Meretz MK to boycott all pope's activities in Israel

Nitzan Horowitz bemoans Catholicism's conservative attitude; right-wing groups also protest visit.

nitzan horovitz 88 (photo credit: )
nitzan horovitz 88
(photo credit: )
Meretz MK Nitzan Horowitz announced Sunday that he would boycott all the events in which Pope Benedict XVI participates, less than 24 hours before the pontiff is due to arrive in the country. "The pope bears responsibility for the suffering of many people. The influential guest arriving here this week is one of the most strident of church conservatives. The message he brings, as a supreme religious leader, one who, according to Catholics is incapable of error, is not a message of compassion, understanding or tolerance," Horowitz said. Horowitz explained that in his opinion, the pope bears a message of "rigidness, religious extremism and imperviousness. Of all the pope's injustices, the worst is his objection to disseminating contraceptives in Third World countries. It's hard to assess how many miserable men and women in Africa, Asia and South America have contracted AIDS because of this Philistine attitude, but we are talking about many." The liberal former TV personality and openly homosexual member of Knesset added that "Benedict XVI is exploiting his stature to seed disunity in the world. His heart remains frozen in the face of the suffering brought about by his decisions. We should not rejoice in his coming here." Horowitz is not the only MK objecting to the pope's arrival. Several days ago, some activists from the opposite side of the political spectrum convened at the initiative of Michael Ben Ari (National Union) in an effort to decide on steps to take in protest of the pope's arrival. They called the pope an "anti-Semite," "little criminal" and "enemy of the Jewish people." The right-wing activists planned to ask the Chief Rabbinate to demand that the pope apologize for crimes committed by Christians against Jews over the course of history and to promise that no missionary activity would be carried out on Jews. During their meeting, the activists presented a long list of atrocities they said were committed by the papacy or its name against Jews, from the Durban conference through the Holocaust and even as far back as the Spanish inquisition and the crusades.