web analytics
August 27, 2014 / 1 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

The Palestinians, the Pope and Peace

In venting their anger about a wreath for Herzl, the Palestinians demonstrate that their real problem with Israel isn’t about borders. It is, instead, an argument about the legitimacy of a Jewish state.
Jonathan S. Tobin is Senior Online Editor of Commentary magazine.

Jonathan S. Tobin is Senior Online Editor of Commentary magazine.
Photo Credit: Commentarymagazine.com

Pope Francis’ upcoming trip to the Middle East is fraught with political and religious symbolism and events on his itinerary are raising the temperatures on both sides of the Middle East divide.

In Israel, some are upset about the way the Vatican is treating his stops in the West Bank as if it is a state visit to a sovereign “State of Palestine” that, in fact, does not exist.

Others are upset about the Israeli government’s decision to allow Francis to celebrate a mass on Mount Zion in Jerusalem, a site that Jews believe is the Tomb of King David and Christians think is the place where the Last Supper took place.

Meanwhile, the Palestinians are up in arms over the fact that the Pope will visit Mount Herzl, Israel’s national cemetery outside the capital and lay a wreath on the tomb of Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism. And therein hangs the tale not only of a pope caught in the middle of a bitter clash in which any seemingly innocuous gesture of good will can become a source of tension but the issue that lies at the very core of a century-long conflict.

The context of the papal visit is the desire of Francis, a man already renowned for his caring persona and a desire to create outreach with all peoples, to plant a flag of ecumenism in the midst of a steadily worsening environment for Christians in the Middle East.

The rise of Islamism has made the situation of all non-Muslim minorities in the region and none are in a more precarious situation than that of Palestinian Christians, who have left the administered territories in large numbers since the Oslo Accords that handed over effective control of these areas to the Palestinian Authority. But, instead, a bogus campaign of incitement has sought to convince the world that Israel, the one nation in the region where freedom of religion prevails is the problem for the Christians.

Nevertheless, tensions between Palestinian Arabs and Jews have at times bubbled over into religious tension. Far right extremist Jews appear to have been guilty of vandalism at some churches, a deplorable development that has generated international outrage that is notably missing when Jewish institutions are routinely given the same treatment by Arabs.

The dispute at Mount Zion is typical of the kind of disputes that develop at the holy places. The shrine there has been under Jewish control for decades. Indeed, prior to the unification of Jerusalem and the liberation of the Western Wall, it was considered by many to be the most sacred spot inside pre-1967 Israel. While the Israeli protests about the mass seem intolerant, they are generated by fears that the site will be handed over to the church which would compromise Jewish sovereignty over the capital as well as possibly infringe on Jewish worship there. The Israeli government is clearly opposed to such a transfer and if they allow Christians more access to the site for their worship, it is to be hoped that both sides will live and let live.

While Israelis would have preferred that the Vatican not jump the gun and recognize “Palestine” without the Arabs first being required to make peace. Such recognition lessens the pressure on the Palestinians to negotiate in good faith but there is little rancor over the pope’s desire to visit what is, for intents and purposes, a separate country in the West Bank. But the Herzl dispute is more serious than just another tit-for-tat argument.

In venting their anger about a wreath for Herzl, the Palestinians are once again demonstrating that their real problem with Israel isn’t West Bank settlements or where the border should be after a peace treaty. It is, instead, an argument about the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders wind up being drawn. Herzl, who died in 1904, isn’t connected in any way to the grievances Palestinians and their foreign cheerleaders vent their spleen about. But he is, in no small measure, responsible for the birth of the movement responsible for the rebirth of Jewish sovereignty over the historic homeland of his people. If Palestinians have a problem with Herzl, it’s because they still can’t bring themselves to change a political culture that regards rejection of Zionism as integral to their identity as a people.

About the Author: Jonathan S. Tobin is senior online editor of Commentary magazine and chief political blogger at www.commentarymagazine.com, where this first appeared. He can be reached via e-mail at jtobin@commentarymagazine.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

8 Responses to “The Palestinians, the Pope and Peace”

  1. It fits. Hertzl wanted the Jews to convert to Christianity…

  2. It fits. Hertzl wanted the Jews to convert to Christianity…

  3. It fits. Hertzl wanted the Jews to convert to Christianity…

  4. The Pope is a good man just like the royal family, only price Charles Lol, but but I believe everything has a fix, we have to get to know people better and their political and social background before we hope into conclusions. Thank

  5. And you can still be Jewish and Catholic and keep regular customs, it does not matter family brothers.

  6. Lies. He plagiarized his findings. I wonder what happens when people find out I’m not dead and start suing for theft and plagiarizing? Lies .0001%, one person out of 1000. Was against a Jewish state. One person. One person. Angry someone is using my knowledge and research for evil purposes

  7. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Pope Francis for trying to make peace. Although meeting with an Imam who calls for genocide is a bit insensitive. But here's some information that you need to know. There never has been, there is not now and there never will be a country called "Palestine." The Arab/ Moslems squatting on land in and around Israel are overwhelmingly either descendants of invaders, illegal immigrants or trespassers. The term "Palestinian" was popularized after the Six Day War in '67 in an attempt to delegitimize Israel. There are already 21 Arab/ Moslem dominated countries spread out over a few millions square miles of territory. The Arab/ Moslems are not interested in creating a 22nd Arab controlled country. Their only desire is to annihilate the one and only Jewish state.

  8. Ch Hoffman says:

    Tobin is as adept at playing the victim card as any of the soft-right at Commentary.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
IDF soldiers examine fragments from a rocket that landed near Kibbutz El Rom, fired from Syria on July 14, 2014.
IDF Soldier Wounded by Syrian Mortar Fire on Golan Heights
Latest Indepth Stories
Palestinian patient enters Israel for emergency treatment.

We risk our lives to help those who do what they can to kill to our people .

Mark Twain

Twain grasped amazingly well the pulse of the Jewish people.

Brudner-012414-Hollywood

The entertainment industry appears divided about the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

Grandparents of 4 year old Daniel Tragerman mourn during his funeral at the Hevel Shalom Cemetery in Southern Israel. The boy was murdered by Hamas.

Israelis in Gaza border communities need to get out; who will help them?

The contrast between the mentality of Israel and the mentality of Hamas was never so loudly expressed as when the Arab killers became heroes and the Jewish killers became prisoners.

There is a threat today representing a new category of missionary:They call themselves “Hayovel.”

Just as we would never grant legitimacy to ISIS, we should not grant legitimacy to Hamas.

Is Woodstock still leading the world to destruction?

Wye would be seen to have set the groundwork for the creation of a Palestinian state

Blaming Israel for the violence in Gaza, he ends up justifying Hamas’s terrorism.

In the Thirties it was common for anti-Semites to call on Jews to “go to Palestine!”

Obama never hid his contempt for the Israeli government or the majority of Israel’s voters.

“This arbitrary ban is an ugly stain on our democracy, and it also undermines the rule of law.”

We take US “aid” for psychological reasons-if we have an allowance, that means we have a father.

ZIM Piraeus isn’t Israeli-owned or flagged, incidentally, it is Greek operated.

Foolish me, thinking the goals were the destruction of Hamas thereby giving peace a real chance.

More Articles from Jonathan S. Tobin
Bomb Shelter

One of the key talking points by apologists for Hamas in the current conflict is that it isn’t fair that Israelis under fire have bomb shelters while Palestinians in Gaza don’t have any. Among other factors, the lack of shelters accounts in part for the differences in casualty figures between the two peoples. But somehow […]

Jonathan S. Tobin is Senior Online Editor of Commentary magazine.

How will all this end? Hamas seems to think it will be Netanyahu who will blink first.

Nothing short of a stroke that will decapitate the leadership of this group will convince the Arabs that Hamas has made a mistake.

Z STREET will have the ability to compel IRS officials to testify as to their practices and produce all records.

“Death of Klinghoffer” opera frames the issue as Israel’s existence being the real crime.

Palestinian leaders claim the kidnapping is an Israeli hoax or the act of Jewish criminals rather than terrorists.

If Peres has outlasted some of his critics and is still considered popular, he cannot outrun history.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/the-palestinians-the-pope-and-peace/2014/05/25/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: