I’ve had multiple conversations on the topic of Israel with some fellow Catholics over the last few weeks. What I have noticed is that these recent conversations have been more open-minded than they have been previously. Two years ago, any vocal support for Israel would have resulted in some fairly nasty backlash from some of my fellow Catholics. Not anymore. Perhaps word is getting out about the Joint Declaration of the Vatican with Jewish leaders back in 2004 which, for the first time, equated anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism.
As we approach the 40th anniversary of Nostra Aetate – the ground-breaking declaration of the Second Vatican Council which repudiated the deicide charge against Jews, reaffirmed the Jewish roots of Christianity and rejected anti-Semitism – we take note of the many positive changes within the Catholic Church with respect to her relationship with the Jewish People. These past forty years of our fraternal dialogue stand in stark contrast to almost two millennia of a “teaching of contempt” and all its painful consequences. We draw encouragement from the fruits of our collective strivings which include the recognition of the unique and unbroken covenantal relationship between God and the Jewish People and the total rejection of anti-Semitism in all its forms, including anti-Zionism as a more recent manifestation of anti-Semitism.
In 2006, two years after that joint declaration from the Vatican, the Palestinians elected Hamas to their government. Today, the Israeli Defense Force is engaged in an escalating conflict with Hamas. Since 1997, the United States Government has listed Hamas as a foreign terrorist organization. Our current president has sided with the Palestinians on key issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since he came to office.
Regardless of what Catholics may have thought about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict 10 years ago, things have changed. It’s time to get with the program, Catholics. We need to stand with Israel as they face their toughest fight in decades against Hamas, a terrorist organization that the “Palestinians” elected.
Time to get over yourselves. Tell President Obama to stand with Israel.