Would Pope Benedict accept an invitation to edit the next speech given by Israeli former chief rabbi Israel Meir Lau? No, I don’t think he would. It would be beneath his dignity.
Yet when Benedict comes to Israel and speaks at Yad Vashem
in memory of victims of the Holocaust, Rabbi Lau, who is chairman of the Yad Vashem Council, and other Israeli big shots jump into the fray, taking issue with the Pope’s failure to allude directly to the Nazis, his use of the word “killed” instead of “murdered,” that he spoke of “millions” killed rather than 6 million, etc.
Meanwhile the JPost reports
that the Knesset’s Speaker, Reuven Rivlin, complained about the speech that “everything that we feared came to fruition.”
“I came to the memorial not only to hear historical descriptions or about the established fact of the Holocaust. I came as a Jew, hoping to hear an apology and a request for forgiveness from those who caused our tragedy, and among them, the Germans and the church. But to my sadness, I did not hear any such thing,” he said.
Given the extent to which Nazi thought and rhetoric drew on Darwinian theory, it would make as much sense — that is, not much — to ask the biology department at your local university to apologize for the Holocaust.
But more to the point, one wishes that Jewish leaders had the dignity to allow the representative of another faith to visit Israel and express his feelings about the Holocaust in his own way, without being sniped at afterward for trivial defects in his remarks.
Are we not bigger, greater than this?