According to two recent surveys, “The Passion of the Christ” has not caused an increase in anti-Semitic sentiment among Americans nor has it caused an increase in the number of Americans who blame Jews today for the death of Jesus.
The surveys were conducted at the beginning of March, one week after the film was released, in light of the claims made by the Anti-Defamation League and others that Mel Gibson’s film about Christ’s Passion and crucifixion is anti-Semitic.
The first survey was conducted by the San Francisco-based @CROSS: No blame, Institute for Jewish and Community Research. The survey included about 1,000 randomly chosen respondents. Some respondents had not seen the film but were familiar with its details.
Of those surveyed, 83 percent said the film has not caused them to blame Jews today for the death of Jesus. Nine percent said the film made them even less prone to see Jews today as responsible for the crucifixion and only two percent said they now felt a greater tendency to blame the Jews for killing Jesus.
Similar findings also emerged from a survey conducted by the Fellowship of Christians and Jews.
A large majority of the 2,500 respondents in the Internet survey said all of humanity is responsible for Christ's death. Only 1.7 percent said they blame the Jews for the crucifixion.
Orthodox Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, who heads the Fellowship, says the data proves that American Christians have abandoned the idea that Jews are responsible for the death of Jesus.
"They have a far deeper and more nuanced understanding of Scripture than many Jewish leaders give them credit for," he said.