I've confirmed that the OU had nothing to do with this.
Gil | Homepage | 07.19.09 - 10:33 am | #
Who'd you speak to?
JS | 07.19.09 - 11:15 am | #
Director of Communications. He's probably going to issue some sort of statement or clarification on this.
Gil | Homepage | 07.19.09 - 11:19 am | #
OU disavows pamphlet claiming Vatican-Hezbollah conspiracy
By Raphael Ahren, Haaretz
The Orthodox Union has apologized for the publication of a booklet its staff distributed to Israeli soldiers, implying that the Vatican organizes tours of Auschwitz for Hezbollah members to teach them how to kill Jews.
The New York-based group said in statement that endorsement of the book was unauthorized and that it regretted its involvement.
The OU has subsequently rescinded the endorsement and "disavow[ed] any connection to the views expressed in it."
Monday's statement came on the heels of a Haaretz report about the book, which purports to be the testimony of "a Hezbollah officer who spied for Israel," and was published by the OU in cooperation with the chief rabbi of Safed, Rabbi Shmuel Eliahu.
"Upon investigation," the group stated, "it has been ascertained that this endorsement was made by staff at the OU's Israel branch office, and was never submitted to, nor approved by, senior Orthodox Union management."
While maintaining that the Haaretz report "sensationalized the book's contents," the OU admitted "there is no doubt that some of what it contains is antithetical to the well-known views of the OU regarding respect for other faiths and their leaders... The Orthodox Union expresses its sincere regret to those of other faiths who may have been embarrassed or offended by the publication of this work."
The religious group's senior leadership has ordered an internal review to ensure ?that such a situation is not repeated," the statement continued.
According to the book, "On Either Side of the Border," Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah was invited to join a delegation touring France, Poland, Italy and the Vatican, as the narrator explained he knew the pope "identified with Hezbollah?s struggle."
The booklet, which an Eliahu aid says is factual, also implies that European politicians and journalists ostensibly work against Israel.
Here is the entire OU statement:
OU Regrets Unauthorized Link with Publication
July 20, 2009
A report in the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz, dated July 19, 2009, discusses the distribution to members of the Israel Defense Forces of a booklet which asserts that the Pope and the Vatican identify closely with the ideals and purpose of the terrorist group Hezbollah. The report states that one of the booklet’s publishers was the Israel branch of the Orthodox Union (Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America). Upon investigation, it has been ascertained that this endorsement was made by staff at the OU’s Israel branch office, and was never submitted to, nor approved by, senior Orthodox Union management.
While the Haaretz report certainly sensationalized the book’s contents, there is no doubt that some of what it contains is antithetical to the well-known views of the OU regarding respect for other faiths and their leaders. The OU rescinds the endorsement of the book and disavows any connection to the views expressed in it. The OU’s senior leadership has directed that an internal review of this incident take place, and that the organization tighten its procedures to ensure that such a situation is not repeated. The Orthodox Union expresses its sincere regret to those of other faiths who may have been embarrassed or offended by the publication of this work.