The Secret Negotiations between Hitler and the Pope

Few topics are as hotly contested, David Kertzer argues, as Pope Pius XII’s “decision to avoid direct public criticism of Hitler or his regime, and to remain publicly silent in the face of the Holocaust.” With the 2020 opening of Pius XII’s archives, scholars have been granted access to new information about his thinking and actions, which have again become the subject of intense scrutiny. No finding, Kertzer argues in an excerpt from his new book on the subject, has been as dramatic as the discovery of lengthy, secret negotiations between Pius XII and Hitler. They reflect, among other things, the pope’s apparent indifference to the fate of the Jews.

Pius XII and Adolf Hitler had no affection for each other. Yet each man had his own reasons for initiating these talks. The pope placed the highest priority on reaching a deal with the Nazi regime to end the persecution of the Roman Catholic Church in the Third Reich and in the lands that it conquered. For his part, Hitler saw an opportunity to end the papal criticism that had become such an irritant under the previous pope. As [the Nazi emissary Prince Philipp] von Hessen had told the pope, Hitler saw only two potential impediments to reaching an understanding: “the [Jewish] question” and the involvement of Catholic clergy in German politics. Priests and bishops should not be permitted to utter any criticism of Nazi policies.

There is no indication that the pope ever brought up the Nazis’ campaign against Europe’s Jews as an issue. (Nor, for that matter, was the pope then expressing any opposition to Mussolini’s own “racial laws” as long as they affected only Italy’s Jews.) As for Hitler’s second concern, the pope repeatedly denied that the Catholic clergy was involved in the political realm. If the pope in fact thought it proper for the Catholic clergy to criticize any of the Nazi regime’s policies other than those that directly affected the Church, he did not insist on the matter.

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Read more at Atlantic

More about: Adolf Hitler, Catholic Church, Holocaust

Iran’s Responsibility for West Bank Terror

On Friday, a Palestinian stabbed an Israeli police officer and was then shot by another officer after trying to grab his rifle. Commenting on the many similar instances of West Bank-based terror during the past several months, Amit Saar, a senior IDF intelligence officer, predicted that the violence will likely grow worse in the coming year. Yoni Ben Menachem explains the Islamic Republic’s role in fueling this wave of terrorism:

The escape of six terrorists from Gilboa prison in September 2021 was the catalyst for the establishment of new terrorist groups in the northern West Bank, according to senior Islamic Jihad officials. The initiative to establish new armed groups was undertaken by Palestinian Islamic Jihad in coordination with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, implementing the strategy of Qassem Suleimani—the commander of the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guards who was assassinated in Iraq by the U.S.—of using proxies to achieve the goals of expansion of the Iranian regime.

After arming Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, Iran moved in the last year to support the new terrorist groups in the northern West Bank. Iran has been pouring money into the Islamic Jihad organization, which began to establish new armed groups under the name of “Battalions,” which also include terrorists from other organizations such as Fatah, Hamas, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. First, the “Jenin Battalion” was established in the city of Jenin, followed the “Nablus Battalion.”

Despite large-scale arrest operation by the IDF and the Shin Bet in the West Bank, Islamic Jihad continues to form new terrorist groups, including the “Tulkarem Battalion,” the “Tubas Battalion,” and the “Balata Battalion” in the Balata refugee camp.

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Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Palestinian terror, West Bank