LE TEMPS IRREPARABLE
23 June 1996
THE PARIS CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP FORBIDS ATTACKS AGAINST ISRAELI POLICIES
After many weeks of silence, cardinal Lustiger, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Paris launched an violent attack against the most revered priest of France, the abbe Pierre who gave his support to the revisionist book of Roger Garaudy, "The Foundings Myths of Israeli Politics" . Reviled by an almost unanimous condemnation by the press of his position but strengthened by a recent poll showing he had lost only 2% of the favorable views expressed by the French public opinion, the abbe Pierre delivered a heavy blast, blaming the fictitious unanimity of the press on the "Zionist lobby".
During the controversy, since March, the French Roman Catholic Church handed out only one rather low-key statement, rejecting the revisionist view and providing the Church's own view that one cannot go against "the most solid conclusions of the international scientific community", a rather unexpected source of knowledge for this Church.
The Paris Archbishop, born Jewish, converted to Christianity when he was still a teenager. A, intellectual priest, his career has been very quick. In books and interviews, he maintains that he is at the same time a Jew and a Christian, although this seems difficult to understand to his more simple-minded parishioners. The intellectual establishment and the press love it.
To express his "blame" to the abbe Pierre, although he has no authority over a monk like the abbe, he choose "Tribune juive" , a minor Jewish weekly. "What is at stake, he said, is an attack against Israeli policies and, on par with it, against Zionism and the Jews in general."
Usually in order to shield Israel from criticism, it was said by its supporters that a critique of Zionism was a veiled attack against Jews. But the ordinary use of criticism against Israeli policies was authorized as a proof that the use of criticism was still allowed.
Archbishop Lustiger, who recently introduced a seemingly Jewish rite into a Catholic celebration for the seven monks assassinated in Algeria, now forbids any criticism of Israeli policies or, more probably restricts its use to authorized circles.
It was strange situation, without a precedent, to see a
self-proclaimed Jew as one of the leading personalities of a Roman
Catholic Church. But now the same person acts as an Israeli
spokesman. This situation is unheard of.