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Ramallah isn't Warsaw

[Eldad Beck]

Summary ... How much chutzpa, insensitivity, and foolishness is there in a person that dares compare the situation of the Palestinians in the Territories to the state of the Jews at the Warsaw Ghetto in World War II? This is even more so when we are talking about the leaders of Germany's Catholic Church.

Nobody is attempting to claim the living conditions of Palestinians in the Territories are ideal, but nobody has a right to exaggerate the descriptions of those difficult conditions to the point of comparing the Nazis' systematic imprisonment and murder policy to the strict security measures adopted by Israel in order to protect its citizens.

These procedures are at times unacceptable and unbearable, but they are not guided by a deliberate policy of genocide such as the one the Germans pledged allegiance to.

When several members of the Bishop committee, the top body of the Catholic Church in Germany, allow themselves, only several hours after visiting the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum, to associate the horrors of the Holocaust with the situation in the Territories, this gives rise to a question: To what extent are the Catholic Church and German society still tainted by anti-Semitism.

We shall recall that according to an explicit definition by the European Union bodies, presenting Israel's acts as comparable to the acts committed by the Nazis is an expression of anti-Semitism.

Rewriting history

If various polls show that 30 percent of Germans believe Israel's attitude to the Palestinians is identical to the Nazi attitude towards the Jews, then too many Germans have not learned any lesson from the history of their country. What's worse, part of the German elites have contributed to it and are still contributing to the fact that Germany's despicable past is blurred within collective memory and replaced by ancient, sickening ideas.

In a most regrettable manner, leading denominations in the Catholic and Protestant Church assist this process of rewriting history.

Here we should mention the support offered by several top Church officials to the Nazi Party, not because they were forced to but because of conviction and faith.

There were of course Church members who resisted, both in words an deeds, and some even paid for it with their lives. But there were also those who collaborated. And there was also the German Catholic Church mission in the Vatican that assisted in a most active manner to the smuggling of thousands of Nazi criminals to South America and the Middle East. No top Church official has expressed regret to this day.

Not any criticism leveled at the Israeli government is a form of anti-Semitism, but there are many in Germany and its churches that allow themselves to express anti-Semitic positions in the guise of such criticism. This, perhaps, is what stands behind the attack of members of the Bishop committee delegation on Israel.

The dignified delegation did not see fit to voice even one word of criticism regarding the persecution of Christians in Palestinian Authority areas, which faces members of these communities with one choice: Emigrate from the "Holy Land." The only thing church leaders had to say is that the Israelis treat the Palestinians like animals and that Ramallah looks like the Warsaw Ghetto.

So I've changed my mind: This is not about chutzpa, insensitivity, and foolishness; this is about pure anti-Semitism, in the best tradition of the Middle Ages. And if they are telling us that Pope Benedict XVI will not be visiting Israel before resolving the question of Church assets, perhaps Israel is the one that should condition the Pope's visit, and particularly that of a German Pope, on complete rejection of the anti-Semitic filth that is still common among his followers.

[ Published: March 10, 2007 ]



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