Comic sues Jesus group
by: Leslie Bunder - Last updated: 2006-08-26
Veteran New York Jewish comic Jackie Mason has taken Jews for Jesus to court over the use of his image and name in a leaflet aimed at converting Jews.
The Christian messianic group has been distributing the leaflet which says "Jackie Mason - A Jew for Jesus?!" and has also published it via its website for downloading.
Mason himself is a former rabbi and his father and grandfather were also rabbis, while his brothers are also rabbis.
"While I have the utmost respect for people who practice the Christian faith the fact is, as everyone knows, I am as Jewish as a matzo ball or kosher salami," the 75-year-old comedian said in documents filed in court in Manhattan.
"The pamphlet uses my name, my likeness, my shtick (if you will), and my very act, which is derived from my personality, to attract attention and converts," he further added in court documents," he added.
Jews for Jesus was established in the early 1970s and believes that Jesus is the messiah for Jews. In a press release, it has attempted to defend its approach of featuring Jackie Mason in its leaflet.
"Mason, in his lawsuit, says that the pamphlet gives the impression that he is a proponent of Jews for Jesus. Jews for Jesus denies this. The pamphlet is satirical in style and intended to point out that even someone as Jewish as Jackie Mason can come to faith in Jesus," the group says.