Rosh Hashana 5778 

My good friend John Early, a transplant from Montana to Charles Street who is Catholic,  recently sent me an email in which the Church spoke of the numerous Jews it had saved during the war by sheltering them in the Vatican, out of reach of the Germans. Here was  my response.

Dear John,

I understand your gratitude for whatever exculpatory evidence emerges for the Church’s conduct during the War. And I also appreciate the difficulty of having done much in the face of  German fixation on Jewish genocide. Some Protestant churchmen did as their faith and conscience demanded and opposed the Nazi Beast at the cost of their lives, witness Dietrich Boenhoffer, but the Church was silent. As pre-war Papal Nuncio in Germany, Pacelli must have had a personal acquaintanceship with many who became Nazi leaders that would have offered, not with raving Adolf, but with those who still took Communion, opportunities to plead with them their duty as Catholics. Well, one might argue, it was different and too difficult during the War, and Rome had to bow to its new master, as Mussolini eventually, reluctantly did despite the fact that many of his early supporters were Jews.

Yes, there was danger during the War, but there was no such excuse after the War as many Nazi war criminals escaped to South America with new identities as priests, through false identity papers provided them by the Church. Travelling through Europe to ports of embarcation they  lodged in monasteries, safe houses on their journey. The Vatican must have known of this but, again, remained silent.

In his new book “J’Accuse: The Vatican’s  War Against The Jews,” Journalist Giulio Meotti  documents the Church’s 1,700- year history of active anti-Semitism culminating in its modern alliance with Islamists, its calling Palestinian terrorism “…a cry for justice,” and so on. He shows that since the Church has, from its earliest days, pressed the claim of Supercession, the doctrine that G-D has transferred His love from the Jews to Christians, and has doomed the Jews to eternal statelessness (the wandering Jew) and torment (in which the Church, as dutiful representative of heaven, felt compelled to do its bit) for the crucifixion of Jesus, the resurrection of Israel after 2,000 years that has destroyed that primary pillar of Church doctrine has led the Vatican to ally itself with Islam, in the hope of undoing Israel’s rebirth. It is a match made in hell for it dooms Arab Christians throughout the mid-East to murder and persecution, deprived of any support from Rome.  Arab-Christians formerly comprised almost twelve percent of West Bank population: That figure has now dropped to one percent.  In 1974 the Vatican formally recognized the PLO, but it refused to recognize Israel until 1993.

None of this goes unobserved in Heaven. Man demands free will and G-D acquiesces, but keeps an accurate tally of man’s deeds and misdeeds. In Genesis Chapter 15, Verse 16, G-D tells Abraham that ” … the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete,” i.e. they haven’t yet done so much evil that He must intervene and punish, and knowing the future He identifies that time as four further generations.

I am often challenged to defend G-D by people who ask “Where was He in the Holocaust?” My answer is simple, “In Heaven, where mankind insisted He stay and not interfere with man’s exercise of free will in running things on earth.” But after WWII and its global devastation, man’s tally of evil deeds compelled G-D to say “I gave man free will; Look what he has done with it! Now it’s My turn.”  And His turn has been the miraculous rebirth of Israel, against seemingly insuperable odds. As for Europe, where anti-Semitism is an integral part of the culture, He gave it one last chance to redeem itself. No, it was impossible to forgive and forget; How could the slaughtered forgive? And we had a duty to remember them. But G-D let the world recover and let Germany rise to its dominant position in the EU. He gave Europe one last chance to repent of its conduct to the Jews and for a few post-war years, perhaps out of shame for what it had done directly or by complicity, Europe remained silent. But Europe’s post-war silence can also be understood as something it dared not utter: Its quiet satisfaction at the virtual disappearance of the Jews, an ancient desire finally realized.

Eastern Europe, the demographic heartland of European Jewry, was, except for a pitiful remnant in DP camps, Judenrein. Only Russia still had a substantial number of Jews and Stalin’s plan to exterminate them all by boxcar transport to a forest terminus in Siberia was only derailed at the last moment by his death on Purim in 1953. Yes, the Jews of Europe were gone and the British could be relied on to serve their Arab clients by limiting to a trickle Jewish immigration to Palestine. The stage was set; The Jews could only be saved by a miracle, and the miraculous is G-D’s exclusive domain.

Sadly, Europe recovered soon enough, raised its voice with cries of ancient hatred, instituted BDS and countenanced — even encouraged — terrorism against Israel. Dreyfus died in 1935, but to this day France has not turned from its fatal path. In my view, the last straw was the demand of the French National Railway that it be paid the train fares of those it had transported to the extermination camps. Merkel and Macron, both childless, are committing European suicide with their importation of Muslims to replace their dwindling populations. Churches are closing at an accelerating pace while mosques spring up everywhere. In their native lands high infant-mortality largely offsets the high Muslim birthrate, but in Europe Western medicine and state subsidies ensure their demographic conquest of their host countries. It is already possible to envision a future in which Europe’s great cathedrals remain only as museums of a vanished civilization, those, that is, that are not stripped of their crosses and converted into mosques.

I sometimes ask people to define “The West” in a single sentence and they usually respond with something like “The West is the modern heritage of Greece and Rome.” Completely wrong. The West is the concretization of a spiritual concept that can be simply stated, “There is one G-D, and He is moral.” The gods of Greece and Rome were numerous and amoral and the ancient Greeks and Romans viewed their lives as subject to the whims of those gods, when not pre-determined by blind fate. But a moral G-D, the sole G-D proclaimed by Israel, judges man by his deeds and offers the Ten Commandments as a moral code. He declares that man, through his own deeds, is the author of his future. It took over a millennium for Europe to accept this message yet, as it did so, it could not overcome its urge to slay the messenger, just as an ungrateful daughter denies her mother.

BDS has been the spur for Israel’s turn to the East, to China and India where Anti-Semitism does not exist,  as markets for its products, comestibles and technology. The warm welcome India’s prime minister Modi received in his recent visit to Israel reflects the numerous joint Indian-Israeli projects in life sciences, medicine and advanced weaponry. India’s  current  contracts with Israel total $2.5 billion.  Last year China purchased Tnuva, Israel’s nationwide cooperative of dairy farms, to upgrade the poor image of its food exports, and Israeli experts are now in China teaching the Chinese how to upgrade their dairy farms. Over three hundred Chinese students are enrolled in Israeli universities and in 2013 the Technion  established a branch in  China with a $130 million grant from Guangdong Province. It seems likely that Israel will eventually be able to purchase from China the jet engines that will enable it to manufacture in Israel powerful, yet inexpensive jet fighters for which South America is an enormous market. It is not only the land that G-D promised Abraham and his descendants, He also promised “Those who bless you I will bless, and those who curse you I will curse,” and that too seems in process of fulfillment as Europe enters a self-inflicted death spiral while Israel rises like a phoenix from the ashes.

Herman Lowenhar


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