Former President George W. Bush will be the keynote speaker at a fundraiser being held next week for the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute, or MJBI. The group’s views are considered controversial by some, as its stated goals are “to ‘restore’ Israel and the Jews and bring about the second coming of Christ.”
George W. Bush’s plans to speak in front of the organization are leaving some in the Jewish community unhappy, Tablet Magazine reports. This may be due to the group’s stated purpose of trying to “convert” Jews to their brand of conservative Messianic Judaism. Next week’s fundraiser is, in fact, intended to raise money to support the organization’s proselytizing efforts.
Rabbi David Saperstein says that he’s disappointed about former President George W. Bush’s decision to speak at the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute’s event. The MJBI, he says, not only aims to convert Jews but does not “accept the validity of the Jewish covenant.” George W. Bush has usually been seen as a strong ally to mainstream Judaism in the US and Israel, and his choice to speak at the MJBI event is seen as a betrayal by some.
In their report, Mother Jones says other prominent members of various Jewish communities have denounced the MJBI and Messianic Jews in general. President of the Anti-Defamation League called Senator Rick Santorum’s appearance at a Messianic Jewish organization’s even last year “insensitive and offensive.”
Former Fox News pundit Glenn Beck spoke at an event held to raise money for the MJBI. He was awarded the “Defender of Israel” award during the fundraiser. Beck, Mother Jones points out, has been decried by hundreds of Jewish leaders for making anti-Semetic remarks.
Those who wish to attend next week’s fundraiser for the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute in Irving, Texas have a few options. Tickets range from $100 to $100,000, with the higher end packages offering a chance for 20 attendees to be given a VIP reception and photo op with former President George W. Bush.