The Appomattox Compromise

On a “what if” radio program sixty years ago, I heard the newly inaugurated President Lincoln persuade Robert E. Lee that his loyalty to the United States Army should outweigh his allegiance to the state of Virginia. In short order, Lee quells the rebellion; in 1868 he is elected to succeed . . . . Continue Reading »

The Road to Nostra Aetate

Of all the documents of Vatican II, few have been more discussed and written about than Nostra Aetate. The official text, the shortest of the council’s documents, is only five paragraphs long, containing forty-one sentences. The fourth paragraph, on the Church’s relationship with the Jewish . . . . Continue Reading »

Global Anti-Semitism?

Last May, the Anti-Defamation League made the start­ling pronouncement that one-quarter of the world’s population is anti-Semitic. The source for that charge was the ADL Global 100: An Index of Anti-Semitism, a comprehensive survey of international populations sponsored by the ADL and . . . . Continue Reading »

A Nation Pulling Apart

That my mother hated Jews was clear, although why she hated them was one of those shameful mysteries I doubt she could have explained had I asked her. What I heard, growing up, sounded like jealousy and resentment. As a waitress in a catering hall, she would serve at Bar Mitzvah receptions and then come home seething about the amounts of money she imagined the young guest of honor had taken in. Continue Reading »

Hitler’s Mufti

In his 2004 book The Return of Anti-Semitism, Gabriel Schoenfeld declared that “the ancient and modern strands of anti-Semitism” have been “successfully fused today” in the Muslim world, “and from there the hatred of Jews receives its main propulsion outward.” In the 2003 Never Again? . . . . Continue Reading »

Civility and Permissions

“Who has been handing out these permission slips?” asks a writer of our acquaintance. He wants to know who determined that it is alright again to tell racist jokes in polite society, or to publish columns suggesting, none too gingerly, that Jews have excessive influence in American life. Who . . . . Continue Reading »