USC Students for Justice in Palestine

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Der Spiegel: German Bishops Accused of Anti-Semitism

Posted by uscsjp on March 8, 2007

The visit by German Catholic bishops to Israel and the Palestinian territories had exceeded expectations — until some of the bishops compared the situation of the Palestinians to the Warsaw Ghetto. The comments have enraged the Jewish community in Germany — now the Church is rushing to apologize.

Comments by Germany’s Catholic bishops during a pilgrimage to Israel and the Palestinian territories have sparked fury among the Jewish community in Germany, who have accused the bishops of making anti-Semitic remarks. The Church is scrambling to diffuse the row.

The members of the German Catholic Bishops’ Conference spent last week in the Holy Land. While the trip went well for the most part, remarks by two of the bishops have led to a row in Germany.

According to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, the bishop of Eichstätt, Gregor Maria Hanke, remarked during a visit to Bethlehem, “This morning in Yad Vashem the photos of the inhuman Warsaw Ghetto, and this evening we travel to the ghetto in Ramallah. That makes you angry.” The Bishop of Augsburg Walter Mixa then remarked that it was a “ghetto-like” situation and that it was “almost racism.”

The President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Charlotte Knobloch, has reacted with anger and disappointment to the remarks, which she describes as “awful and completely unacceptable.” Comparing the fate of the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto with the situation of the Palestinians in Ramallah belied “either a questionable shortfall in historical knowledge,” or an attempt to turn the Jewish victims of the Holocaust and their children into today’s perpetrators, she said. (continued)

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