My friend Ed Morrissey at Hot Air (who is a very strong supporter of the Jewish State) did a post on the story and being the good reporter that he is he got more information. So he..
contacted long-time Vaticanista John Thavis, a friend of mine, to get his reaction to the story. John has covered the Vatican for over 30 years and wrote the essential book The Vatican Diaries, so he has some significant perspective on this question. He notes that this isn’t terribly different from other defenses of the State of Israel from the Vatican in the past, and that it may be more of a reminder that the Holy See supports both Israel and the Palestinian proto-state:
There’s always a danger of reading just a bit too much into these rather spontaneous papal statements. My immediate reaction is that the Vatican has always defended the rights of the Israeli state and, of course, those of the Jewish people. Here they are tied together and related to anti-Semitism. I’m not sure that means the pope is equating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism, however. He does seem to be saying the Jewish state has legitimate rights, but to me that is pretty fundamental, and far from a rebuke to all critics of Israel vis-a-vis the Palestinian question (on which the pope and the Vatican have been pretty clear.)
So yes, it’s probably a bit of an attempt to placate critics of the “angel of peace” comment, which to my mind was over-interpreted (and only half-understood, anyway.) But I wouldn’t go as far as this article does.
John Thavis is probably very well meaning but he is incorrect because he doesn’t really understand the meaning of Zionism
The term was originally “created” by Nathan Birnbaum in 1890, its definition is the national movement for the return of the Jewish people to their homeland and the resumption of Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel.
Zionism is the recognition that the Jews should have a homeland in the holy land…it has nothing to do with the politics or the borders etc. So in essence when John said “Here they are tied together and related to anti-Semitism. I’m not sure that means the pope is equating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism, however. He does seem to be saying the Jewish state has legitimate rights, but to me that is pretty fundamental,” He is misinterpreting the meaning of Zionism adding to it years of luggage thrust upon the term by the MSM and the Arab countries and the UN which once passed a resolution saying, Zionism=Racism.
And when Thavis he says it’s pretty fundamental the answer is YES it should be. Perhaps that was why Pope Francis felt comfortable making the statement it is a very basic, not political claims. Mr. Thavis would be surprised how many people don’t recognize that basic fact…including the leadership of the Palestinians