How to Foment Anti-Semitism While Claiming to Fight It

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Thanks to the alert reader who sent this in, from the Catholic World News: “Halt beatification process for Pius XII, ADL urges.” Just yesterday, Jonathan Rosenblum wrote that, in his opinion, “some of the shrill campaigns of the Anti-Defamation League’s Abe Foxman have caused more negative feelings about Jews than the contrary.” This new effort could only be described as a case in point.

No positive good can come out of the ADL’s opposition. First of all, whether or not Pius helped or harmed Jews during the Holocaust is no longer relevant. He is deceased, and the Catholic Church has taken a very conciliatory position regarding the Jewish People at least since Vatican II.

Most Catholics undoubtedly do not believe their Pope was or could have been an anti-Semite. It has even been asserted that any aspersions cast against Pius XII were part of a KGB smear campaign. These Catholics will only be offended by the ADL’s actions, and perhaps look askance at all Jews for maligning their Pope. Don’t believe me? Check the reader comments here and here.

Of course, a small minority of Catholics will be only too quick to believe the ADL’s claims: those who are anti-Semitic themselves. They will be all too happy to agree that their Pope shared their opinion of Jews. Thankfully they are indeed a small minority… but, in addition, I wonder how those Catholics who share the reverence of most Catholics for the Holy See, but nonetheless believe the ADL’s assertions that Pius opposed the Jews, will respond. Will they be swayed from their veneration of Pius XII, or swayed from their heretofore neutral opinion of Jews?

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10 Responses

  1. One Christian's perspective says:

    Oops, I forgot to add – it is not the power of the church that should not be overlooked but, ………..rather the power of HaShem. May His Name be glorified.

  2. Charles B. Hall, PhD says:

    “Orthodox Jews have no business being concerned about the internal religious affairs of other religions.”

    I agree, but much of the Orthodox world does not. Many of us openly support Christian Zionism which is theologically counter to the teachings of most Christian churches — and this despite the fact that even Jewish Zionism is still opposed by many in the Orthodox Jewish world. Many of us ally with evangelical Christians on the abortion question even though it, too, is a subject of major current controversy within the Christian world, with many Protestant churches having no religious objection. I’ve asked before whether our sages in the past have intervened in Christian theological disputes; I’ve not heard of any examples. Better to simply state our own position, based on halachah, independently.

    Regarding Pope Pius XII, it is clear from the historical record that he was duped by the Nazis — or worse. They negotiated a concordat that gave the Nazis credibility — and which the Nazis immediately violated. And Pius XII’s protestations against Nazi atrocities were muted.

    But we should not overestimate the power of the Church here. The Nazis were not Christian and were quite willing to supress any Christian voice that opposed their evil. And Pius XII was not like the renaissance popes who had armies to lead into battle. Neither Pius XII, nor the Catholic Church, is to blame for the Nazis or the Shoah.

    Finally, we should remember that many devout Catholics did oppose the Nazis. Claus Von Stauffenberg and Bl. Rev. Bernard Lichtenberg gave up their lives fighting the Nazis. Pius XII’s successor, Bl. Pope John XXIII helped save Jews from the Shoah. Note that the latter two have already been beatified by the Church.

  3. Yehoshua Friedman says:

    If the ADL is so concerned about the failure of people to save Jews 60 years ago, they should start by investigating the words and actions of Reform Rabbi Stephen Wise, who believed FDR could do no wrong and sabotaged all efforts to mobilize America to save the Jews of Europe. They should investigate Kastner, the Zionist leader who cooperated with Eichmann in Hungary. They should investigate the sabotaging of the boycott of Germany in the ’30s by the Zionist movement and American Jews through the transfer agreement. Investigate it all until you are blue in the face. They are all generals fighting the last war. Personally I recommend saying Tehillim. As a former Zionist in a yishuv in Eretz Yisrael I say we are still in golus and it is going to get worse before it gets better.

  4. Steve Brizel says:

    Reb Yid-the simple facts are that anti Semitism is more alive where the Simon Weisemthal Institute and R Hier are investigating than where ADL is active-IOW-the academic, intellectual and cultural left, both in the US and Europe as well as Islamic based movements. I haven’t seen the ADL say a word yet about an Islamic based charter school in Brooklyn that is causing much concern in NY about its curriculum.

    Perhaps, if a certain CJ day school in your home town manages to weather its latest crisis, it would do well to invite someone from the Wiesenthal Institute to talk about contemporary manifestations of anti Semitism. OTOH, if as you say on your own blog, that since one of the reasons for the school’s impending demise is that a formerly dominant heterodox movement has never put its money where its mouth was on the subject of day school education, that probably is at least one major reason wny the school is in such precarious financial condition. While yeshivos of all kinds are constantlty fund raising, they know that the O community, whether MO or Charedi, values a Torah education, even if there is disagreement as to the level or value attached to secular studies. So far, I don’t see any such broad mass movement among CJ’s laiety, especially in your community and the surrounding ones, to save the school in question. Perhaps, that is what happens when you don’t or can’t offer a rationale to compete with either yeshivos or the public schools.

  5. Bob Miller says:

    While ADL has allowed itself to become distracted, all manner of anti-Jewish activity has proliferated among elements of the Muslim community. If ADL can’t relate constructively to today’s problems, it should find new leadership or disband.

  6. Yaakov Menken says:

    Reb Yid, I can honestly plead ignorance as to the Wiesenthal Institute’s political leanings, and as far as this issue is concerned, the ADL’s liberal leanings are irrelevant. As for the WI being more flamboyant or higher profile in asserting anti-Semitism… I doubt it. If they made the papers doing something even nearly as silly as this, and I saw it, I’d probably comment.

  7. Reb Yid says:

    Steve Brizel writes:

    “IMO, this is just another attempt to shore up its fund raising base.”

    Indeed, and the Simon Wiesenthal Institute/Marvin Hier are much, much more flamboyant and high profile with the media and look into every crevice for “anti-Semitism”, legit or not, than Abe Foxman could ever dream of being.

    Interesting that there’s no criticism of their activities here. Hmmmm..perhaps because one institution is far more politically conservative than another?

  8. mycroft says:

    Orthodox Jews have no business being concerned about the internal religious affairs of other religions. Bad in theory and bad pragmatically.
    Agree with at least the first two sentences of Steve Brizel’s comment. Disagree about third-but do not wish to get into a Constitutional Law debate with him at C-C. This is not the place.

  9. Steve Brizel says:

    ADL unfortunately has a history of looking for anti Semitism in the wrong places and ignoring pr minimizing it where it is blatantly present-its obsession with the Mel Gibson film combined with the antics of a LW MO rabbi turned a film in Aramaic into a sensation instead of a straight to cable bomb. ADL has minimized the presence of anti Semitism among the college campuses of America and within the media and culture of Europe. IMO, this is just another attempt to shore up its fund raising base. Of course, what neither Foxman nor ADL will tell anyone publicly is that ADL’s resolute stance on any issue re church and state relations in favor of an absolute wall prohibiting any aid to yeshivos, etc, is one of the reasons why we have a tuition crisis.

  10. Ori Pomerantz says:

    If the ADL has time to worry about respect paid to a dead person who might have been able to do more over sixty years ago, then we are very fortunate indeed.