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Comedian Jackie Mason on Monday dropped a lawsuit in which he claimed the missionary group Jews for Jesus damaged him when it used his name and likeness in a pamphlet.
Mason appeared in federal court in Manhattan, where he accepted an apology from the group in return for dropping the lawsuit. Outside the court, Mason did a little spontaneous standup with reporters, but there was a serious tone to his wit.
"There's no such thing as a Jew for Jesus. It's like saying a black man is for the KKK," the 75-year-old Mason said. "You can't be a table and a chair. You're either a Jew or a gentile."
Jews for Jesus, founded in the 1970s, practices Judaism but regards Jesus as the Messiah.
The pamphlets featured an image of Mason next to the words "Jackie Mason ... A Jew for Jesus!?" with information inside that outlines the similarities between Jews and Christians. They were handed out around New York City. Mason's $2 million lawsuit sought the pamphlets' immediate destruction.
The group's executive director, David Brickner, said in a letter to Mason dated Monday that he wanted "to convey my sincere apologies for any distress that you felt over our tract."
He said the tract featuring Mason was one of hundreds of pamphlets the group regularly writes and distributes.
Brickner said he believed its publication was protected by the Constitution, but the group was willing in the interest of peace and love for Israel to retire the pamphlet.
Mason has starred on Broadway and in films including Caddyshack II.