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.

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

  1. debbie

    anyone know where text of his comments can be found? i’d like to see just how “cosmopolitan” he was. i’ve only read excerpts and quotes

  2. Rabbi Brant Rosen Post author


    Here’s the text:

    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 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.

  3. Ross

    In Exodus, as part of the events which culminate in the creation of Israelite community, the name of God associated with fertility and child rearing which was used in Genesis is no longer used, indicating that Israel is not to define itself through genetics. The whole story can be interpreted as one in which Israel ceases to see itself as a community that identifies itself through biology but instead begins to see itself as part of the universal community of all people who have experienced oppression.

    In Leviticus, in the passage read this week, we are told that if we persist in separating people into kinsmen and strangers the inevitable result is our brutal enslavement of those we consider strangers.


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