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FEATURE: ‘Never Again: Confronting the Global Rise of Anti-Semitism’– US Embassy to Holy See & Holy See Join Forces
November 23, 2020. Cardinal Parolin: ‘The Holy See Condemns All Forms of Anti-Semitism, Recalling That Such Acts Are Neither Christian Nor Human’.

Condemning any form of anti-Semitism is fundamental … As we see its resurgence, we must say ‘Never Again!’


This was at the forefront of a Nov. 19 virtual Symposium organized by U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, Callista Gingrich, and her embassy in Rome, titled “Never Again: Confronting the Global Rise of Anti-Semitism.”

ZENIT’s Senior Vatican Correspondent followed the event organized by the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See online in compliance with anti-COVID 19 rules and provisions. The symposium was live-streamed on the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See’s Facebook page.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Holy See’s Secretary of State, offered closing remarks from Vatican City. Reuter’s Italy Bureau Chief, Phil Pullella, moderated the discussions among the distinguished panel of experts. Honorable Elan Carr, U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, joined from California.

The Symposium highlighted the importance of Holocaust remembrance and education and of sharing best practices for confronting the rise of anti-Semitism around the world.

“Just seventy-five years after the liberation of Auschwitz and the defeat of Nazism, anti-Semitism is on the rise,” Ambassador Gingrich decried, noting: “In many places around the world, Jews are vilified, demonized, and physically attacked.”

In the United States, the rate of anti-Semitic incidents has risen, and in Europe–she added–nearly 80 percent of European Jews believe anti-Semitism is a growing problem, and 40 percent live in daily fear of being attacked.

“This is unconscionable, and every free society has a stake in reversing this trend,” she said.

The United States, she noted, has taken bold action to raise awareness of the Holocaust and to confront the rise of anti-Semitism at home and abroad.

“As the President said earlier this year in marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, ”[We] recommit ourselves to the fight against anti-Semitism and to the two words that cannot be repeated often enough:  Never Again.”

“Assuring such atrocities will never again occur requires action,” she said, detailing what the U.S. has done.

In 2018, US President Trump signed the Justice for Uncompensated Survivors Today Act, which requires the U.S. Department of State to report to Congress on steps taken by 47 countries to compensate Holocaust survivors and their heirs for assets seized by Nazi Germany and post-war communist governments. In 2019, the President issued an Executive Order, ensuring that Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 extends to anti-Semitic discrimination. Last month, the U.S. Department of State aired its first-ever conference on combating online anti-Semitism.

“The United States government,” Ambassador Gingrich said, “is also pressing other governments to provide adequate security for their Jewish populations and is advocating for the investigation, prosecution, and punishment of hate crimes.”

While the U.S. government works with the European Union, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, and other international organizations to confront and combat anti-Semitism, she also noted that “faith communities, through partnerships, coalitions, dialogue, and mutual respect, also have an important role to play.”

Condemns All Forms of Anti-Semitism

Cardinal Parolin also condemned the rise of this phenomenon and called for action, lamenting: “We have witnessed the spread of a climate of evil and antagonism, in which anti-Semitic hatred has been manifested through a number of attacks in various countries.”

“The Holy See condemns all forms of anti-Semitism, recalling that such acts are neither Christian nor human,” he said.

The Vatican Secretary of State recalled that during the Nov. 13, 2019, General Audience, Pope Francis added a spontaneous comment “in a very clear and loud voice”: ‘The Jews are our brothers! And they should not be persecuted. Understood?’

Francis has repeatedly stressed, Cardinal Parolin said,  that for a Christian any form of anti-Semitism is a rejection of one’s own Christian origins and, thus, a complete contradiction.

“Indeed, Jews are our brothers and sisters and we are proud of having them as such. We share a rich spiritual patrimony that must be always respected and appreciated. We are growing in mutual understanding, fraternity and shared commitments, and this is the way to move forward.”

“Unequivocally, condemning any form of anti-Semitism is a fundamental aspect to confronting the problem,” he stressed noting: “and it does, in fact, help in combatting it.”

“However,” he continued, “we must ask ourselves if it is enough to condemn it or if other considerations and measures are required.”

Here is the US-Embassy provided intervention of Ambassador Gingrich and of Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin:

***

Closing remarks of His Eminence Card. Pietro Parolin
at the virtual symposium, “Never Again: Confronting the Global Rise of Anti-Semitism
19 November 2020

Honourable Special Envoy Elen Carr,
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

I wish to thank Her Excellency, Ambassador Callista Gingrich, for the kind invitation to this virtual symposium entitled “Never Again: Confronting the Global Rise of Anti-Semitism”, organized by the Embassy of the United States of America to the Holy See, and, indeed, it is a pleasure for me to offer these closing remarks.

In recent years, we have witnessed the spread of a climate of evil and antagonism, in which anti-Semitic hatred has been manifested through a number of attacks in various countries. The Holy See condemns all forms of anti-Semitism, recalling that such acts are neither Christian nor human.

Last year, during a General Audience, Pope Francis added a spontaneous comment in a very clear and loud voice: “The Jews are our brothers! And they should not be persecuted. Understood?” (Pope Francis, General Audience, 13 November 2019). Furthermore, the Holy Father has stressed many times that for a Christian any form of anti-Semitism is a rejection of one’s own Christian origins and, thus, a complete contradiction.

Indeed, Jews are our brothers and sisters and we are proud of having them as such. We share a rich spiritual patrimony that must be always respected and appreciated. We are growing in mutual understanding, fraternity and shared commitments, and this is the way to move forward.

Unequivocally condemning any form of anti-Semitism is a fundamental aspect to confronting the problem and it does, in fact, help in combatting it. However, we must ask ourselves if it is enough to condemn it or if other considerations and measures are required.

The re-emergence of hate against Jews, along with other forms of persecution against Christians and Muslims and members of other religions, needs to be analysed at its roots. After more than 75 years of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, how is it possible that some people are still hating and persecuting other human beings?

In the Encyclical Letter Fratelli tutti, His Holiness Pope Francis has offered a number of considerations and tangible ways on how to build a more just and fraternal world, in social life, politics and institutions. The Document also reflects – among other topics – on the distortions of many fundamental concepts such as democracy, freedom, justice, selfishness, indifference, and the loss of the meaning of the sense of history. Another matter of concern is the phenomenon of the “throwaway culture”, which “finds expression in vicious attitudes that we thought long past, such as racism, which retreats underground only to keep re-emerging. Instances of racism continue to shame us, for they show that our supposed social progress is not as real or definitive as we think” (n. 20).

The Pontiff goes on to describe a number of “dark clouds”, in which we can easily find some of the reasons for the rise of anti-Semitism.

One of them, the “loss of the meaning of history”, has a clear influence on how people see anti-Semitism.

In fact, in order to overcome so many deplorable forms of hate, we need the “capacity to involve ourselves together in remembering. Memory is the key to accessing the future, and it is our responsibility to hand it on in a dignified way to young generations” (Pope Francis, To the international conference on the responsibility to fight anti-Semitic hate crimes, 28 January 2018).

Of course, it is not only a matter of remembering or studying the past, but we need a living and faithful common memory, that should not remain imprisoned in resentment, but should open up with courage toward a new dawn.

In 2016, His Holiness went to Auschwitz-Birkenau to pray in silence and to reflect. Of course, we all find it emotionally difficult to pause and to listen in silence to the plea of suffering humanity. However “silence, helps to keep memory alive. If we lose our memory, we destroy our future. May the anniversary of the unspeakable cruelty that humanity learned of seventy-five years ago serve as a summons to pause, to be still and to remember […]. Let us too remember the past and have compassion on those who suffer, and in this way till the soil of fraternity”. (Pope Francis, To a delegation of the “Simon Wiesenthal Center”, 20 January 2020).

 We all know what fraternity means, the Holy Scriptures are replete with this teaching:  “love your neighbour as yourself” (Lev 19:18), because “Those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen” (1 Jn 4:20).

In this context, it is particularly interesting to consider what only recently has been found in the Historic Archive of the Section for Relations with States of the Secretariat of State. I would like to share with you one small example that is especially memorable for the Catholic Church.

On 9 February 1916, my predecessor, Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Gasparri, wrote a letter to the American Jewish Committee of New York, where he states: “The Supreme Pontiff […], head of the Catholic Church, which – faithful to its divine doctrine and to its most glorious traditions – considers all men as brethren and teaches to love one another, he will not cease to inculcate the observance among individuals, as among nations, of the principles of natural right, and to reprove any violation of them. This right should be observed and respected in relation to the children of Israel as it should be as for all men, for it would not conform to justice and to religion itself to derogate there from solely because of a difference of religious faith”.

Cardinal Gasparri’s letter was a response to the one sent to the Holy See on 30 December 1915 by the American Jewish Committee, urging Pope Benedict XV for an official intervention on behalf of the horror, cruelties and hardships visited upon the Jews in the belligerent countries since the outbreak of World War I.

In the American Hebrew and Jewish Messenger, the Committee welcomed the answer saying that it “is virtually an encyclical”, and “Among all the papal bulls ever issued with regard to Jews throughout the history of the Vatican, there is no statement that equals this direct, unmistakable plea for equality for the Jews, and against prejudice upon religious grounds. […] It is gratifying that so powerful a voice, so influential a force, particularly in the regions where the Jewish tragedy is now being enacted, has been raised, calling for equality and for the law of love. It is bound to have a far-reaching, beneficent effect.

These documents, fully available for consultation, are a small example – just a little drop into an ocean of murky waters – showing how there is no basis for discriminating someone because of faith.

The Holy See considers that, along with a living memory of what happened in the past, interreligious dialogue is an indispensable tool to combat anti-Semitism. It has the aim to promote a commitment to peace, mutual respect, the protection of life, religious freedom, and the care of creation.

In fact, “the different religions, based on their respect for each human person as a creature called to be a child of God, contribute significantly to building fraternity and defending justice in society. Dialogue between the followers of different religions does not take place simply for the sake of diplomacy, consideration or tolerance” (Pope Francis, Fratelli Tutti, 271).

It is my hope that the more Christians and Jews grow in fraternity, social friendship and dialogue, less anti-Semitism will be possible, because “deceit is in the mind of those who plan evil, but those who counsel peace have joy” (Prov 12:20). Shalom!

[Intervention Texts Provided by US Embassy to the Holy See on Their Website]

Opening Remarks
Ambassador Callista L. Gingrich
“Never Again:  Confronting the Global Rise of Anti-Semitism”

Rome, Italy
November 19, 2020

Your Eminence, Your Excellencies, distinguished guests, and friends,

Welcome to our symposium, entitled, “Never Again:  Confronting the Global Rise of Anti-Semitism.”

Today’s symposium is being live-streamed on the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See’s Facebook page.

I’d like to thank the Honorable Elan Carr, U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, for joining us from California.

I would also like to thank Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Holy See’s Secretary of State, for offering closing remarks from Vatican City.

Finally, I’d like to thank our moderator, Mr. Phil Pullella, and our distinguished panel of experts for their participation.

Today’s symposium is dedicated to discussing the importance of Holocaust remembrance and education, and to sharing best practices for confronting the rise of anti-Semitism around the world.

Just seventy-five years after the liberation of Auschwitz and the defeat of Nazism, anti-Semitism is on the rise.

In many places around the world, Jews are vilified, demonized, and physically attacked.

In the United States, the rate of anti-Semitic incidents has risen to near-historic levels, punctuated by deadly massacre in Pittsburgh, horrific attacks in Jersey City, and repeated attacks in New York City.

In Europe nearly 80 percent of European Jews believe anti-Semitism is a growing problem, and 40 percent live in daily fear of being attacked.

This is unconscionable, and every free society has a stake in reversing this trend.

Under President Trump’s leadership, the United States has taken bold action to raise awareness of the Holocaust and to confront the rise of anti-Semitism at home and abroad.

As the President said earlier this year in marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, “[We] recommit ourselves to the fight against anti-Semitism and to the two words that cannot be repeated often enough:  Never Again.”

The President is right.  Assuring such atrocities will never again occur requires action.

In 2018, President Trump signed the Justice for Uncompensated Survivors Today Act, which requires the U.S. Department of State to report to Congress on steps taken by 47 countries to compensate Holocaust survivors and their heirs for assets seized by Nazi Germany and post-war communist governments.

The President also issued an Executive Order in 2019, ensuring that Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 extends to anti-Semitic discrimination.

And last month, the U.S. Department of State aired its first-ever conference on combating online anti-Semitism.

The United States government is also pressing other governments to provide adequate security for their Jewish populations and is advocating for the investigation, prosecution, and punishment of hate crimes.

Currently, our government works with the European Union, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, and other international organizations to confront and combat anti-Semitism.

Faith communities, through partnerships, coalitions, dialogue, and mutual respect, also have an important role to play.

The Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council in the United States is one example of successful interfaith cooperation, bringing together leaders in American Jewish and Muslim communities to advocate for issues of common concern.

Likewise, the Muslim Jewish Leadership Council in Europe unites prominent figures from both communities to “free religious people and religions from prejudice, false claims, attacks, and violence.”

And at the Vatican, Pope Francis is a significant ally in the fight against anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial.  In his message to the Simon Wiesenthal Center in January, Pope Francis called upon each of us to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive.  He warned, “If we lose our memory, we destroy our future.”

In March, Pope Francis opened the Apostolic Archives of Pope Pius XII.  Many Jewish organizations have expressed support for this decision and welcomed the availability of the records.

I am delighted that we are joined today by Dr. Suzanne Brown-Fleming from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.  We are excited to hear more from Dr. Brown-Fleming on the importance of opening these historical records.

As we come together today to reaffirm our commitment to fight anti-Semitism, let us remember that through dialogue and cooperation, across governments, faith communities, and civil society, we can confront and overcome this unspeakable evil.

Thank you.

[Intervention Texts Provided by US Embassy to the Holy See on Their Website]