The Church and Jewish Ideology

The Church and Jewish Ideology
by Joe Sobran

(Reprinted from SOBRAN’S, May 1999, page 4)

According to this modern myth, the Jews are in no way responsible for their
own unpopularity from ancient times. What, then, is the source of such
persistent hostility to this fundamentally innocent people? Why, the Catholic Church,
of course!

Many Jewish scholars find the seed of anti-Semitism in the Gospels of Matthew
and John, where the Jews are depicted as engineering the Crucifixion, with
the assistance of Romans who “know not what they do.” Some Jews have even
demanded that the offending passages be deleted from the Scriptures, not realizing
(or caring) that Christians regard their holy books as off-limits to human
editing. Others persist in blaming Pius XII for failing to condemn Nazism more
strongly for its persecution of the Jews of Europe. The Catholic Church in
particular has been targeted as the historic matrix of anti-Semitism; and
unfortunately, many churchmen have accepted the role of defendant against accusers who
will never acquit the Church or drop the case.

In recent years the Vatican has tried, as far as possible, to appease Jewish
objections. The Second Vatican Council, mindful of Nazi crimes, proclaimed
that today’s Jews don’t share the guilt of the Jews who conspired to murder
Christ. Pope John Paul II has been especially eager to cultivate good relations
with the Jews, even making an unprecedented visit to a Roman synagogue a few
years ago. He has gone so far as to name Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List as
one of his favorite films — though it contains scenes of nudity and simulated

In this spirit, the Vatican last year promulgated We Remember, a statement of
repentance for the failures of the Church and the mass of Christians during
the Holocaust (or Shoah, the Hebrew word that has become current lately). Its
theme was that “erroneous and unjust interpretations of the New Testament”
have contributed to anti-Semitism; and that the Church, though never a party to
persecution, should have done more to oppose the “unspeakable tragedy” of the
Shoah, which “can never be forgotten.” The statement also affirmed the
Church’s “very close bonds of spiritual kinship with the Jewish people” and the
“Hebrew roots of [Catholic] faith.”

Many Jews resented the statement’s exculpation of the Church for the Shoah
itself. The document distinguished sharply between regrettable Christian
attitudes toward the Jews throughout European history (it made no reference to Jewish
attitudes toward Christians) and the virulent nationalist and racialist
anti-Semitism that arose in the nineteenth century. Predictably, a Jewish historian
has rejected this distinction.

By such reasoning as Wistrich’s, it would be easy to blame the Jews for
bringing persecution on themselves. After all, they have been unpopular not only in
Christian countries, but in pagan and Muslim lands. Cicero, Tacitus, Juvenal,
and other Roman authors inveighed against them. They have repeatedly migrated
to Christian countries and have been repeatedly expelled, for reasons that
have usually had little to do with theology — though the obscene blasphemies
against Christ and his mother in the Talmud, unique in religious literature,
besides reflecting oddly on Jewish demands for Christian tolerance and for the
cleansing of offensive passages in the Gospels, have done nothing to endear the
Jews to Christians.

Wistrich mentions none of this. Nor does he mention one of the principal
incitements to anti-Semitism in this century: Jewish participation in Communism,
with its terrifying persecution of Christians. Where is the corresponding
statement of Jewish leaders repudiating and repenting the Jewish role in a cause
whose crimes dwarf those of Hitler? Did major Jewish spokesmen or organizations
condemn Communism as it devoured tens of millions of Christians? Did a few
brave Jews in the Soviet Union and the other Communist-ruled countries act, at
personal risk, to shield Christians from arbitrary arrest and murder? Even
today, how many Jews condemn Franklin Roosevelt for his fondness for Stalin, as
they would condemn him if he had shown the slightest partiality to Hitler?

Further, might the Talmudic imprecations against Christ and Christians have
helped form the Bolshevik Jews’ anti-Christian animus? Did the Talmud help form
the “cultural framework” for the persecution of Christians, and for the
eradication of Christian culture in America today? If so, will Jews make an effort
to expunge the offending passages from the Talmud? How many rabbis speak of
their “spiritual kinship” with Christianity?

The answers to these questions are only too obvious. The Jews, with honorable
but ineffectual exceptions, judge Christians by a standard that doesn’t seem
to apply to themselves. Or rather, their single standard is “Is it good for
the Jews?”

Yet Wistrich complains that “in confronting the Shoah, Pius XII’s chief
concern was less with the ongoing annihilation of the Jews than with the interests
of the Church.” Think of that: a Pope putting the Church first! Nowadays even
the papacy is to be judged in terms of Jewish interests. Self-absorption can
go no further.

The smear of Pius XII — and of the Church — persists, and will no doubt
continue indefinitely, in the endless campaign to make Christianity and
anti-Semitism synonymous. Wistrich barely acknowledges that the diplomatic Pius may have
feared that a more explicit condemnation of Nazism would have backfired not
only against the Church, but against the Jews themselves. Besides, if papal
condemnations of Communism had failed to deter the persecution of Christians, how
could Pius expect papal animadversions against Nazism to be any more

Even American Jewish groups refrained from denouncing the Shoah during the
war, for fear that speaking publicly about it might do more harm than good. This
policy of silence has resulted in bitter recriminations between American and
European Jews, but it has discouraged few Jews on either continent from
blaming Pius for saying too little.

The prevalent attitude of Christians toward the Jews has been (and remains)
not so much hatred as fear. The Acts of the Apostles tells how the early Church
was forced to take various precautions “for fear of the Jews.” Few deny, or
doubt, that this is historically accurate; the tolerance recommended to
Christians has never been a salient trait of the Jews themselves, when they have
held power. On the contrary, the state of Israel is based on an ethnic
supremacism that would be roundly condemned as anti-Semitic if it were enforced against
Jews by gentiles. Yet most Jews hotly resent any suggestion that Zionism is
“racist.” (A United Nations declaration to that effect was eventually repealed
in response to American pressure.)

In intellectual life, Jews have been brilliantly subversive of the cultures
of the natives they have lived amongst. Their tendencies, especially in modern
times, have been radical and nihilistic. One thinks of Marx, Freud, and many
other shapers of modern thought and authors of reductionist ideologies. Even
Einstein, the greatest of Jewish scientists, was, unlike Sir Isaac Newton, no
mere contemplator of nature’s laws; he helped inspire the development of nuclear
weapons and consistently defended the Soviet Union under Stalin.

Jews have generally supported Communism, socialism, liberalism, and
secularism; the agenda of major Jewish groups is the de-Christianization of America,
using a debased interpretation of the “living Constitution” as their
instrument. When the Jewish side of an issue is too unpopular to prevail democratically,
the legal arm of Jewry seeks to make the issue a “constitutional” one,
appealing to judicial sovereignty to decide it in defiance of the voters.
Overwhelming Jewish support for legal abortion illustrates that many Jews hate
Christian morality more than they revere Jewish tradition itself. This fanatical
antagonism causes anguish to a number of religious, conscientious, and far-sighted
Jews, but they, alas, are outside the Jewish mainstream.
Today, in American politics, journalism, and ecclesiastical circles, fear of
Jewish power is overwhelming. This is most obvious in the dread of incurring
the label “anti-Semitic,” in the way Christians shrink from calling this
country “a Christian nation” (a phrase that enrages Jews), and in the groveling
before Israel that has become a virtual requirement for anyone who aspires to
high office. Nobody dares to point out the obvious, that Israel is inimical to
the principles Americans profess to share; nearly everyone in public life
pretends that Israel is a model democracy and a “reliable ally” of the United
States, despite repeated episodes of Israeli spying and betrayal against its chief
benefactor. Israel has not only refused to return the documents stolen by
Jonathan Pollard; it continues to press the U.S. Government for his release from
prison. In fact Israel exemplifies most of the “anti-Semitic stereotypes” of
yore: it is exclusivist, belligerent, parasitic, amoral, and underhanded. It
feels no obligation to non-Jews, even those who have befriended it.

Most Jews regard conversion to Christianity as the ultimate treason to Jewry
and resent Christian attempts to convert them; never mind that for Christians,
concern for the salvation of souls is the highest charity next to the
adoration of God. In Jewish eyes, such charity is next door to persecution. Jews for
Jesus, a convert group, is especially execrated among Jews, and in Israel
Christian proselytization can be punished by law under various pretexts. (Even
giving a copy of the New Testament can be construed as a “bribe.”) Yet
Christians, who may not claim a nation of their own, are taxed to support the Jewish

History is replete with the lesson that a country in which the Jews get the
upper hand is in danger. Such was the experience of Europe during Jewish-led
Communist revolutions in Russia, Hungary, Romania, and Germany after World War
I. Christians knew that Communism — often called “Jewish Bolshevism” — would
bring awful persecution with the ultimate goal of the annihilation of
Christianity. While the atheistic Soviet regime made war on Christians, murdering tens
of thousands of Orthodox priests, it also showed its true colors by making
anti-Semitism a capital crime. Countless Jews around the world remained
pro-Communist even after Stalin had purged most Jews from positions of power in the
Soviet Union.

Clearly, it is futile for the Church to try to mollify a hatred so ancient
and so deep as the Jewish animus against Christianity. Despite all the
sentimental rhetoric to the contrary — such as pious nonsense about “the
Judaeo-Christian tradition” — Judaism and Christianity are radically opposed over the most
important thing of all: Jesus Christ, who commands us to be wise as serpents
and harmless as doves, and to love our enemies, which does not mean mistaking
them for friends.


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