UPDATE: Robertson Cancels
Moshe has received notification from Rebecca Sugar, Director of Birthright Israel NEXT, NY, that
"Unfortunately, Mr. Robertson had to cancel the event for this week." (received November 16th 2009)
Three weeks ago Jewish Israel member Moshe Verschleisser informed us that Gordon Robertson (Pat’s boy and CEO of CBN) was scheduled to speak at Birthright's educational program, Reunion, in New York on November 18th. The topic is a loaded one: "Are Christian Zionists More Fervent Zionists Than American Jews?"
But what Taglit folks are most upset about is Gordon’s record on the missionary front. Like his father, Gordon Robertson is a “believer” in deception. He’ll tell you, "You don't have to change your culture, you can still observe the Torah, you can still be Jewish and still believe that Jesus is the messiah."
The Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) straddles the line between seemingly pro-Israel programming, and the type of reporting which exposes their overt missionary agenda . CBN is particularly fond of leveling accusations of church persecution against “Ultra-Orthodox”and “Orthodox” Jews in Israel.
But all fingers should not be pointing at the Robertson clan, as Birthright hasn’t exactly been walking a consistent and straight line on the “messianic” front (too much pub time in Tel Aviv?). Sober-up, Birthright, and watch where you're going…
A year ago, headlines reported that Birthright was screening out Messianic Jews. Back then Taglit-Birthright’s CEO, Gidi Mark was on the mark when he stated,
"There is unanimity in Jewish life that individuals who may be from Jewish lineage or family life and who choose the Messianic path (and in so doing accept the Christian belief in Jesus) have chosen a path that separates them from the accepted parameters of Jewishness in contemporary Jewish society.”
Back then, our favorite Evangelical Messianic Pastor Attorney, Calev Myers, called that stance "blatant, ridiculous discrimination and a shame…” (so, Birthright was doing something right)
But a mere 12 months later, by inviting Robertson, Birthright seems to have taken a blind leap of faith over the Jewish-Christian divide, and one giant step backwards for Jewish principles. Rebecca Sugar, the New York director of Birthright Israel NEXT NY alumni programming reportedly said,
"We're not asking him to come and talk about Christianity or Jews trying to get Jews to believe in Christianity. It's not the topic… If [Bible prophecy is] the end game for them and we have a different end game, then when the end comes, one of us will be right and one of us will be wrong… If [Robertson] is writing checks to Israel and he's helping Jews move there, you have to decide for yourself whether that's good or bad." (sound familiar?)
Getting back to the topic at hand, "Are Christian Zionists More Fervent Zionists Than American Jews?"
Three months ago Mike Huckabee said something incredibly similar in a CBN interview:
“One of the things I find most interesting is, generally, evangelicals are so much more supportive of Israel than the American Jewish community.”
That may or may not be true, but why is it that the evangelicals love to say this? And why is it that the Jewish national camp embraces that possibility, and writes off the larger part of their own people? This attitude exacerbates a rift within the Jewish community. It’s neither productive, nor healing. To sow disunity among Jews is simply a recipe for destruction. And this is what Birthright should be addressing.
The last vestige of Jewish unity - which ties the full spectrum of Jews together - is a non-belief in jesus. This is hardly a joke, as idolatry is (G-d forbid) a guaranteed recipe for devastation and exile.
Jewish Israel doesn’t believe the aversion that the bulk of American Jewry has to Christian fundamentalism is strictly due to liberal politics and culture (although that certainly plays a major role).
We think it may be indicative of a very healthy sign, as it reflects an inborn instinct for the Jew to ensure his or her spiritual continuity by drawing the line between faith communities.
At the time of this writing, Gordon Robertson’s name is off of the Birthright New York Region homepage and no longer on the calendar. Has the event been canceled, or is Birthright keeping a low profile?
Jewish Israel will keep you posted.
(See update in the first paragraph of this post. Robertson has cancelled)
See part two of this report : Whose Birthright Is It? (Part 2:Targeting Youth)