One day after CATC2012, pro-Israel church deemed “no longer legitimate” by PA

Christ at the Checkpoint 2012 ended 9th March 2011. The conference programmer was Stephen Sizer, who wishes to use police resources to silence critics of his views.

It invited the Palestinian Authority prime minister Salim Fayyad, and the PFLP-supporting mayor of Bethlehem Victor Batarseh. Batarseh was blacklisted by the USA for funding the PFLP. Camera notes:

The PFLP, one of the largest factions in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) after Fatah, staged 122 attacks, murdering 18 Israelis, in 1991 alone. In 2006, the PFLP criticized Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for condemning a terrorist attack in Tel Aviv, claimed responsibility for attacking Israeli border guards after a failed attempt to kidnap a soldier, and reportedly joined with Palestinian Islamic Jihad in terrorist attempts.

Only last month, Batarseh attended a PFLP-led commemoration of the life of its founder George Habash, whom Time Magazine has called “Terrorism’s Christian Godfather.”

We previously noted how CATC 2010 welcomed Bethlehem governor Abdul Fattah Hamayel, a former Fatah member who recently put a man on trial for criticising PA medical services. We wondered why Christ at the Checkpoint was associating itself with these authoritarian, pro-violence figures.

This week we have discovered some appalling news from the Palestinian Authority which is overseen by the likes of Fayyad, Batarseh and Hamayel. Algeimer now reports:

A week after Prime Minister Salam Fayyad told an audience of Evangelical Protestants from across the world that his government respected the rights of its Christian minorities, officials from the Palestinian Authority have informed Bethlehem pastor Rev. Naim Khoury that his church lacked the authority to function as a religious institution under the PA.

The church can still gather to pray, for now, but the PA’s decision conveyed on Saturday will have a real impact on the members of First Baptist, which endured numerous bomb attacks during the First Intifada.

“They said that our legitimacy as a church from a governmental point of view is not approved,” said Khoury’s son, Steven, who serves as an assistant pastor at First Baptist. “They said they will not recognize any legal paper work from our church. That includes birth certificates, wedding certificates and death certificates. Children are not even considered to be legitimate if they don’t have recognized paperwork.”

The irony, Steven said, is that the PA’s announcement comes right after the Christ at the Checkpoint Conference. This conference, which took place from March 5 through March 9, 2012 was a gathering of approximately 600 Evangelical Protestants from across the globe (mostly from the United States) to discuss the theology of Christian Zionism, which some Evangelicals believe increases the prospect of violence in the Middle East and gives support to Israeli policies that they do not like.

During the opening night of the conference, Palestinian Prime Minister Fayyad told the assembly that his government respected the rights of Christians. Palestinians celebrate religious holidays together, PA officials attend Christmas celebrations and even attend Midnight Mass for Christmas, Fayyad said.

Russ Resnik writes:

After a further conversation with Pastor Steven Khoury, I realize that the church was told that the Palestinian Authority no longer considers them legitimate and will no longer accept any paper work from them, such as baptismal or wedding certificates.

Our question is this: why does the PA no longer consider Khoury’s church to be legitimate?

Thanks Rabbi Kravitz – Don’t be fooled by David Herzog!

Jewish for Judaism’s Rabbi Kravitz has at least got it right for once in highlighting the unethical tactics of tele-evangelist and fake healer David Herzog.

David Herzog will feature next month on Jonathan Bernis’ Jewish Voice Ministries show. They present him as a Messianic Jew.

Herzog is also featured on Sid Roth’s circus It’s Supernatural show:

His so-called miracles include things such as instant weight loss and teeth fillings turning gold. Sid Roth is a sham and a shame to the Messianic Movement. David Herzog is a shame to the world of Christian mission. Such methodology as used by Herzog is immoral deception, Rabbi Kravitz is right and we welcome his exposing of this charlatan.

Evangelical missionary David Herzog stooped to a new low deceiving the Jewish community with ads which intentionally avoided any mention of their Christian evangelical agenda.

The half-page ads ran for several weeks in the Los Angeles Jewish Journal. They promoted a Beverly Hills event offering “supernatural healings” based on what the ad termed Jewish mysticism.

The ads were devoid of any phone number or website that would have facilitated an easy investigation into the true nature of the program.

It turns out Herzog’s duplicity was intentional. He writes on the “In Jesus” website that “due to the highly sensitive nature of these 100% evangelistic meetings dubbed as lectures to the Jewish community we cannot give out the location or details.”

A number of Jewish students attended the recent event, only to discover they had been duped by the Herzog ads.

As the founder and director of Jews for Judaism, I know this is not the first time a community newspaper has been the target of such duplicity. A number of years ago we alerted the community that ads for the missionary movie “The Rabbi” were surreptitiously placed in dozens of Jewish newspapers across North American.

Once the Jewish Journal realized Herzog’s true intentions, it refused to accept any more of his ads.

Herzog has appeared on many of the growing number of messianic television shows. He is part of a long line of Christian faith healers running revival meetings. However, in his case, Herzog has a Jewish name and he gloats at his success at conducting major “Jewish Outreach” on the East Coast, West Coast and Israel.

“Even the Jewish newspapers are begging us to put our ads in their next Health Issue,” he wrote online.

In a pitch to solicit donations, Herzog claims his historic outreach meetings will be, “packed with unsaved Jewish people wide open to the gospel presented with healings and miracles.”

Speaking of past meetings Herzog claims, “miracles broke out, many were healed, and American and Israeli Jews received salvation after God powerfully healed them.”

Although missionaries are less visible on street corners, the Herzog episode demonstrates that attempts to convert Jews have not diminished.  They have simply implemented new tactics and taken advantage of the Internet to reach unsuspecting students and young adults often within the comfort of their homes and dormitory rooms.

As a community we must remain vigilant and increase our positive educational and spiritual promotion of Judaism. Additionally, missionary claims must be continuously refuted and individuals must be taught to think critically to avoid being fooled and taken advantage of.

Jews for Judaism is already planning a campaign to prepare the community for a Chosen People Ministries crusade scheduled to target the Los Angeles Jewish community in 2012.  This time we have enough notice to plan in advance, and it is imperative that the entire community rally together and join us in presenting a strong front.

Rabbi Bentzion Kravitz is the founder and director of Jews for Judaism. source 

Evangelical Christian Speaks at Chabad of Weston

Here’s a cool story.

The Telegraph reported in 2008:

Mosab Hassan Yousef, 30, said that his decision to abandon his Muslim faith and denounce his father’s organisation had exposed his family to persecution in his home town of Ramallah and endangered his own life.

But despite the cost, Mr Yousef told The Daily Telegraph that he is convinced that speaking out about the problems of Islam and the “evil” he witnessed back home would help to address the “messed-up situation” in the Middle East and one day bring about peace and enable him to return.

[...]

Mr Yousef was raised as a Muslim by his politically powerful family. His father, Hassan Yousef, a highly respected sheikh born in the West Bank town of al-Ghaniya near Ramallah, is a founding member of Hamas, whose military wing has instigated dozens of suicide bombings and other attacks against Israel since it was formed in 1987.

[...]

He said that after he converted to Christianity, he decided he had to escape and “live my life away from violence because I couldn’t coexist with that situation as a Christian.”

Crown Heights now reports:

Mosab Hassan Yousef, the oldest son of Sheikh Hassan Yousef, a founder and leader of the terrorist organization Hamas, was a key member of the movement. Yet he gave up position, power and the love of his parents to spy for the Shin Bet, Israel’s intelligence service.Yousef provided information that foiled suicide bombings and led to the deaths of Hamas leaders and the imprisonment of many members of the organization.

Mosab Hassan Yousef recounted his transformation and his experiences working with the Shin Bet in the book “Son of Hamas.”

During his visit to South Florida, the 33-year-old Yousef spoke last Wednesday to more than 500 people during an appearance in Weston sponsored by the Chabad of Weston and the Daniel Cantor Wultz Foundation. On Thursday, he addressed two Chabad of Downtown audiences in Miami.

Yousef, who was born in Ramallah in the West Bank, said Israeli soldiers severely beat him when he was 17-years-old. Soon afterward he was contacted by the Shin Bet to spy for Israel and imprisoned for 16 months to “not arouse suspicion.”

He said during his time in prison he saw Palestinians torturing other Palestinians. Hamas wanted to know who gave information to the Israelis, Yousef said. Hundreds were tortured and 16 were killed. Not one had a relationship with Israel, he said.

Yousef said he asked himself, “What is the difference between Israeli soldiers and the Hamas military wing?” He said, “For the first time I started to question the reality of the movement my father established.”

Yousef said he eventually came to see that Israel was not the enemy. “We are the enemies of ourselves,” he said. “Our leaders sent us to death for their own reasons and they still do. They care about their bank accounts and their positions. They lie to you on a daily basis for their selfish gain.”

During a visit to a Christian Bible study class, Yousef heard the teachings of Jesus to “love your enemy.” He said, “At that point, everything started to change in my life. The love that I have toward the Jewish nation is real because of the love of Jesus Christ.”

During a question and answer session following his talk in Weston, Yousef said, “There should have been a Palestinian state 50 years ago if the Palestinians wanted a state.” Instead, he said, “they wanted to destroy Israel.”

The establishment of a Palestinian state now will “destroy the dreams of the Palestinian people. They think they will be free. A Palestinian state will bring war to the region and the Palestinians will be the first to pay that price.”

Yousef was asked about the likelihood that Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who is being held captive by Hamas, will be freed in exchange for Palestinian terrorists in Israeli prisons.

“Israel has no choice but to give back the Palestinians,” Yousef said. But Hamas has a long list of extremely dangerous terrorists. He said he hopes that Israel will receive “solid information” so that Shalit can be rescued.

Yousef, who received political asylum and lives in the U.S., said he is working on a “Son of Hamas” movie and an expose about Mohammed.

Howard Steinlauf of Weston said Yousef’s talk “opened up my eyes. I wish the president of the United States had been here tonight to hear this.”

Tuly Wultz, whose 16-year-old son Daniel died from injuries he received in a suicide bombing while father and son were eating at a Tel Aviv café five years ago, had been skeptical about Yousef and his motives for writing the book.

“I definitely learned much more about him,” Wultz said. “He was really sincere. You could see that he was kind of distraught about Daniel.”

Yousef had a great message, Wultz said. “I wish some other people in the world would wake up like him and we would be in a better place.”

Yousef’s message is “very, very powerful,” Rabbi Yisroel B. Spalter, director of the Chabad of Weston, said. He has a remarkable story and “a lesson for everyone to get out of your comfort zone and speak truth, no matter what it takes.”

Shmuely Boteach on Proselytising

Shmuely Boteach has a piece in the Jewish Journal of Greater LA entitled “An Evangelical Attempts to Proselytize Anthony Weiner“.

So what happened in this proselytising episode?

The piece begins:

Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, tweeted a message to Congressman Anthony Weiner saying, “Dear Congressman Weiner: There is no effective ‘treatment’ for sin. Only atonement, found only in Jesus Christ.”

Oh, how terrible!

All Mohler did was to tweet his opinion on atonement, and that’s proselytising.

Shmuely then goes on to write a 700-word article on the nature of Jewish redemption!

So Mohler is proselytising but Shmuely isn’t?

It is tremendous chutzpah from Shmuely, although not as cheeky as his suggestion that the Catholic Church could avoid paedophilia scandals if the Pope kept Shabbat.

Shmuely, I take my hat off to you!

Ayn Rand and Jesus

Following on from Gev’s post on Adam Curtis’ documentary about the machine-world we all live in which has brought Ayn Rand’s ideas to life, here is a presentation of Ayn Rand’s views on religion:

Some liberal Jews might imagine that in the USA, the Republican Right = Christianity.

But actually, many leading Republican thinkers and voters have backed Ayn Rand’s views. So it can’t be that simple. I came across this article via a liberal Jewish thinker, who remarked he felt more in-tune with Christian socialism than with Rand’s Objectivism.

There are some great reads today about Ayn Rand and Jesus – see the American Spectator for a great read on Marx, Rand and religion. The Atlantic asks searching questions too, and the New Republic asks whether Rand is a political liability for the Republicans.

Ilyas Kashmiri is Dead

Ilyas Kashmiri

Arutz7 reports:

After eliminating Osama bin Laden, the United States scored another major victory in the war on global jihad Friday with the targeting killing of Muhommad Ilyas Kashmiri.

Kashmiri, one of al-Qaida’s most active leaders and billed as a possible succesor to Bin Laden, was killed in a U.S. drone attack in Pakistan’s South Waziristan tribal region according to locals, officials and a spokesman of the dreaded “313 Brigade.'”

[...]

A former officer of Pakistan military’s special services group (SSG), Ilyas Kashmiri is believed to have carried out several terrorist attacks in India and Pakistan, including the one on Pakistan’s naval air station (PNS) Mehran in Karachi on May 22. His ‘313 Brigade’ is suspected of perpetrating several high-profile operations, including the terrorist attack on Mumbai in 2008, in which 166 people were killed. Among the vicitms were Rabbi Gavriel Holzberg and his wife Rivka at the Mumbai Chabad house.

I am very glad about this, as I know many of our readers will be.

O LORD, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked exult?


Aish Pulls Advert Using Chabad Imagery

Shmais reported:

A new ad campaign on Facebook by Aish.com, a division of Aish HaTorah, is featuring a photo of the Rebbe.

On the side of the photo the following text appears, “Click ‘LIKE’ if you LOVE Chabad and PROUD to be Jewish!”

The ad campaign has some asking, is Kiruv down @ Aish? Or perhaps they are just looking for more “likes” after all Chabad.org has nearly 7000 more likes than Aish.

One Shliach who spoke to SHMAIS.com on the subject said “The fact they are using the Rebbe’s picture just goes to show you that no matter what they may say privately, they realize that it is the Rebbe and Chabad who represent Torah true Judaism!”

Moshiach's Tzeiten? - Aish advertising the Rebbe!

Shmais now reports:

SHMAIS.com has learned, that following the article on this website regarding the Aish.com advertising campaign on Facebook with a picture of the Rebbe, Aish HaTorah has now pulled all those ads off Facebook.

The new ad has an image of the word “Shema” and alongside that text that reads “Aish is the lifeline for 100s of 1000s on the essentials of Judaism. “Like” our page today to learn more!”

Aish backs down, removes ads

Chabad site COL Live was not impressed:

Aish Hatorah, an outreach organization which frequently smears Chabad, used a photo of the Rebbe to attract Facebook users.
Lubavitchers on Facebook were happy to discover last week a photo of the Lubavitcher Rebbe smiling at them from the right side advertisement bar, asking if they are fans of Chabad they should click ‘Like.’

Only, the page being advertised was Aish Hatorah, a Yeshiva and outreach organizion in Israel, known for spewing hate for chasidus and Chabad, on and off the record.

“Click ‘Like’ if you LOVE Chabad and PROUD to be Jewish,” the ad reads.

Chabad.Org, Chabad’s central content website, has 19,463 ‘Likes’ on their Facebook page, while Aish Hatorah has 13,164.

Chabad officials are not commenting on this story, but privately some thought it was ironic that “when push comes to shove, they know who to mention to gain a following.”

Aish apologises:

“The ad was a mistake that was done by a consultant that was hired by aish. As soon as it came to our attention it immediately was stopped. 

“We already issued an apology to the Executive Board of Chabad.org. There never was any intent on the part of Aish to use the name Chabad or the Rebbe’s likeness to fool Facebook users.”

Still, this is a watershed moment for Orthodox Jewish outreach.

The Rebbe is now the masthead of the kiruv movement, and the once-deceased messianic figure that draws Jews to God.