Maddow: Jewish leaders 'infuriated' by Bush speech at 'Jews for Jesus' fundraiser

On Monday night's edition of her show, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow addressed the fallout of former President George W. Bush's decision to speak at a fundraiser at the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute, the headquarters for the apocalyptic Christian sect Jews for Jesus. Jewish leaders in particular were disappointed in Bush, one calling the appearance "infuriating."

Jews for Jesus is an evangelical Christian splinter group, a small but well-funded cabal of believers whose faith decrees that all Jews must be converted to Christianity and repatriated to Israel in order to hasten the Rapture and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Bush will address the group's annual fundraising gala on Thursday of this week, although the group has now scrubbed all mention of that fact from its promotional materials. Attendees are paying up to $100,000 a plate to receive the former president's wisdom, funds that the group will use to forward its aim of hastening the apocalypse.

"The de facto job of being an ex-president," Maddow said, "generally speaking, is to do relatively non-controversial good works. Or, if you're George W. Bush, you could spend that time trying to convert the Jews to Christianity so we can have the Second Coming of Christ on Earth and therefore the apocalypse."

Rabbi David Wolpe of the Sinai Temple in Los Angeles wrote about Bush's appearance at the banquet on Twitter, saying, "This is infuriating."

The Anti-Defamation League was softer on the former president, merely saying in a statement, "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."

The Dallas Morning News quoted an anonymous person "close to" the ex-president, who was indignant that Bush can speak to any number of groups, "but not this one?"

"Well, yeah," Maddow responded. "This is the one that's raising money to convince the Jews that Jesus is the Messiah in order to bring about the Second Coming and the Rapture. So, yeah, maybe this is the one that's weirding people out."

"Why on earth would he be doing this?" she asked. "Who told them this was a good idea? And shouldn't maybe one of the other former presidents give him a call and help him out of this one?"

Watch the video, which aired Monday, Nov. 11, embedded below via MSNBC: