George W. Bush Embraces Jews for Jesus

No Surprise at Evangelical Gala — Just Enduring Outrage

W’s Big Mistake: George W. Bush has agreed to speak at a $100,000-a-plate fundraising event for an evangelical Christian group which aims to convert Jews. What’s wrong with that? How about everything.
getty images
W’s Big Mistake: George W. Bush has agreed to speak at a $100,000-a-plate fundraising event for an evangelical Christian group which aims to convert Jews. What’s wrong with that? How about everything.

By Jay Michaelson

Published November 08, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Multi Page

Who’s surprised that former President George W. Bush is speaking at the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute benefit? Not anyone who understands Christian Zionism, ‘Jews for Jesus,’ and the many links between them.

Christian Zionists are now the leading supporters of Israel’s settler fringe. They are showering the Israeli Right with money, tourists, and political lobbying. Why? Because they believe that the end is nigh, and in order for the apocalypse to unfold on schedule, the Jews need to be in the Land of Israel. All of it.

And, of course, if Jews living in Biblical Israel provoke war with Palestinians, Arabs, and much of the Western world – so be it. After all, this is the apocalypse we’re talking about. To make a rapture omelet, you’ve got to break some human eggs.

Well, many on the Jewish Right have asked, who cares? We don’t think the rapture is imminent, so it doesn’t matter what Christians United For Israel (CUFI), and a host of similar organizations, believe. We need the money, and as far as the prophecy of our imminent conversion and/or destruction… well, we’ll just wait and see about that.

Unfortunately, Christian Zionism is not the only method for bringing Christ back by way of the Jews. In fact, Christian Zionists overlap substantially with the heavily-funded efforts to convert Jews to Christianity – or, at least, to Messianic Judaism, which is basically Christianity with a Jewish shmeer.

To be clear, Messianic Judaism is a sham. Yes, there are some people who believe themselves to be Jewish believers in Jesus – sorry, Yeshua – and who wear kippas around the Christmas Tree. But this small group of eccentric believers is propped up by millions of religious-philanthropic dollars. They are a front. Uncle Baums.

Most of the people supporting the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute, for example, are evangelical Christians who have a religious obligation to evangelize to the Jews. Indeed, MJBI is the Hogwarts of this form of Christianity, an academy that trains thousands of people to go out and convert Jews.

And as we have seen many times over the last several years, the Venn diagram containing the Christian Right, Conservative Republicans, Christian Zionists, and Convert-the-Jews Evangelists is filled with overlaps. Glenn Beck leads a CUFI mission to Israel, then comes back and gets an award from MJBI. Rick Santorum runs a Christian Right campaign for president, then gets an award from MJBI.

And now Bush 43. Surely there was never any doubt that the born-again Bush was, himself, a member of the so-called Christian Right. His policies, his belief that he was Divinely ordained to be President (God apparently works through the Supreme Court, too), his emphasis on “faith-based” organizations domestically and internationally – all of these, save perhaps his highly un-Christian espousal of supply side economics, are part and parcel of his sincere, deeply-held evangelical Christian beliefs.

In the pages of Commentary and The Weekly Standard, the significance of Bush’s faith was consistently downplayed. Never mind the billions of dollars that Bush’s administration diverted to Christian organizations – ironically, some of the largest beneficiaries of foreign aid, so loathed by some Republicans, are Christian missionary organizations working in Africa. Never mind the nightmarish consequences of relying on personal faith (in Jesus or Vladimir Putin) rather than reasoned analysis. Don’t worry, Jewish Republicans said, Bush is good for the Jews.

Well, now the ex-emperor has no clothes. Unless you think that helping Jews find Jesus is “good for the Jews,” this latest act of Bush’s evangelical faith – entirely consistent with previous ones – should set that myth to rest. Evangelicals like Bush sincerely love the Jews, but they love us in a very particular way: because, by ceasing to become Jews, we play an instrumental role in the Christian apocalyptic narrative.

Appearances like Bush’s should also make clear that the Christian supporters of the Israeli Far Right, the people writing checks to build more settlements in contested territory, do not really have Jewish, or Israeli, interests at heart. These are people with their own agenda, and it involves either the Jews’ conversion, or our destruction.

Indeed, given the demographic catastrophe the settlements are rapidly bringing about in Greater Israel, that may just come about.

“The Bible predicted that the day would come when the blindness would come off the eyes of the people it all began with,” said ‘Rabbi’ Jonathan Berris, a Messianic Jew, at last year’s MJBI conference. Berris’s prophecy refers to all Jews, of course. But I wonder if it might now apply to some Jewish Republicans.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • British Jews are having their 'Open Hillel' moment. Do you think Israel advocacy on campus runs the risk of excluding some Jewish students?
  • "What I didn’t realize before my trip was that I would leave Uganda with a powerful mandate on my shoulders — almost as if I had personally left Egypt."
  • Is it better to have a young, fresh rabbi, or a rabbi who stays with the same congregation for a long time? What do you think?
  • Why does the leader of Israel's social protest movement now work in a beauty parlor instead of the Knesset?
  • What's it like to be Chagall's granddaughter?
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.