Friday, March 18, 2005

Gibson's Passion Recut--but still fosters anti-Semitism

From the Anti-Defamation League

New York, NY, March 15, 2005 … In the recut of his film "The Passion of the Christ," now in theaters, Mel Gibson removed six minutes of violence, but chose to leave untouched the anti-Jewish elements of the original, including scenes where Jews are portrayed as villains and responsible for the death of Jesus.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) expressed concern that the newly released film, "The Passion Recut," will now become the definitive version of the Passion story for the holy season.

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:

As we come into the Christian holy season, it is troubling that Mel Gibson made changes to "The Passion of the Christ" to de-emphasize the violence, yet made no effort to mitigate or remove the film's anti-Jewish elements.

"The Passion Recut" demonstrates that Mr. Gibson indeed has the power to make changes. His recut is selective to accommodate concerns of excessive violence, but not those of the Jewish community and concerned Christians disturbed by his offensive portrayal of Jews that leads viewers to believe Jews are responsible for the death of Jesus.

Our concern is that Gibson's "Passion of the Christ" and "The Passion Recut" will become the definitive version for the holy season, bringing to life on screen the most vicious anti-Semitic elements of traditional Passion Plays. It will continue to play again and again, year after year to audiences around the world without the benefit of the very public discussion that surrounded the film's initial debut in February 2004.

In a world where anti-Semitism is on the rise and the classical canard that "the Jews killed Jesus" is being promulgated, Mr. Gibson has unfortunately become a contributor.

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