ADL Criticism of Mel Gibson's "The Passion" Elicits Anti-Semitic Responses
Posted: August 13, 2003
ADL's expression of concern about the portrayal of Jews in "The Passion," a forthcoming film directed by Oscar-winning actor Mel Gibson, has elicited a flurry of anti-Semitic e-mail reactions and phone calls. Beyond the blatant anti-Jewish prejudice they reflect - including images of Jewish power and control, as well as the charge of "deicide" or Jewish complicity in the death of Jesus - these messages also reveal a serious distortion of ADL's position.
On August 11, ADL voiced concerns that the film, if released in its present form, "will fuel hatred, bigotry and anti-Semitism" by reinforcing the notion of collective Jewish guilt for the death of Jesus.
The League has not called for "censorship" of the Gibson film, but rather asked for sensitivity to the dangerous implications of a conspiracy-oriented, historically false caricature of the Jews which has been repudiated by the Catholic Church itself.
The following is a representative sampling of the dozens of hateful e-mail messages received by ADL:
"You should be more concerned about the conduct of Jews in our government and financial markets … and stock scams promoted by Jews…" "The hypocracy [sic] going on by Jews in this nation such as your radical Marxist liberal people in government … and the entire diatribe [sic] that opposes our Christian faith and daily tries to undermine our Constitution. … "If a backlash comes it will be a result of that kind of conduct we see out of Jews … not a result of some historically based film …. Many people are just not going to be pushed around much longer."
- "I find it sad that you would attempt to censor Gibson. Whether you like it or not, the Jews of the time were instrumental in Jesus' death. We don't need anymore revisionist history. Didn't the Holocaust teach you anything?"
- "Shame on the ADL and its attempt at censorship! Where is the ADL when Holocaust films come out that cause feelings of hate toward Germans? … Stop trying to control world opinion and get over yourselves!"
- "Your protest is the best way to flame [sic] anti-semitic feelings in people…"
- "Talk about the boy who cried wolf! Jews are among the most successful and disproportionately influential members of American society … I accuse the liberal ADL of anti Christian bias …. It's (expletive) like this that makes people anti Semitic."
- "All anti-Semitism is the fault of Jews. If you would direct your people to quit being so dishonest, immoral, atheistic, and Marxist, this stigma would go away…. If you want people to quit their prejudice, then quit giving them reasons to be prejudiced. As long as you act like immoral heathens people will treat you the same way."
- "Jewish foot prints left in the sands of time can never be erased. Jews can be their own worst enemy, always stirring the pot, always ejected from the host country. Learn from past lessons, lest history repeat itself…."
- "Why are you so upset about Gibson's movie? What he portrays is the truth! Jews were responsible for the death of Jesus! … Maybe when Jesus returns as the Messiah, you won't try to do it again."
- "You stupid jews never read the new testament do you? … why don't you pompous jews read it for yourself … your sickening censorship of anything remotely critical of jewthought and jewland and jewthink and "Israel can do no wrong" mentality … turns me and many others away from your people … and whatever else it is (money, power of course) that you hold dear …"
- "The jews of the old testament were guilty of having jesus killed … there are a myriad of other reasons not to like you jews. If you don't believe me, go ask the germans."
- "Even the Old Testament points out that the Jews would be the killers of the Messiah. I believe Jesus referred to them as being of "their father the devil." Prophetic, isn't it."
- "Jewish authorities and the Jewish mob were the ones responsible for the decision to crucify Jesus. The truth has been out for over 2000 years. …When smutty art exhibits and trashy movies are foisted upon the American public there is usually a Jewish spokesman at the forefront to defend the exhibitors' right of 'freedom of expression.' Mel Gibson has that same right. Let him exercise that right."
- " …I have noticed that Hollywood, where doubtless unfounded rumor has it that some Jews have some influence, has been in your face about Christians in general and Catholics in particular for quite some time. That being the case … suppose the film is as anti-Semitic as many recent Hollywood productions have been anti-Christian? Would that not simply be an example of what goes around comes around?"
- "The Jews in the first century, along with Roman leadership, were just doing what Hitler tried to do in the holocaust (eliminate a group of religious individuals for political gain). …The ADL should try to answer why what the Romans and Jews did in persecuting first century Christians was not similar to the holocaust …"