|Image from here, where it's intended as an antisemitic comment on Australia's support for Israel|
As many readers of my blog will already be aware, there's a new Jewish online magazine Down Under, and already it's making waves.
Proudly pro-Israel (as is to be expected, since the stupendous Shirlee Finn, no stranger to my regular readers, is the driving force behind its establishment), it says of itself:
'This is somewhere you can air your views and ask hard questions in the Jewish Community without being silenced and cut down. There is a huge need for this. We need to make our voices heard. As it stands now there is nowhere to do it without being silenced, cut down or bullied by others.
If at times we hit a few raw nerves by speaking up and speaking the truth, so be it. You know what? There’s an old tried and tested saying “The truth hurts”.
Hopefully we can give balance to the inaccuracies by those who print and/or speak about Israel and Jews in the media or elsewhere, with complete disregard for the truth. We can address difficult issues facing our community that need a forum for genuine debate.
In general we hope to set the record straight, to facilitate open and genuine dialogue on issues that are important to Australian Jews, both within Australia and Israel.
We hope you enjoy our online magazine full of interesting topics and look forward to your participation as a reader, writer, and commenter.'In the short time that it's been up and running, "News and Views from Jews Down Under" has posted a variety of fine items and accumulated a healthy readership.
One of the articles that I, personally, like a great deal is this thought-provoking one with many comments, concerning the recent atrocious antisemitic remarks by pro-Arab, pro-Palestinian Tim Fischer, ex-leader of the National Party (I quote from the Australian Jewish News as follows):
'Former deputy prime minister Tim Fischer has attacked “the Jewish lobby” for unfairly attacking Pope Pius XII.
Pius XII has been widely accused of not interceding to try to stop the Nazi slaughter of European Jewry, but Fischer said in his new book, Holy See, Unholy Me: 1000 days in Rome, that the attacks are misguided.
“The American Jewish lobby is run by hardliners who get their daily feed from Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, and will cut no slack in terms of Israel’s policies in the West Bank,” Fischer, who was the deputy prime minister from 1996-99 and Australia’s ambassador to Holy See from 2008-12, says in the book.
He claims that the attacks on Pius XII, who is being considered for canonisation, continue today.
“The moment any suggestion is made to consider Pius XII for beatification and sainthood, they hit out at close to full power and use all media avenues to stamp it out.”
Of the Pope’s wartime record, Fischer writes that he “instructed Catholics to help Jews, hiding hundreds in convents, monasteries and the Vatican”.'Fischer well-deserved his excoriation (see, for instance, here) but did Pope Pius?
The prominent left-leaning Australian-born London lawyer Geoffrey Robinson has no doubt that Pius did:
But Rabbi David Dalin, author of The Myth of Hitler's Pope: How Pope Pius XII Rescued Jews from the Nazis, plainly does not.
As the uploader of the following hour-long video observes:
'[Dalin] writes that Pope Pius XII was not complicit with Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party, as some historians contend. Rabbi Dalin examines the actions of Pope Pius XII and also traces the actions of the Catholic Church during the late 1930s and through World War II. The author writes that Pope Pius XII was not an anti-Semite and that the Catholic Church did more than any other religion to save the lives of European Jews during the Holocaust. At the same time the grand mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin al-Husseini, became Hitler's staunch ally and a promoter of the Holocaust, with a legacy that feeds radical Islam today. After his presentation, Rabbi Dalin answered questions from members of the audience.'
I guess that until the all the relevant Vatican documents are made available for scrutiny "the experts" will continue to disagree.