Jewish group appeals to Ron Paul to nix anti-Semitic conference
Ron Paul, a former Texas congressman and Republican presidential candidate, has been condemned for plans to speak at a conference hosted by the Fatima Center, which has been defined by the American Jewish Committee and the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-Semitic extremist group. “For Ron Paul to associate himself with such a disreputable, hateful religious movement is simply beyond comprehension,” American Jewish Committee (AJC) Executive Director David Harris said in a statement. For his part, Paul has confirmed his attendance at the event as its main speaker at its gala ‘Path to Peace’ dinner on September 11 .
Canadian Senator and retired general Romeo Dallaire pulled out of the conference as soon as he realized the hatred of the sponsoring group, saying he was “embarrassed” and "very unhappy." AJC praised Dallaire.
As a congressman, Paul was known for his staunch libertarian views and his criticisms of U.S. foreign policy, especially towards Israel and the rest of the Mideast. He has spoken in favor of reducing U.S. military aid to Israel. For these views and other allegations, some groups have accused him of anti-Semitism. Paul has vehemently denied the allegations and claims to be pro-Israel.
Paul denounced his opponents for their supposed “demagoguery” and “falsehoods” in a Reddit discussion last week after reports emerged about his coming appearance at the Fatima conference. While he said that reports about the group are “disturbing,” he also suggested that his political opponents might be behind the criticism of the Fatima Center. “I have not yet sorted it out, and it makes me uneasy, but frequently the opposition uses tactics which are pure demagoguery and falsehoods, so I’m looking into it.”
Paul is known for his staunch libertarian and isolationist views, including reducing American military aid to Israel. Based on these views and other alleged remarks calling for Israel to be abolished, some have accused Paul of anti-Semitism. But Paul has flatly denied those allegations and says he is pro-Israel. His son, Rand Paul, is currently a Republican U.S. senator from Kentucky.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Fatima Center is part of a movement that is "perhaps the single largest group of hard-core anti-Semites in North America."
The leader of the Fatima Center is Fr. Nicolas Gruner, a Catholic priest who according to the AJC was suspended in 1996. In advance of a previous ‘Conference for Peace in the World’ organized by Gruner in 2001, Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano printed a declaration signed by Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, congregation prefect, and by Archbishop Csaba Ternyak, secretary, of the Congregation for the Clergy:
"The Congregation for the Clergy, upon the mandate from a higher authority, wishes to state that Rev. Nicholas Gruner is under an 'a divinis' suspension, which has been confirmed by a definitive sentence of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signature.
"The activities of Fr. Gruner, therefore, including the above-mentioned conference, do not have the approval of legitimate ecclesiastical authorities."
In a recent interview with The Washington Free Beacon, Gruner added fuel to the flames when he gave his views about the Holocaust: “[H]ow can you have six million die, and have 13 million left, when you only had 13 million to start with?” He says that he is open-minded about considering information that can prove otherwise.
Gruner’s Fatima Center has published articles claiming that Jews are attempting to undermine the Catholic Church on behalf of Satan and that “Zionist billionaires” are guilty of “financially raping” Russia. Yet Gruner rejects allegations that his group is anti-Semitic. In the Free Beacon interview, Gruner said. “I am not anti-Semitic … I’m not against any particular people, race or nation because of their people, race or nation.”
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