If It Walks Like A Duck…

I have read several articles this week about the Catholic Church’s stance on the Jewish people. On one hand, the Pope declared the Jewish people are not responsible for the death of Jesus. This is a good affirmation that is a reiteration of the Vatican II statement, going back to the 1960s. It basically absolves the Jewish people, and neutralizes the accusation against the Jews that was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Jews for over 1500 years. While the statement is nothing new, I’m happy that the present pope continues to affirm this important stance.

On the other hand, in a recent article in the Jerusalem Post, the author wrote,

“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.””

Maybe its just me, but on one hand, the Vatican says the Jews are not responsible for the death of Christ, and therefore, we are not the “Christ-killers” we were accused of being. On the other hand, they de-legitimize the Jewish State, and blame all the problems in the Middle East on the existence of the State of Israel.

The Jerusalem Post went on to report, “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”.”

The situation is clear: No longer will they express anti-Semitism towards Jewish people. Anti-Israel and Anti-Zionism is the new anti-Semitism. Israel is the “Jew” among the nations. Rather than be against individual Jews or the Jewish religion, they are against the Jewish State. This isn’t just about Catholicism. There are many fine Catholics I love and respect. This is about an attitudes held by many people, both Catholic and non-Catholic alike.

I am getting sick and tired of hearing people de-legitimize my remarks by complaining that I characterize anyone who disagrees with Israel’s politics as anti-Semitic. They make a big deal about having the freedom to criticize Israel without being labeled an anti-Semite. Well maybe its just me again, but if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, you can call it a chicken, but it’s still a duck. The real question is, why can’t I defend my view which happens to be pro-Israel, without being accused of being biased and bigoted when opposing someone who is anti-Israel. Why is there a presumed guilt on my part, and presumed innocence on the part of those against Israel? Could it be that I’m not the one being biased? Could it be, that they subscribe to the new anti-Semitism?

The Scriptures have made several things clear: First, those who bless Israel will be blessed, and those who curse Israel, are bringing a curse upon themselves. This is the covenant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, which has never been revoked, invalidated or rescinded.

Second, The Scriptures also speak of a day in the future when the nations of the world will come against Israel, but God Himself will defend Israel and strike down all the enemies of the Jewish Nation. This would be consistent with the aforementioned covenant with the patriarchs.

These scriptures speak of the present, and the future. In that scenario, there are only two kinds of people: those who are for Israel, and those who are against Israel. If you don’t believe the scriptures, then it really doesn’t matter to you. If you do, which side do you want to be on?


9 thoughts on “If It Walks Like A Duck…

  1. Thank you, Rabbi, for provising me nomenclature for something i’ve been unable to define: the New Antisemitism. It works.

  2. Thank you, Rabbi Schiffman for bringing this out. Those who portray Israel negatively often use the exact same terminology and images as historical anti-semites. It is more than just having problems with some Israeli policies. I’m pro-Israel AND I have issues with certain policies. It is only with Israel that I see people suggest that if you disagree with their “policies,” you must have a problem with the ENTIRE nation. I think the term, “policies,” is just a word to mask what people really mean: EXISTENCE. Thank you for so eloquently expressing this in your post.

  3. drschiffman
    I’m afraid the Catholic church leaders are going in the wrong direction for awhile yes, for awhile on many topics. I’m unsure if the average Catholic is aware of this situation that you have written about:

    “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.””

    This horrible and shocking it’s beyond understanding!! Surely the Vatican is has read and studied the Bible No?!!! So, how can this statement be from the Vatican?? I understand how you feel about Catholics, my sister and her children are Catholic..But this I’m reading is beyond me. They have some serious problems in many ways as far as the church direction in this new age. I have always loved the jewish people and as an adult I pray Isreal will be safe at all time. God loves the Jewish people and God Himself will defend Isreal. Peace be with you:)

    • Its a good observation that the average Catholic probably isn’t aware of these publications, but they do filter down to priests, and then to parishioners, through teachings, and attitudes. As I stated earlier, this is not limited to Catholics. Protestants with their replacement theology, nullify Israel’s place and inheritance, and in the process, nullify the promises of God, are no better. The point was not about Catholicism, but about the anti-Semitism in a new form. I find many people say they love Israel, the land, but don’t necessarily love Israel, the people. I appreciate that you are a lover of the Jewish people.

  4. Greetings Rabbi Schiffman,
    As a newcomer to the Torah, my question may seem very simplistic. Would having our synagogues teach us Israeli history,( like we learn American history in school) eliminate much of this new anti-semitism? Or has the other side believed the lie so long, it has become truth to them no matter what we say?

    • Every Hebrew school and Jewish day school teach Jewish history. Thats not the problem. What you suggest would only help if Christians took courses in Jewish history, something I wouldn’t hold my breath for. They see the world from the vantage point of church history which is a very different story than Jewish history. Ours is more about living and actions. Theirs is more about theological disputes and wars fought over them.

  5. If yoiu do a little digging, I think you will find that this pope has a serious cloud over his past. Prior to his apppointment BY MEN as pope, he was the Grand Inquisitor of the Roman Catholic Church. I think the Grand Inquisitor was the head guy who ran the inquisition, huh? I think that as Jews we ought to take anything this guy says with a whole shaker full of salt. Regardless of any warm and fuzzy pronouncements he may make, he is the worst thing the Catholic Church has done to us since Pius XII.

      • I know from personal experience that people CAN change. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could believe the pope had changed?

        I think he has not.

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