What do the words, “Argentina,” and “Pope,” mean to one who is Jewish? Is there any relevance to the fact they they are combined?
Well, the fact that Argentina was an escape destination for over 9,000 Nazi villains after the atrocities they committed in discriminating against, persecuting, torturing and killing Jews, “Gypsys” (Roma), and the disabled, from the 1930’s until the end of WWII is, first and foremost, a devastating discovery. The fact that these people were not extradited by the Argentinean government for trial to Israel — that they were actually protected by this government –and that a few sympathetic individuals had to surreptitiously extract them from this country (as well as also from others, over the years), does not bode well for forgiveness. That’s first.
Secondly, the fact that the Vatican actively contributed to these escapes via the so-called “Rat Lines” has been documented in numerous books and articles over the years (see the archived Daily Mail (U.K.) article).
This makes things very bad in relations between Christians and Jews.
Thirdly, in 1994 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the Jewish Community Center (JCC) was bombed. Not a good thing. More than 80 people were killed, and the world hardly made an outcry.
Fourth, the Jesuit connection with this newest Pope is supposed to mean a highly intellectual individual. Basically, the Jesuits have written a periodical entitled La Civiltta Catolica for several centuries, I believe, that is overseen with Vatican approval. This publication has perpetrated evil lies and libels against the Jews, such as a blood libel which states that Jews use the blood of Christian children in baking Passover Matzah, when, in fact, consuming blood is prohibited in Jewish law. Over the years, this has caused ignorant people to make false accusations against the Jews, causing incitement against the Jewish population leading to their deaths, and destruction of their homes and businesses. It has caused anti-semitic rules to go into effect against the Jews, prohibiting their engagement in certain businesses and industry, or their attendance at universities, etc. While France was the first to lift the second-class citizen status of the Jews worldwide, it was really not until the last several decades that Civil Rights were truly granted to the Jews. In fact, my mother can still remember signs on the beach in Florida stating, “No Blacks, No Jews, No Dogs.”
So, this is some of what the current selection of this “humble” Pope from Argentina means to me. Apparently, I do not speak for all Jews, with some of the Jewish organization heads seeing recent actions as favorable in Christian-Jewish relations. I say, let’s wait and see…
I do have several Christian friends, of many denominations. I hope they read my words as a lesson in historic occurences, and not as meaning offense to their religion, as it is not meant as an offense to a religion, but to point out the manner in which a religion has treated the people of Jewish religion in the past. Let us all learn from it.