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Jews and Catholics warn Gibson about his film
Yesterday's Weblog included a warning about judging people by their fruits while they're still seedlings. Those who feared Time's cover story on evangelism in Islamic countries found those fears very misplaced. Meanwhile, a similar but more public pre-emptive campaign is being waged against Mel Gibson's epic The Passion.

Usually it's conservative Christians who make headlines by attacking films they haven't seen, but the shoe is on the other foot this time. The main critic of Gibson's film seems to be the Anti-Defamation League.

"Based on initial media reports, we have serious concerns about the film you are currently making about the last hours of the life of Jesus, The Passion, and would like to be assured that it will not give rise to the old canard of charging Jews with deicide and to anti-Semitism," ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman said in an open letter to Gibson in response to a bootlegged early copy of the script.

Five advisory-board members of the U.S Conference of Catholic Bishops joined with the ADL in criticizing the film. "A film based on the present version of the script of The Passion would promote anti-Semitic sentiments," the "Ad Hoc Scholars Group" said in an 18-page report, according to The Jewish Week.

We know that their dramatic presentation of Jews as 'Christ killers' triggered pogroms against Jews over the centuries and contributed to the environment that made the Shoah [Holocaust] possible. Given this history and the power of film to shape minds and hearts, both Catholics and Jews in the ad hoc group are gravely concerned about the potential dangers of presenting a passion play in movie theatres. … We realize that such significant alterations will be ...
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June 2003

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