The Passion's Jewish Mary Says Film's Not Antisemitic, As Does Christianity Today

“She’s Jewish, the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, and she says she’s proud to be playing the Virgin Mary in Mel Gibson’s The Passion of Christ. […] Though some critics charge that the film is anti-Semitic, Romanian actress Maia Morgenstern insists it is anything but.”
In related news, Christianity Today is running an editorial which suggests that negative Jewish response to The Passion will do more to hurt Jews than will the film itself.

Christianity is incompatible with anti-Semitism. Which is why we are incredulous that so many are fixated on whether Mel Gibson’s film The Passion, due for release next year, will cause violence against Jews. “If it turns out that the controversial film is as brutal as the already-released trailer, then Israel may have to absorb a massive flight of European Jewry this coming spring, when the Jews get all the credit for committing deicide,” Rabbi Tovia Singer recently wrote for Israel’s Arutz Sheva.
The memory of the Inquisition and the Holocaust—among other anti-Jewish atrocities—remains fresh for many. But given the universal Christian repudiation of anti-Semitism, Singer’s suggestion seems ludicrous and borders on anti-Christian bigotry. Ultimately, the campaign to brand The Passion as anti-Semitic with a potential “tinderbox effect” is dangerous to Jews.

First, I’ve gotta say I find it thoroughly amusing that these people are quoting an op-ed from the Jewish nationalist/Orthodox fundamentalist rag Arutz Sheva as though it were some sort of representative voice of the entire Jewish people. The Israeli government just convicted the station managers for broadcasting without a license and this putz is acting like Tovia Singer, a noted radical anti-missionary, is the King of the Jews. Yes well, not quite chief, okay?
As for the claim that “Christianity is incompatible with anti-Semitism,” I think the author needs to read up a little bit. Perhaps Constantine’s Sword might clear up any misconceptions he might be having… or perhaps he might benefit from a reading of Who Killed Jesus?, appropriately subtitled (particularly in this case) “Exposing the Roots of Anti-Semitism in the Gospel Story of the Death of Jesus.”
In either case, what a bunch of bullcrap. Telling people the Jews killed Jesus makes people hate Jews. Period. They don’t hear the “Forgive them father, they know not what they do” part. They don’t see Jesus and his disciples as Jewish radicals confronting the corrupt Jewish establishment of their day. All they know from is “They killed our God. They must be evil. They should be punished.” It is automatically antisemitic propaganda, whether you care to admit it or not—especially a film as graphic and emotionally provocative as this. I don’t think Singer’s right about a mass exodus from Europe, but I can definitely see a Christian backlash against Jews after this film’s released. That is, if anyone actually cares enough to see a high-brow art flick in Aramaic with no subtitles… I’m sure the oh-so-well-educated antisemites will be out in droves for that one.

3 thoughts on “The Passion's Jewish Mary Says Film's Not Antisemitic, As Does Christianity Today

  1. Hatred of Jews is inherent to sections of the Gospels. This movie makes the Jews look horrible. Fine. It probably wont do much damage in the US, but the Arab world will love it. Not that that is Mel Gibson’s intention but this movie is definitely bad for the Jews.

  2. The larger problem, of course, is that this represents an enormous step backwards for relations between the Jewish community and the Catholic Church. If the Church hadn’t backed out of its support for the ad-hoc (and interfaith!) committee of scholars evaluating the film, things might have been different. But now the Jewish community is seen as attacking the movie ALONE, and that will definitely be a bad thing.

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