Jackie Mason Sues Jews For Jesus For Using His Likeness

Famed Jewish comedian and ordained rabbi Jackie Mason is suing a Christian missionary group for using his likeness and implying he has embraced the Christian deity.

Ezra HaLevi, | updated: 17:38

The Christian evangelical group, Jews for Jesus, which aims to convince Jews that the Christian faith does not conflict with Judaism, distributed a pamphlet featuring Mason’s likeness and the words, “Jackie Mason…A Jew For Jesus!?”

On the other side, it says: “Jackie’s shtick is that there’s a difference between Jews and Gentiles,” and explains why there is, in fact, no difference and Jews can embrace the Christian deity.

The pamphlet is part of J4J’s recent media blitz, targeting New York area Jews in direct mailing and handing out literature on subways and street-corners. The group’s spokeswoman reportedly called on Mason to “have a sense of humor” about the pamphlet.

"I found it disgusting and obnoxious,” Mason said, referring to the pamphlet. “And I find it even more disgusting and obnoxious that the spokesman for that organization says, 'Why doesn't he have a sense of humor about it?' "

Mason’s lawsuit against the group seeks to see the pamphlets destroyed, and the payment of $2 million in damages and $2 million in compensation due to the damage the defamation has caused him.

“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," Mason said in the suit he filed in the New York State Supreme Court. The suit alleges that the group used the comedian’s likeness to advertise a product in violation of the New York State civil rights law.

"First of all there's no such thing as a Jew for Jesus. If you believe in Jesus you're a Christian. That's the point of Christianity,” Mason said. “You can't be a table and also a chair.”

Although according to Jewish law, a Jew remains a Jew regardless of his embrace of foreign faiths, the Jews for Jesus organization is largely funded and staffed by Christian-born missionaries.