Josef Olmert

The Vatican and Israel-new book exposes old bias

Joseph Telushkin and Dennis Prager in their ”Why the Jews”? argued convincingly, that anti-Jewishness, the longest recorded historic hatred ,
infected Pagans, secular and religious people. That said, it is arguably the case, that religion played a decisive role in this phenomenon, simply because of its influence on so many people, what a notorious anti-Jewish Jew Carl Marx referred to as the ”opium of the masses”, as well as its influence on secular movements, even those professing to be anti-religious altogether, such as the Nazi Party. The Nazis were undoubtedly influenced by many generations of anti-Jewish propaganda, espoused by Martin Luther , the founder of Protestantism, as well as the Catholic Church. In fact, the Catholic Church can shamefully claim the dubious title of being the religious organization most associated with hatred to Jews and Judaism.

This is not to absolve other religions from their share of responsibility , and Protestantism a-la -Luther was already mentioned here, but also
Islam. Just recently, the great historian Martin Gilbert published his ”In Ishmael’s House”, which sets the record straight about the true attitude
of Islam towards Jews and the Jewish religion. The golden ages, alongside the bloody ages, and the former not always got their due historic recognition mainly because of the force of Arab propagandists who for too long spread the notion , that anti-Semitism never occurred in the Islamic world. It is all the brain child of the ”Zionists’… well, there was and there is anti-semitism among Muslims, many of whom are Semites themselves.Anti-Semitism has always meant and still does being Anti-Jewish, so games of words by Arabs and their supporters in the West will not change realities, as painful as they are.

And painful it is in the first place to us Jews, the perennial recipients of so much hatreds, not something that should be our claim to fame,but also not something that we should gloss over and run away from.

A new book,”The Vatican Against Israel; J’accuse ”, by Giulio Meotti,provides us a timely, grim, realistic and highly informative
reminder to this state of affairs. All is the same in Rome, not necessarily throughout the city, but surely in its most famous neighborhood, the Vatican. Meotti is Italian, non-Jewish, and I personally, despite my acquaintance with him, do not know whether he is a practicing Catholic or not. But I do know, that he is brave as hell. You cannot be Giulio Meotti in Italy of today, and not being brave, when you stand up so consistently and so convincingly on the side of Israel, which does not seem to be the most popular foreign country over there, and this is an understatement… The man is threatened, but he is relentless in his pursuance of the truth.

The ADL publishes every year their list of the 10 most anti-Israel groups in the US. Among them this year, the Jewish Voice For Peace, a group of anti-zionist loons, which once also targeted me as one of their enemies…[It made me proud, needless to say…]. I suggest that the ADL publishes a yearly list of the 10
most important pro-Israel voices in the world. Meotti should be there, and very high up on the list!

But Meotti should not get our collective praise, as well as my very modest acclamation only or even mainly because he is pro-Israel. He should be commended
for the thorough, meticulous research, one which left no stone untouched.
He referred to old times, to more recent ones, to Pope Pius XII and the Holocaust, and to the Vatican and Israel’s establishment and its continuing existence.
He also gave a good account of the impact of Middle Eastern, Arab Catholic clergy on the overall tone of resentment towards Israel.
He is absolutely right about that, but the reality is , that Rome does not need the likes of the notorious Hillarion Kapucchi and Michel Sabah to adopt, mainttain
and promote its policies towards Israel. The Vatican knows what it does and says independently of the voices coming from the Middle East.

On the morning of 30 December 1993, the Vatican and Israel signed the Fundamental Agreement , paving the way, 45 years after the establishment of Israel, 15 years
after the peace between Israel and the Largest Arab country Egypt, toward diplomatic relations between the two sides. But no need to hold our breath
with excitement, as 14 years later, Archibishop Pitro Sambi, who served as the Vatican Nuncio to Israel, declared, that
”to be frank, the relations between the Vatican and the State of Israel were better when there were no diplomatic relations…”[Meotti, p.9]

Speaking frankly and the Vatican?… one is left to wonder, if one really cares for Israel, what else is a ”frank” talk by the Vatican regarding Israel.
I , for one, strongly believe, judging by the rich documentation provided by Meotti, that ”frankly speaking”, the Vatican would have been happier, more relieved and feeling good theologically, if ”somehow”, there was no Jewish state at all, if ”somehow”, Jews were not in control of Jerusalem.
Meotti does not specifically write this, but he writes enough to convince those who need to be convinced, that ”somehow”, the Vatican cannot and will continue not to accept the right of the Jews for their state, as opposed to the reality, as deplorable as it is, from the Vatican standpoint,of the actual existence
of a Jewish state.

Meotti expresses the hope towards the end of his book that a change may happen under the new Argentinian Pope. Nice to hope so, but not much room for optimism, judging by the performance of the Argentinian Catholic Church… a reminder about them and Jews was provided by Ben Dor in her; The Catholic Church and the Jews;
Argentina ,1933-1945.

Meotti book should be on the shelve of everyone who is really interested in this painful saga. Meotti himself should be the guest of honor
of every important Jewish organization in the US and elsewhere. He is a writer of the truth, as painful as it is!.

About the Author
Dr Josef Olmert, a Middle East expert, is currently an adjunct professor at the University of South Carolina