Randy's Corner Deli Library

07 September 2008

Jewish anti-Semites I: Jews for Jesus

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 likeAl 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
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messianicmatt said...

I am a Jewish believer in Jesus. Before you start throwing around terms like “anti-Semitic” for David Brickner and Jews for Jesus, you (and your readers) might do well to read the transcript of what Brickner actually said when he spoke at Sarah Palin’s church, at http://wasillabible.org/sermons.htm

While you’re at it, please take a look at Mr. Brickner’s comments concerning his message at Wasilla Bible Church at the Jews for Jesus website, http://www.jewsforjesus.org.

Randy Shiner said...

Matt - I appreciate the link to the Church's website. I am reading the transcript of what Brickner said. Just FYI, I went to a Catholic prep school for seventh and eighth grades. My mother always told me that the guy they were praying to was Jewish.

But we part company when people start believing that a man can be a God. Jesus was a man. By definition, he cannot be a God or even a quasi-deity, part of any "holy trinity". Jews - not Christians of any stripe, believe in a single deity - monotheism. There is no holy trinity, and no Jew would ever pray to a man. Chabad has such a problem, in my opinion, so Jews for Jesus is not alone with these issues.

Pastor Brickner said:
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.’

This is incorrect. Though it is true that many, many Israelis are secular, they would not ever consider Jesus as a replacement for the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Never. Indeed, many Israelis consider that because they live in Israel, they are by definition redeemed, and therefore have no use for Judaism or any other religion for that matter, though when the time comes for burial, you can bet that they will by and large all have Jewish funerals.

I wrote an article not too long ago about the "problem" of "Messianic Jews" in Israel. The Haredim are all up in arms, as was noted by Pastor Brickner. They have taken, in some instances to violence. This betrays confidence in the spiritual power of Judaism. We Jews have absolutely nothing to fear from "Messianic Jews". Nothing. And those that would seek to beat people up for their beliefs are no better than fascists.

Some "Messianic Jews" in Israel go to the extent of getting dressed up like Haredi Jews. They want so badly to be Jews. And indeed, the long term effects are these: 70% of "Messianic Jews" leave Christianity and get Orthodox Jewish conversions. I'm not worried. I just do not want to see a bible-thumping Crusader who is more Jesus-freak than George Bush again in the White House. The culture wars should be buried and dead and people should be concerned not about religion but the state of the US economy and the state of our inept, negligent foreign policy. Israel is less safe today as the result of 8 years of George Bush's pushing "democracy" at any cost in the Middle East, where every country with the notable exception of Israel, is still basically run as they did for the past 2000 years - in clans and tribes. The Enlightenment that passed through Europe and crossed the ocean to the USA never made it there, again, with the exception of Israel, which is more European than Middle Eastern, though I am sure my sabra friends or those who have made aliyah would argue that point.

In any event, thank you for your contribution. It is most appreciated.

messianicmatt said...

Thanks for your comments on my post. You say that man cannot be God, but would you assert that God could not become man, if He so chose? Is anything too hard for the LORD? The Scriptures say that God did become man, in the person of Y'shua (Jesus) of Nazareth. As long as you brought this topic up, as well as the topic of the Trinity, I thought you might find this article of interest: www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/issues/1_8/jewish
You may also want to take a look at Mr. Brickner’s comments concerning his message at Wasilla Bible Church, as well as an interview by Christianity Today with Mr. Brickner about this issue, at www,jewsforjesus.org