This Shit Doesn't Happen in a Void: Anti-Semitism

[Content Note: Anti-Semitism, Holocaust denialism]

Yesterday, a group of conservative Catholics interrupted a Buenos Aires interfaith observation of Kristallnacht being held at the Metropolitan Cathedral. The ceremony had a long history under the current pope who, as Buenos Aires Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, co-celebrated the observance with Rabbi Abraham Skorka every year. Skorka was there again this year, and described the appalling scene:

“The cathedral was full, with people standing, prepared for a profound act of introspection, when a group of about 40 people began to recite from the Christian liturgy, the ‘Our Father,’ and began to hand out little pieces of paper saying that Jews were blaspheming the place,” Skorka said.

Skorka said protesters made cutting comments like “the Jews killed Jesus.” He said one Jew confronted them, saying, “My grandmother died in Auschwitz,” to which an activist replied, “Do you believe that lie?”

The leader of the South American branch of the Society of Pope Pius X, Christian Bouchacourt, has identified the protestors as members of his organization, and offered this explanation for their actions:

“This wasn’t a desire to make a rebellion, but to show our love to the Catholic Church, which was made for the Catholic faith,” Bouchacourt said. “A Mass isn’t celebrated in a synagogue, nor in a mosque. The Muslims don’t accept it. In the same way, we who are Catholics cannot accept the presence of another faith in our church.”

Oooookay then! Please overlook the hate, folks! We're just trying to show our love!


First and foremost, my deepest sympathies to the Jewish participants in this ceremony. There are no words to fully describe the hurt and betrayal, the trauma, of being welcomed into a space intended to be a safe one, and then have it shattered by violent assholes who replicate the very prejudices that you and your allies are trying so hard to combat. I cannot even imagine the pain of Holocaust denialism and ancient anti-Semitic slurs in the midst of a Kristallnacht-related gathering.

Secondly, it's not a coincidence that (as Melissa noted last Friday) antisemitic incidents are quickly rising in Europe. That in New York, two separate investigations into antisemitic bullying and antisemitic hate crimes were announced this week. That a Very Serious politician like Ron Paul can participate in an antisemitic conference without the slightest concern about negative repercussions.

I don't care if you believe in god/dess/(s/es) or not-god, if your worldview is informed by science, rational philosophy, religion, magic, or some other factor(s). I do care if you think your worldview justifies (or necessitates) oppression of the marginalized. This shit doesn't happen in a void. And neither did Kristallnacht.

[Commenting note: Comments debating or discussing the orthodoxy of the attackers' religious beliefs make the space unsafe, and are off-topic. This is not a post about whether or not they are good Catholics/Christians.]

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