Pope: Populism is fertile ground to foment anti-Semitism

VATICAN CTIY (AP) — Pope Francis on Monday denounced populism, saying it is born of “selfish indifference” and provides fertile terrain for hatred, including anti-Semitism.

Francis spoke while meeting with a delegation from the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a human rights organization that fights anti-Semitism.

The pontiff noted that in 2016, during a pilgrimage to Poland, he prayed at the site of the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Francis decried the recent “barbaric resurgence of anti-Semitism” and said populism provides a fertile terrain where “hate rapidly grows.”

Much of Europe, where populist parties have gained traction, has seen an uptick in anti-Semitic incidents.

Francis said by encouraging integration and mutual understanding, hatred can be countered.

He added: “I'll never tire of firmly condemning every form of anti-Semitism.”