Aus­tralian car­di­nal says Jewish peo­ple ‘in­fe­rior’

The Jewish Chronicle - - World News - BY DAN GOLD­BERG

THE HEAD of Australia’s Catholic Church apol­o­gised for what Jewish lead­ers de­scribed as “deeply prob­lem­at­i­cal” com­ments he made about Jews dur­ing a public de­bate.

Car­di­nal Ge­orge Pell said last week dur­ing a de­bate with renowned athe­ist Richard Dawkins on Q&A, a highly re­garded cur­rent af­fairs talk show aired on the Aus­tralian Broad­cast­ing Cor­po­ra­tion, that the Jews were in­tel­lec­tu­ally and morally in­fe­rior to the an­cient Egyp­tians.

“I’ve got a great ad­mi­ra­tion for the Jews but we don’t need to ex­ag­ger­ate their con­tri­bu­tion in their early days,” he said. “They weren’t in­tel­lec­tu­ally the equal of [the Egyp­tians or Per­sians] — in­tel­lec­tu­ally, morally... The poor — the lit­tle Jewish peo­ple, they were orig­i­nally shep­herds.”

But in a clar­i­fy­ing state­ment, Car­di­nal Pell said he would “never de­scribe the Jewish peo­ple at any stage as morally in­fe­rior to their pa­gan neigh­bours”.

Car­di­nal Pell also seemed to sug­gest that Ger­mans suf­fered more than Jews dur­ing the Holo­caust.

Asked why God al­lowed the Holo­caust to oc­cur, Car­di­nal Pell said: “He helped prob­a­bly through sec­ondary causes for the Jews to es­cape and con­tinue. It is in­ter­est­ing through these sec­ondary causes prob­a­bly no peo­ple in his­tory have been pun­ished the way the Ger­mans were. It is a ter­ri­ble mys­tery.”

When chal­lenged by the moder­a­tor that the Jews had suf­fered more, Cardi- nal Pell said: “Yes, that might be right. Cer­tainly the suf­fer­ing in both, I mean the Jews, there was no rea­son why they should suf­fer.”

In his state­ment, Car­di­nal Pell said the Holo­caust was “a crime unique in his­tory for the death and suf­fer­ing it caused and its di­abol­i­cal at­tempt to wipe out an en­tire peo­ple.

“My com­mit­ment to friend­ship with the Jewish com­mu­nity, and my es­teem for the Jewish faith is a mat­ter of public record, and the last thing I would want to do is give of­fence to ei­ther,” he added.

Peter Wertheim, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cil of Aus­tralian Jewry, said: “We wel­come as a first step Car­di­nal Pell’s clar­i­fy­ing state­ment that he did not in­tend any of­fence.”

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