Thursday, August 14, 2003

More on Mel Gibson's movie from the Jewish Week, "Jews Horrified By Gibson’s Jesus Film." Apparently, the screening that Rabbi Eugene Korn of the Anti-Defamation League attended also had about 30 other Jewish community leaders at it. They included Rabbi James Rudin, senior interreligious adviser for the American Jewish Committee, who said, "We have a very long record with Passion Plays — ‘Jesus Christ Superstar,’ ‘The Last Temptation of Christ’ — so I went in with an open mind,” said Rabbi Rudin, who attended the Houston screening. “I came away very troubled because this movie as it stands has the potential to harm Christian-Jewish relations in many parts of the world. Therefore, we are officially requesting a meeting with the producers and director with the hope it will be changed so there will not be anti-Jewish elements in it." Apparently, Rabbi Korn and Gibson had an "acrimonious exchange" during the discussion after the film, and Gibson's production company, Icon, is accusing Korn of violating a confidentiality agreement he signed. In reply, "[Abraham] Foxman [of the ADL] responded that Gibson supporters who saw the movie and signed the confidentiality agreement have for weeks been praising the film on television, in newspapers and on the Internet."

What's interesting to me about this film is that it's clearly exposing a rift between those Catholics who accept the reforms of Vatican II and those who have opposed it all along. I wonder also how this will affect those evangelical Christians who have become very vocal supporters of Israel, but who may think very highly of the film and be shocked by the real Jewish dislike and fear of the movie. As one Jewish audience member said, “When the movie was over, there were two films: Jews saw it one way and Christians another. Christians were deeply moved. People were crying. It was a very powerful movie, very spiritual.”

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