Father Patrick Desbois. (Twitter Screenshot) (Twitter Screenshot)
father patrick desbois

Desbois has dedicated his life to researching the Holocaust and fighting antisemitism.

By Ben Cohen, The Algemeiner

The French Catholic priest who developed an international reputation for his pioneering research into the Nazi “Holocaust by bullets” in Ukraine has spoken out forcefully against the antisemitic attitudes coloring criticism of Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza.

“I always say: if there were no Jews in Israel, few people would look out for the Palestinians,” Father Patrick Desbois told the French language service of Israeli broadcaster i24 on Tuesday.

Desbois has dedicated his life to researching the Holocaust, fighting antisemitism, and furthering relations between Catholics and Jews. In 2004 he helped found Yahad-In Unum, a project whose mission is to investigate the mass executions of Jews and Roma in Ukraine and Belarus between 1941 and 1944. In the process, Desbois and his team located the graves of more than 1 million Jews throughout Eastern Europe and interviewed scores of witnesses.

Desbois was particularly irked by repeated claims on social media over the Christmas holiday that Jesus himself would be persecuted by Israel were he still alive.

“If he had lived in 1942, Jesus would have been deported to Auschwitz, and if he had been born today, he would be the target of missiles or be a hostage in Gaza,” Desbois remarked, referring to the seizure of more than 200 people during the Oct. 7 pogrom carried out by Hamas terrorists in southern Israel.

Desbois insisted that the motive behind such messages was political, not religious.

“What we see in Bethlehem today, this need to affirm that Jesus was not Jewish, is political,” he argued. “Hamas has always officially supported Christians, but not in Gaza.”

He added that the “Islamists are always with us, except when we are at home; at home, we try to survive.”

Desbois also voiced concern about the alleged participation of Hamas terrorists in the oppression of Iraq’s Yazidi minority in 2014 at the hands of ISIS.

“I do not forget, either, and we never talk about it, that the Palestinians in Gaza, who were not locked in cages as we believe, were circulating a lot, and a number participated in the genocide of the Yazidi minority in Iraq in 2014 alongside the jihadists,” said Desbois, whose efforts have encompassed advocacy on their behalf. “Others also participated in the Yazidi slave trade.”

In an extensive interview with The Algemeiner in 2018, Desbois articulated his view that the fundamental goal of antisemitism has not changed since the Nazi era.

“The Nazis wanted to eliminate every last Jew, even the babies and the old people,” he said. Now, he continued, “They say to the Jews, ‘Get out of France,’ ‘get out of Germany,’ ‘get out of Britain,’ ‘get out of Palestine.’ And at the end, who will stay?”

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