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Ralph Nader > In the Public Interest > Biden, Pope Francis, and the Matter of Faith

By Ralph Nader
December 29, 2023

We and many other organizations and peaceful protesters in our country have worked in vain to persuade President Joe Biden to use his influence to have the Israeli regime agree to a ceasefire that would allow hundreds of humanitarian aid trucks daily into the devastated graveyard that is now the Gaza Strip. Biden regularly begs Israel to let in more trucks, paid for by the U.S. At the same time the Biden Administration exercises veto power on the UN Security Council blocking a ceasefire, truce, or negotiations toward a permanent two-state resolution. A ceasefire would at least allow aid to reach the besieged.

According to Professor Devi Sridhar, chair of global public health at the University of Edinburgh, “[U]nless something changes, the world faces the prospect of almost a quarter of Gaza’s 2 million population – close to half a million human beings…” can die within a year. (See, The Guardian, December 29, 2023 article: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2023/dec/29/health-organisations-disease-gaza-population-outbreaks-conflict).

We have appealed to Biden’s duty to apply vigorous diplomacy to this cascade of genocidal war crimes by Netanyahu. This means suspension of hostilities, and the immediate flow of critical food, water, medical, shelter, and other supplies for civilians, followed by serious negotiations toward a two-state solution. Instead, Antony Blinken, his Secretary of State behaves as a Secretary of War shuttling between the U.S. and Israel.

We have appealed to Biden’s political sense and how he is losing the support of more Americans every day as the slaughters of children, women, the elderly and other innocents worsen.

None of these appeals has moved this co-belligerent in the White House. All that is left is to appeal to what he has said his practicing Catholicism means to him every day. The following letter addresses his conscience as a matter of his professed religious faith.


December 29, 2023

Honorable Joe Biden
President of the United States
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500

Re: Your Catholic faith. Aiding and abetting Israeli government genocide in Gaza including bombing the Holy Family Catholic Church and Convent. Abuse of power is a cardinal sin.

Dear Mr. President:

You describe yourself as a “practicing Catholic.” During an interview with The Jesuit Review on September 21, 2015, you emphatically asserted that all faiths have an “obligation to fight against abuse of power.” as a cardinal sin worse than all others that should be arrested and defeated. You added that “every human being is entitled to be treated with dignity.”

In late October, Pope Francis decried the Israeli government’s post-October 7, 2023, attack on Gaza in a phone conversation with Israeli President Isaac Herzog: “It is forbidden to respond to terror with terror.” On December 17, 2023, the Pope deplored as “terrorism” the bombing and killings by the Israeli government of two Catholic women, an elderly mother, and her grown daughter, and the wounding of 7 others who had taken refuge in the Holy Family Catholic Church and Convent.

The Israeli government’s defense minister has dehumanized 2.3 million Palestinians in Gaza as “human animals” and pledged to treat them, accordingly, denying them the dignity to which you insist each person is entitled according to your Catholic gospel.

You have acted unswervingly in support of the Israeli government’s genocide in Gaza, including a siege that according to the Israeli defense minister’s proclamation means “No electricity, no food, no fuel, no water…”  Article II (c) of the Genocide Convention in 1949, born of the Holocaust, defines genocide as, “Deliberately inflicting on [a national, ethnical, racial, or religious] group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.”

To complement the physical destruction caused by the siege, the Israeli government has bombed and invaded Gaza killing tens of thousands of civilians and displaced virtually its entire population targeting hospitals, ambulances, journalists, water mains, houses, apartment buildings, schools, offices, marketplaces, United Nations marked schools, UNRWA personnel, places of worship, and crowded refugee camps, roads, generators and electric networks, and more.

This is genocide by any yardstick. Pope Francis has denounced the Israeli government’s actions in Gaza as “terrorism.”  As a self-proclaimed observant, practicing Catholic, you have not only failed to heed Pope Francis’ figurative encyclical regarding Gaza but are shipping billions of dollars of weapons into the arsenal of the Israeli government to assist its Gaza terrorism, including attacking the Holy Family Catholic Church.  In your many expressions of support for what Netanyahu is destroying in Gaza, you have not found any room to express condemnation of this Israeli government’s attack on this lone Catholic Church in Gaza.

You have made the U.S. government into a “co-belligerent” under international law and have given a greenlight “with powerful weaponry” to what Netanyahu is doing to Gaza, including enabling him to block most humanitarian aid from starving, sick and mortally injured Palestinians, a majority of whom are women and children.

The Israeli government has no self-defense justification for the genocide. It targets Palestinian civilians throughout Gaza wherever they are gathered, fleeing, sheltering, starving, and dying.

Practicing Catholics are made of more holy and peaceful convictions.

King Henry VIII was excommunicated by Pope Paul III in 1538 for divorcing Catherine of Aragon, a far lesser sin by your standards than the United States’ and Israeli government’s continuing “abuse of power” in Gaza, i.e., terrorism, war crimes and genocide, promoted by American weapons, intelligence, and repeated lone vetoes in the United Nations Security Council—a cardinal sins according to your own yardstick.

What do you think Pope Francis should communicate to you?

Bruce Fein, Esq.
Ralph Nader, Esq.