Pope candidate accused of holding antisemitic views

By Anna Sheinman, February 19, 2013
Vatican city waiting for the new Pope (Photo: Brigitte Schuldt)

Vatican city waiting for the new Pope (Photo: Brigitte Schuldt)

Harvard academic Alan Dershowitz has accused a leading candidate to be the next pope of holding antisemitic views.

In the letter written to the Miami Herald, the law professor accused Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras, one of the possible replacements for Pope Benedict XVI, of propagating conspiracy theories about Jews.

Mr Dershowitz said that Mr Maradiaga had compared the “Jewish controlled media” to Hitler for its persecution of the church. He also wrote that the cardinal “blamed the Jews for the scandal surrounding the sexual misconduct of priests toward young parishioners,” and that Mr Maradiaga had said: “The Jews got even with the Catholic Church for its anti-Israel positions by arranging for the media — which they, of course, control, he said — to give disproportionate attention to the Vatican sex scandal.”

On Mr Maradiaga’s reaction to the sex abuse scandal, Mr Dershowitz was referring to an interview given by the cardinal in 2002 in Italian Catholic publication 30Giorni. At the time, Abraham Foxman, director of the Anti Defamation League released a statement expressing “outrage” at the cardinal’s implication of “alleged Jewish manipulation of the American media”.

According to Haaretz, in a later conversation with Mr Foxman, Mr Maradiaga apologised and said he never meant for his comments to be taken that way and that he would not say it again.

Alan Dershowitz, who wrote the letter, is a respected criminal appellate lawyer and acted as an adviser in the OJ Simpson trial. He is also an author of book on law, politics and the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Last updated: 3:09pm, February 19 2013