ADL back to the offensive against “The Passion of the  Christ”

Two members of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) renewed their concerns about Mel Gibson’s film on the last hours of the life of Christ after slipping into a screening uninvited at a religious conference in Orlando, Fl., yesterday.

The ADL issued a statement yesterday that the film risks promoting anti-Semitism through its "painful portrayal of Jews" as being responsible for the death of Jesus. Their statement follows the recent controversies surrounding the Pope’s remark – “It is as it was” – that the film is an accurate portrayal of the events in the last hours of Christ’s life.

ADL national director Abraham H. Foxman attended the Florida screening with Rabbi Gary Bretton-Granatoor, the ADL interfaith consultant.

“At every single opportunity, Gibson's film reinforces the notion that the Jewish authorities and the Jewish mob are the ones ultimately responsible for the Crucifixion,” said the statement.

The ADL said it was saddened, pained and shocked that Gibson did not fulfill his promise “to remove the most troublesome aspects of this film.”

Gibson “has ignored the warnings of Jewish and Catholic interfaith scholars about the explosive nature of the traditional Passion Play narrative,” they said, referring to criticisms of the film ADL issued last spring.

Their concern is that the film “could fuel latent anti-Semitism that exists in the hearts of those people who hold Jews responsible for the death of Jesus, which has always been the source of Western anti-Semitism.”

The ADL are also concerned about Gibson’s claim that the film is historically accurate, as it “runs contrary to Biblical scholarship and the teachings of Vatican II, which absolved the Jewish people of guilt in the death of Jesus.

“We are especially concerned that this telling of the Crucifixion narrative is being hawked as a commercial crusade to the church community,” they added.

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