much) "with the people of the Covenant". The last few words sound positive, although on other occasions Pope John Paul II said that the new Covenant has replaced the old Covenant since the Jews had not been faithful to it.

Moreover, in his speech in the Amman Stadium, the Pope said: "From time to time the Prophets had to defend the Law and the Covenant against those who set human rules and regulations above God's will, and therefore imposed a new slavery upon the people [...] For denouncing failures to keep the Covenant, there were Prophets, including the Baptist, who paid with their blood."32

There is again in those words more than a hint that the Jews were not faithful to their Covenant and therefore it was replaced by the new (Christian) Covenant. In the new Catechism we find: "But the Prophets accuse Israel of breaking the covenant and behaving as a prostitute. They announce a new and eternal covenant. Christ instituted this New Covenant."33

In conclusion this text is far from satisfactory if it is to bring to an end centuries of Christian hatred against Jews.

Conclusion

The historic visit of the Pope and his speeches were defined by Minister Haim Ramon as: "an important milestone in the relations between Israel and the Catholic Church. Today marks a large stride in the process of reconciliation to which the Pope has already greatly contributed." I strongly doubt that is the case. Neither during this visit nor before it has John Paul II modified the classical Catholic doctrine in favor of the Jews. He has condemned antisemitism and declared it "a sin against God and man", and this is by itself very positive. But does this condemnation include the so-called anti-Judaism of the Church as well? There is no clear answer to this question.

Even when the Pope says: "We must work for a new era of reconciliation and peace between Jews and Christians"34, we should ask a cardinal question. Does the Pope mean "reconciliation" as Paul meant it? Paul wrote that Jesus' purpose "was to create in himself one new man, out of the two [the Jews and Pagans], thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the Cross." (Ephesians 2:15-16) It is interesting to note that in all his speeches to a predominantly Moslem public in Jordan or in the territory of the Palestinian Authority, the Pope never used the word "reconciliation", preferring "understanding and cooperation". For instance, at the Mass in Bethlehem the Pope said: "I greet the Muslim Community of Bethlehem and pray for a new era of understanding and cooperation among all the peoples of the Holy Land."35 This reinforces the feeling that "reconciliation" is constantly taken in the meaning given to this word by Paul, expressing the necessity to convert the Jews to Christianity.

1 Salvatore Izzo, Papa in Terra Santa, AGI, 24 March 2000.
2 Sergio Della Pergola, "New Data on Demography and Identification among Jews in the U.S.: Trends, Inconsistencies And Disagreements", in: Paul Ritterband (ed.), Jewish Intermarriage in Its Social Context, The Center for Jewish Studies, City University of New York, 1992. Jewish families include growing proportions of non-Jews. This involves a growing personal participation of Jews in non-Jewish religious rituals.
3 Fiamma Nirenstein, Chiarimenti fraterni, Kol Ha-italkim, Jerusalem, April 2000.
4 Basic Agreement Between The Holy See and The Palestine Liberation Organization, Vatican, 15 February 2000.
5 Tauran, op. cit
6 Msgr. Tauran, The Holy See and the Holy Land: Justice and Charity, October 1999.
7 Peter Hirschberg, "Brief encounter with Yitzhak Minerbi, We have lost so many points with the Christian community", The Jerusalem Report, December 20, 1999.
8 "Vatican slams Israel over Nazareth mosque", The Jerusalem Post, 24 November 1999.
9 Livio Amedeo Missir, Eglises et Etat en Turquie et au Proche-Orient, Bruxelles, 1973, pp.26-27; La Documentation Catholique, 16 August 1964.
10 Josy Eisenberg, "Yad Vachem: non-lieu pour un lieu-nom", Le Monde, p.19, 31 Mars 2000.
11 Israel, Ben-Gurion Airport, 21 March 2000: Arrival (Pope's speech).
12 www.vatican.va/holy-father/johnpaul_II/travel - Speech of the Holy Father John Paul II at the Welcome Ceremony in Jordan, International airport "Queen Alia" in Amman, March 20, 2000.
13 Palestinian Territories, Bethlehem, 22 March 2000: Homily.
14 Homily of John Paul II, Mass in Manger Square, Bethlehem, Wednesday, 22 March 2000.
15 Visit to the President's Residence, 23 March 2000.
16 Welcome Ceremony in Israel, Tel Aviv Airport, 21 March 2000.
17 Visit to the President's Residence, 23 March 2000.
18 Haim Shapiro, "Experts diverge on politics and the Pope", The Jerusalem Post, 23 March 2000.
19 Henri Tincq, "A Deicheh, avec les meres de 'martyrs' de l'intifada, Le Monde, 24 March 2000.
20 Tamimi called "the occupier" to stop "strangling Jerusalem and oppressing its residents" and said that Israel has a long record of "genocide" and "shooting and wounding Palestinian children".
21 Sergio I. Minerbi, "The Vatican and Israel', in: P. Kent & J. Pollard (ed.), Papal Diplomacy in the Modern Age, Praeger, Westport, 1994.
22 Msgr. J.L Tauran, The Holy See and the Middle East, Washington, 10 March 1999.
23 Israel, Ben-Gurion Airport, 21 March 2000: Arrival (Pope's speech).
24 Visit to Chief Rabbis at Hechal Shlomo; Speech of John Paul II, 23 March 2000.
25 Israel, Yad Vashem, 23 March 2000: Address (Pope's speech).
26 "Le 50e anniversaire de la liberation d'Auschwitz, Declaration des eveques d'Allemagne, La Documentation Catholique, 19 Fevrier 1995.
27 Enzo Bianchi, "Viaggio del Papa in Medio Oriente. Visita in Terra Santa", La Stampa, Torino, 25 March 2000.
28 We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah, Holy See's Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, 16 March 1998. p.10.
29 Letter to the author by Jacques Graubart, 26 March 2000.
30 Serge Grinberg, "A poor presentation by the Pope", Haaretz, 28 March 2000.
32 Homily of the Holy Father; Amman Stadium; 21 March 2000.
33 Catechism of the Catholic Church, Doubleday, New York, 1995, #762, p. 218.
34 Visit to the President of Israel, 23 March.
35 Homily of John Paul II, Mass in The Manger Square, Bethlehem, 22 March 2000.

Brendan

Post by Brendan » Mon Aug 01, 2005 5:42 pm

Thanks for posting that, Pizza. I've noticed in recent times the Church backing away from many theological points made by Nicholas of Cusa long ago, which never were official Church doctrine I hasten to add.

But Cusa was the guy who came up with the notion of Una religio in rituum varietate, or one religion with different rituals of realization. He was still pro-Christian, but along these lines:

Now, since there can be many ways that seem to be good, there remains doubt about which is the true and perfect way that leads us assuredly to the knowledge of the Good (a Good which, indeed, we call God) in order that when we discourse about it we may understand one another. To be sure, Moses described a way; but it is not accepted or understood by everyone. Christ illumined and perfected this way, though many remain who are still unbelieving. Muhammad attempted to describe this same way as quite easy, so that it might be accepted by all, even by idolaters. These are the most renown descriptions of the aforementioned way, although many other [descriptions] have been made by wise men and prophets.
Nicholas of Cusa – Cribratio Alkorani, Prologue 7 [trans Jasper Hopkins, The Arthur Banning Press 1994]

Although seemingly mild, this is a very different proposition from the Pauline idea (taken to further extremes by subsequent "enthusiasts") to the necessity of conversion. But having the Christian Scriptures frozen at the time of conflict and separation from Judaism has caused massive and unnecessary hatred and violence, IMHO. In many ways, in Scripture "the Jews" were symbolic of a particular, pre-Incarnation understanding of divinity, as indeed the Egyptians are (also) symbolic in Judaism of a type of religious understanding and practice rejected. Cusa allows the previous understanding (and remember that the Judaism of the New Testament was pre-Talmud) to remain, simply saying that not everyone understood it and Christianity was better suited to the Gentiles. He even said that Mohommad was right to reject Christianity as he had only heard the Nestorian heresy.

Literalizing symbolism is one the primary issues concerning religion, IMHO. But why the Church is moving away from learned, theologically sound opinion that anticipated modern thought such as Cusa's is baffling to me. For some, the realizition of and union with the divine is more important than doctrinal pedantry. But not many, it seems.

Saulsmusic

Post by Saulsmusic » Wed Aug 10, 2005 11:00 am

Pizza,

The sad reality is that the vast majority of the world Hates the Jewish people.

How else you can explain the endless attacks of the U.N,EUROPE ARAB STATES,ASIA,RUSSIA,AND JUST ABOUT EVERYONE ELSE ON ISRAEL FOR DOING THE VERY SIMPLE AND OBVIOUS THING OF PROTECTING THEMSELVES?

Ralph
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Post by Ralph » Wed Aug 10, 2005 1:41 pm

Here' the nominee for this year's Oscar in the category of Appallingly Poor Taste.

*****

Jewish group urges removal of film clip
8/10/2005, 2:32 p.m. ET
By JOCELYN GECKER
The Associated Press

PARIS (AP) — An Internet video that depicts the Nazi death camp Auschwitz as a rave party drew sharp criticism Wednesday from a Jewish rights group, which urged authorities to have it removed from European Web sites.

The three-minute video titled "Housewitz" — a pun on house music and Auschwitz — casts Nazi soldiers as DJs. It alternates black-and-white still photos of Holocaust atrocities with color images of youths at an outdoor party. And it advertises a "Free taxi ride home," showing a wheelbarrow full of corpses.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center's European office denounced the video as "outrageous," saying it goes "beyond the bounds of freedom of expression to an unprecedented level of obscenity."

The center asked the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to call on countries where Web sites have posted the video to "immediately stop the spread of this pernicious nihilism."

Jaroslaw Mensfeld, a spokesman for the museum at the Auschwitz Memorial in Poland, said he was "absolutely shocked." Some 1.5 million people, mostly Jews, were killed at the Nazi camp during World War II. "I don't understand how a person can make such a movie," he said.

The film is featured on one Dutch and two Polish Web sites, the Wiesenthal Center said.

The Dutch Web site, Geenstijl, says it's doing nothing wrong in posting the video. The site, whose name means "no style," says it mixes news with "light subjects and pleasantly twisted nonsense." It has published a disclaimer saying it copied the video after learning it was being talked about in Internet chat rooms.

"We didn't make the video, but it is an integral part of the discussion by our viewers. It's not illegal and we don't intend to remove it from the site," said Oscar van Wijland, one of the Web site's writers.

According to the Dutch Complaints Bureau for Discrimination on the Internet, the video's maker is a 22-year-old Dutch student. Six weeks ago, the bureau received a complaint about the video and had it pulled from three Web sites.

Later, when the Geenstijl site posted the film, the complaints bureau went to the Amsterdam Public Prosecutor but was told the video was "not illegal enough" to prosecute, the bureau said. It plans to appeal.
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