Fighting the Evil of the New Anti-Semitism

In response to the Chicago Tribune article: “The new anti-Semitism”

This is regarding the recent column of Victor Davis Hanson (“The new anti-Semitism,” Commentary, Sept. 29).

The scriptures of Judaism, Christianity and Islam teach us that the virtue of repentance-wholly different from self-loathing-is absolutely central to the moral life.

Without it there can be no reckoning with the evils of the past, and no genuine commitment to a just and peaceful future.

Unfortunately the fate of the human family looks horribly grim until and unless the West acknowledges responsibility for three of the greatest and deeply interconnected sins of the modern age: genocide, most horrifically exemplified in European anti-Semitism and the Holocaust of European Jewry; the enslavement of African people as chattel slaves; and the colonization and imperial domination of the extra-European world, especially the Middle East.

The implicit logic of Hanson’s rhetoric, and that of others like him, is that the best way to fight the moral evil of the new anti-Semitism is to indulge ourselves in the creation of an opposing hatred, namely the equally reprehensible demonization of Islam and Muslim people.

One wonders whether we in the West will ever learn that the responsibility that comes with great power is not to figure out which side to take in a conflict and resolve to destroy the “enemy” but, rather, to ask ourselves how best to transform the conflict for the good of all concerned.

Scott C. Alexander is an Associate professor of Islam and Director of Catholic-Muslim Studies at the Catholic Theological Union Chicago