By James Lileks
Newhouse News Service

We’re often told that Islamic terrorism has an exact mirror in Christian-inspired extremism.

Sure, there are thousands of jihadis killing and maiming people of all creeds and colors, but look at Timothy McVeigh! Can’t — he’s compost now. But when he was alive he wasn’t shouldering aside old ladies to make morning Mass; McVeigh was one of those pathetic Aryan pagans who would have beat up Jesus for his dusky hue.

What about that abortion bomber guy, Eric Rudolph? Sorry; he calls himself a disciple of Nietzsche.

Well, what about the Crusades? And Dresden? Fine. Drop us a line when someone drives a 737 into the Sears Tower on behalf of a bygone pope and Gen. Eisenhower.

It turns out, however, that there are similarities. There is something the Islamic extremists and some Christian groups share: They agree that Israel is the problem.

The Presbyterian Church (USA) — not the members, but the learned elders — has announced it will use its stock holdings to target Israel for being mean to the Palestinians.

But they’re not anti-Semites. Heavens, nay. Don’t you dare question their philosemitism! No, they looked at the entire world, including countries that lop off your skull if you convert to Presbyterianism, and what did they choose as the object of their ire? A country the size of a potato chip hanging on the edge of a region noted for despotism and barbarity. By some peculiar coincidence, it happens to be full of Jews.

The right and the left seem to take turns deciding who’s going to be anti-Semitic. But for some time now, the hard left in the West has led the charge against the Jews — or, as the sleight-of-hand term has it, the Zionists.

These adolescent spirits love nothing more than a revolution, a story of a scrappy underdog rising up against a colonizing power, and the Palestinians, with their romantically masked fighters and thrilling weapon-brandishing, fit the bill. Plus, there’s something so deliciously naughty and transgressive about calling Jews the new Nazis.

It doesn’t matter that one side is a liberal democracy that grants rights to women and non-Jews while the other has thugs and assassins for rulers and sends its kids to summer camps where they learn the joys of good ol’ fashioned Jew-killing.

According to the hard left’s script, Israel was created when some Europeans (hisssss) invaded the sovereign nation of Palestine, even though we all know the Jewish homeland is somewhere outside Passaic, N.J. Then for no reason Israel invaded the West Bank and Gaza — which for some reason had not been set up as New Palestine by the Egyptians and the Jordanians, but never mind — and made everyone stand in line and get frisked. Those who joined the line in ‘67 are just getting through now. Evil Zionists.

Don’t tell the Presbyterians about Tibet or Sudan. It would absolutely ruin their day.

The companies the church wishes to pressure include Caterpillar, which makes bulldozers purchased by the Israelis for the sole purpose of knocking down innocent homes of gentle lamb herders, and Motorola, which among other things sells night-vision goggles that give the Israeli Defense Forces an unfair advantage over people who want to smuggle in bombs to encourage the social-justice dialogue.

The church will probably get around to boycotting Cuisinart, if the imams suggest that Jews use Cuisinart products to grind up Gentile bones for Passover pastries. Of course it’s not true, literally, but in the culture of the occupation and resistance, we must understand these things as potent metaphors. False, yes, but potent!

Next they can sue the company that sells buses to Israeli cities. All those tempting targets, packed with innocent people. How could an oppressed person resist killing them all? What sort of civilized nation would tempt them so? Especially because they don’t have helicopters and night-vision goggles and tanks and missiles. Not that they’d use those devices against Israelis. That would risk a Presbyterian boycott.

There are some lines even the most romantic revolutionary dare not cross.