Benedict’s Hasbara Mission

While “hasbara” translates most directly as “explanation,” what it has come to mean in practical terms is “any mechanism for making brutal, racist Israeli policy and practice seem palatable to the world.”

Benedict XVI validates war criminal Benjamin Netanyahu, May 14, 2009 near the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth. During Netanyahu’s first term as Israeli Prime Minister he pitted Muslims against Christians by approving construction of a Mosque on the site of the Annunciation.

… as one [Israeli] government adviser told the Haaretz newspaper: “We have become pariahs in so many places around the globe. Promoting the Pope’s visit to the state is part of changing that.”

Pope’s ‘Pilgrimage’ Mired in Politics


By Jonathan Cook – Nazareth

… Before he arrived in the region, the Pope declared that he was coming as a “pilgrim of peace”, with his staff accentuating that his role would be spiritual rather than political.

In truth, however, Pope Benedict’s visit was mired in politics the moment he agreed, at the invitation of Shimon Peres, the Israeli president, to step into this conflict-torn region.

The two popes who preceded him to the Holy Land appear to have better appreciated that point.

The first, Paul VI, made a hurried 12-hour stop in 1964, before the Vatican and Israel had established diplomatic relations, to conduct a Mass in Nazareth. During that time he did not utter the word “Israel” or formally meet with an Israeli official.

The second, John Paul II, came to the Holy Land in radically different circumstances: for the millennium, when hopes were still bright for the peace process. The Vatican had recognized Israel a few years earlier and the pontiff worked hard to soothe long-standing Jewish grievances against the Catholic church.

But he is also remembered by Palestinians for his bold move in joining Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian leader, on a visit to the Deheisheh refugee camp near Bethlehem, where he cited UN resolutions against Israel and graphically described the “degrading conditions” under which Palestinians lived.

A decade on, the degrading conditions of occupation have worsened considerably and hopes of peace have vanished. In the circumstances, some Palestinians question what point a papal visit has served.

“The very act of coming here is a political act that works to the benefit of Israel,” observed Mazin Qumsiyeh, a prominent peace activist who teaches at the West Bank’s only Catholic university, in Bethlehem.

“This Pope’s visit, unlike his predecessor’s, offers no novelty — apart from his decision to stand next to [the Israeli prime minister] Benjamin Netanyahu and legitimize an extreme right-wing government.”

Israeli officials too are unpersuaded by the Pope’s claim that he can avoid being dragged into local politics. Or as one government adviser told the Haaretz newspaper: “We have become pariahs in so many places around the globe. Promoting the Pope’s visit to the state is part of changing that.”

Israel has established the largest press centre in the country’s history for this visit, while police have broken up attempts by Palestinian organizations in Jerusalem to present a rival picture to journalists.

The attempts at careful stage management began from the moment the Pope’s plane touched down in Tel Aviv on Monday. At the reception, Pope Benedict stood between Mr Netanyahu and Mr Peres to listen not only to the Israeli national anthem but also to Jerusalem of Gold, a song popularised by soldiers during the capture of East Jerusalem in the 1967 war.

The lyrics — offensive to Palestinians — describe an empty and neglected city before the arrival of Jews.

Similarly, Jerusalem’s mayor, Nir Barkat, made a point of welcoming him to the “capital of Israel and the Jewish people”, a description of Jerusalem not recognized in international law.

After the Pope failed to object, the Israeli media happily concluded that the country’s occupation of Jerusalem had papal blessing.

In addition, Palestinians, including the 100,000 with ties to Rome, have been angered by the Pope’s official meeting with the parents of the captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, a humanitarian gesture made political for them by the fact that he has not extended the same courtesy to the parents of any of the thousands of Palestinians in Israeli captivity.

Many Palestinians appreciate that the Pope — with his unfortunate, if apparently involuntary, connections to Nazi Germany — has been especially careful not to offend Israeli sensitivities, even if his speech at Yad Vashem failed to live up to the country’s high expectations.

But some also conclude that he has done too little to let the world know of their own plight.

Under pressure from Israel he has refused to visit Gaza, even at the beseeching of the tiny and besieged community of Catholics there.

Yesterday, to minimize Israel’s embarrassment, Vatican officials tried as best they could to keep him out of view of the oppressive wall that encircles Bethlehem. But he did speak to the press outside a UN school at a refugee camp within metres of the wall.

And today, as he headed to Nazareth to celebrate mass, he will not meet Mazin Ghanaim, mayor of the Galilee town of Sakhnin, after Israel labelled Mr Ghanaim a “supporter of terror” for criticizing its offensive in Gaza …

But Israel has not been able to control the message completely. On his one-day trip to Bethlehem and the Aida refugee camp yesterday, the Pope did acknowledge Palestinian suffering and the destruction of Gaza, even if he blamed it vaguely on “the turmoil that has afflicted this land for decades”.

He lamented the difficulties Palestinians face in reaching their holy places in Jerusalem, though he appeared to justify the restrictions on Israel’s “serious security concerns”.

And he criticized the building of a wall around Bethlehem, while attributing its construction to the “stalemate” in relations between Israelis and Palestinians.

full article:

3 Responses to “Benedict’s Hasbara Mission”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    and he’s really messed up the traffic where ever he goes…
    a complete waste of time and money…
    he is very unimpressive…

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Have I missed it? Did Benedict XVi utter a word about the 1400 civilians murdered recently in Gaza? Has he ever heard of the Commandment: Thou shalt not kill?

  3. Steve in Vista Says:

    WE need to start with “I am the Lord Thy God, thou shalt not have strange gods before me.”

    Neither Antiipope Benedict nor the Zionist Ecumenist precursor Antipope JPII, before him, ever paid attention to any of the commandments of God.

    “Thou shalt not kill.” Excellent point. I am still waiting for Teddy “he never saw an por-abortion bill he didn’t vote for” Kennedy to be excommunicated.

    As Dietrich von Hildebrand said, “All disciplinary authority, all obedience to the bishop presupposes the pure teaching of the holy Church. Obedience to the bishop is grounded in complete faith in the teachings of the holy Church. As soon as the ecclesiastical authority yields to a pluralism in questions of faith, it has lost the right to claim obedience to its disciplinary ordinances.” Pg. 19, The Devastated Vineyard

    The only “ordinances” that these apostates Benedict et al will “enforce” are to have no other god except the Zionist-Antichrist. To never protect the unborn from greedy bloodthirsty politicians and to always claim that they are in these things infallible.

    It is to VOMIT.

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