Sunday, March 22, 2015

Why Netanyahu Gave Pope Francis His Father’s History of the Spanish Inquisition

An old story (dating from 2013), but interesting nonetheless -- from The Tablet: Why Netanyahu gave Pope Francis his father’s history of the Spanish Inquisition
Benjamin Netanyahu had an audience with Pope Francis in Rome, where he invited the supreme pontiff to Israel and presented him with a variety of gifts. One of them, as you can see in the photo above, was a Spanish translation of a history of the Spanish Inquisition, written by Bibi’s late father, Ben Zion Netanyahu. At first glance, The Origins of the Inquisition in Fifteenth Century Spain
looks like a rather awkward selection. After all, when visiting with the pope, it’s probably best not to remind him of his institution’s role in the infamous persecution and torture of innocent Jews. Certain things would seem better left unsaid on state visits.

But this isn’t your typical history of the Spanish Inquisition. In fact, Ben Zion Netanyahu’s revisionist account of the event was so controversial that when he passed away in April 2012, the New York Times chronicled the debate over it in his obituary. Understanding the book’s unique argument enables us to understand why Netanyahu chose to give such an ostensibly undiplomatic gift to the Pope. ... Read the rest