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Passionate Reactions

Mel Gibson’s The Passion of Christ has had mixed reviews, with some of the more positive reviews proclaiming it “a stunning film” and “dramatically intense, skillfully constructed and often harrowing.” The more negative reviews lament the unrelenting violence, with Carrey Rickey of the Philadelphia Inquirer pithily summarizing it as “too much Good Friday and not enough Easter Sunday.” And there are those who are dying to see it, not to mention dying as a result of seeing it. Predictably, many Jews are not enthralled with the movie and its depiction of Jews. Here are some of the more negative reactions:

  • The ADL has given it a “thumbs down”, saying that it “repeats all of the stereotypes and images surrounding the death of Jesus that have generated anti-Semitism for 2,000 years.”

  • Shas chairman member of Knesset Eli Yishai call for the movie to be banned from Israeli cinemas, saying it is a blood libel.

  • Some Jewish Hollywood executives are angry. churchbillboard.jpgFears that the movie will ignite anti-Semitism have been realized in Denver, with a church displaying the message “Jews Killed The Lord Jesus” – “I Thess. 2:14, 15” – “Settled!” on its marquee. In my opinion, this will not be the typical reaction from the Christian community, which I feel will, on the whole, will be equally appalled by such manifestations of anti-Semitism. In fact, I predict that it will be some Muslim groups who will actively attempt to use the film to fan the flames of anti-Semitism. Basing my opinion solely on what I have read about the film, my gripe with it is not that it shows some Jews in a bad light, or that Mel Gibson’s father is a rabid anti-Semite, but rather that it goes against accurate accounts of the scriptures to portray Jews in a bad light, with the Romans getting a metaphorical “Get out of jail free card” for their role in Jesus’ death. Mel Gibson’s defence of his lunatic father, as well as his devotion to an ultraconservative brand of Catholicism which rejects Vatican II, may suggest that Gibson had an ulterior motive in adding these inaccuracies to the movie, but are not of themselves reasons that I object to the film.
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    Update: Kesher Talk has a great roundup on the film. However, I object to this post. If a non-Jew posted something similar about a revered Jewish Rabbi, we would all be up in arms about it.

     

    Update: PETA are also unhappy with the movie, as are the New Black Panther Party.

    About the author

    Picture of David Lange

    David Lange

    A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
    Picture of David Lange

    David Lange

    A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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