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Jewish anti-Semitism, which should be logically impossible, nonetheless has a long tradition and is alive and well. It does not even have the decency to hide in Argentina. Here is the first of two egregious examples.

Jews for Jesus seems on the surface to be a harmless enough sect of mystics and would-be dogooders. To many well meaning Christians, Jews for Jesus might seem to be a bridge between peoples. To religious Jews, their theology is anathema and their name is an oxymoron. There can no more be "Jews for Jesus" in the Jewish religion than there could be Christians for Muhammad. But religious differences should always be settled amicably. Religion is supposed to provide a path to decency and civilized behavior. The religion that resorts to violence to "prove" that it is better has in fact proved that it is worse.

There is not much can do or say to change the beliefs of others in a free society, and as I respect the beliefs of most religious people unless they threaten my own freedom, I respected the beliefs of Jews for Jesus. I was appalled to learn of Jewish violence against Jews for Jesus disciples living in Ariel. Violence and decent religion should not mix. When they do, the result is always something like Al Qaeda

But there is a sad logic that seems to dictate that those who stray from Judaism feel compelled to become enemies of the Jewish people. Election campaigns drag up a lot of detritus. Money and effort are spent illuminating the dust in many corners that would otherwise be hidden. Along with much flotsam about the sex habits of candidates and their family members, the US presidential election dragged up the the ugly truth about Jews for Jesus. Enterprising campaign enthusiasts found that the head of Jews for Jesus, David Brickner, insists that terrorism is God's way of punishing the Jews for rejecting the Messiah. That was bad enough. But other than the fact that the source was a former Jew, it was not very much worse than the claim of Pastor John Hagee that Hitler was God's way of getting the Jews to Israel.

Unlike Hagee, however, who was probably just guilty of poor judgment and moral bankruptcy, Brickner proved himself to be a genuine anti-Semite. His conversion was complete so to speak. He felt compelled to repeat the anti-Semitic Shibboleth that that Jews are intractably rebellious and hence cursed. Of course, if Brickner had not been intractably rebellious and revolting as well, he would not have betrayed his people. He is a pretty revolting guy, representing a revolting philosophy.

It is remarkable, that no sooner did he adopt belief in Jesus as savior, that Brickner had to become an anti-Semite. Jewish converts and their descendants have been betrayers of our people since Torquemada led the Spanish Inquisition. Like Hagee's theodicy, Brickner's notion runs into a logical problem, since the terror attacks of 9/11 2001 in the United States and those of 7/7 2005 in England were not committed against Jews. Most terror attacks in fact, have killed Muslims, so perhaps God is really trying to punish them. Or more likely, Hagee and Brickner are the result of God's judgment against all of us for suffering fools and knaves under the heading of "religious tolerance."

Brickner has proven that in practical terms, in terms of loyalty to the Jewish people as well as the Jewish faith, there can be no such thing as "Jews for Jesus." Practical consequences seem to follow from theological reasoning. Perhaps therefore, as he is not a Jew any more, and is not "really a Jewish anti-Semite. My next example will be harder to dismiss in that way.

Brickner and Jews for Jesus have obviously been spreading this stuff for years. Had it not been for the US Presidential election, and the fact that Brickner happened to deliver his poisonous sermon at Governor Palin's Church, and the fact that Governor Palin is the Republican nominee for U.S. vice president, we would never have known about it. Political partisans will make an issue out of whether or not Governor Palin knew anything about Brickner or approves of his ideas, all of which is totally besides the point. Now we all know about Jews for Jesus and everyone who does not speak out against this evil, and educate against it, and confront this group with the consequences of their own hateful philosophy, is complicit in it.




Ami Isseroff



Original content is Copyright by the author 2008. Posted at ZioNation-Zionism and Israel Web Log, http://www.zionism-israel.com/log/archives/00000598.html where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Disributed by ZNN list. Subscribe by sending a message to ZNN-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by e-mail with this notice, cite this article and link to it. Other uses by permission only.

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Replies: 16 Comments

Face it. "Jews for Jesus" is just the latest scapegoat for failures within Judaism. If the Jews had a vibrant, growing religion, they wouldn't be afraid of a few dozen Jewish Christians in San Francisco. Judaism is failing, and they are looking for a scapegoat. That much is obvious.

Michael A. Shoemaker, Thursday, October 2nd


Thank you for a most enlightening article. Regardless of what Brinkner said that Palin rejects, the mere fact that her church actively supports a cultural war against Israeli Jews should raise the red flag for ALL Jews.

Gnarlodious, Thursday, September 25th


Mark Nystedt:

1) I don't know what Imao means.

2) Smarter than goy? Seriously? I have no idea what you'retalking about. Why, because we are not interested in converting with Christianity we think we are smarter than you? We are not the ones trying to convertt people?

3) I doubt Jews for Jesus are creating antisemitism. but their above mentioned spokesman is certainly tapping into the old antisemitic chestnut that the Jews' rejection of Christianity makes them evil and deserving of suffering.

4) And what kind of antisemitism are you tapping into; that Jews deserve to be hated because they take pride in their own unique identity. Because that somehow means they think they are better than everyone else? As if other nations don't think they are special and unique? As if Christianity is not a religion that believes whoever does not believe will go to hell. Give me a break.

You complained that Ami said that Jews for Jesus are not Jewish, and I explained to you why we feel that way and why we dislike their missionary efforts.

Micha, Saturday, September 20th


smarter-than-a-goy attitudes?

Micha, Friday, September 19th


My last post wasn't posted. lmao. Your smarter-than-a-goy attitudes create more anti-Semitism than Jews for Jesus dont.

Mark Nystedt, Thursday, September 18th


"If Jewishness is belonging to a people, Jews for Jesus and you are Jews. If Jewishness is determined by religion, than niether are you or Ami (both secular Jews) or Jews for Jesus (by your understanding of Christianity) Jews. Ball's in your court."

You've missed the point. It's not an either or kind of thing. The Jewish religion is part of our national culture, even for secular Jews. I, like many secular jews, might not believe in god, attend synagoge regularly, or follow the laws to the letter, but we celebrate on fridays and holdays.

But you know, this is not the point either. I don't really know if according to Jewish law converted Jews are still consider Jews. Sociologically and emotionally we might still say htat they are part of the Jewish people -- after all conversion does not erase the past (there are some famous jokes about that). And I'm fine with that.

The point is this. We are not just talking about Jews who are so secular and anti-religious they don't want anything to do with the holdays or the bible or anything remotely religious. We are not talking about jews so assimilated that they barely have no connection to anything culturly Jewish. We are not even talking about Jews who become devotees of some new age religion, or Zen Budhism or something like that. We are not even just talking about individual Jewish people who converted to Christianity -- a religionn whose purpose is to replace judaism, which have viewed Judaism with hostility for cennturies for not converting, and which until recently was only taken by Jews wishing to leave the Jewish people completely. No, not even that. We are talking about a misionary organization that used the label "Jews for Jesus" to convert Jews.

Another way to put it is this. We might call a converted Jew Jewish, maybe, that's debateable. but the organization Jews for Jesus is not Jewish: it is a Christian organization.

"Her denying Jews for Jesus their Jewishness was 'rude'."

I don't know what Ami wrote you, so i ave no way of knowing if he was rude. But to me it seems much ruder to claim the Jewish identity for the purpose of converting Jews. Very rude. Since I believe in free speech, I must accept that, but not respect it.

"She attempted to discredit my comments about the NT Epistle of Jude with a commentary about the non-Biblical non-Gospel Gospel of Judas."

As a secular person I believe both the NT and OT are historical documents written and compiled by humans. If read critically they may offer information about people and their beliefs at a certain point in time. I also have sympathy for the OT as part of my national culture and a pretty good compilation of books.

I should also point out that 'Ami' is not the american girl name Ami, but a hebrew name for boys which means "my people".

Micha, Monday, September 15th


If Jewishness is belonging to a people, Jews for Jesus and you are Jews. If Jewishness is determined by religion, than niether are you or Ami (both secular Jews) or Jews for Jesus (by your understanding of Christianity) Jews. Ball's in your court.

The cryptic and seemingly irrelavent (?, I flunked shpelling) comments were for Ami with whom I had had a private cyberspace conversation. Her denying Jews for Jesus their Jewishness was 'rude'. She attempted to discredit my comments about the NT Epistle of Jude with a commentary about the non-Biblical non-Gospel Gospel of Judas. She didnt like my rude response. Oh well.

Mark Nystedt, Saturday, September 13th


"The first Christians were Jews for Jesus."

This the same old semantic game. If being Jewish is belonging to a religion, then once a person becomes Christian he stops being Jewish. If it is a people, then hypothetically a person can reject the Jewish religion, adopt Christianity, and remain part of the Jewish people. Since being Jewish is a little of both, the answer is not simple. Until recently conversion to Christianity meant leaving to Jewish people and their religion -- assimilation.

But the truth is that this semantic game is not that important. What is Jews for Jesus? At best they are Jews who converted to Christianity. Even as a secular person I don't have much sympathy to such conversion -- for 2000 years Christians have been hounding us to convert, and we insisted to retain our unique identity and culture. Caving in to your universal religion is not something I'm ipressed with as a Jew or as a secular person, but it their choice and I have to respect it. At worse Jews for Jesus is a trojan horse, an underhanded missionary attempt by Christians to convert the Jews. To which I have much less sympathy, both for the reasons I stated above and because the idea of missionary work goes against my pluralistic beliefs as well as my Jewish identity.

"All of Jesus' disciples (11, with the exception of Judas Iscariot who committed suicide) were executed for their faith - hardly a conspiracy to perpetuate a fraud."

I don't know what you mean exactly. I'm certainly not going to argue the verasity of your religion over others. I respect your religion but I don't share it, and you should appreciate that.

"Those Jews for Jesus did an amazing missionary job converting pagan Gentiles to Messianic Judaism."

This means nothing to us as Jews. The gentiles weren't converted to our religion, nor did we want to convert them anyway. The only sense in which Christianity's early effort to convert people matters to us is that it helped spread hostility toward Jews, which hasn't benefited us at all.

"I attend both church and synagogue"

That's your own personal choice. Enjoy.

"I would not be surprised if I know more about Judaism than you."

good for you. The important thing to know for this discussion doesn't require much learning: it is the simple fact that Judaism is not Christianity. That's all. There's nothing wrong with being Christian or Jewish. But we Jews, religious and secular, have chosen not to become Christian. After all these years we would like that choice respected.

Micha, Thursday, September 11th


From the Jewish Journal, Sept 4 2008, p 18. jewishjournal.org.

PALIN REJECTS VIEWS OF HER CHURCH'S JEWS FOR JESUS SPEAKER. Ben Harris, Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

New York - Vice-presidential pick Sarah Palin says she doesn't share the views of a Jews for Jesus leader who in a speech at her church suggested that violence against Israelis resulted from God's judgement against Jews who have failed to embrace Jesus. David Brinkner, the executive director of Jews for Jesus, suggested in his Aug 17 sermon in Wasilla Bible Church that the refusal to accept Jesus was responsible for the long history of devastation visited upon Jerusalem. He also described his group's successful targetting of Israeli Jews, both in Israel and elsewhere. "Judgement is very real, and we see it played out on the pages of the newspapers and on the television," said Brinkner, according to a transcript posted on the church's web-site. "It's very real. When [my son] Issac was in Jerusalem he was there to witness some of the judgement - some of that conflict - when a Palestinian from East Jerusalem took a bulldozer and went plowing through a score of cars, killing numbers of people. Judgement - you can't miss it." A spokesman for the McCain campaign, Michael Goldfarb, said Palin did not know Brickner wuld be speaking that day and did not share his views.

Church pastor Larry Kroon confirmed that Palin, the Governor of Alaska who was chosen last week by US Sen John McCain (R-Ariz) to join his GOP presidential ticket, would have no way of knowing that Brickner was slated to speak.

"Governor Palin does not share the views he expressed, an she and her family would not have been itting in the pews of this church for the last seven years if his remarks were even remotely typical," Goldfarb wrote in an e-mail.

Following Brickner's sermon, Kroon took up an offering for Jews for Jesus and prayed that Jews would come to accept Jesus.

Mark Nystedt, Thursday, September 11th


Your assertion that the Jews for Jesus' theology is anethema and that their name is in an oxymoron is RUDE and tells me that you are clueless about Christianity. The first Christians were Jews for Jesus. EVERY New Testament writer was a Jew who had met Jesus, at the very least in passing at the Jerusalem Temple during a pilgrimage festival (with the possible exception of John the Revalator; also, Hillel, Shammai, and Gamaliel). All of Jesus' disciples (11, with the exception of Judas Iscariot who committed suicide) were executed for their faith - hardly a conspiracy to perpetuate a fraud. Those Jews for Jesus did an amazing missionary job converting pagan Gentiles to Messianic Judaism. My favorite New Testament writing is the Epistle/Letter of Jude, Jesus' brother, to other first generation Jews for Jesus.

Ami. Acts is not a Gospel. To learn about Christianity, read the New Testament first, not commentators. I attend both church and synagogue (over many years, Reform, Conservative, Ortodox, Chabad, and Messianic) and have taught Torah in church according to the parshah cycle of readings. I would not be surprised if I know more about Judaism than you. I have read countless Biblical commentaries during the past many years and had a pretty good idea what was said in the commentataries you sent to me based on your comments. I can send you commentaries that argue differently. So, what. So, I wont.

Mark Nystedt, Thursday, September 11th


Dear Matt,
Your message is the same as Brickner's, and word by word, you prove my point.
Didn't Jesus say, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone"? Yet you and Brickner are busy casting rocks. Anyone who does not believe as you do is a sinner. So you do not believe in Jesus. Didn't Rabbi Hillel say "What is hateful to you, do not do to your friend?" Would you like it if someone said you are a sinner because you believe in Jesus? I don't think so. Yet you and Brickner say that we are sinners because we do not believe in the divinity of Jesus. So you are not Jews and you are not for Jesus. There is no way to explain intolerance and hate and no excuse for it.
When Brickner said "Jews are a rebellious people" did it exclude or include himself? Does it exclude or include you? If it excludes you, then you are not a Jew and Brickner is not a Jew either. If it includes Brickner and you and Jesus, then rebelliousness cannot be cured by washing yourself in water or believing that God could have a son. One or the other. Make up your mind. Professing this or that belief could not change your character. Rebelliousness is a character trait, which evidently you and Brickner believe we inherited, but you did not. So you and Brickner excluded yourself from the Jewish people.

Did Jesus say that? Did he include himself?

Ami Isseroff

Ami Isseroff, Tuesday, September 9th


Matt,

Jews believe in God. David's representation to the contrary shows the depravity of his heart and unforgivable proclivity for dishonesty. If anything, he is the one who does not believe in God, believing in a man, instead.

Daniel, Tuesday, September 9th


The "taken out of context" excuse does not work. Mr. Brickner maintains that all Jews killed by terrorists deserve to be killed. By extension, he believes that every innocent Jewish man woman and child killed by Christians in the name of Jesus deserves it. Mr. Brickner's mother is NOT Jewish. Therefore, he is not a Jew. He is a regular Catholic making a lot of money off of hate and bigotry clothed in what he calls, "love and hope." One cannot be a greater hypocrite than David Brickner.

Yonah, Tuesday, September 9th


Professor Barrie Wilson of York University, Toronto, ON, -- an Episcopalean who converted to Judaism --recently published a book titled, "How Jesus Became Christian", in which he points out that Jesus never rejected Judaism. Those were only the claims of Paul, a Hellenized Jew from Turkey, who lived at the same time as Jesus, but never actually knew Jesus. Jesus's followers, including James, continued to follow Torah as did the Pharisees and another contemporary religious sect. Only Paul and his followers rejected Torah, and, because they did so, were able to attract converts more easily than Judaism's various strands. Hence, the religion practiced by the Jews for Jesus (and Christians of whatever sect) should be more fairly referred to as Paulism.

Lynne T, Monday, September 8th


I’m a Jewish believer in Jesus. Most blogs and news services have posted just one paragraph of the six-page transcript of David Brickner’s message, giving the false impression that he is saying that a bulldozer attack by a deranged Palestinian is God’s judgment on the Jewish people. Please read the entire message for yourself at http://wasillabible.org/sermons.htm so that you can see Brickner’s remarks in context.

Among other things, Brickner says, “My mother always told me, ‘Be careful when you point a finger at somebody else, because there’s some pointing back at you.’ And really, Israel has not cornered the market on unbelief. Israel is an example of what all humanity has been saying to God since the beginning of time, shaking its fists at the heavens and saying, ‘You’ll not rule over us.’ And so all of the controversy that we see swirling in Jerusalem is really a mirror that the world looks in to see the controversy within . . . . It’s the dilemma of the human heart.”

Brickner is saying that without forgiveness of sins, which he (and I) believe only comes through Jesus’ sacrificial death for us, there will be judgment – not just for Jews, but for all mankind.

Please take a look at the discussion concerning Mr. Brickner’s message at the Jews for Jesus website, http://www.jewsforjesus.org.

Matt Sieger, Monday, September 8th


When I speak with individual Christians they assert that right actions are a manifestation of their faith, and if their intentions are for right actions then the Divine, through Jesus' selfless love will grant them salvation, but poor 'ol me can't have that because I'm not accepting JC's selfless love. My response to them is if one does right actions, showing kindness to all, living with truth, then they honour their faith, but the problem with good intentions is they don't leave a trace. However the old Aristotelian saying has the right measure of truth "sow a thought and reap an action, sow an action and reap a habit, sow a habit and reap a character" so if you think you have good intentions then take those thoughts and start putting them into deeds otherwise they don't count. To be frank with you most Christians I met really wanted to convert me, but when they became aware of my commitment to my heritage or aroused my cross-examination, the best way to sum it up is they slink away. Some will bring more honesty and critically reflect on the premises of their church, but it is always an individual's affair. In light of those who advocate the Judeo-Christian dialogue they in fact miss the point and become more Christian in their actions than they are Jewish in heart because they adopt the individual-no-man's land milieu and desert the weak, confused and disenfranchised Yidden who know no longer their right foot from their left foot. In their desire to be "civilized" they are not able to confront a sanctified theological imperative to steal the interprerative authority of the Bible that rests solely with the Jewish people.

This became clear to the the Christian orthodoxy when they encountered the Dead Sea scrolls. Like I said in light of Christian history, they have no justification to try to convert Jews to be anything. If they are a devout Christian and I do know some, (my professor and mentor JMW Scott who taught me Chemistry never once said to me I should take "Christ into my heart", he told me "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge... honour your teachers and your God". . . . "you honour me far more by being a Jew and be proud of being a Jew") Northrop Frye was another who said to me, "we must now guard you from the coming trials" (Frye had stopped at Memorial on his way through after returning from Europe in 1977, he spoke at Memorial's chapel and JMW dragged us all down to see him. After the service he sat around with a group and told them about visiting Professor Strugnell at Oxford and seeing the scrolls for himself (they were at that time classified secret and under the control fo the Dominicean order, the Rockerfeller Foundation, and the governements of Jordan and Saudi Arabia, we couldn't get to see them, and a handful of sworn to secrecy scholars had access) . What he saw shook him, he looked at me and said the script, idiom, and expression was Jewish through and through, he commented to Scott that what these foundation scrolls did was, they removed all interprerative authority of the bible from the Christians and placed in the hands of the Jews, he said methodists and Anglicans can come to terms with this but fundamentalist Christians will never do so and will probably try to create a "Jewish" community that will restore interprerative authority to their church. In 1977 this was said, a decade before the Pentacostal union and Prodestant churchs founded and funded the "Jews for Jesus". Frye foresaw this bull feathers with clarity)

Larry Riteman, Sunday, September 7th


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