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Anti-Semitic Awakening

Anti-Semitic Awakening

Why does such vile enmity wrack Europe, while America not only remains free of it but persists in standing by Israel in the present clash with the Palestinians?


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The shocking revival of anti-Semitism in Europe has brought much grief to America's Jewish community, and to our Christian fellow citizens as well. President Bush reacted to recent events with the heartening statement that "We reject the ancient evil of anti-Semitism, whether it is practiced by the killers of [Wall Street Journal reporter] Daniel Pearl or those who burn synagogues in France." Commentators have sought an explanation for the seemingly unkillable hatred, practiced as street violence by youthful Arab hoodlums in European cities and looked upon with indifference by the European elite, a hatred sparked by Israel's attempt to defend herself from Palestinian terrorists.

A question that doesn't seem to have occurred to anyone is this: Why does such vile enmity wrack Europe, while America not only remains free of it but persists in standing by Israel in the present clash with the Palestinians? Why do Americans so overwhelmingly favor Israel, while Europeans regard the Jews there as wretched interlopers?

The answer is to be found in the Bible -- specifically in the first words of Genesis: "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." Everyone knows the Five Books of Moses are concerned with defining the laws that govern Jewish life. Why then does the Torah begin by recounting the Creation of the world? Why not start like any other legal code, launching directly into a recitation of laws?

The Midrash prophetically teaches that this is to provide a response to critics who call the Jewish people "thieves" of land, as Europeans and Palestinians do today. One message of Genesis 1:1 is that "All the earth belongs to the Holy One, Blessed Be He. He created [Israel] and bestows it upon whoever he chooses." The verse is like the opening clause of a deed of ownership: The land of Israel is Jewish land because God made the earth and can divide it up among the nations as He wishes. Anyone who accepts the text of the deed will accept the Jewish claim on the land.

We are witnessing two distinct religious civilizations in conflict: that of the Koran, allied with the believers in no God, violently challenging the civilization of the Bible.

So we see why Christians are so sympathetic to the Jewish side in this painful conflict: It is because they revere the Bible. And America, quite simply, is the most enthusiastically Christian nation on earth.

Muslims, on the other hand, disdain the Bible and revere the Koran. Secularists disdain all Scripture. And Europe is now a secular land, having shed its former Christian faith.

It may be attractive to think of Christians, Jews, and Muslims as forming one great "Abrahamic" civilization, linking all believers in the One God. But the truth is that today we are witnessing two distinct religious civilizations in conflict: that of the Koran, allied with the believers in no God, violently challenging the civilization of the Bible, of Christianity and Judaism.

In Belgium and England, Italy and Ukraine, Greece and Holland, Germany and Slovakia, most especially in France, Arabs and post-Christians join together in reviling the Jews of the land of Israel, and by extension Jews everywhere. Synagogues burn. Cemeteries are desecrated. School buses and soccer teams are assaulted. Rabbis are beaten and knifed. And newspapers and political leaders look on, either denying that it is anti-Semitism or running editorial cartoon demonizing Israel, suggesting, as one member of the House of Lords told a writer for the London Spectator, "The Jews have been asking for it."

Meanwhile, in America, Christians rally alongside Jews -- as they did in large numbers at the marvelous April 15 rally for Israel on Capitol Hill -- pleading that the Jewish state be allowed to defend her civilians. It is no coincidence that President Bush -- who told the Saudi Crown Prince "We will not allow Israel to be crushed" -- is himself an evangelical Christian. In America, Irish Catholic journalists like Sean Hannity and Michael Kelly put some blasé Jewish Americans to shame with their passionate support of Israel. Indeed, American Jews seems at last to be waking up to the blessing of friendship with America's Christians.

For ten years the organization I serve, Toward Tradition, has been calling on American Jews to recognize who our friends are. One could not think of a better time than the present to do so, and to express gratitude.

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Visitor Comments: 23

(22) Anonymous, August 25, 2015 11:14 AM


Antisemitism is alive and well in the US. Yes, I love the US. And I love Israel. But please don't be blind to what is going on around us. Where I am, it's Jew or Muslim. And, it's terrifying. And for the most part, antisemitism is not just our problem but an Arab one, too. We say "not here". It is here. Especially in our Universities. And it is in our workplaces. Hopefully, our politics, which are under Hashem's control, will continue to be on our side. But as another beautiful person said. Every Jew needs a key. And every Jew needs a passport. NEVER EVER FORGET.

(21) Anonymous, January 29, 2014 10:23 PM

I did not see the original document. However, many , Christians have risked their lives for Jews. I have a terrible time with the history, but I think and hope there is a different spirit today, of recognizing the Jews as God's Chosen, the flock h

I am sorry. I used the above space to write my commentary.

(20) Lolita Cohen, May 8, 2005 12:00 AM

Thank you for the great article

Unfortunately,Canada is not like the USA but more like Europe.I work at a research place where out of 6000 professors I am the only jew. I get support from secretaries and low paid cleaners who go out of their way to find jewish things. For example I used to leave on Friday's according to shabbat but they did not believe a religion which goes according to sunset. So now I leave every Friday at 2:00PM they are happier ( and me too I have more time). I never felt antisemitism when I was in the US.
I tried to send an article to Canadian newspaper on how Israel treats its jewish refugees. (I am one of them, We came from Egypt, I was 17, when we arrived via Italy ( my father was one of the 32 jews put in jail because they lost the war with Israel) and I had not finished high school. I was told that it would be difficult for me to go to high school because lectures and books are in hebrew. They suggested me to go to the Technion, where a Professor with a very big heart (David Ginsburg) help me get in the Technion, study 4 years and be in the dormitory..and he told me ...when I will finish I will have to return all this money with a big interest. They never wanted me to pay anything. In the contrary, he gave me a great recommendation so I could do a Ph.D at Yale University and then a post-doctorat at harvard.
This is how Israel treats its jewish refugees.
Our son studies at a yeshiva in Brooklyn and we intend to move back to Israel all the family in a year or two.
Shavuah Tov
Lolita Cohen

(19) Gelbman nuts!, October 20, 2003 12:00 AM

Gelbman is nuts!

The commentor below has truly lost it.

His argument simply is that since over 160 years ago the Christians have begun to support the Jews and their safety that somehow this is not a good reason to accept their friendship!!

In a world in which the Left and its associates in the secular and Muslim world are making the mass murder of Jews acceptable, we have apologists like this who would have us ignore one of the last resources that we have.

The real problem here is the fact that so many Jews are fundamentalsit about being Liberal that even if it means siding with Anti-semites, so be it!

(18) Andrew Gelbman, July 13, 2003 12:00 AM

Lapin is nuts!

Rabbi Lapin is, quite simply, nuts. To say that Christianity, as a thing, is friendly to the Jewish people is to ignore 2000 years of history. The Blood Libels, the Ghettoes, the Crusades and even the Holocaust were essentially Christian religious enterprises.

True, in America, among the Baptists and Baptist influenced Protestant denominations there is a different attitude. However, this 'philo-semitic' view only dates from the 1840's. 160 years is not a long time in historic terms, and it makes no sense to blame anti-Semitism on Islam and Secularism while holding Christianity out as the cure.

It is true that the Jewish people do have friends in the Christian community, and that America has (in the general) been friendly to the Jewish people. It is true that commentators like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity (both Irish Catholics) have been very favorable to Israel and to American Jewry. It is true that many evangelical Protestant leaders like Pat Robertson, John Hagee and Jerry Falwell have pressured the GOP against aiding Israel's enemies. However, American Christendom is not the rule, it is the exception. I don't mean to demean the efforts of those in the Christian community who are supportive of Israel, but they are widely regarded as heretics by the larger global Christian community. Of course, they would say that they are the first "true Christians" to come down the pike. Who knows, maybe they are, nevertheless, while it's nice to have friends the security of the Jewish people has never been dependent on gentiles, not even righteous gentiles. Our hope, our Salvation, our Rock has always been the G-d of our Fathers. We forget this at our peril.

Europe's secularism is a murderous as her Christianity (the major Socialist movements, Nazism and Communism, were secularist and between them murdered over 30 million civilians. Almost 7 million of them Jews!). Islam, on the otherhand hasn't always been hostile to Judaism. Some Islamic leaders (including the chief Inam of Rome) have supported Israel's claim to the Land and to Jerusalem, citing the Quran to do so.

American evangelical Christians have been friendly, but that may change. Islam, in general, is hostile but it wasn't always so. Again, it is folly to rely on gentile opinion. Our only Hope is in G-d and His ways. If the Jewish people would return to Torah and Mitzvos, we would be more secure than any army could make us, we would be safer than all the gentile goodwill in the world could make us.

Rabbi Lapin needs to consider that instead of toadying to the Christian Right.

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