I called it quits at midnight but have considerable sympathy for the Astros fans who stayed into the early hours of the morning to see the White Sox win in the longest game of world series history. In response to protests received, my favoring the Sox has to do with a soft spot for Chicago, and a sense that the record still needs to be cleared of the team's infamy in throwing the series all those many years ago. Yankee fans tend to believe that the championship belongs to them by right, but in off years they condescendingly bestow their favor on lesser teams. That is another reason why Yankee fans are so insufferable.
Elizabeth Marquardt is the author of Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce, which offers disturbing new findings about the moral and spiritual lives of young adults whose parents have divorced. Among the findings is that two-thirds of the young people who went to church say that neither clergy nor anyone from the congregation reached out to them at the time their parents were breaking up. These young people are frequently angry about that and are much less likely to be involved in church life. Ms. Marquardt, who has written on this subject for FIRST THINGS (see "The Bad Divorce," February 2005), is conducting two-hour workshops on pastoral care and divorce for clergy and lay leaders. Workshops are presently scheduled for Indianapolis, Chicago, Iowa City, Winston-Salem, Charlotte, and Atlanta. For more information, or to schedule a workshop in your area, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Elizabeth Marquardt is associated with the New York-based Institute for American Values, a center of solid education and research on marriage and family questions.
Anti-Semitism with a good liberal conscience. The idea seems preposterous. But that is what Robert S. Wistrich of Hebrew University persuasively describes in a 54-page booklet published by the American Jewish Committee, European Anti-Semitism Reinvents Itself. Christians should be particularly concerned about the ways in which militant Palestinians and their supporters have revived the depiction of Jews as "Christ-killers." This is being done with the crucial support of the besieged and declining community of Palestinian Christians and their allies in oldline ecumenical agencies both here and in Europe. One may well sympathize with the painful situation of Christians living in dhimittude under the rule of anti-Zionist Arab regimes, but the result of the collaboration is nonetheless morally repugnant.
Readers may object to Israeli policies and disagree with aspects of Prof. Wistrich's analysis of the ideational twists, turns, and convolutions that have resulted in the "reinvention" of anti-Semitism, but his conclusion rewards more than a moment's thought: "The current wave of globalized anti-Semitism that erupted at the beginning of the twenty-first century is fundamentally about Israel. Its focus is on the Middle East, and it is driven by a radicalized Islam. But it is also many-sided, polyvalent, and remains as protean as the diaspora itself. It thrives on the irresolvable indeterminacy surrounding Jewish identity and the complex relationship between Israel and diaspora Jews in the modern age. The distorted myths and fantasies concerning 'Jewish power' are, in part, nourished by these virtual-reality elements in Jewish identity itself and by the lack of clear borders for the State of Israel. But the anti-Semitic demons are not a Jewish creation. They are, above all, nourished by the threats that globalization (often a synonym for 'Americanization'), secularism, and multiculturalism continue to pose for more traditional religious and national identities.
"On the conservative right and in the Muslim world, in particular, conspiracy theories traditionally regarded the Jews as the subversive pacesetters of transversal disintegrative forces associated with both capitalism and communism. But today, it is the left, especially in Europe, that is leading the assault on Israel and the Jews as capitalist predators and imperialist dynamos in a globalizing world. This is the point where the jihadists, the antiglobalist left, and the far right can join hands as uneasy allies. The new post-2000 Europe, with a few exceptions, is in the process of shedding its last taboos concerning the Jews. The barriers have been lifted, and images of good and evil are being inverted. Israel is currently denounced in the name of humanism and universal brotherhood; its detractors claim to be standing up against the fallen idols of power politics, empire, nationalism, and military prowess from an earlier era.
"It is, paradoxically, in the act of repudiating the worst features of their own past that Europeans now sit in judgment on America, the Jews, and Israel. In celebrating its own multicultural, pluralist, and postnational liberation (more evident in theory than in practice), Europe deplores what it brands as the uniquely tribal and aggressive 'arrogance' of the Jewish nation-state, while turning a blind eye to all the dark stains on the record of Palestinian nationalism, ignoring the pathologies of the Arab world, and downplaying the lethal threat of a radically unhinged Islam. In the new Manichean vision born out of 'antiracism,' Jewish victims have mutated into 'executioners'; the right to self-defense is turned into an act of 'imperial' expansionism, while the existence of a Jewish state itself becomes a questionable manifestation of exclusivity and 'racist' particularism. This is the ideology of the new anti-Semitism that operates with a good conscience. But the reality is completely different. We are at the end of an era in which the Jews of Europe can assume that their peace, security, and well-being will be protected from predatory anti-Semitism by the shadow of the Holocaust."