February 24 – 2009

Caspari Center Media Review – February 24, 2009

During the week covered by this review, we received 29 articles on the subjects of Messianic Jews, Christians in Israel, Christian tourism, Jewish-Christian relations, the Pope and the Vatican, and anti-Semitism. Of these:

2 dealt with Messianic Jews
4 dealt with Christians in Israel
1 dealt with Christian tourism
17 dealt with Jewish-Christian relations
4 dealt with the Pope and the Vatican
1 dealt with anti-Semitism

The debate over Bishop Richard Williamson’s Holocaust denial continued to constitute the focus of this week’s Review – together with a lengthy article about Hagar Arukh, a believer who fled from an abusive husband and the Messianic community alike.
Messianic Jews
Yediot Yerushalayim, February 13; Haaretz, February, 14, 2009

Under the headline “Save me,” Yedida Peretz devoted a lengthy article in Yediot Yerushalayim (February 13) to Hagar Arukh. “Hagar was born into a family who belong to the ‘Messianic Jews’ sect: a group of Jews and non-Jews who have created a sort of new religion – a sort of mixture of Christianity and Judaism. Members of the sect believe in the Tanakh, reject the Talmud and the Oral Torah, observe some of the Jewish commandments, and are convicned that Yeshu, the young Jew who wandered around in the first century C.E. in the Galilean hills and the alleys of Jerusalem, is the Messiah who was born to redeem humanity from its suffering.” According to Hagar, her father became a believer in his thirties, married the daughter of the pastor of the Messianic congregation he joined, and began to translate “‘holy books and also to write them.’” She always felt that life was difficult: “‘Everything was always secretive. The meetings, the services, the prayers lead you to be afraid of people with beards and yarmulkes. They tell you that there are people who want to hurt you and you have to be careful of them. Already from an early age I understood that this wasn’t what I wanted. I never made any connection with the customs and this faith. My parents aren’t easy people. I had to move from congregation to congregation of the sect, scattered across the country and living in closed and shut off communities, from Tiberias to Tzfat, and from there to Beersheva, Jerusalem, Arad, and finally back to Jerusalem. There, my parents finally found their place … In the background always hovered the injunction not to become friendly with strangers – in effect, anyone outside the sect. The sect has so many prayer meetings, festivals, and services that you simply don’t have any time to make friends with anyone outside, even if you wanted to.’”
Due to her rebelliousness against the “sect,” Hagar said that her father’s patience eventually ran out and he threw her out of the house when she was thirteen. After sleeping in the street and other places, she finally went to live with secular cousins in Rishon L’Tzion. The year she spent with them – the happiest of her life, when she was able to feel that she was “‘a child for the first time’” – came to an end when her parents demanded that she return to live with the family and within the congregation. When Hagar got involved with a non-believing boy, the congregation became worried and, in her words, understanding that “‘punishment wouldn’t work,’” sent her off to a congregation in Ma’ale Adumim, close to Jerusalem, “‘which was closer to Jewish customs than the congregation in Jerusalem. The congregations are very different in their approach. In some, the men grow beards and wear tzitzit [fringes] but not yarmulkes. In others, the women wear trousers. In my congregation, they understood that I was looking for something more Jewish, and so they sent me to Ma’ale Adumim. I went to their synagogue on shabbat, in a hall which at that time was secret in a basement where the entrance was hidden, in the pastor’s house. I was fascinated by the fact that the men prayed in prayer shawls and took out the Torah scroll. In retrospect, it became clear to me that it was bought cheaply because it was flawed, but that didn’t matter to the sect, because the laws regarding Torah scrolls only come from the Oral Torah. I thought that I’d finally found my place.’”
The congregation found a husband for Hagar from amongst its members, whom she agreed to marry despite not loving him, because she wanted to have a “‘warm, loving family.’” According to her words, her continued rebellion against the “sect” also affected her marriage: “‘Then the violence began on the part of the person who was my husband. He humiliated me and beat me, and every time the leaders of the congregation came to reconcile us and to try and make peace in the family. I already understood, however, that there was no chance of this happening.’” Having borne three children, Hagar finally decided, at the age of 26, that she was going to leave the “sect” – and her husband. In response to the news, her family and the congregation “excommunicated” her. She only renewed the connection with her family two years ago, so that her youngest son could meet them and get to know his grandparents. “‘My husband and I were the only people in the congregation who got married at the rabbinate. After that, the congregation couldn’t get married there any longer because they have a lot of assimilation and many mixed marriages between Jews and non-Jews. When I got married, I had two weddings – one on shabbat in the congregation, at which the pastor who married us decided who would come, and the next day at the rabbinate. It was only when I wanted to get divorced that I discovered that my husband wasn’t Jewish, that he’d converted in a way that wasn’t recognized.’” She was helped in her attempt to “escape” from the “sect” and to divorce her husband by the Sephardi and Ashekenazi Rabbis of Ma’ale Adumim. Hagar’s case brought the issue of Messianic Judaism to the attention of the religious establishment in the city, but they decided not to make an issue of it in order to prevent giving the “sect” publicity. In her words, “‘From the perspective of the sect, once I left, there wasn’t any possibility of returning: my soul was lost for eternity. According to their faith, if a person tastes the goodness of Yeshu and then denies him, there’s no way back. I know that there were other people whose eyes were opened and left them. Perhaps they got the courage to do so after I left.’”
In a letter to Haaretz (February 13) in response to an article by Tom Segev about Italian divers, Ami Yuval wrote to clarify the matter of a tombstone of a grave in a cemetery in Haifa in which British Mandatory officials are buried. According to Yuval, the tombstone in question, that of a Michael Smith, “most likely belongs to a person from the ‘Messianic Jewish’ sect – Christians who believe in Yeshua as the Messiah, as well as in the Torah of Moses according to the Tanakh. It’s interesting that not far from his tomb, Arthur James Wigley is buried, who came from Timaru in New Zealand … where many Messianic Jews live and many Israeli backpackers receive a warm welcome there at a symbolic cost. In the area there is a mountain called ‘Pisga’ – a Hebrew name. But apparently the Messianic Jews didn’t give it its name – rather real Jews, who went there in the gold rush of the second half of the nineteenth century.”

[Although we did not receive the original article, it appears to have included a reference to Michael Smith, who seems to have been a Jew who “converted to Christianity. Under the Star of David is inscribed in Hebrew: ‘I was a great sinner and deserved the fire of hell. I trusted in the Messiah and was forgiven in his blood.’ Here, obviously is a story” – but not the one which Segev was telling in his “Makings of history.” See also below, under “Christians in Israel.”] Christians in Israel
Haaretz, February 10, 13 (x 2 – English and Hebrew editions); HaKibbutz, February 13, 2009

A church run by the Rosary Sisters in Jerusalem became the site of a breast-cancer check this week for Philipine foreign workers who usually visit the church to “pray and meet acquaintainces.” The project is run jointly by the Philipine consulate and Hadassah-Israel (Haaretz, February 10).
According to a report in the same paper (February 13, Hebrew edition), the Jerusalem municipality is about to return 2.5 million shekels paid by the Patriarchate as an amelioration tax on church-owned property in Abu Tor. The permit to build a luxury hotel on the site expired in 1999 and a district judge in Jerusalem has ordered that the tax be refunded since the Patriarchate made no profit from the project, which was never implemented.
Riki Cohen and some associates have formed a tour agency whose trips are designed for women to visit other women, both in Israel and abroad (HaKibbutz, February 13). On one of the former, a group of women visited the Benedictine monastery in Abu Ghosh, where they met and spoke with Michaela, one of the twelve nuns who live there. Guiding the tour herself, Riki explained on the bus before the group arrived at the monastery that the nuns had chosen to “overcome the three basic human drives – family, power, and economics. Consequently, they’ve gone to the other extreme: abstinence, poverty, modesty, humility, and lowness of spirit. In order to live this way, they are committed to a life of obedience and communality.” The twelve nuns live “together” with nine monks – by which is meant that they have separate accommodations and work, meeting together only for prayer: “Only in the church do the nuns and monks meet, for the sake of prayer on behalf of individuals and the world. ‘In my opinion, this is something wonderful,’ says Michaela. ‘Prayer unites us as a congregation of brothers and sisters. I feel as though our joint prayers – men and women – create a completeness.’ They pray together three times a day – in the morning, midday, and evening – except for Friday afternoons, ‘when the noise from the nearby mosque prevents us.’ The Benedictine nuns, Michaela explains, first arrived at the monastery in 1907, after the building, which was built by the crusaders in the twelfth century and abandoned for 700 years, had been serving the Muslims as a prayer place for some time. For a period it was even used to breed animals. After it had been cleaned up over a period of eight days (‘like the Temple,’ she comments), it went back to being a monastery and church.” In explaining how she had come to be a nun, and come to live in the monastery, Michaela said that, following a lot of reading about the Holocaust, she had realized that, “‘Yeshua was born, lived, and died as a Jew. Up until then, no one had told me this, and I suddenly understood that over the course of two thousand years Christianity had persecuted the people who had given us the Messiah. Eventually, I realized that I had been entrusted with a task, out of my own small resources and with my own small voice, of ‘repenting’ in order to atone for the conduct of the church and to help change the attitude of Christianity to Judaism, to get people to realize the sin which had been perpetrated over the years, and to encourage emotions of human forgiveness.’”
In his column “The Makings of History” in Haaretz this week (February 13, English edition), Tom Segev looked at the “making” and “preserving” of the American Colony Hotel, a distinguished Jerusalem landmark: “In October 1871, a fire broke out in downtown Chicago and consumed entire districts of the city. It left some 300 residents dead and around 100,000 homeless. Horatio Spafford, a wealthy attorney, and his family escaped unscathed – a fact they considered a miracle. Two years later the Spaffords lost four of their daughters, who drowned at sea. Horatio and Anna Spafford saw these events as a sign from God. They decided to move to Jerusalem, and settled there in 1881, forming a Christian utopian community with other families called the American Colony, in what is now the eastern part of the city. Over the years they diligently documented the changes taking place there, with numerous members of the community taking photographs … Two years ago, the hotel hired Rachel Lev, an expert in museum design, to sort through and annotate the photographic and other materials, and digitally scan them … In them [the photo albums Lev discovered] are pictures of German Emperor Wilhelm II’s visit to Jerusalem in 1898; the 1915 locust plague that hit the Land of Israel; the battles between the Turkish army and the British army, led by General Edmund Allenby, in late 1917; the 1927 earthquake; the 1929 Arab riots; and the Arab Revolt in the mid-1930s. The photographers from the American Colony documented everything, marking each event with its own album, some of them leather-bound. Together, the albums constitute a breathtaking collection. One of the boxes recently found contained some 120,000 picture postcards of Jerusalem and the Land of Israel, some of them hand-painted. They evince an aura of romantic longing for the Holy Land before it was corrupted by progress – a place populated by shepherd boys playing wooden flutes and girls with clay pitchers perched at the edge of a well, where Orientalism seemed merely a fantasy, not an ideology.”
Christian Tourism
Calcalist, February 16, 2009

According to a report in the Calcalist (February 16), Binyamin Netanyahu has plans, among other, perhaps more important things, for tourism in Israel: “He also explained his plan for a special corridor for Christian pilgrims, who will visit sites on the Jordan and the shores of the Dead Sea, to be established by the Palestinians in liaison with Israel.”
Jewish-Christian Relations
Jerusalem Post, February 10, 11 (x 2), 13, pp. 5, 13; Yediot Ahronot, February 13, 16; Ma’ariv, February 10, 13; Yated Ne’eman, February 19; Haaretz, February 10 (pp. 2, 14), 13 (Hebrew and English editions; p. 18); Makor Rishon, February 11, 13, 16, 2009

Yated Ne’eman (February 19) belatedly followed the events concerning Richard Williamson, adding little new but the information that the Dutch Foreign Minister had also denounced the bishop’s reinstatement, calling for “‘a public apology’” from the pope “‘because of the pain and suffering his declaration caused. Not only are his comments categorically untrue but they are also shocking and hurt many people, especially in a time when anti-Semitic voices are again being heard in Europe,’ he said.”
Although several reports suggested that the pontiff’s meeting with members of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations on Thursday was designed to appease Jewish sensitivities, it appears that the audience had been arranged prior to the current strain in relations. Thus the Jerusalem Post (February 13, p. 13) noted that, “canceling it would have exacerbated tensions and embarrassed the pope – which is not the Jewish way. These communal leaders sensed the Vatican wanted to set matters straight. It appears they were right. The pope told them: ‘Any denial or minimization of [the Holocaust] is intolerable … This should be clear to everyone, especially to those standing in the tradition of the Holy Scriptures. He then repeated, verbatim, the prayer Pope John Paul offered when he visited the Western Wall in 2000 and asked the Jews to forgive Christians who had persecuted them over the centuries. Benedict ended: ‘I now make his prayer my own.’ We welcome this reiteration of the late pope’s entreaty. Still, as the Holy Father may know, in Jewish tradition, absolution requires not just the confession of a sin, but its cessation.” The article also recalled that, “as a matter of Jewish dignity,” the paper had “called for a moratorium on public contacts between the organized Jewish community and the Vatican – which is now saying Williamson must accept Nostra Aetate to be granted full communion, and has told him to publicly recant  his Holocaust denial. To no avail.”
Makor Rishon (February 11) also noted that the Vatican had informed Williamson that expressing his regret for any “unpleasantness” caused to the pope was insufficient redress and that several days later it also demanded that the three other bishops recant their anti-Jewish and anti-Israel views as a precondition for being readmitted into the church. It further reported that Walter Kasper, head of the Vatican’s Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, had told Jewish representatives that Williamson’s “full regret” was another clear prerequisite for his reinstatement.
A similar article in Ma’ariv (February 13) noted that Williamson’s ‘future appointment” had also been cancelled.
According to a report in Ma’ariv (February 10), “Following a week of criticism from outside and inside the Vatican of the pope’s decision to return him to the bosom of the Church, Bishop Richard Williamson has been dismissed from his office as director of a priests’ seminary in Argentina. His colleague, Fr. Floriano Abrahamowicz, who claimed that the gas chambers were intended for disinfection, has also been dismissed from his position. The dismissal of the two Holocaust-deniers was welcomed by a delegation of the World Jewish Congress which visited the Vatican yesterday. Members of the delegation expressed optimism that in this way the loaded discussion is approaching its conclusion and that the incident will not cloud the relations between Jews and Catholics in the future. The Chief Rabbinate, which had cancelled a dialogue meeting with the Holy See, is expected to reinstate it in the near future. Williamson’s dismissal removed what had been perceived as an obstacle in the way of the pope’s scheduled visit to Israel in May.” (The article also noted that a senior official in the British Foreign Office was arrested this week “following a series of statements against Israel and Jews which he made during a work out in his gym. The diplomat, Rowan Laxton, is an expert in Middle East affairs and head of the South Asia group. While watching reports of the Israeli attack on Gaza on TV while exercising, he was heard to explode: “f***ing Israelis, f***ing Jews.” He was arrested following complaints on the grounds of inciting religious hatred through threatening words and behavior and released on bail. Punishment for such a crime is a fine and up to a week’s imprisonment.)
The pope’s words to the Presidents were quoted at length in most of the articles devoted to the subject. Thus Haaretz (February 13; English and Hebrew editions) noted that, “Pope Benedict XVI told American Jewish leaders at the Vatican yesterday that any denial of minimization of the Holocaust is ‘intolerable.’ ‘This terrible chapter in our history [the Holocaust] must never be forgotten,’ the Pope told the Jewish delegation … The Catholic Church is ‘profoundly and irrevocably committed to reject all anti-Semitism,’ he said … ‘It is my fervent prayer that the memory of this appalling crime will strengthen our determination to heal the wounds that for too long have sullied relations between Christians and Jews. The hatred and contempt for men, women and children that was manifested in the Shoah [Holocaust] was a crime against humanity. This should be clear to everyone.’” According to the report, “The Jewish delegation to the Vatican was led by New York Rabbi Arthur Schneier, a Holocaust survivor. In his address to the Pope, Schneier said: ‘As a Holocaust survivor, these have been painful and difficult days, when confronted with Holocaust denial by no less than a bishop of the Society of St. Pius X. Victims of the Holocaust have not given us the right to forgive the perpetrators nor the Holocaust deniers.’”
Many of the Israeli papers recognized the pope’s statement as “the most vehement denunciation of Holocaust-denial ever made” by the Vatican (the headline of Makor Rishon, February 13). In this context, they also noted the welcome given to the pope’s words by Jewish leaders, and their perception that he had thus largely laid the crisis in relations to rest. The Jerusalem Post (February 13, p.5) reported that Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman of the Conference of Presidents, was reported as stating that, “‘I think this statement is an important one. It addresses critical issues in Catholic-Jewish relations. But the test comes in what follows, in education efforts, in church leaders speaking out against anti-Semitism in the many countries where the church is present, in the pope’s speaking out against voices calling for the destruction of Israel and in what the church does with the Society of Pius X’” (cf. Makor Rishon, February 13). Makor Rishon (February 16) added that Hoenlein also stated that, “‘It is evident to us that the clear words of the leader of the Catholic Church which has hated Jews – men, women, and children – that displays of anti-Semitism are crimes against God and against humanity will deter not a few who thought to perform anti-Jewish and anti-Israel acts and will cause them to think twice, when their great religious leader expresses himself so clearly.’” His deputy, Alan Solow, added that, “‘The pope’s denunciation of Holocaust-denial and anti-Semitism was so vehement and gained such wide publicity and echo in the world media that we have no doubt that it will have a practical influence on all Christian believers’” (Makor Rishon, February 16). Likewise, Haaretz (February 13, p. 18) stated that, “the declaration by the Holy See yesterday emphasized the gravity of the act of Holocaust-denial and bestowed upon it the character of a religious prohibition.” The report further noted that David Rosen, head of the American Jewish Committee, had responded by saying that “‘The pope has made it unambiguously clear to us that he is not prepared to accept any display of anti-Semitism or Holocaust denial in the church. The meeting demonstrated that the relations between Catholic Christianity and Judaism stand at the top of the pope’s priorities, as they did for his predecessor.’”
Not everyone was so forgiving and understanding, however. Abraham Foxman of the ADL was reported in Haaretz (February 13, p. 18) as having told the paper that, “‘The problem of Holocaust denial and the church has not disappeared. As long as the church enables a bishop to hold office it means that it is saying one thing and doing another.’” Noach Lieger in Yediot Ahronot (February 16) opened his piece entitled “Superfluous relations” by stating that, “Great! The pope ‘only’ deliberated for a month before he declared that there was no need to deny the Holocaust or to readmit to the bosom of the Catholic Church the English bishop Richard Williamson.” Lieger then went on to assert that he had “never understood why we Jews need relations with the pope and his church. Nothing’s ever come of such relations in any case. Let’s review the dry facts: Did Pius XII, pope during Hitler’s regime in Germany and Europe, ever raise his voice against the destruction of the Jews? Certainly not. He didn’t see, he didn’t know, he didn’t speak. And what did his successors do? Did they teach all the priests to stop their incitement against the Jews? Did they forbid the various priests, like the Polish Cardinal Jozéf Glemp, to disseminate anti-Semitism? No. It is true that thirty years ago an edict was issued exempting the Jews from the guilt of Yeshu’s crucifixion – after almost two thousand years – but who amongst the faithful in the church has acted according to this edict? It was also the pope who made the first historic visit to a synagogue. What a brave step! The anti-Semitism which Christianity created, led, and disseminated ever since its establishment by Paul of Tarsus has never ceased, and in our days is raising its head once again. So why should we seek relations with the pope? In any case, those representatives of God on earth, according to Catholic belief, haven’t done, and never will do, anything significant to arrest anti-Semitism. As a State, Israel has to have relations with the Vatican, which is also a State. But the Jews as a people can easily give up on relations with the pope and his church. Even if we miss out on a papal visit to a synagogue.”
Other writers expressed similar views, finding the pope’s behavior too little, too late – or simply unacceptable in the first place. Menachem Rosensaft in the Jerusalem Post (February 11) maintained that, “It is outrageous that Pope Benedict did not immediately respond to Williamson’s stalling tactics by reinstating the renegade bishop’s excommunication … Pope Benedict hopes that the memory of the Holocaust ‘will prompt humanity to reflect on the unpredictable power of evil when it conquers the hearts of men.’ But statements condemning Holocaust denial and reaffirming ecumenical sentiments towards the Jewish people are not enough. Pope Benedict should affirmatively declare Holocaust denial to be heresy, and the Vatican should undertake a comprehensive program of Holocaust education. Students at Roman Catholic schools, universities and seminaries throughout the world must be taught not only that the Holocaust occurred, but that centuries of Christian anti-Semitism helped make it possible … While the Vatican’s relations with the Society of St. Pius X is an internal matter, its attitude, and Pope Benedict XVI’s attitude, toward Holocaust denial and Holocaust deniers affects us all. My five-and-half-year-old brother, my mother’s son, was murdered in a gas chamber at Auschwitz. For the sake of continued Jewish-Catholic relations, all Catholics, indeed all Christians, must be taught that my brother’s brutal death and the deaths of more than 1 million Jewish children who perished in the Holocaust is at least as real as the death of a Jew named Jesus in Jerusalem almost 2000 years ago.”
Likewise, Shmuely Boteach in the same paper (February 10) asked: “Why would an elected leader of the German people [Angela Merkel] denounce hate-filled Holocaust-denying Bishop Richard Williamson but the pope will not? Yes, the pope did, in response to Williamson’s comments, proclaim his utter opposition to Holocaust denial in a January 28 statement. But he has yet to simply kick the bishop back to where he belongs – a state of excommunication from the Catholic Church … Benedict is cut from completely different cloth than Pius [XII]. He is a godly man who has reached out to the Jewish community in genuine friendship and warmth. It is time for this courageous leader to unequivocally denounce Holocaust-denying bishops and morally compromised popes.”
Under the title, “Holocaust denial is the least of it,” Marvin Rabinovitch also wrote in the Jerusalem Post (February 11) that, despite the sting of “an avowed disbelief or trivialization of … pain by insensitive, ill disposed or delusional bystanders,” the “moral blindness of Holocaust denial” is shadowed by the “much more toxic  … anti-Vatican II doctrines that the pope has winked at (by not publicly insisting on its immediate abandonment as a condition of recommunion)” – namely, “the theological principle of Jewish complicity in the death of Jesus … not a peep do we hear from professional Vatican-watchers, much less from the Holy See itself, about the undisguised Judeophobia of the newly shriven and forgiven opponents of the Second Ecumenical Council in which the issue of Jewish deicide was finally laid to rest. Well may we sound the alarm, not at the Holocaust denial of a matchstick prelate like Williamson but at the very real, very dangerous Holocaust provocation in an on-line FAQ comment offered by the society’s [the Society of St. Pius X] official publication.” Rabinovitch proceeds to quote at length from this document, which sets out the “biblical justification” for anti-Semitism, concluding, “Anything to add, Your Holiness?”
In a letter to Haaretz (February 10), Prof. Dina Porat, head of the Institute for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism and Racism at Tel Aviv University, wrote: “What is the significance of the reinstatement of a group of opponents to the church? When there is general agreement with their views and when the wheel has been turned back to the views which the church held before 1965? That is the question to which the Vatican must give an answer … The pope is due to visit the country, a visit which is of great importance. Hopefully, these questions will not cloud it.” According to many of the reports, the pope himself appears to have been at pains to link his statements regarding Holocaust denial to his scheduled visit.

The Pope and the Vatican
HaMevaser, February 16; Makor Rishon, February 16; Israel HaYom, February 15; Yediot Ahronot, February 11, 2009

As indicated above, the pope’s scheduled May visit to Israel has now been officially confirmed. In announcing the visit, Prime Minister Olmert stated that, “‘it is his hope that this visit will take place in an appropriate atmosphere and will be as successful as the visit of his predecessor. A papal visit to Israel is always an exceptional event in the dimensions of its significance, in contrast to regular visits’” (HaMevaser, February 16; Makor Rishon, February 16). The government has given Haim Ramon overall responsibility for the visit, with the assistance of an inter-ministerial team (Israel HaYom, February 15).
In yet another papal “scandal,” Yediot Ahronot (February 11) disclosed this week that eleven years ago, an Austrian publishing house linked to Neo-Nazi tendencies printed an article written by Joseph Ratzinger, at the time a top Vatican Cardinal. “The article was published in a book devoted to the ‘Spring of the People’ Revolution which took place in 1848. This revolution played a central role in the awakening of the pan-German national movement. The book, entitled 1848 – Heritage and Mission, included articles by various people, most of them active in the radical right-wing camp. In his article, entitled ‘Freedom and Truth,’ the pope relates very critically to the issue of democracy. At the same time he also expresses criticism of Nazism and writes that this movement and Marxism were ‘the greatest totalitarian systems in modern history.’ The Vatican issued a statement saying that the pope expresses criticism of ‘the idea of political freedom which does not correspond to the truth’ and that the pope bases this criticism, among other things, on things written by the Jewish philosopher Hans Jonas (1903-1993).”
Haaretz, February 11, 2009

According to this report, “The Anti-Defamation League said Tuesday that a survey it commissioned found nearly a third of Europeans blame Jews for the global economic meltdown, which has spread from the financial sphere into the broader economy. An even greater proportion feel that Jews have too much power in the business world, said the league … In total, about 40% of those questioned said Jews have too much power in the business world, including more than half of Hungarian, Spanish and Polish respondents. And 44% said they believe it is probably true that Jews still talk too much about the Holocaust.
This poll confirms that anti-Semitism remains alive and well in the minds of many Europeans, said Abraham H. Foxman, the ADL’s national director in America.
Foxman said the study’s findings were particularly worrisome in light of the anger spawned by the global economic meltdown, and following violent acts against Jews or Jewish property after Israel’s military action in the Gaza Strip … Britain consistently registered the lowest levels of anti-Jewish sentiment, and numbers there have fallen from a similar survey conducted in 2007. Austria also registered a slight drop in the level of anti-Semitism, while in other countries anti-Semitic sentiment either remained the same or deepened, the survey indicated … On the question whether it was probably true Jews have too much power in international financial markets, the level was unchanged from 2007.”