Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Friendly Reminders

I'm not sure how I feel about this:
Sounds like Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had a lovely meeting with Pope Francis.

They talked for about a half-hour, focused on peace talks and touched on Iran. Netanyahu’s wife, Sara, encouraged Francis to visit Israel. And Netanyahu gave the pope a book with the inscription, “To his Holiness Pope Franciscus, a great shepherd of our common heritage.”

The one slightly uncomfortable part may have been that the book was about one of the worst things the Catholic Church has ever done to the Jews.


The book was “The Origins of the Inquisition in Fifteenth Century Spain,” the scholarly magnum opus written by the prime minister’s late father, Benzion. The in-depth tome on the Spanish Inquisition describes how the church persecuted, and often executed, masses of Jewish converts to Catholicism who were accused of secretly practicing Judaism.
Pope Francis strikes me as the sort who would not take offense. But it's not like Bibi is exactly Mr. Deft Touch when it comes to diplomacy.

1 comment:

Robert said...

Why should he take offense in any event, unless an implication was made that the current pontiff would have been pursuing the same wicked policy?

Historical events in the past, particularly the distant past, either occurred or didn't occur; if they occurred, then (again, unless there is a continuity of policy) the behavior being described is the behavior of someone not present. It is irrational to the point of imbecility for me to be offended at your description of actions taken by someone who is not me, and who is at most a distant forebearer of the same polity.

If the events did not occur, i.e., are myth, then taking offense is similarly impossible; I cannot be offended that you accuse me of being the man who assassinated the Secret Caliph of the Puppy Emirate, because there is no such place or person, and there was no assassination.

You are Jewish (I think) and I am Italian; we should be able to have a discussion of who were bigger pricks, the 1st century Roman colonial bureaucracy of Jerusalem, or the contemporaneous Sanhedrin. Whether the conversation is civil or acrimonious, if one of us becomes *offended* by data, then one of us is a jackass. :)