Reacting to the Pope’s call for European nations to do more to fight hate, an Israeli analyst says the Pope ignores modern day anti-Semitism in the form of anti-Israel incitement.
By: Steve Leibowitz, World Israel News
“Everybody speaks about anti-Semitism and the memory of the dead Jews,” former Italian parliamentarian Fiamma Nirenstein told World Israel News (WIN). “The problem is to fight for living Jews.”
The comment followed Pope Francis’ call to European countries on Monday to do more to fight anti-Semitism, saying “indifference on the issue was a virus that could allow the ideas of racial hatred to spread.”
Francis made the comment in a speech to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) meeting in Rome. “Indifference (to anti-Semitism) is a virus that is dangerously contagious in our time, a time when we are ever more connected with others, but are increasingly less attentive to others,” the Pope said.
According to Nirenstein, an analyst at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, “The Pope never speaks about current anti-Semitism which comes from hatred of Israel. To fight anti-Semitism he must stand against anti-Israel propaganda. He never takes Israel’s side. He makes generic comments that fail to deal with today’s daily anti-Semitic daily attacks and murder in Europe against the Jewish people.”
Pointing out the lack of support on current issues, Nirenstein told WIN, “UNESCO passed a motion ignoring and denying the Jewish people’s connection to Jerusalem and he remained silent. He even fails to react to those denying Israel’s right to exist.”
“There are many marches in Europe attacking the Jewish state by those who hate Israel and the Jews. This is the real fight against anti-Semitism. Saying ‘never again’ is not enough. Islamic public opinion in Europe overwhelmingly believes that Jews must be killed. Fascism was the problem long ago and the Pope fails to address the current problem,” Nirenstein said.
Is anti-Semitism a sin?
Rabbi David Shlomo Rosen, Director of the American Jewish Committee’s Department of Interreligious Affairs, took aim at Pope Francis’ language.
Rosen told WIN, “I do not think the Pope’s remarks on anti-Semitism were particularly remarkable. They could have been more significant if he had used theological language to say that anti-Semitism is a sin against G-d. His predecessors John Paul and Benedict were both remarkable pioneers in both their comments and actions toward Israel and the Jewish people. This Pope has personal friends who are Jewish but he has not done or said anything that is particularly new or remarkable.”
Quoting his predecessor, Pope John Paul, Francis told the conference that everyone should work for a future where “the unspeakable iniquity of the Shoah will never again be possible.” Shoah is the Hebrew word for the Holocaust.
“We have just celebrated International Holocaust Remembrance Day” Francis said. “In order to recover our humanity, to recover our human understanding of reality and to overcome so many deplorable forms of apathy towards our neighbor, we need this memory, this capacity to involve ourselves together in remembering is the key to accessing the future, and it is our responsibility to hand it on in a dignified way to young generations, “Pope Francis said.