Two weeks before the release of Mel Gibson's film, Rabbi Daniel Lapin, well known radio host and president of Toward Tradition, has released a statement, saying that not all Jews are against “The Passion of the Christ.”
The film sparked controversy last year when the Anti-Defamation League viewed a rough-cut of the film and declared that it was anti-Semitic. Since then, many Jewish organizations have joined in and have either boycotted the film or urged theatres not to screen it, warning that the film will incite violence against Jews.
“Those Jewish organizations that have squandered both time and money futilely protesting Passion … can hardly be proud of their performance,” said Lapin, adding that instead of helping the Jewish community, “they have inflicted lasting harm.”
“By selectively unleashing their fury only on wholesome entertainment that depicts Christianity, in a positive light, they have triggered anger, hurt, and resentment,” said the host of the Toward Tradition Radio Show.
“I consider it crucially important for Christians to know that not all Jews are in agreement with their self-appointed spokesmen,” said Lapin. “Most American Jews … would feel awkward trying to explain why so many Jewish organizations seem focused on an agenda hostile to Judeo-Christian values.”
Lapin said many individual Jews have told him that they are embarrassed by these Jewish groups that “attack Passion but are silent about depraved entertainment that encourages killing cops and brutalizing women.”
“One can hardly blame Christians for assuming that Jews feel artistic freedom is important only when exercised by those hostile toward Christianity. However, this is not how all Jews feel,” insisted the rabbi.
“From audiences around America, I am encountering bitterness at Jewish organizations insisting that belief in the New Testament is de facto evidence of anti-Semitism,” said the radio-show host. “Furthermore, Christians are hurt that Jewish groups are presuming to teach them what Christian Scripture ‘really means.’”
“Many Christians … are incredulous at Jews thinking that exposure to the Gospels in visual form will instantly transform the most philo-Semitic gentiles of history into snarling, Jew-hating predators,” he said.
Lapin added that an AJC director recently warned that Passion “could undermine the sense of community between Christians and Jews that's going on in this country.
“It isn't the film that threatens the sense of community,” said Lapin. “It is the arrogant and intemperate response of Jewish organizations that does so.”
The rabbi also predicted that the film will renew the faith of millions of Christians.
“Passion will propel vast numbers of unreligious Americans to embrace Christianity,” predicted Lapin. “The movie will one day be seen as a harbinger of America's third great religious reawakening.”