January 9th, 2009

Central Council protests against comparison of Gaza Strip to concentration camp

Rome/Berlin – The Central Council of Jews in Germany has protested against the statement by Cardinal Renato Martino, the head of the Vatican Council for Justice and Peace, likening the conditions in the Gaza Strip to a concentration camp. The Secretary General, Stephan J. Kramer, called the remark "infamous". He told the Handelsblatt newspaper that it showed that Martino "either maliciously tries to spread anti-Israeli propaganda or has not the faintest idea of the deadly conditions in a concentration camp". Kramer said that championing of human rights required seriousness and credibility and that Martino, by his "unqualified historical comparison", demonstrated a clear lack of both. According to Kramer, Cardinal Martino's statement was harmful to the reputation of the Catholic Church and cast considerable doubts over his credibility. In an interview to the Italian online newspaper "Il Sussidiario", Martino said with regard to the war in Gaza : "Defenceless populations are always the ones who pay. Look at the conditions in Gaza : more and more, it resembles a big concentration camp." (09.01.2009)