Identity, Israel, Religion

Shandeh Du Jour: Pope Overly “Cosmopolitan” at Yad Vashem

pope-kotel-2711According to YNet, Rabbi Meir Lau criticized Pope Benedict for showing insufficient sensitivity during his speech at Yad Vashem today:

The visit ended with a somewhat strident tone, as Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, chairman of Yad Vashem, criticized the pope’s speech as being “devoid of any compassion, any regret, any pain over the horrible tragedy of the six million victims. Even the word ‘six’ was not included.”
Rabbi Lau also censured the pope’s use of the word “killed” instead of the word “murdered.” Benedict, he added “said nothing about the killers, neither Germans nor Nazis. What bothered me the most was the lack of condolences to the Jewish nation, which lost a third of its sons (in the Holocaust).
“I’m not talking about an apology, I’m talking about empathy… this was more about sympathy to the pain of humanity. This speech had a cosmopolitan phrasing to it.”

The article also notes that Museum Director Avner Shalev registered his disappointment that the speech lacked any “direct reference to anti-Semitism.”  Not to be outdone, Shas chairman Eli Yishai took the Pope to task for failing to “rebuke past and present Holocaust deniers.”
All those who are sick and tired of the cynical use of the Holocaust as a political battering ram, click here.

16 thoughts on “Shandeh Du Jour: Pope Overly “Cosmopolitan” at Yad Vashem

  1. Let me start by saying that no words can ever begin to describe the horrific evil acts against the Jewish people at the hands of the nazi’s. It deeply saddens me to think that the great Rabbi and Jewish people look at Pope Benedict and the Catholic church as being unsympathetic in any way. We all know that nothing could be so far from the truth. Everyone is entitled to there own opinion but I believe they are being far to critical of The Holy Father. We are all in this together. God Bless!

  2. Let’s not worry about the Holocaust. What’s done is done. But will someone find this guy a wife please? Seriously, Pontiff. As your “older brother in faith”, it is my duty to demand that you get a woman already! With any luck she can still pop a few kids out of you. There are Arabs your age doing it. It is a desecration of G-d name that you and your clergymen refuse to have children.

  3. Wow, can I say that I think Avraham Burg is the shit? He gets it. I want to quote the whole interview (thanks to Shalom Rav for the link) but here’s the crux:

    Burg: How come 25% of the Nobel laureates in certain fields are of Jewish origins, and 10% of the arms deals around the world are done by Israelis? Why is my brother or sister in America a great poet or composer or physician whose achievements raise up all of humanity, and I who live here on my sword became a world expert on arms and swords? Is that really my mission, or is that an outcome of the black water with which I water my flowers? To make our contribution to humanity, we have to free ourselves of the obsession with the trauma.

  4. What the pope should have said to make the Israelis happy: “I, Pope Benedict XVI, accept full responsibility in the name of all christians for everything bad that ever happened to the Jews, six million of whom I killed with my own hands in the Terrible, horrible, awful, holocaust, in which six million Jews were slaughered and murdured. I also condone anything the Jews did, are doing and will ever do to harm others, and hold that it is not harm since I killed six million of them with my own hands. I also call on all Muslims to go jump in a lake, and have ordered the Vatican Air Force to destroy the Middle east as well as Pakistan, Afghanistan and central Asia. Amen”.

  5. Look, I think this Holocaust apology stuff can get out of hand, but this particular pope, with his particular history, certainly could have better phrased his remarks.

  6. Is it not time to move on from the Holocaust?
    Why do we even care what the Pope says to begin with?

  7. When a German pope who was a member of Hitler Youth makes a state visit to Yad Vashem, this is a relevant topic for discussion.
    Yes, world Jewry could benefit from moving our understanding of the Holocaust from OMG THE WORLD HATES US into something that’s contextualized within the scope of world Jewish history. But that doesn’t mean we should forget it, ignore it, pretend it didn’t happen, or pretend a German pope who was a member of Hitler Youth making a state visit to Yad Vashem isn’t something we might be interested in hearing about.

  8. Ok. For me, at least, it means nothing.
    And, “understanding of the Holocaust from OMG THE WORLD HATES US into something that’s contextualized within the scope of world Jewish history.” is no doubt where we should be heading….a good start seems to be moving Yom HaShoah to sometime during the Three Weeks.

  9. Here’s the text of the Pope’s remarks, if anyone wants to read it in full:
    To dLevy:
    While Pope Benedict has given cause for alarm in the past on this issue (and certainly the Catholic Church has much to atone for regarding its role during the Holocaust), I found his remarks to be quite appropriate, actually.
    It seems that for the Yad Vashem political correctness police, “cosmopolitan” is another word for “universalism.” Apparently the Pope failed the test because he dared to broaden the meaning of the Shoah – and because failed to note that this was an event of such overwhelmingly unique persecution that it can’t possibly be compared to another people’s suffering. I agree wholeheartedly that we shouldn’t “forget it, ignore it, pretend it didn’t happen.” The real question is how we will remember going forward.
    I for one, think we Jews need to let go this pathological “reverse-exceptionalism” – ie, our need to be the world’s most-persecuted minority. And wielding the sacred memory of the six million as a political weapon is truly one of the more profane symptoms of this pathology.

  10. “Vatican Air Force”
    That would TOTALLY rock. Except during Inquisition time. Then it would just suck.

  11. What Dlevy said. This is Pope Benedict with a particular history. At Yad VaShem, which is in Israel, and is particularly a memorial to Jews who were murdered. I don’t think its all that unreasonable to expect a more specific take on the issue.
    I also think (in agreement with Fackenheim) that (without minimizing other genocides, or other victims of the Nazi genocide) that this pretty much WAS unique. I do not derive from that the world hates us (Yad VaShem of course has a memorial to righteous gentiles that is particularly moving)
    I understand that some political figures use the holocaust heavy handedly, as do some Jewish educators, etc. I am not ready to “move on” though. Especially in families with children of survivors, the pain isnt all done or played out.
    And I am not ready to move the remembrance to the three weeks. Not as long as the three weeks continues to involve texts that consider the events of leading to and including Tisha B’Av divine punishment for Jewish sin.

    1. justayid writes:
      Not as long as the three weeks continues to involve texts that consider the events of leading to and including Tisha B’Av divine punishment for Jewish sin.
      Fair point. But I’m still not sure that’s worse than connecting it to Pesach and Yom Ha’atzma’ut.

  12. G-d’s Rottweiler, cosmopolitan? Really? Somebody get this guy a dictionary and a history of philosophy. Maybe that remark was supposed to be a backhanded swipe at intractably cosmopolitan Jews, but it didn’t come off.

  13. What pedagogical objective is accomplished through the Holocaust education taught in many Hebrewschools?
    That the whole world hates us, except for a few brave Gentiles?
    That there is a strong possibility that we’ll be gassed to death at some point?
    That the entire concept of Medinat Yisrael is a response to the Holocaust?
    My heart goes out to those who suffered during that tragedy, but what’s the point of making it a central plank of Jewish education?

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