A statement by an evangelical Christian group, which defends having Christians who grew up as Jews target Jews for conversion by, was labeled “offensive and insulting” by the New York-based Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The organization slammed a full-page ad in the March 28 edition of The New York Times in a statement that charged it “validates and defends those who converted from Judaism to Christianity for using their religious and cultural Jewish experience as tools to proselytize Jews, such as Jews for Jesus and so-called “Messianic Jews.” ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman said in a statement, “The World Evangelical Alliance statement defending the targeting of Jews for conversion is offensive and insulting to the Jewish people and brazenly dismisses Jewish self-definition….”
The statement, signed by 44 Christian academics, clergy and journalists, states that “we recognize that it is good and right for those [Jews who converted to Christianity] with specialized knowledge, history and skills to use these gifts to introduce individuals to the Messiah, and that includes those ministries specifically directed to the Jewish people.” The WEA is a worldwide organization, comprised of a network of churches in 128 countries and over 100 international organizations which, as the group says, joins together "to give a worldwide identity, voice and platform to more than 420 million evangelical Christians."
Christian missionaries have been intensifying their efforts in Israel recently, particularly in the south of the country. So-called "Messianic Jewish" congregations are the vehicle of choice for missionaries in their efforts to convert Jews. The Yad L'Achim anti-missionary organization has been equally effective in combatting these activities, an effort which recently frustrated a well-known aggressive missionary in Arad, Ed Beckford, to the point that he beat up one of the Yad L'Achim volunteers, who required stitches. Beckford, a gentile married to a woman who was born a Jew but converted to Christianity early in life, is currently detained on house arrest.