The launch of a new group, the Coalition of Catholics Against Antisemitism, is “not just important and timely, but urgent and overdue,” Kevin Roberts, president of the Heritage Foundation, said on Wednesday.
Speaking at the conference “Nostra Aetate and the Future of Catholic-Jewish Relations at a Time of Rising Antisemitism,” co-hosted by the Franciscan University of Steubenville and The Philos Project, Roberts said the new group’s name was a bit of a redundancy, per an outline of his remarks provided to JNS.
“There should already be a large, global ‘coalition of Catholics against’ antisemitism,” he said. “The group should just be called ‘Catholics.’”
Roberts, a former president of Wyoming Catholic College, said that rising antisemitism globally in recent years “has been shocking to anyone who has seen it through the mainstream media’s biased coverage.”
“Up close, it’s worse. Hate crimes against Jewish Americans hit a 30-year high in 2022. Numbers in Europe are at frightening levels. And the tide of hate is only rising now in the wake of Hamas’s new war to wipe Israel off the map,” he said. “Nothing angers antisemites more than Jews defending themselves from extermination.”
Antisemitism isn’t just “othering” a minority group. “It’s not an outgrowth of wars, geopolitics, economics,” he said. “At its source, antisemitism is not even human. It’s evil.”
“To Catholics, the question ‘why do people hate Jews?’ is not a
difficult one. The world hates Jews because Satan hates Jews.
God’s Chosen People are the devil’s chosen enemy,” he said. “Every slur, lie, joke, crime or pogrom targeting Jews, or justification for any of the above comes to the world straight from hell.”
Christendom cannot get “a pass” on antisemitism “because back there and back then, no one knew better,” Roberts said. “That’s like saying Ivy League professors don’t know better now. Shakespeare wrote The Merchant of Venice in 1596. He knew. His audience knew. Everyone knew.”
“History shows with biting clarity that the church’s battle against antisemitic hate runs through every Catholic’s heart. A battle we have too often lost by not even fighting,” he said. “The rise of antisemitism today is terrifying not just because of what it means is happening out there: Hamas, Israel, angry protests, college campuses, a rising tide of violence. What it means is happening in here.”
“Woke movements like critical race theory, gender theory and trans ideology are indistinguishable from antisemitites in this one respect: They fundamentally reject equal justice under and law and fundamentally embrace group-based inequality,” Roberts added. “This rot must be defunded, defeated and defanged.”
“Catholics, meanwhile, must fundamentally reject them,” he added, “on the way to building a positive 21st-century Catholicism that is at once philo-Semitic, Zionist, democratic and pluralistic.”