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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.