Readers reveal the ripple effect of the Pope’s poor judgment
So, I’m all for a lively dialogue about the issues in this blog. But, red lights started flashing when I got a response to my recent post on the Pope’s reinstatement of a Holocaust-denying bishop that began, “The above accusations are completely out of line and you will only get away with the accusations because ...
So, I’m all for a lively dialogue about the issues in this blog. But, red lights started flashing when I got a response to my recent post on the Pope’s reinstatement of a Holocaust-denying bishop that began, “The above accusations are completely out of line and you will only get away with the accusations because of your Jewish blood.”
Now, I’m not 100 percent sure I know what he means by “Jewish blood.” Perhaps it is a reference to high cholesterol. But I have been around long enough to know that what follows an opening like that is not going to be friendly. I can live with that. However, the author goes on to suggest that the Torah recommends forgiveness and that we should not hold it against the bishop in question that he has argued that the holocaust didn’t happen. Or that we should somehow get over it. But the bishop in question wasn’t denying the Holocaust many years ago. He denied it a couple days before the church reinstated him. So the question is not “can we forgive” it is “why does he keep denying?” and “why single him out for special treatments?”
Since the facts are so overwhelming that the Holocaust actually did happen (nearly three dozen members of my family were killed in it), it can only be that he is, right now, on an on-going basis, seeking to bury the memory of what happened along with the victims themselves. This is not a misstep it is a current program of attack, not ignorance but willfully injuring the already grievously injured. It is, at its heart, hate mongering and yes, anti-Semitism, and in taking the action he did the Pope did not demonstrate superior powers of forgiveness he either endorsed Bishop Williamson’s view or took the position that the view was acceptable. A decision was made within the Vatican, despite knowing the facts, to actively embrace someone with reprehensible, indefensible views.
The question any observer must ask, regardless of their “blood,” is why? (Oh, and as for the points a couple readers made about my quip about the Pope’s infallibility at the end, well, it was just a quip but I do appreciate the doctrinal clarifications.)
In the same vein, which is to say, speaking of blood, it may not be something that the general public is aware of but one of the reasons that some of us, well you know, Jews, are a little sensitive to actions like the Pope’s, to the practiced intellectual blind-spots in responses like the one referred to above, or to bias in reporting or analysis of Israel’s situation is that anti-Semitism seems to be rising in the world. Times of crisis like this bring out a search for scapegoats.
Let me give you a recent personal example. I wrote a piece for the Daily Telegraph in December on what I saw as the declining relevance of the G8 and the rising importance of the big emerging powers. It was called, rather boringly, “Barack Obama’s dilemma: Rich nations must learn to share power.” Not highly controversial. And not, as John Stewart might say, a very “Jewy” subject. At least so I thought. As it turned out, my by-line was provocation enough. Thirty responses were posted on the Telegraph‘s web Site. About a third of them had to do with my being Jewish, the world Jewish conspiracy, and related nonsense.
For example, one said, “Don’t be fooled by this parasite that trys (sic) to pass itself off as a human being by calling itself ‘David’…It is just a life-sucking piece of bacteria that sucks the life and property out of productive humans.” Note the clever focus on the Jewish-sounding first name. Although come to think of it, that may not be the best example as it was signed by someone named “Jane”, which means it very well could have been my first wife. (She’s half Jewish, so she could have written it with her non-Jewish hand.)
One poster made a random attack — and I mean random since it had nothing to do with the article — alleging Rahm Emanuel was a member of the Mossad.
Another wrote, “That’s what political correctness and minority rights are all about. Criminalising (sic) the majority so a hidden section of the “minorities” can continue with their agenda. Much like Rothschild, Rockefeller and now David Rothkopf.” (I see their point. Our names sound similar. Not that the Rockefellers were Jewish. And not that I could afford to enter the same zip code as either of the others. And what about David Beckham or Michelangelo’s David, who at least actually was Jewish, why don’t I ever get compared with them?)
Then there was this piece de resistance: “You are just a retarded parasite David…Go kill yourself maggot-boy.” (Although I suppose that could have come from a relative or an ex-girl friend as well.)
And all this was in a dry little piece about the G20. Imagine if I had written on something that was really a red flag to this crowd like, say, Woody Allen’s “serious” movies or, I don’t know, the dangerous degree to which religion has re-entered American politics. Which is to say, in my own narrow experience, it’s not an isolated example. It happens with dependable and increasing regularity, which is deeply discouraging, except to the extent that it suggests than an increasing number of these mouth-breathers are actually learning how to read and write.
MAURIZIO BRAMBATTI/AFP/Getty Images
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