Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Isaiah 5:20
Recently, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter referred to Khaled Mashaal, the leader of the terrorist group Hamas, as a man “strongly in favor of the peace process.” Mr. Carter also said he did not believe that Mashaal was a terrorist leader. Since Hamas’s Charter expressly calls for the annihilation of Israel and the murder of every Jew in the world (not just those in Israel) and since Mashaal has amassed a personal fortune of over $1 billion from being the head of terror gang that achieved absolute power in Gaza by kneecapping their opponents and throwing human beings off of roof-tops and dragging through the streets people that they tied to the backs of cars and motorcycles, most rational people would stipulate that Mr. Carter committed the sin referenced in Isaiah 5:20 (of calling evil good).
While many people might be willing to stipulate to the fact that Mr. Carter means well (in that he hopefully wants peace and does not want Israel annihilated and every Jew in the world murdered), very few people were surprised by Mr. Carter’s sick embrace of Mashaal and his endorsement of Mashaal as a friend of the Arab-Israeli peace process – given Mr. Carter’s past embrace of such vile characters as Yasser Arafat, Omar al-Bashar (of Sudan), Kim Jung Il, Than Shwe (of Burma/Myanmar), Robert Mugabe (of Zimbabwe), and Hugo Chavez. Plainly, Mr. Carter has a well-earned reputation for lacking the moral sense to see and understand evil, and for committing the sin of calling evil good.
Pope Francis, on the other hand, does not yet have Mr. Carter’s well-earned (bad) reputation. For this reason, many people were shocked by his recent ceremony at the Vatican honoring the President (apparently for life) of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, as well as Pope Francis’s repeated references to Mr. Abbas as a “man of peace.”
Perhaps because the rational alternative in the face of the conclusion that Abbas is not a “man of peace,” but is in fact a petty, kleptocratic dictator that jails dissidents and incites anti-Semitic hate and violence as part of a “unity government” with Hamas (so like all dictators, he can stay in power without ever holding elections), would be to scrap the “quick fix” of a supposed “land for peace” deal between the Abbas-led Palestinian Authority and Israel, many (likely well intentioned) people, particularly in the U.S. State Department, Academia and the European Union have whitewashed Mahmoud Abbas’s evil and engaged in a form of wishful thinking that Abbas is a true “moderate” and a “man of peace.” Nevertheless, as the saying goes: “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” And while many people have said that the Church is in the “hope business,” C.S. Lewis stated it well when he said: “If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.”
The fact that Pope Francis, the spiritual leader of the world’s 1 billion Catholics, has chosen to engage in the same sort of “soft soap” wishful thinking that whitewashes Abbas’s evil is deeply disappointing and ultimately (and more importantly), not helpful to the cause of peace.
And to be perfectly clear, with respect to Mahmoud Abbas, the Pope is whitewashing evil. In much the same vein as his unity government partners at Hamas, Abbas is a despicable racist and Anti-Semite. Unlike most anti-Semites, however, Abbas actually has a PhD in Holocaust denial! In his published 1982 dissertation called “The Other Side: the Secret Relationship Between Nazism and Zionism,” from the Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow (a city more renowned than Ramallah for its anti-Semitic tyrants), Abbas claimed that the “Zionists collaborated with the Nazis in order to spur more Jewish immigration to Palestine.” Abbas’s despicable dissertation also argued that the figure of 6 million Jewish victims of the Holocaust was exaggerated by the Jews for political gain, and he claimed “only a few hundred thousand Jews” were killed in the Holocaust and that those were mostly killed through collusion between the Nazis and the Zionists. So just like his evil counterparts at Hamas (and in Iran), Abbas simultaneously denies the Holocaust but then at the same time accuses “Zionists” of collaborating with the Nazis in order to kill the relatively few Jews he is willing to admit the Nazis killed. The evil of a person that can make these claims cannot be understated.
Sadly, Abbas’s evil does not end with Holocaust denial. It is well known that Abbas was the behind the funding for the PLO backed Black September attack on the Munich Olympics in 1972 that led to the massacre of 11 Israeli Olympic athletes. Abbas was Arafat’s deputy for 40 years. He co-founded with Arafat the terrorist group Fatah and participated first-hand with Arafat in his fleecing of the foreign aid money meant for the Palestinians and in their non-stop indoctrination in vile anti-Semitic hate and in Palestinian glorification of killing Jews. After Arafat died, Abbas followed in his mentor’s footsteps. Like Arafat, Abbas has allowed for one rigged election to take place and since then has refused to run for office (Abbas is presently in the 10th year of his 4 year term). As was the case under Arafat, the dictatorial corruption continues (Abbas pays himself a “salary” of over $1,000,000 per month) and the Abbas-led Palestinian Authority has continued to glorify and encourage the murder of Jews. Palestinian Authority controlled media under Abbas produces anti-Semitic materials that would make any Nazi proud. Numerous Palestinian Authority paid Fatah officials regularly appear on Palestinian Authority TV discussing various themes on how the Jews deserve to be killed and/or displaced, and/or are a vile people that want to take over the world. So rather than encourage peace, this “man of peace” encourages hate. Under Abbas, the Palestinian Authority is a prolific producer of anti-Semitic propaganda. Cartoons such as these are sadly part of the regular diet for Palestinians under Abbas’s Palestinian Authority:
[Text “Where is the Muslim nation” depicting Jews as rats eating the foundation of the Al-Aqsa Mosque]
[Here, the Fatah Facebook page – controlled by Abbas – glorifies Palestinians killing Jews by running them over.]
Bottom line – it is plainly evident to anyone that is interested in learning the truth and not just engaging in wishful thinking, that Mahmoud Abbas is not even remotely a “man of peace.” Abbas presides over a corrupt Palestinian Authority that: regularly arrests dissidents and political activists without any due process or charging them with a crime, demonizes Israel and Jews, provides terrorists with monthly stipends, names public squares after terrorists, and Abbas himself personally incites violence against Jews and praises their murderers, all of which makes peace in the near term virtually impossible. Pope Francis’s good intentions notwithstanding, when it comes to Mr. Abbas, Pope Francis has committed the sin of calling evil good. And that sin, like the wishful thinking that likely caused it, will not lead to peace, it will only (in the words of C.S. Lewis) lead to more despair.
If Pope Francis wants to actually encourage peace, then he should stop whitewashing Abbas’s conduct and demand that the Palestinians have a leader that behaves and acts like a man of peace, not the head of a corrupt dictatorship that (following in Goebbels’s footsteps) depicts Jews as rats and glorifies their murder and murderers.