BBC, Aug. 12, 2003
A leading Jewish group has condemned Mel Gibson’s controversial film about Christ, saying it could fuel anti-Semitism.
In a statement, the group said the film showed Jewish authorities and the Jewish mob as being responsible for the decision to crucify Jesus.
Gibson’s spokesman, however, said there was no suggestion of the film being anti-Semitic.
The film has also been criticised by Catholic bishops, who complained it was anti-Catholic as well as anti-Semitic.
The Anti-Defamation League said the movie had been seen by Rabbi Eugene Korn, its director of inter-faith affairs.
He said it contained “many dangerous teachings” that Christians and Jews had worked to counter.
He hoped that Gibson and his film production company would “consider modifying” the movie.
The group’s national director, Abraham Foxman, added: “We are deeply concerned that the film, if released in its present form, will fuel the hatred, bigotry and anti-Semitism that many responsible churches have worked hard to repudiate.”
But Gibson’s publicist Alan Nierob said: “No one associated with this film has any interest in fuelling hatred, bigotry and anti-Semitism.
“In fact, Mel’s interest is just the opposite as he has stated previously that this film is about love, hope, faith and forgiveness.”
Gibson is director of The Passion, which stars The Thin Red Line’s Jim Caviezel as Christ and Monica Bellucci as Mary Magdalene. It features Latin and Aramaic dialogue and no English subtitles.
Earlier, Gibson himself said he believed the movie would “inspire not offend”.