May 15, 2015

“Even this philo-Semitic pope, this pope who cares about the Jews, even he doesn’t get it,” said David Horovitz, editor of The Times of Israel news site. “Every time something like this happens, there’s this sense of anguish. Why don’t you understand? We want to separate from the Palestinians, but on terms that don’t threaten our security.”

Hear, hear.

The Vatican announced yesterday, May 13,  that it is recognizing a Palestinian State even though no state exists.   Pope Francis has always had a reputation for interfaith dialogue and believes that without talk there can be no progress. He probably believes that by recognizing Palestine, he might be able to act as a conduit in bringing Jews and Palestinians together.  It wouldn’t surprise me if that’s what was behind  the Pope’s initiative.

But even Popes are sometimes not versed on history. He doesn’t know for example that recognizing Palestine hurts rather than helps finding an end to the conflict. His recognition along with the  other few states around the world that have done this, essentially emboldens the Palestinian justification for murdering innocent Jews any time the mood strikes them as a part of their “resistance against occupation.”

Clearly, he is unaware that Israel already favors peace based on a two state solution and it is the Palestinians that have no desire for peace with the Israelis.

Palestinians are divided as to what they want and are paralyzed by that division. Half want a two state solution, which includes the common non starters for Israel, Jerusalem divided along the pre 1967 lines and a repatriation of millions of people, descendants they claim from the 1948 war. Obvious Jewish concern is that Jerusalem as a fundamental truth will never be divided again in a sovereign Jewish State, and such a repatriation under Israeli democracy  would make Israel null and void in the first election. And, the other half want nothing to do with peace with the Jews. Their motto, the gangsters in Gaza is “Palestine from the river to the sea.”

I am sure the Pope does not intend to hurt the situation but at the same time ignorance is not an excuse, especially for one of the world’s most influential figures. If he thinks he can untangle that web of Palestinian intransigence he is welcomed to it. We will always answer our phone.

Pope Francis as a priest was Father Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina. As such he was always forthcoming to the Jewish community. When the terrorists blew up the Jewish community center in Buenas Aires,   then Bishop Bergoglio resoundedly condemned the attack and was the first public figure to sign a petition to call for Justice for the hundreds of people affected including the deaths of eighty-five Jews.

What he doesn’t realize is that by recognizing Palestine he is supporting the exact people who cheered that attack and revel in the death and destruction of Jews wherever it takes place in the world. And, by his action of recognition will cause more of the same, not less.

Recognition for a terrorist state in absentia only promotes more violence, more bloodshed, and more hatred in the area. It gives Palestinians the rights they want without making peace with Israel.  Israel now, must struggle to protect itself and its citizens more in the face of this legitimization of the Jihadi will to exterminate the Jewish State.

So serious is this to the Jewish position that The Vatican recognition could set back Jewish Catholic relations. All of the work that the Catholic Church did during Vatican I in the 1960s and Vatican II in the 1990s propelled a Jewish catholic acceptance. It was not the end of the reconciliation process between the two peoples, but it certainly took us a giant leap forward into an interfaith dialogue which had never occurred in two thousand years. The rest of the work sadly, might now be delayed.

I wish the Pope and his advisors had thought this move through a little more before making this decision. Although it is a “treaty” between Palestinians and the Vatican, according to the Vatican statement it has not yet been signed. That might be by design so the Church can accurately gage the blow back from Jews and Jewish supporters if they were to finalize it.

I hope and pray that is the case. And, if it is, I would urge Pope Francis to reconsider. While we are probably generations away from finding a solution to the problem between Israel and a future Palestine, and will most definitely see more bloodshed  and war in the future, why make that worse?  Pulling back from this will ultimately save lives in that part of the world.

All lives, Jewish, Muslim and Christian.