The Vatican vs the ‘Zionist tsunami’

The slandering of Israel is growing at an alarming rate among the most important Catholic journalists.

Vatican Assembly (R) 311 (photo credit: Reuters)
Vatican Assembly (R) 311
(photo credit: Reuters)
The January edition of La Civiltà Cattolica – the most authoritative magazine of the Jesuits, printed under the supervision of the Vatican – opens with an editorial about Palestinian refugees. Adopting the Arab propagandist word Nakba, it declares they are a consequence of “ethnic cleansing” by Israel. The journal also supports anti-Israeli historian Ilan Pappe, and falsely proclaims that “the Zionists were cleverly able to exploit the Western sense of guilt for the Shoah to lay the foundations of their own state.”
The Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, Fouad Twal, just joined an “interreligious meeting” in Doha, Qatar. Sponsored by the Arab League, the event occurred on Jerusalem, with the participation of “Christian and Muslim leaders.”
But no Jewish presence.
The slandering of Israel is growing among the most important Catholic journalists. Vittorio Messori, who conducted the first book-length interview with Pope John Paul II, recently wrote an editorial for the Italian daily Il Corriere della sera where he stated “All governments of all Muslim nations are under the tsunami of the violent intrusion of Zionism that has come to put its capital in Jerusalem.”
The Vatican’s teachings have a direct influence on 1.166 billion people. To understand its new mood about Israel, one has only to read what happened in the special synod on the Middle East, hosted in Rome. Nothing was said about Islamist persecution of Christians; indeed, every effort was made to show the Catholic Church sympathetic to Muslim grievances, especially against “Zionism” – a word evoked as a symbol of evil.
Archbishop Edmond Farhat – the official representative of Vatican politics – proclaimed that the ultimate cause of all the evils in the Middle East is that “foreign body” which is Israel: “The Middle Eastern situation today is like a living organ that has been subject to a graft it cannot assimilate and which has no specialists capable of healing it”.
US Archbishop Salim Bustros wrote the final message of the synod, claiming that the Jewish Promised Land had been “nullified by Christ,” thus reviving the infamous replacement theology that played a great role in the Holocaust. Bustros also claimed that the Bible can’t be used to justify the “occupation” of the West Bank, attempting to sever any link between the Jewish people and its homeland.
The former patriarch of Jerusalem, Michel Sabbah, named by Pope Benedict XVI to address the concluding session of the synod, presented a document against Israel called “Kairos” bearing the signatures of many Christian leaders in Jerusalem.
It says: “The Israeli occupation is a sin against God,” and takes sides against the very presence of Israel.
It likens the security barrier that has blocked suicide attacks to “apartheid,” it cancels the concept of a Jewish state and proclaims that “resistance to the evil of occupation is a Christian’s right and duty.”
The document was presented in a Vatican-owned building run by Pax Christi, Catholic Action and the Franciscan Custodian of the Holy Land.
THE CURRENT Vatican patriarch of Jerusalem, Fouad Twal, affirmed also that “you can’t have both Zionism and democracy,” supporting the “one-state solution” – a euphemism for the destruction of the Jewish state. Elias Chacour, the Catholic archbishop of Galilee and Nazareth, went on to say that Israel committed “an ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians.”
Israel bashing is also part of the strategy of the Vatican Secretariat of State in the Middle East; its default position visà- vis militant Islamism is to try to reach accommodations with regimes and forswear condemnation of Islamist ideology. Israel is easily expendable in this horrendous scheme.
Yet the Church should have a strategic interest in a friendship with Zionists. Israel and the Vatican should be natural allies against the devotees of death. There is only one Middle Eastern country where the number of Christians has grown – Israel (from 34,000 in 1949 to 163,000).
Pope Benedict should now reverse the tragic wave against Israel and the Jews – which its enemies want to annihilate – with the same powerful determination with which he raises his voice in defense of the “nonnegotiable” principles concerning human life.
Israel is also not negotiable.
The writer, a journalist with Il Foglio, is the author of A New Shoah: The Untold Story of Israel’s Victims of Terrorism (Encounter).