On May 26th we posted about a report by the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent Peter Beaumont which characterized the pope’s visit to a Jerusalem memorial to Israeli terror victims “as an attempt to appease his Israeli hosts“.
Here are the relevant passages:
Pope Francis has deviated from his itinerary for his tour of the Holy Land for the second time in two days – this time to visit a memorial to Israeli victims of terrorism.
The surprise addition on Monday was made at the request of the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, and was interpreted as an attempt to appease his Israeli hosts after his surprise decision to pray at the controversial Israeli separation wall in Bethlehem the day before.
Interestingly, however, his narrative was undermined by the Vatican itself.
The Catholic News Agency, in a report titled ‘Vatican: Pope’s stop at terror memorial not a political move‘, May 26, specifically addressed the Guardian’s claim:
Amid claims that Pope Francis’ unscheduled stop at an Israeli memorial for terrorist victims was made under pressure to appease government officials, the Holy See has said that the rumors are false.
Stating that he “was not surprised” by the negative reactions some have had toward the Pope’s stop, Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi explained to journalists May 26 that the visit “was against terrorism and nothing else.”
The report continued:
According to the U.K. newspaper the Guardian, the stop was done at the prime minister’s request, and has been seen by some as an attempt to appease Israeli authorities following the Pope’s impromptu visit to the separation wall diving Israel and Palestine yesterday ahead of his Mass in Bethlehem.
Despite the fact that some suggest the Pope was pressured into making the stop, Fr. Lombardi assured that he has “no political agenda.”
Whilst Beaumont didn’t bother to note who precisely “interpreted” the pope’s visit to the terror memorial as an act of “appeasement, it seems that the visit likely represented a simple acknowledgement that though the security fence ‘represents a symbol division‘, its construction was motivated by the moral desire to save innocent lives from the onslaught of terror – Palestinian attacks which the pope characterized (in his remarks that day) as “absolute evil“.
Though a Vatican spokesman clearly explained to foreign journalists like Beaumont that the pope’s visit to the memorial “was against terrorism and nothing else“, as we’ve demonstrated continually, when there’s a competition between soberly reporting the facts and advancing the Guardian narrative, the latter will win out almost every time.