(JNS.org) The World Jewish Congress (WJC) on Thursday applauded a statement by Pope Francis affirming that attacking Jews and attacking Israel are both anti-Semitism. Pope Francis made his comments in a speech to a WJC delegation on Wednesday in honor of the 50th anniversary of Nostra Aetate.
Enacted in 1965 by Pope Paul VI, Nostra Aetate—the Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions—renounced the Catholic Church’s history of anti-Semitism.
“To attack Jews is anti-Semitism, but an outright attack on the State of Israel is also anti-Semitism. There may be political disagreements between governments and on political issues, but the State of Israel has every right to exist in safety and prosperity,” Pope Francis said Wednesday.
“Pope Francis does not simply make declarations. He inspires people with his warmth and his compassion. His clear and unequivocal support for the Jewish people is critical to us," said WJC President Ronald Lauder on Thursday, praising the pontiff’s words.
"A relation with Judaism is intrinsic to the very nature of the Church. In God’s mysterious wisdom, this revolution could only succeed with the Church addressing relations with all other religions,” added Rabbi David Rosen, the American Jewish Committee's international director of interreligious affairs, the Catholic website Crux reported.