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Germany: card Marx (Dbk), “criticism of Israeli policies should not be an expression of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism”

foto SIR/Marco Calvarese

The Jewish feast of Rosh haSchana, a sort of religious New Year’s Eve, starts tonight and ends at sunset on Friday. According to card. Reinhard Marx, archbishop of Munich-Freising and president of the German Bishops Conference (Dbk), this is a chance to stigmatise some dangerous social developments. The cardinal is worried about rising anti-Semitic hostility in Germany: “In the last few months, we had to experience a rise in anti-Semitism”, Marx wrote in a letter to the president of the Central Jewish Council, Josef Schuster. In addition to anti-Jewish prejudice, Israel is increasingly perceived “as associated to anti-Semitism”, said Marx, who insisted that, while “criticising the Israeli governments’ decisions about the terms of the settlement occupation policy is legitimate”, “such criticism should be worded so that it does not express anti-Semitic concepts or concepts that strengthen existing anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic prejudice”. The feast of Rosch haSchana, which falls on a different date between September and October every year, gave cardinal Marx a change to emphasise the positive nature of dialogue between Hebraism and Christianity: mentioning the recent statement “Between Jerusalem and Rome”, given to Pope Francis by leaders of the US, European and Israeli Orthodox rabbinates, the cardinal defined the document as “an encouragement to continue Christian-Jewish dialogue in the future”.

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