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November 07, 2013 3:23 PM George W. Bush and the Jews-For-Jesus

By Ed Kilgore

So didja think George W. Bush was gracefully drifting into a nonpartisan and noncontroversial retirement? Here we see how he’s spending some of his time and political capital these days, via the ever-intrepid Sarah Posner writing at MoJo:

Next week, former President George W. Bush is scheduled to keynote a fundraiser in Irving, Texas, for the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute, a group that trains people in the United States, Israel, and around the world to convince Jews to accept Jesus as the Messiah. The organization’s goal: to “restore” Israel and the Jews and bring about about the second coming of Christ.

Is W. not aware of what he’s endorsing? Hard to imagine, given the organization’s recent notoriety and the trouble he’s going to on its behalf:

At the November 14 event, which will be held at the Irving Convention Center, Bush will discuss his White House experiences, according to promotional materials. Bush, the group says, will “share his passion for setting people free.” Last year, Glenn Beck was the star of the group’s fundraiser, which was held at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
This year’s event is designed to bring in funds for the group’s proselytizing operations. And the former president is helping out with more than just speech-making. The most expensive of the ticket packages, which range from $100 to $100,000, includes 20 invitations to a VIP reception and photo opportunity with Bush, 10 signed copies of Bush’s book Decision Points, and passes to tour the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum.

I can’t wait to see if the W.-blessed event will match last year’s Beck-a-ganza:

At last year’s event, members of the MJBI’s board of directors explained the organization’s mission of converting Jews to an audience of hundreds who were seated on a professional football field, wearing formal clothes, and eating pork barbecue. Rabbi Jonathan Bernis, a leading Messianic Jew and televangelist who chairs MJBI’s board of directors, maintained that “our numbers are growing and growing,” because “the Bible predicted that the day would come when the blindness would come off the eyes of the people it all began with.” He was referring to Jews. The Bible, Bernis continued, “tells us that the day will come when all of Israel will be saved.” The MJBI, Bernis said, “is one of the ministries that God has raised up to bring that to pass.” Other featured speakers last year included David Barton, the religious right’s discredited “historian.”

Sounds like quite the apocalyptic clambake (or should I say, pig picking). Maybe this is all some sort of scheduling snafu, but it sure appears W. is going back to the hard-core well of support from those who thought the invasion of Iraq was a divinely blessed first-step towards Armageddon.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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