Tuesday, May 27, 2014

An Intelligent Take on the Inquisition




    Last December Benjamin Netanyahu gave Pope Francis his father's book on the Inquisition. But it's not what you think:

Ben Zion Netanyahu’s argument shifted the root blame for the Inquisition from religion to ingrained racial animus–from the spiritual to the secular. If one was going to give the pope a book about the Inquisition, then, this would be the one. Moreover, not only does the book’s revisionist reckoning partially absolve Christianity for Spanish persecution of the Jews, it offers a contemporary message of pressing relevance. At a time when Christian anti-Semitism has receded–evidenced not least by the friendly relations between the Vatican and the state of Israel–secular and racial forms of anti-Semitism have been on the rise, particularly in Europe, where a nearly a quarter of Jews say they are afraid to publicly identify as Jewish. The anti-Semitism diagnosed by Ben Zion Netanyahu is alive and well.
The elder Netanyahu’s account of the Inquisition then, whatever its merits as a reconstruction of the past, serves as a powerful warning about the dangers lurking in the present–one that his son doubtless intended to convey. (from The Tablet)
     The media likes conflict and controversy. It's up to us to look beyond the headlines.

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