NEW YORK (Jan. 6)
A legal battle may be brewing between a messianic group and an anti-missionary activist over the use of a Web site address.
The site — www.jewsforjesus.org — is not a site maintained by Jews for Jesus; rather, it is aimed at stopping the missionary group.
The nearly 4-week-old site was created by Steven Brodsky, a litigation lawyer and Web developer from West Orange, N.J., who wanted to help people who have “lost their way” or have questions about Judaism.
The site asks people to “come home to the truth and beauty of Judaism,” and challenges them to find out how “Jews for Jesus is founded upon deceit and distortion of facts.”
Brodsky’s site is linked to the Web site of the anti-missionary organization Outreach Judaism.
And that has Jews for Jesus, which has its own Web site — www.jews-for- jesus.org — up in arms.
A lawyer for the messianic organization e-mailed Brodsky and warned him that if he did not stop using the domain name or Web address, then the group would take legal action for trademark infringement.
Brodsky is using a “blatantly fraudulent and deceitful practice of luring people to a Web site that is called Jews for Jesus when they are just the opposite, Jews against Jesus,” the executive director of Jews for Jesus, David Brickner, said in a news release.
“If Brodsky does not drop his misleading use of our name, we are ready to use all legal remedies available to us,” Brickner added.
Brodsky said he is not violating any trademark and has no intention of backing down.
“I am not infringing on their rights in any way,” he said in a telephone interview. “They have not trademarked the domain name, which is [an] entirely separate area of the law.”
As for the charge that he is being deceitful, Brodsky said, “I make it very clear that it is not Jews for Jesus.
“The issue here is not trademark infringement, it’s the truth,” he said, adding, “That’s why Jews for Jesus is attacking me, they’re afraid of the truth.”
For its part, Outreach Judaism says the whole controversy has nothing to do with them.
But the organization’s executive director, Rabbi Tovia Singer, said this incident “tells us a lot about the pain and hurt that Jewish people feel by distorted views” preached by groups like Jews for Jesus.
We “need people like Brodsky so Jews can make an informed decision” about their faith and “not a blind one,” Singer added.