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Is "Passion of Christ" anti-semitic?
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charlieg
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 12:43 pm    Post subject: Is "Passion of Christ" anti-semitic? Reply with quote

I watched the Passion of Christ a few days ago. Both before and after watching it I have heard many tales of how it shows Jews in a bad light and that it encourages anti-semitism.

I'm unreligious, agnostic, which (I believe) makes me fairly impartial.

For example, I've heard from various Jewish sources that:

"If anybody is the bad guy in the movie, it's the Jews."

This is from people who just haven't seen the movie. The fact that 'The Devil' himself (or herself?) is represented in many scenes obliterates this comment. The fact that all aspects of humanity are represented in the Jewish people in the movie (the extremists, those who object to the extremists, those who weep with compassion, the mob, the normal people, etc etc) further makes this comment only one of a person who has not seen the movie or of somebody who is deluded.

Then there's the similar but better phrased perspective:

"It portrays the Jewish people as a hateful race that are responsible for killing Christ"

There are two aspects to this type of comment.

Firstly, the movie does not portray the Jews as hateful. It shows a small group of hateful people who (like everybody else except for the Romans in this movie) are Jewish, but also some reasonable people who are Jewish and some compassionate people who are Jewish. The movie makes no attempt to suggest everybody wants Christ dead. It retells it as the Bible tells it, that a sect of extremists who feared Christ went to great lengths to have him killed.

If the movie was anti-semitic, would it have had the Jewish judging scene where several council members objected to the treatment of Christ, only to be removed from the room so that proceedings could continue. Or would it have shown many Jewish citizens weeping as Christ carries the cross?

Secondly, does the movie target Jews for 'killing Christ'? It is difficult to argue that a small group of Jewish people were not responsible if you take the New Testament as the truth. Pontious Pilot did 'wash his hands' of the crucifiction and even offered up a choice between Jesus and a murderer Barrabas who the mob then freed. I don't think the movie suggests that all Jews were responsible for killing Christ, but rather a group of organised extremists and a mob that they had gathered. Sadly extremists and mobs are prevalent in all societies.

To suggest that, because of a depiction of a Jewish mob lead by extremists (as retold by the Bible), the movie is anti-semitic is not just naive but obnoxious. From comments I have seen senior Jewish spokespeople make, it is almost as if they are afraid that their people are shown in a light which makes them just the same as any other people. A complex about not being special, perhaps?

The romans were quite violent in many ways and people would have been used to quite barbaric ways in general. I found it to be a realistic account of the way society probably was 2000 years ago, regardless of religion, in that guards would happily beat and torture their prisoners and that violent executions would be commonplace. I found no cause for believing the movie to be any more anti-semitic than the New Testament itself.

If the Passion of Christ is anti-semitic, then it is anti-Roman as well. I believe it is neither and that we should simply recognise that the world wasn't a nice place 2000 years ago. I think Mel Gibson has done a good job of keeping the movie accurate to the times and the Bible and down-to-earth.

Are there any Jewish forum members who have strong views (for or against) the Passion of Christ movie?
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Last edited by charlieg on Mon Mar 29, 2004 5:33 pm; edited 1 time in total
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The Mountain Man
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 1:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent post.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 2:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can't sugar-coat history to appease a bunch of easily-offended people. It has no bearings on today's Jews nor many of the Jews at Jesus' time. People need to get over it, it's just political horseshit.
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ebrostig
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did not think that the Jews were put in a bad light in this movie. If anyone was portrayed to look bad, it was the Romans. The jews are much to sensitive if they feel the movie is anti-semitic. It is much more anti-roman than anything else.

Erik
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 2:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No it isn't.
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charlieg
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 2:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ebrostig wrote:
If anyone was portrayed to look bad, it was the Romans. .... It is much more anti-roman than anything else.


A bit OT really, but worth replying to.

How was it Anti-Roman? They regularly flayed and killed prisoners. Or are you going to tell me that Roman guards were probably nice people? Yeah, right before they threw people to the lions or had them crucified. (Note that those Jews who wanted Christ dead had to get the Romans to crucify Jesus because the [local?] Jewish law didn't allow execution!)

I don't think any sane Italian would try to suggest that the Roman guards in the Passion of Christ movie were an unfair depiction. The Romans were brutal and ruthless; how else do you think they successfully conquered most of Europe?
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 2:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I don't think the movie suggests that all Jews were responsible for killing Christ, ...


Does it really matter who killed Christ? All I need to know is that the man died for our sins, which is enough for me to know he was quite special.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 2:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Twoform wrote:
Quote:
I don't think the movie suggests that all Jews were responsible for killing Christ, ...


Does it really matter who killed Christ? All I need to know is that the man died for our sins, which is enough for me to know he was quite special.


Thats a whole other argument in itself.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 3:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

charlieg wrote:
ebrostig wrote:
If anyone was portrayed to look bad, it was the Romans. .... It is much more anti-roman than anything else.


A bit OT really, but worth replying to.

How was it Anti-Roman? They regularly flayed and killed prisoners. Or are you going to tell me that Roman guards were probably nice people? Yeah, right before they threw people to the lions or had them crucified. (Note that those Jews who wanted Christ dead had to get the Romans to crucify Jesus because the [local?] Jewish law didn't allow execution!)

I don't think any sane Italian would try to suggest that the Roman guards in the Passion of Christ movie were an unfair depiction. The Romans were brutal and ruthless; how else do you think they successfully conquered most of Europe?


Lol..

I think you misunderstood me somewhat..

I'm not defending the old Romans, they were a brutal bunch, no doubt about it.

What I tried to convey (and I probably did not do a good job of it) was that if anyone was portrayed in a bad light, it was not the jews but the romans. Not because they were nice guys, but compared to how the jews were portrayed.

I also agree with the inital post that there was not a single stereotype given about the jews. They were not all portrayed badly, but the group of people who supported Caiphas was portrayed as sheep following their leader, while other jews were portrayed in many different ways.

If the jews are portrayed in a bad way, then the bible is also portraying them in a bad way. Do people argue this or not?

Erik
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 3:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to agree with the majority of the posts - it is not anti-anyone. If a sensitive select few get upset by it then I'm afraid that is their own over-reaction and something they ahve to deal with.

Isn't it odd that the Italians aren't complaining about the film due to its portrail of the Romans.

It is, as far as I can see, an accurate description of what went on that era (and I mean generally, like the floggings and torture and crucifiction and oppresion, etc, I will not comment on the facts of Christ or so forth)

I thought the film very good and certainly not anti-anything (except anti-devil - although that will probably offend someone as well)

I take my hat off to Mel for making such a film.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 5:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

everything is anti-semitic... :roll:
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 5:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bos_mindwarp wrote:
everything is anti-semitic... :roll:


Dont you find that comment anti-semitic? sorry couldnt help myself ;)
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bos_mindwarp wrote:
everything is anti-semitic... :roll:


You know, I'm actually inclined to agree with you.

And it scares me.
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charlieg
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Btw, just to point out that Mel Gibson's response to accusations of being anti-semitic is that, "Anti-semitism is racist and that is a direct conflict with Christian teachings. To be anti-semitic is to be unChristian, which I am definitely not."

This contradicts many of the more outrageous statements his father (Hutton Gibson - an extreme traditional Catholic proponent) has made although Mel Gibson himself refuses to be drawn into public debate about his father's position on any matter.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since I'm unChristian, as you put it, am I also anti-semitic?

Erik
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 5:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ebrostig wrote:
Since I'm unChristian, as you put it, am I also anti-semitic?

Erik


Well that would make a lot of people anti-semitic. All this sensitivity with religion is tiring, the whole supposed crucifixtion of christ happened nearly 2000 years ago and people still get anal about this, truly remarkable...
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 5:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Its only one way logic ebrostig. And Un-Christian doesn't mean Not-Christian.

Anti-Semitic = UnChristian (OK)
UnChristian = Anti-Semitic (Clearly not true)
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you Elm0, and boo on you ebrostig for your failed attempt to be pedantic.
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charlieg
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 5:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jaska wrote:
Well that would make a lot of people anti-semitic. All this sensitivity with religion is tiring, the whole supposed crucifixtion of christ happened nearly 2000 years ago and people still get anal about this, truly remarkable...


*aghast at the ignorance*

I won't even comment on that. It's just trolling.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 5:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

charlieg wrote:
Thank you Elm0, and boo on you ebrostig for your failed attempt to be pedantic.

Sorry, I didn't mean to stir up any issues, just wanted a clarification and I got it. Sometimes English can be very convoluted.

Erik
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it's funny to hear Jews of today talking about anti-semitism. I can not think of a more anti-semitic religion than Jewism. How else can you describe what Israel is doing to Palestines?
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Personally, the only thing I find anti-semitic here is the original question, in the terms of bad habbit, like smoking or something else. Paranoia is not good, I suggest a collective therapy, because, seriously, other nations got ganked too at some point, and worked it out somehow. Now we all agree that it was terrible thing what happened to Jews during WW2 and all, but I am getting so tired of hearing it over and over again.

On top of it all, you have aggressive maniacs (to put it mildly) like Sharon abusing the whole issue. You can't criticize Sharon without 500.000 people jumping up and down and pointing finger "anti-semitist!". It is annoying like hell. You don't see me becoming excited if somebody calls some politician in Sweden names. Hell, people may even be right.

To put it like this: if people never had anything agains jews in particular, that whole yapping about anti-semitism might just give them an idea...
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SwooshingRob wrote:
I can not think of a more anti-semitic religion than Jewism.

Please tell us more about this religion called Jewism.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 8:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Mountain Man wrote:
SwooshingRob wrote:
I can not think of a more anti-semitic religion than Jewism.

Please tell us more about this religion called Jewism.


ohhhh come on, you know what he means.

Just because people are not native english speakers, and don't know the correct name, is not a reason to harass them.

Erik
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 8:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ebrostig wrote:

ohhhh come on, you know what he means.

Just because people are not native english speakers, and don't know the correct name, is not a reason to harass them.

Erik


Exactly, there are many better reasons to harass people. :)

And to help out the person that said "Jewism" the correct term would be "Judaism" .. for future reference. 8)


I'm not sure about that movie. Have not watched it, I probably never will watch it. All that I've heard about it is that it is very, very bloody. Not sure if they overdid it or not, no way of knowing. I'm against the hype that surrounds the movie, the large amounts of die hard Christians that say "If you do not see this movie, you are not a true Christian". That alone makes me think that more than anything Gibson did the movie for bankroll. Invest 30 or 40 million in the making of a movie, clear 500 million after ticket sales and the first few months of dvd rentals and sales. Not a bad move on his part, but not contributing doesn't make me a fake Christian.

Got a little OT there I think, oh well.
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