Catholics Ought To Have a Zero Tolerance Policy for Anti-Semitism

Catholics Ought To Have a Zero Tolerance Policy for Anti-Semitism December 31, 2018


Instead, some are giving it a platform.

Just a little over two months ago, an avowedly anti-semitic Pittsburgh man posted on Gab about the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society:

“HIAS likes to bring invaders in that kill our people. I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.”

He then went to the Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill, and brutally murdered eleven people who were attending Shabbat morning services.

This was the deadliest attack on the Jewish community recorded in the United States, but it would be a mistake to view this as a rare and isolated instance of anti-semitism. Hatred of Jews is alive and well in our country, and has been for quite some time. While it is dominant in right-wing ideologies that embrace white supremacy, it has also found a home on the far left, partially due to an opposition to Zionism that has blossomed into an opposition to all Jews – but partially due, as always, to pure nihilistic hatred.

And it is far too cozily at home, among Catholics. Not that this is a new thing, unfortunately, but one would think that we would have learned.

I’ve written before about my experiences with anti-semitism among Catholics, andI can assert first hand that these instances of personal anti-semitism seem to be on the rise. But it’s not just the overt anti-semitism. It’s the indifference, the refusal to recognize it as a problem in its own right, a relegation of anti-semitic violence to the category of “gosh everyone is so divisive these days!” Or, people might denounce it only when it conveniently crops up on the other side: never will they acknowledge it among their own.

To be a Catholic of Jewish ethnicity, right now, is to feel rather like Treebeard: to be not altogether on anyone’s side, since no one is altogether on ours. Often even our own friends fail us, unwilling to enter into the uncomfortable spaces of our anger and fear. Our alliances with other religious and ethnic Jews get nitpicked by the same people who will excuse anti-semitism so long as it’s coming from a member of their tribe.

The Catholic Herald Publishes an Anti-Semite

Recently, author (and fellow Jewish Catholic)  Dawn Eden Goldstein raised concerns on Twitter about a prominent Catholic publication providing a platform for a noted anti-semite. I quote some of her Tweets here:

1. Should a writer known for writing “In praise of the Wehrmacht” and for his racist and antisemitic musings, have a platform in a publication that has the word “Catholic” in its name?

The longstanding UK magazine @CatholicHErald thought so.

2.“On Dec. 20, @Catholic Herald, which recently launched a US edition, ran an article by Taki that made antisemitic comments re @nytimes & its readers.

Eleven days later, the Herald has not apologized for running the piece, which remains on its website.”

3. It was noted on social media that this was not the first time Taki has expressed hateful views.

9. Could @CatholicHerald be banking on readers preferring an occasional defiant alt-right stance over an unblemished witness to truth and authentic Catholic teaching? If so, in integrity & consideration for the faithful, should it remove the word “Catholic” from its name? Discuss.


As far as I know, the Catholic Herald still has not apologized.

And in answer to Eden’s question: yes, I think they were banking on this. I’ve seen it too often. I’ve seen it among the faculty and students at my former place of employment. I’ve seen it in Facebook groups. I’ve heard it in casual conversations. 

Perhaps it’s ignorance, perhaps it’s deliberate choice: either way, too many Catholics in America prefer right-wing heterodoxy over genuine Catholic tradition, because genuine Catholic tradition demands that we give up our worship of nation-state, take seriously the command to welcome the poor and the stranger.

Yes, I am a far-left Catholic, but this is not me writing as a far leftist. This is me writing as a Catholic.

But this is also me writing as a Jewish woman. And, as a Jewish woman, if I don’t see more of my fellow Catholics speaking up about this, I am going to start wondering just where your loyalties reside.

Because, if nice respectable Catholic family folks start casually enabling white supremacy, it wouldn’t be the first time.

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