Australia’s former ambassador to the Vatican has revealed that the Jewish lobby in America has “unfairly blackened the name of World War II pope Pius XII in the interests of a modern political agenda and needs to be challenged.
Tim Fischer, who is also a former Australian deputy Prime Minister, said in a new book launched in Australia describing his three-year time as ambassador to the Holy See in Rome, that “the Jewish lobby needed momentum and profile and had become increasingly shrill in condemning Pius XII.”
Speaking in an interview with the Australian newspaper The Age about the contents of his book, titled Holy See, Unholy Me: 1000 Days in Rome, Pius instructed Catholics to help Jews, hiding hundreds in convents, monasteries and the Vatican.
In the book, Mr Fischer says an Israeli ambassador who called for a recognition of the work of Pius XII was quickly forced into a humiliating backdown. In 2011, Israeli ambassador to the Holy See Mordechai Levy said that “it would be a mistake to say that the Catholic Church, the Vatican and the pope himself opposed actions to save the Jews. To the contrary, the opposite is true.”
Mr Fischer told the Australian that despite this, the Jewish lobby in America was determined to besmirch Pius XII’s name for “not doing enough.
“Further, the moment any suggestion is made to consider Pius XII for beatification and sainthood, they hit out at close to full power and use all media avenues to stamp it out.”
Identifying Melbourne-educated Israeli spokesman Mark Regev as a key figure, Mr Fischer writes that the Jewish lobby’s media skills far outweigh the Vatican’s and suggests the tactics “are about representing a cause and maintaining influence and power.
“The American Jewish lobby is run by hardliners who get their daily feed from Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, and will cut no slack in terms of Israel’s policies in the West Bank.”
Mr Fischer is no stranger to controversy surrounding Israel. In 1997, when he was deputy prime minister, he withdrew an invitation to Australia he had previously extended to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, because then-prime minister John Howard felt such a visit was “inappropriate.”
At the time, the Palestinian representative in Australia said pressure from local Jewish groups was behind the cancellation.
In 2006, Mr Fischer stated unequivocally that an Israeli bombing of the USS Liberty during the Six Day War was “a deliberate attack by the Israeli air force.”