Monday 26 May 2014

Is the Pope delusional or ignorant?

There I was, an ignorant bystander, reading the article about the Pope's visit to Israel.  The article states "Pope Francis is currently visiting present-day Israel and the occupied West Bank. He has neither visited nor spoken about Gaza, where 1.7 million Palestinians are besieged."

"Hmm" I thought. "But the Pope can't do everything."

And later in the article it states "Many Palestinians have also been deeply dismayed at the Pope’s decision to lay a wreath at the tomb of Theodor Herzl, the founder of Zionism who inspired the ethnic cleansing of Palestine – the ongoing Nakba."

I pondered to myself "Who is this Theodor Herzl?" so I looked him up on Wikipedia (as you do) And found a page about Theodor Herzl.

In some respects he seemed a reasonable guy.  He did seem a little disillusioned rather like they say of music journalists that they are all failed musicians.  There were other dubious allegiances and a worrying 'romanticism' developing in his career.  But there is nothing wrong with having delusional or flawed ideas - so long as you are not adversely affecting millions of people.

In the Wikipedia article I found the following which seems jolly equitable and very ... nice:

In Altneuland, Herzl outlined his vision for a new Jewish state in the Land of Israel. He summed up his vision of an open society: "It is founded on the ideas which are a common product of all civilized nations. ... It would be immoral if we would exclude anyone, whatever his origin, his descent, or his religion, from participating in our achievements. ...  Our motto must therefore be, now and ever: 'Man, you are my brother.'" (Quoted in "Zion & the Jewish National Idea", in Zionism Reconsidered, Macmillan, 1970 PB, p. 185)

but then I found this entry from his diaries laying the insidious lie to his claims of equity and brotherhood:

"When we occupy the land, we shall bring immediate benefits to the state that receives us. We must expropriate gently the private property on the estates assigned to us. We shall try to spirit the penniless population across the border by procuring employment for it in the transit countries, while denying it any employment in our country. The property owners will come over to our side. Both the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor must be carried out discretely and circumspectly ... It goes without saying that we shall respectfully tolerate persons of other faiths and protect their property, their honor, and their freedom with the harshest means of coercion. This is another area in which we shall set the entire world a wonderful example ... Should there be many such immovable owners in individual areas [who would not sell their property to us], we shall simply leave them there and develop our commerce in the direction of other areas which belong to us", The Complete Diaries of Theodor Herzl, vol. 1 (New York: Herzl Press and Thomas Yoseloff, 1960), pp. 88, 90

It seems the Pope hasn't read Herzl's diaries but is willing to lay a wreath on his tomb but not visit Gaza.  Is the Pope allowed such ignorance as one of the most influential people on the planet?

So unless someone would like to disavow me of my current view that Herzl was a very dangerous, devious, duplicitous, insidious, hypocritical, inhumane, divisive individual I would be pleased to hear from them (with supportable information rather than emotional nonsense please).

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