Messianic leader Dan Juster turns on CATC Palestinian organisers

In a surprising move as Christ at the Checkpoint gears up to begin, one of the CATC conference’s main speakers Dan Juster has called on Israeli Messianic Jews to write a statement against CATC.

Interestingly, Juster has refused to apologise for publicly endorsing a smear on another blog about Israeli terror victim Kay Wilson, who voiced concerns about CATC’s terror links in public.

Juster endorsed implications that Kay was bitter and hateful, so lost her right to speak, and all her concerns were from a bad place.

So it is interesting to read Juster also has concerns, and is happy to voice these.

Juster essentially attacks the nub of the entire conference, accusing the Palestinian organisers of playing around with victim narratives. After listing some of the very real problems they face, Juster then critiques the honesty of their message, undermining CATC itself. He writes:

[O]ur Palestinian Christian brothers and sisters [..] not speak out on the macrocosmic issues, the powers of Islam that seek to destroy Israel and Christianity or at least establish diminitude for them.  They do not emphasize that there would be no security barrier if there were not suicide bombings and other terror attacks.  So they emphasize suffering under Israel and not under the rule of the Arab Muslims.  Maybe this is so they can address one injustice realm without being killed.  

Juster wants Israeli Messianics to write a statement acknowledging injustices perpetrating by Israel, but one that also suggests that Israel has more human rights than “in any other country.” He writes:

“I think the right kind of statement that does acknowledge the limits of our Israel justice, but also notes that there are more human rights here than in any other country (west of the green line) would be significant.  A quality statement from the Messianic Jews of Israel could have great effect.  But let’s come up with one we can all sign and one that will have a great effect due to its comprehensive quality in acknowledging all the facts on all sides.”

He takes a position on Muslims that appears to us to lump Islamic people all together in an unflattering narrative, writing:

My view is that a statement needs to acknowledge the injustices suffered by the innocent under Israeli rule and the injustices suffered under the rule of the P. A. and Hamas, the corruption, the stealing of foreign aid, and so much more.   If we do not acknowledge the Israeli injustices, however, we will not get a hearing for the bigger issues of Israel’s election and the orientation of the Muslims to destroy Israel.

At RPP we would not even imply – let alone argue outright – that Muslims collectively want to destroy Israel. This smacks of lazy and casual stereotyping that Jews and Christians also have been the victim of, over the centuries. We are aware that every religion has its excesses and extremes, and conferences such as this reflect badly on problems within Christianity rather than within Islam.

Still it is certainly brave of Dan Juster to criticise the government of Rami Hamdallah, whom Juster is about to share a platform with, accusing his government of stealing foreign aid.

In a further bold act, Juster publicly implies that  his fellow speaker Alex Awad is dishonestly ignoring Jewish fears, for political reasons:

One time I was in dialogue with Alex Awad.  He asked in a group meeting, why we Messianic Jews send our youth into the Army to kill them.  I spoke up and said that my daughter served in the Army and we did not send her to kill Palestinian Arabs.  We prayed regularly that she would never have to kill anyone.  However, we are a people who came out of the Holocaust and we believe that there are many who want to bring us to another Holocaust.  He seemed surprised as if he had not thought of this.  He said, “You mean that you are you are afraid of another Holocaust?”  I answered, that I am not so afraid since I believe God has promised our ultimate protection and deliverance, but that the Army is part of preventing a terrible slaughter. (Though do note that some of us hold that 1/3 of the Jewish people in this Land will die-not my view) Was he being honest?  Did he not think of our defense as seeking to defend ourselves from another holocaust; even the extension of our borders as a defense for security.  Only a minority of Orthodox Jews are trying to take the whole Land now in a kind of messianic mission.  The rest of the population took territory for security; to not be subject to what Abba Eban called Auschwitz borders.

It is hard to say whether Juster voiced these concerns because he wants to genuinely challenge the CATC narrative, or because he wants to reassure Israeli Messianic leaders that he shares their concerns.

Presumably, CATC will prevent Juster from being as honest with what he’s really thinking when he they give him a public platform. Or maybe Juster will choose to tone it down a bit, so as not to offend his hosts. Let’s see.

You can’t help but wonder: What is the difference between Juster voicing concerns about CATC (some of which stray into Islamophobia), and a Jewish terror victim who works alongside Muslim victims and activists, doing the same thing?

In the meantime, this is an inconsistent standard for an Israeli Messianic leader to hold up – vocalising his concerns about CATC whilst insulting a terror victim for doing the same thing, by publicly endorsing a smear against her.

Surely Dan Juster must apologise to Kay Wilson, or at least clarify what is going on, otherwise it looks like he’s playing a double game.

24 thoughts on “Messianic leader Dan Juster turns on CATC Palestinian organisers”

  1. The notion of acknowledging so-called Israeli injustices is not something that can be done by anyone who is not fully informed of the circumstances of any given instance. Anyone can admit in the abstract that flaws are likely in any system of administration, including the Israeli defense establishment that is responsible for security at the interface between areas of Palestinian Arab administration and Israeli-controlled areas. But I would be very hesitant to accept any claim about IDF personnel committing an “injustice” against Palestinian Arabs without accurate knowledge of the details such as would be required in a court of law. There has been too much political rhetoric flung about carelessly without regard to facts to allow anyone to respond to such prima-facie claims. For example, it is common to claim that delays at checkpoints constitute injustice; but the actual justice of the situation is that life-protecting security is much more important than the convenience of free passage. Have there been any cases of false arrest? If so, we must also know what evidence led to such an arrest in order to determine if it was justified even if the end result was mistaken. One cannot justify claims that Israeli police or IDF security forces are intent on persecuting innocent victims. Israeli courts do not hesitate to prosecute actual substantive claims of illegal behavior, regardless of who the claimants are. There is no lack of protection for human rights in Israeli-controlled areas. But some humans arrogate to themselves “rights” which are not so humane; and these humans are the ones that security forces aim to suppress.

    Hence I disagree with Dan Juster’s call for Jewish messianists to acknowledge something that they have not seen proven and for which claims are doubtful. Doing so could well be merely an inappropriate concession to a set of outright lies.

  2. Muslims do not believe in YHVH, God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob. They do not believe that God is a Father, or that Jesus is His Son. If God is not a father, then He has no children. Jewish people believe that God is a Father, and that Israel is His first-born son (as a nation); but they do not believe that Yeshua/Jesus is the Messiah, whoever else they may think is. Christians believe that God is their Father, and that they are children of God through their faith in Him through Jesus, His Son, by the Holy Spirit who dwells within each born-again believer in Him.

    The conclusion of this is that there are not three Abrahamic faiths — Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Jewish people in the flesh (natural descendants) can call Abraham their father; natural Arab people through Ishmael and even Esau/Edom can consider Abraham their ancestral father in the flesh; but only those from whatever nation who believe in Yeshua/Jesus/Yasua as Lord and Christ/Messiah, the Son of God, have the same faith as Abraham. Yeshua said that Abraham saw His day, and was glad.

    There is a wrongly placed sympathy towards Islam and Muslims by erroneously accepting Islam as an Abrahamic faith. Their God is not the God of Abraham. They need to repent and believe the gospel, and be set free by the truth, to worship the true living God in spirit and truth. Traditional Judaism does not accept that Jesus/Yeshua is the Messiah. They, too, need to repent and believe the gospel, and come back to the God of their fathers. Nominal Christians do not have living faith; also they need to repent and believe the gospel that their righteousness is from God and not from their religious culture or affiliation.

    1. Thanks Howard for the points you raised! I believe it is possible to highlight theological differences with Islam – as is healthy for any religious people to say clearly what they believe, leaving room for disagreements. At the same time it’s true that what someone believes doesn’t always tell you all you need to know about them, so I would not see Islam = what Muslims believe = Muslims, if that makes sense. We naturally want to dwell on what is good as much as possible, and celebrate where Muslims, Jews and Christians can find common cause and camarederie, especially in ethical teachings. I think Islam is always an interesting topic to talk about, as are all major world religions.

      1. Definitions are important, Dudi. “Love” and “mercy” as defined and demonstrated by the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, and who is also the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, are not defined and demonstrated in that way by the tenets of the Koran and the God of the religion and faith of Islam.

        In this sense, there is no ‘common cause in ethical teachings. Just as those who would replace Israel with the Church, but still use the term Israel, the meaning is not the same, and that is why there are such divisions and heated debate over the issue.

        1. Interesting points, will reflect on them thanks. As a general rule I think at least it’s good to respect other people but not their beliefs which are directly harmful for you, otherwise it’s not worth getting worked up about… my two cents anyhoo.

  3. Before I can take anything that Dan Juster says seriously, I agree he has to publicly apologize for the smear campaign. Though it seems like he’s having a last minute revelation here, so lets give him some time to wake up properly.
    This reminds me a bit of that time when the Neturei Karta leaders attended the Tehran Holocaust Conference in Iran, where Iranians were furiously denying the holocaust, one of the jewish men present commented rather feebly: ‘I lost family in the holocaust…I don’t think its right to deny that it ever happened…’

  4. We should be careful in our discussions of Islam as not being a monotheistic religion. Anyone who has read ibn Sina, Rumi, and Maimonides should not question Islam’s monotheism. We also have to realize that Islam, like Judaism has a judicial system within which there are many different and contradictory interpretations. Not all Muslims are the same. We need to be careful lest we paint them with the same brush that they paint you with. I don’t know how many of you have read the quran, true it has a different and in may ways contradictory narrative then scripture, but so does the NT when compared with the Hebrew of the Tanakh and the interpretations we apply to it. (especially if we consider the history of replacement theology) Many of the verses that call for capital punishment of infidels and the like in the Quran, have their equivalents in Talmudic literature, and the New Testament Luke 19:27. Any biblical, Talmudic, or Quranic literature can and has been improperly used to advocate violence against outsiders. (Timothy McVeigh, Anders Breivik, the rabbi that wrote torat hamelech etc.)We have to resist the urge to paint everyone with one brush using religious texts. Christians made this mistake in regards to Jews for centuries, lets not do the same to all of Islam. Deplore violence, political corruption, etc, but remember that everyone is made in G-d’s image and that those without the law do by nature the things of the law. Everyone has natural reason precisely because we are unique people, who cant be painted with a brush.

    1. Monotheism as presently defined by Rabbinic Judaism, and monotheism as presented and understood in the Koran and Islam, are not the same monotheism as revealed by the one, true, living God. He is YHVH, and is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

      Of course we should respect all persons, especially since Jesus died that He might be the Savior of any and all persons who repent and believe in Him for who He is — again, as described in the whole of the Bible, and brought to light in the New Testament through His death and resurrection, His appearing alive with many infallible proofs after His resurrection, until His ascension to glory until He returns again.

      If believers in the Lord Jesus Christ do not even know the diffference between the one true God with any other, then we are not holding to the faith once delivered to the saints.

    2. I thought the criticism that Howard levied against Islam was that it was not actually Abrahamic, rather than that it was not monotheistic. It seems to me much more significant to consider which god is considered to be the “one”. One might choose “Ba’al” instead of HaShem and be perfectly monotheistic; but one could not claim to be following the G-d of Abraham (or of Isaac or of Jacob). A key distinction between them may be noted in the values they represent; and the origins of the god chosen by Mohammed are found in the ba’al of the crescent moon, whose values were rather different from those of HaShem. Nonetheless, Elijah’s Mount Carmel resolution for Jews of a conflict between such choices some 2500 years ago should have been sufficient to prevent modern Palestinian Arab Christians from associating with Islamic perspectives and values; and such a discussion should really be considered beside the point of the present blog topic about what Dan Juster is requesting of either the Palestinian Christians at CATC or the Israeli MJ community.

  5. Both Judaism and Islam have a conception of the Logos, and spirit. In Judaism, the Logos is the Torah, and in Islam, it is the Quran. Usually we can’t find peace and agreement because we are unwilling to discuss. Also, in Judaism and Islam the Logos is a creation (somewhat similar to Arianism.) We have seen time and again that confession of Jesus does not equal holiness, and if G-d is just, then he will give to each according to his ways. If Jesus is the way, then we have to walk in that way doing the deeds prepared in advance for us to do. I’m in no position to say who is saved or lost, because I’m not G-d. If dialogue only extends to those with whom we agree, then there is no real dialogue at all.

    1. There is a difference between dialogue ‘to understand the other’, and in discussion wanting the other to know that you are persuaded that you know what and Who you believe as being truth for everyone; e.g. Jesus is the only way to the Father. There are many ways to Jesus, but only one way to God the Father.

      No one is talking about whether we relate to Muslims or unsaved Jews, or to any other people, or another religious group. Even within the New Testament faith there are disagreements — some of them allowable; others, because of certain convictions of truths within the Truth that we think need to be held to, or perhaps allowed for, that others may not agree with.

  6. Although regarding the creation of the Logos, active intellect, etc. it depends which rabbis you ask. Saadia Gaon spoke of the Kavod nivra (created glory) to mitigate some implications of kabbalistic speculation. I think Christians fail to take the theological complexities in Judaism and Islam seriously. These religions are not theologically centered, but praxis centered precisely because theology is so dependent on one’s interpretation. Tertullian, Augustine, and Aquinas, all had significantly different ways of articulating the trinity for example, and as we know there were centuries of debate on the issue. I’m not saying that Christian theology is wrong, its just important to realize that disagreement isn’t based on stupor, blindness, or anything of the sort, there is genuine disagreement for genuine reasons. I also think that the strict halachic definition of monotheism is too narrowly defined to reflect scripture, as I have argued in other posts, but I don’t fault anyone for having qualms. This is especially so when books like Ben Sirah tell us “do not inquire into what is beyond your understanding.”

  7. My problem isn’t with Christians asserting the truth of their faith, but in the imputation of evil intention to those who disagree. People disagree because they are unique persons with their own life experiences, cultures, intellectual acumen, etc. When we fail to really grapple with another theology, we cheapen the truth value of our own position. We impute evil intention or spiritual blindness, all while refusing to actually examine other truth claims. If you have the truth, no amount of falsehood can overthrow it. Replacement theology has its roots in this very phenomenon. The view that the Jews were just blind, willful, stupid, and in love with themselves, and that the rabbis were all liars, fully justified in the minds of early Christians, that they didn’t need to study Judaism, even if Jesus was a Jew, no way could he have agreed with the rabbis on anything. We know today that these assertions are false because we have been willing to learn, not because of triumphalism, or surety in our beliefs.

  8. To Proclaim Liberty, I have made precisely the argument that monotheism isn’t the issue, and that it is a matter of content more than monism in other posts. It just seems that we are often not sensitive to the complexities involved in both Judaism, and Islam. Notably that texts dealing with apostasy or capital punishment in Judaism and Islam are not applied in a haphazard way except by zealous fundamentalists. Take the punishments for violating noachide laws as an example. Every transgression merits the death penalty. However, this is not the practical application. All violations merit up to and including the death penalty if a court of 3 to 12 should decide after an investigation on such harsh punishment. We can’t read Jewish or Muslim texts outside of their system of jurisprudence. If we read the texts indiscriminately all 3 traditions could be accused of advocating gross immorality (in terms of death to pagans and apostates, etc.

    1. Although all the holy texts can be used against our own sense of immorality, you are comparing YHVH with other gods, something He does not allow for those who believe in Him and who know Him in the person of Yeshua/Jesus. He came and died for us on the cross.

      By comparing other gods or religious faiths to Him and to the faith which leads to salvation, you fall into moral relativism. There are even those who accuse the God of Israel of being genocidal; there are others who say that the God of the Old Testament is not the same as the God of the New!

      God’s righteousness is holy. Any other order of righteousness which would want to ‘compete’ with His, He calls filthy rags.

  9. you seem to have a protestant understanding of G-d’s standards for righteousness. The point of monotheism is that there is only one G-d. When a person calls on their idols, the only G-d around to hear their prayers is the G-d of Israel. This is why Solomon asked G-d to answer the prayers of the nations who came to the temple, that they may learn to see that G-d is living and works for their benefit, unlike the images they pray to, and not for Israel only. I am not comparing hashem with other G-d’s,because there is only one. You have a reading of scripture which assumes automatically, that G-d has no ability to hear or help those who do not know yeshua. This is a very questionable reading. While G-d says that our righteousness is as filthy rags, he is just and gives every man according to his ways. The exiles from babylon had no blood with which to atone for their sins, and one could say no merit for salvation, and yet G-d in his mercy allowed them to return when they demonstrated repentance. The thief on the cross only had a kind word in defense of Jesus, no baptism, no communion, no theology. He knew Jesus for a very very short time When you treat Jesus’ teaching as saying that those who accept his blood are saved, and those who reject it are not, you are focusing on one of many things which Christians have to know. G-d is interested in justice first, blood second. In Temple times, you could have all the sacrifices you wanted, and it did not mean forgiveness.Isaiah 1:14 your appointed times my soul hates! Like Cain, if you gave a sacrifice that was not from your whole heart and soul, it did nothing for you. There are other Orthodox views of the meaning and purpose of Christ’s passion, which take our deeds into account. That is the orthodox position. Showing compassion to people of another religion is not wrong, in fact, had the disciples not showed polytheists compassion, arguably Christians wouldn’t be here today. The Jewish disciples of Jesus had to learn that the halacha of 613 Mitzvot were not the only way that G-d could save people, its time Christians learned the same. You may have the fullness of understanding, but you don’t have a patent on G-d’s righteousness or Justice.

    1. Even the demons know and believe that there is one God, and tremble. YHVH continually says that He is working in and through history to make His name known. Therefore, it is not a given by many people who the one God is when they speak of one God. Which God are they speaking of? What is His name? Yeshua revealed God’s name as ‘Father’ for those who believe in Him.

      I personally know that God will hear the prayer of an unbeliever, even if that person is not really aware that he is praying to Him. It happened to me, and I thank God for the wife He has given me.

      Our works will demonstrate our righteousness, but they still fall short of the glory of God and His work to glorify His name. Jesus tells us to do good works ‘in His name’ so that our Father in Heaven is glorified. Most of my works are done usually without bringing the name of Jesus into it, which ‘honors’ me more than I give honor to the Lord God. Without His grace, my own righteousness isn’t enough to make me more righteous than the Pharisees. Messiah/Christ is my righteousness; THAT makes my righteousness exceed that of God-fearing religious persons without Him. So I pray that God would help me live in such way as not to dishonor Him, even though my works are not always so good.

  10. This FYI is why Christians are called Idolaters by the rabbis. Its not because we don’t recognize hashem, Its because G-d is viewed by so many as only working through Jesus. The brass serpent was destroyed because people had made a deity out of it, and lifted it above hashem. IE unless you have the brass serpent, G-d cannot heal you. The king destroyed the Brass Serpent (even though it was from G-d through Moses) because it had become an exclusive intermediary, and a being with power in its own right in the eyes of the worshipers. Notice also that one of the cherubim in Ezekiel’s vision has the face of a calf! The text makes clear that the calf was a stand in for Moses, in light of the panic that ensued when he was on the mountain. All of them knew who G-d was, because they were led from Egypt, they saw the miracles, but they couldn’t envision G-d as working without Moses, or their Calf.

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