NOTE: This was a mistranslation, as our blog helped publish. L’Osservatore Romano condemed the fighting Sri Lankans for not setting aside their differences to welcome Israeli help.
One remarkable by-product of the horrendous disaster in the Southeast Asia was a denunciation of Israel that appeared in the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano. Israel was accused of having refused to send relief supplies to Sri Lanka, a charge that a moment’s research would have revealed to be patently false. Israel is typically one of the first nations to respond to any natural disaster. In this case, Sri Lanka turned down Israel’s offer of medical relief supplies and personnel because the relief team was part of a military unit.
The editorial by the Jesuit publication employed a variety of anti-Semitic tropes from ancient to modern. In the face of devastation that should ‘reinforce the universal perspective,” opined the paper, some nations, referring to Israel, seem incapable of escaping a “small-minded approach that restricts their horizons.” Thus the paper conjured up ancient stereotypes of Jews as haters of all but their own, which it implicitly juxtaposes to the universalism and love of the Church.
The paper went on to urge a “radical and dramatic change of perspective” among people “too often preoccupied with making war.” In the Vaticans eyes, it is Sharon and Israel who are the warmongers standing in the path of an era of peace and love for all in the Middle East.
I only mention this fascinating item as a reminder to those like myself and my friend Jeff Ballabon, who have been buoyed by the widespread support of evangelical Christians for Israel, that Christian anti-Semitism still exists and is often theological in nature.