Angel of Peace

Abbas and Pope


A certain mendacity tends to walk hand in hand with diplomacy, and I hope this was the case when the Pope met with Mahmoud Abbas:


“May the angel of peace destroy the evil spirit of war,” Francis told Abbas after presenting him a medallion as a gift, The Associated Press reported. Francis told Abbas that the gift was appropriate since “you are an angel of peace.”

In a 2014 visit to Israel, Francis called both Abbas and Israeli President Shimon Peres men of peace, according to AP.

Mahmoud Abbas, leader of Fatah and President of the Palestine National Authority is many things but an angel of peace is not one of them.  What is he?

1.  As his 1982 doctoral dissertation indicates, he believes that the Zionist movement cooked up the Holocaust with the Nazis:  The Connection between the Nazis and the Leaders of the Zionist Movement 1933 – 1945.

2.  He raised money for the terrorist attack in 1972 at the Munich Olympics that led to the slaughter of Israeli athletes.

3.  He helped organize the Achille Lauro hijacking in 1985 during which disabled American World War II veteran Leon Klinghoffer was murdered.

4.  His family has gotten very wealthy, probably due to embezzlement of funds contributed to the Palestinians.  This is an old tradition of Fatah, Yasser Arafat, his predecessor at the helm of Fatah, left an estate worth north of a billion dollars.

5.  In negotiations with Israel since 2005 Abbas has never shown any interest in actually reaching a deal, which is understandable because if he did he would likely be murdered by one of the various factions of Fatah.   Anyone expecting any courage and leadership from that human weathervane to bring about a settlement simply has not been paying attention to his career.

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  1. “Anyone expecting any courage and leadership from that human weathervane to bring about a settlement simply has not been paying attention to his career.”

    He is now in the eleventh year of a 5-year term. Elections have been postponed indefinitely, for he knows full well that Hamas would defeat his party 2:1. His real source of political power is the IDF, who consider him the least worst alternative.

  2. 3. “He helped organize the Achille Lauro hijacking in 1985 during which the
    disabled American World War II veteran Leon Klinghoffer was murdered”

    In case some readers are unfamiliar with the details of that hijacking, the Palestinian
    Liberation Front hijacked a cruise ship and decided to demonstrate their willingness to
    kill passengers. To that end, they singled out Mr. Klinghoffer because he was Jewish.
    Mr. Klinghoffer, who was disabled and confined to a wheelchair, was taken and
    shot in the forehead and chest by the hijackers. The hijackers then forced two of the
    crew to throw Mr. Klinghoffer’s body and his wheelchair overboard. Mr. Klinghoffer
    had been on the cruise with his wife to celebrate their 36th wedding anniversary.
    Fortunately, she did not witness his murder.
    I can understand that a Pope, in the exercise of his duties, must necessarily have
    dealings with all sorts of people– some of whom may be very bad people indeed.
    I also understand the Pope might need to soft soap bad people to achieve a desired end.
    But I do hope that this Pope understands that Mahmoud Abbas is not only willing
    to use soft soap to achieve his desired ends, he’s also willing to take an elderly,
    disabled man and shoot him and throw him off a ship to achieve those ends.

  3. His real source of political power is the IDF, who consider him the least worst alternative.

    Rubbish. He has goon squads all his own and cash pipelines from the UNRWA, miscellaneous occidental governments, and Arab governments.

  4. Thankfully, this seems to be one of those “deliberately bad translation” situations– it’s from the BBC and the AP.
    An Italian newspaper translates it as : “May the angel of peace destroy the evil spirit of war. I thought of you: may you be an angel of peace.”
    Which is much more acceptable, and– if it were someone else– I’d strongly suspect it of being a rather painfully pointed comment, like when my “two kids IS a big family” relations start asking me to donate the baby stuff I “won’t be using anymore” after each kid.

  5. His real source of political power is the IDF, who consider him the least worst alternative.

    Only if you consider “have not assassinated the creep as of yet” to be a source of power. While it’s arguably got a point, I’m not sure I’d really like to apply the not-killing-is-supporting logic.

  6. Abbas…typical Muslim Arab politician.

    They have an all-consuming hatred of the existence of Israel. This hatred blinds them towards making a better life for themselves.

    To be fair, the current Roman Pontiff is not the first to make overtures to the Palestinian Arabs. Ararat visited the Holy See – I don’t know how many times. A lot of this is allegedly to help the Palestinian Arab Christians – or at least it is supposed to, with negligible results.

    Some things at the Vatican just…..are. One of them is dealing with the Palestinians hoping they will be nicer to the Arab Christians. Another is wanting to visit Moscow with an invitation from the Moscow Patriarch. As the old saying goes, wish in one hand, **** in the other and see which one fills up first.

  7. And another with a long quote:
    The presentation was followed by an exchange of gifts. The Pope presented Abbas with a medallion of the Angel of Peace, saying: “The angely of peace destroys the evil spirit of war.” He added: “I was thinking of you so that you may be an angel of peace.” The Holy Father also gave him an English copy of his Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium.
    Noticing the usual pattern of there being a distinct difference between the quotes that have context and the ones that say something outrageous.

  8. Pope Francis to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas: You are an angel of peace


    The two also exchanged gifts. Abbas gave the Pope relics from the two Palestinian nuns who will be canonized Sunday morning. Using a translator, the mayor of Bethlehem described the gifts to Pope Francis.

    “It’s the rosary that Mary of Jesus Crucified used every day.”

    Pope Francis gave Abbas a copy of ‘Evangelii Gaudium’ and an Angel of Peace medallion.

    “I thought of you. You are an angel of peace.”


    – From ROMEREPORTS Iink I provided above which has video and text.

  9. Yes, I noticed that the story is a transcript of the video’s voice and subtitles, which use a quote almost exactly the same as every other AP feed story, which is a very big and not at all subtle hint that they’re going off of the same source. If the translation was correct, then there would be some sources that had it as part of a longer quote.
    There being a video will do jack all if the translation is bad or utterly removed from context, and the sound is so low at 1:20 that I can’t even catch enough to take a guess at it for a different translation.
    Luckily, turns out that some people did find multiple sources to translate it, and it boils down to the English sources all filching from a bad translation of the original, Italian La Stampa article. The La Stampa translation of their own article makes no such mistake.
    Francis’s original remarks appeared in the Italian-language newspaper La Stampa, which the English-language outlets in question translated as the pontiff calling Abbas outright an “angel of peace.”

    But doubts were first cast on the accuracy of the translation by the Israellycool blog, which pointed out that the Italian was written in the exhortative (using the word “sia”).

    Several Italian-language experts have confirmed that to Arutz Sheva, saying that Francis actually told Abbas that he “may” or “could” be an “angel of peace,” in an attempt to persuade him to return to peace talks with Israel.

  10. @FMShyanguya
    *thumbs up*
    You’d think “can speak the language” would be a requirement for all these big time news places, wouldn’t you?
    Then again, you’d think that they’d be able to manage to say how they got their stories, too– I was incredibly upset when I figured out that 90% of the articles I could find on any of my more eclectic interests (…pretty much everything but sports…) were straight off of the AP feed, chewed up and spat back out by reporters who usually didn’t know anything about the subject, which made for a lot of rephrasing drift.
    (Are you familiar with that military joke about how policy is set? Goes something like: the guy on the ground says ‘this is s##t.’ The guy above him says this is fecal matter. The guy above him says it’s fertilizer. The guy above him says it’s a powerful force for growth. The guy at the top says let’s double the dose.)
    Like I say every time one of these misleading stories gets out: it’s not like he doesn’t say enough objectionable stuff on his own!

  11. Did you read the article instead of the headline? Yahoo is horrible about their headlines– my sister loves ’em, but they drive me up a wall because it usually isn’t supported by the story, it’s just click-bait.
    Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said he had not heard the remarks himself and had nothing to add to the words attributed to the pope by the pool reporter.

    “It is clear that there was no intention to offend anyone,” Lombardi told Reuters.

    Reporter says: “Pope said X.”
    Father Lombardi: “He did? Huh, I didn’t hear anything like that, but I wasn’t there. I’m sure he meant no offense to anybody.”
    It goes on to say:
    “In any case, the sense of encouraging a commitment to peace was very clear and I believe that the very gift of the symbol of an angel of peace was made by the pope with this intention as well as previous presentations of the same gift to presidents, not only to Abbas.”

    Lombardi said the pope explains the significance of the medal to heads of state who receive it, and that the word “angel” in this context means “messenger”.
    Which, if it were my grandmother doing it, would be what she’d say instead of calling out someone who was not just mistaken but obviously and embarrassingly so– give a polite dodge instead of saying “no, you’re embarrassingly wrong, do you even Italian, bro?”, try to sooth hurt feelings, and then explain what was said.

  12. Foxifier, Yes. I read it, and what you posted does not clarify. You have Fr. Lombardi commenting on something he is unaware of and yet able to explain it. “I don’t know what he said. I wasn’t there, but here’s what he meant to say. I’m sure he meant no offense.” Uh. Ok. Sure. Confusion at the Vatican.
    If you don’t like Yahoo News, here’s another source. Point remains.

  13. Kyle, I’d be rather confused if someone assured me that the Pope had called someone like that an angel of peace, too, especially when I knew that giving the medallion was a standard thing with a standard message.
    Your second link is also from the Reuter’s feed (check the byline)– the service who screwed up the translation in the first place.
    Possibly the reporter was even the same guy who couldn’t tell “may you be” from “you are” when he lifted it from the local newspaper, since only the second link makes it clear that the pool reporter was the one for Reuters.

  14. I’m not saying he did say he was an angel of peace. I am saying the spokesman surely confuses things we he says he’s unaware of what was said and proceeds to apologize for it. It’s telling that would be his reaction would be such. Francis saying Abbas is an angel of peace is believable. This pope is like a box of chocolates.

  15. Father Lombardi didn’t apologize for it, he stated that even though he wasn’t close enough to hear the exact words, was clear there was no offense intended to anyone, and reiterated the whole point of the meeting and conversation– promoting peace.
    I hope that the Pope wanting fighting in the middle east to stop is not shocking, even if we most likely agree as to the likelihood of it happening in a non-horrific manner?

  16. People [even those in the Church] should be extremely careful in how they treat Israel/the Children of Israel. Some have made the connection between the rise of US and its Jews after World War II and now observe that the US is declining as its relationship with Israel becomes strained.

    I will bless those who bless you, and him who curses you I will curse; and by you all the families of the earth shall bless themselves. – Gn 12:3 (RSVCE)

  17. Both of the “reportedlies” are from the source of the original mis-translation (Reuters/AP), and their quote is not linked to any original source– very different from what the Italian sources have said the entire time, “lei possa essere un angelo della pace,” which was reported by multiple people on site and hasn’t changed; contrast with the new AP quote “‘Lei e un po un angelo della pace” which is simply pasted in as a correction and keep in mind that they also make a false claim about the Vatican “apologizing” for the statement, when Father Lombardi actually stated that it was of course not intended to offend anyone. (Which is kind of null content…what, someone expects the Vatican to be going “yep! Totally wanted to piss people off!”?)

  18. @Foxfier: My posting my latest comment is not whether the Pope said what he is reported as having said [only he can clarify], but what he is reported to have done subsequently and the manner in which he has gone about it. An update also on the matter is I believe appropriate.

  19. Since the reports of subsequent behavior are all founded on the same disputed actions– including the supposed apology which was, factually, not an apology– then my last comment was at least as appropriate.

  20. Yes, they are.
    The quote from the email is “anyone who does not recognize the Jewish people and the State of Israel — and their right to exist — is guilty of anti-Semitism.”, the summary of what he was claimed to have said what you quoted, and part that’s from Mr. Cymeran’s email would be The pope recalled telling Abbas in Italian that he hopes the Palestinian chief might one day become an angel of peace in the future, according to Cymerman.
    The part that says Francis was also said to have backtracked on statements he was reportedly heard making earlier this month designating the visiting Abbas “a bit an angel of peace.” is a rephrasing of the string of articles that includes the one you linked, and this earlier one:
    Which, to its credit, actually makes it clear that they don’t actually know.
    The article means exactly the opposite of what you’ve taken it to mean; it could be rephrased as “Reporter actually asked Francis, and Pope says that he said exactly what the Italian media has quoted him as saying the whole time.”
    It’s just phrased in a cover-your-six manner by the people who spun “I didn’t hear it, but I’m sure he didn’t mean any offense” as an apology, and who supported a single reporter over multiple sources that said something much less juicy.

  21. I am not sure what part of veteran Portuguese-Israeli journalist Henrique Cymerman who claims to have an e-mail from the Pope himself is unclear.
    If the pope via e-mail is telling a “veteran” journalist this is what I said that source is very different from people listening to a video feed and trying to figure what the pope might have said. If the pope is explaining himself via e-mail, the video feed, which as you say people cannot agree upon, becomes irrelevant.
    Like I said before, I really do not have an interest or really care for that matter what the pope said. We all go by what is reported. This is the umpteenth time that to me he has rashly and imprudently opened his mouth with damage and damage control in the wake of that lack of forethought.
    This to me is worrisome: the pope has a press office but that’s not the avenue he chose to clarify what he said [even when clarifications were being sought]. And he clarifies only when journalist Cymerman & Rabbi Skorka approach him. [According to the article].
    Let each make of it what they will.

  22. PS Cf. this answer of mine to How is what Pope Francis said about provocation in line with “turn the other cheek”? | ChristianityStackExchange.
    This was a case where a pope’s comment triggered a question. Once I became aware of a clarification, I shared it. With the clarification, the question became moot. As with the article here, the sources I used were all from what was reported.

    Basically, exactly what this guy said.
    One reporters screwed up. Several times.
    Every other reporter did their job. The Pope even needlessly answered ‘yes, I said exactly what every other source said I did.’
    When bloggers were able to ‘clarify’ using multiple sources, the day after the false story, that he hadn’t said anything of the sort.
    The only ones who need to backtrack are the nasty gossip “news” organizations that managed to create a story out of their reporter screwing up a quote.

  24. Long quote:
    I take strong issue with the use of the term “backtracked”. He did not backtrack: he never said Abbas was an Angel of Peace. He’s also directly disavowing the mendacious correction put out by the AP that enabled them to keep their lying headline and not issue a proper correction. They need to have their feet held to the fire for their nonsense translation of “you are a bit an angel of peace”.
    It was a pure invention of the news wires which was then spread by nearly all outlets. To this moment most have not gone back and noted that their original reports were based on a complete fallacy. … It is all the media who reported this lie that should be backtracking, not the Pope.

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