Iranian radio revives Papal-Jewish conspiracy theories

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Iranian state broadcaster Voice of Islamic Republic of Iran has published a report on its English-language web site outlining a theory of an alleged conspiracy involving Pope Benedict XVI and former U.S. secretary of state Dr. Henry Kissinger. The report revives earlier claims of a Papal-Jewish conspiracy reported by some media outlets in Arab and Muslim countries.

Commenting on a recent private audience granted to Dr. Kissinger by Pope Benedict XVI, the Iranian broadcaster described Kissinger as "anti-Christian" presumably because he is Jewish. The Iranian radio stated that "this is not the first time the Vatican, which claims to be champion of Christianity uses foreign, anti-Christian experts."

Citing a report by the Italian daily newspaper La Stampa, the Iranian radio reported that "the Leader of the Catholic sect of Christianity, Pope Benedict XVI has called on former US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, a Jew who does not believe in either Prophet Jesus (peace upon him) or his Virgin mother, Mary (peace upon her), to become a member of the Vatican’s consultative council on foreign policy."

Iranian radio further claimed that the previous Roman-Catholic pontiff, Pope John Paul II, also consulted with foreign "anti-Christian" experts, in this case the former U.S. national security adviser, Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski. Like the previous pope, Dr. Brzezinski is both Polish and Catholic -- the fact acknowledged by the Iranian broadcaster. Dr. Brzezinski's last name was misspelled on the Iranian radio web site as "Berzhinsky." Dr. Kissinger was born in Germany, which is also the birthplace of Pope Benedict XVI. Young Henry Kissinger and his immediate family managed to escape Nazi persecution of Jews by immigrating to the United States in the 1930s.

As a proof that there may be an anti-Muslim conspiracy involving Dr. Kissinger, the Iranian broadcaster asserted that one of the most important topics of his contacts with Pope Benedict XVI "are related to resurgent Islam, which is claiming more and more adherents around the globe." Pope Benedict XVI came earlier under severe criticism in Muslim countries for his comments about the history of Islam made during the visit to his native Germany in September 2006. Some media commentators in the West also criticized the pope for his comments as contributing to religious tensions, while others defended his right to discuss the history of Islam. The Jewish-American Anti Defamation League reported that media outlets in Muslim countries claimed there was a Jewish conspiracy behind the pope's comments.

In reviving the Jewish-Papal conspiracy theory, the Iranian radio did not explain what makes both Dr. Kissinger and Dr. Brzezinski "anti-Christian" and why the popes would knowingly consult on a regular basis with people holding anti-Christian views.

Commenting on the Iranian broadcast,FreeMediaOnline.org, a California-based nonprofit media watch organization supporting press freedom worldwide, reported that audiences which tend to believe broad propaganda claims are not likely to question logical and factual inconsistencies such as those contained in the Iranian broadcast. Iranian media reports with anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli claims often have factual mistakes and are frequently written in ungrammatical and difficult to understand English.

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