Bush Criticized for Speaking at Messianic Jewish Event

Former President George W. Bush is facing criticism for a keynote appearance he's making Thursday night in Irving at a fundraiser for a Christian evangelical group that seeks to convert Jews.

Bush is scheduled to speak at an event with the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute, a Texas-based group that says Jews can worship Jesus and still be Jewish.

Some are disappointed by the president's decision. He's facing criticism from his pro-Israel friends, rabbis and the Anti-Defamation League, which calls the evangelical group's message false and offensive.

In a statement, ADL National Director Abraham Foxman said:

"We were disappointed to learn that former President George W. Bush has decided to move ahead with his plan to speak at a fundraising event for an evangelical proselytizing group whose stated goal is to convert Jews to Christianity.

President Bush is a friend who has an abiding love and respect for Israel and the Jewish people.  I know that he does not represent or embrace the purpose or the mission of this group, and therefore I wish he would not speak there."

Bush was a strong supporter of Israel during his presidency.

Since the controversy over his planned speech surfaced, the MJBI has taken all references to Bush's appearance off of its website. A spokesperson for the former president says he still plans to be at the fundraiser, and Bush's staff has said the family is very open and respectful of faiths of all kinds.

Tickets for the event range from $100 to $100,000. There is no word on whether Bush is getting a fee for what's become a controversial appearance.

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