In a letter to the editor of the Miami Herald, Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz said that one of the leading candidates to replace Pope Benedict XVI is an anti-Semite.
Responding to a list published last week after the resignation of Benedict, which identified Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras as a possible successor to the current pope, Dershowitz wrote: "He has blamed the Jews for the scandal surrounding the sexual misconduct of priests toward young parishioners! He has argued that the Jews got even with the Catholic Church for its anti-Israel positions by arranging for the media — which they, of course, control, he said — to give disproportionate attention to the Vatican sex scandal. He then compared the Jewish controlled media with Hitler, because they are 'protagonists of what I do not hesitate to define as a persecution against the church."
Maradiaga, in a May 2002 interview with the Italian-Catholic publication "30 Giorni," claimed Jews influenced the media to exploit the current controversy regarding sexual abuse by Catholic priests in order to divert attention from the Israeli-Palestinian crisis.
From the ADL, written in 2002
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today expressed outrage at comments made by a Honduran Catholic Cardinal that implied an alleged Jewish manipulation of the American media. Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga, in a May interview with the Italian-Catholic publication 30 Giorni, claimed Jews influenced the media to exploit the current controversy regarding sexual abuse by Catholic priests in order to divert attention from the Israeli-Palestinian crisis.
"The Cardinal’s odious anti-Jewish conspiracy theory must be immediately and forcefully condemned by responsible voices in the Catholic Church," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, in a letter sent to Cardinal Walter Kasper, of the Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with Jews. "We are outraged by Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga’s implication and, as John L. Allen, Jr. states in the July 19th Catholic Reporter, ‘the logic of his comments seems clear: Someone in America doesn’t like the pro-Palestinian tilt of the Catholic Church, and used their media clout to deliver payback. It’s not much of a reach to imagine who Rodriguez might suspect that ‘someone’ to be.’"
Cardinal Rodrigues Maradiaga stated: "It gave me considerable food for thought that, at a time of total media focus on developments in the Middle East with all the injustices being perpetrated against the Palestinian people, U.S. television and press people were obsessed with sex scandals of 30 or 40 years ago."
In a later conversation with ADL national director Abraham Foxman, , Maradiaga apologized and said he did not intend for his remarks to be taken as perpetuating an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory about Jewish control of the media.