The Zionist Conspiracy
Wednesday, February 25, 2004
Four Comments on 'Passion'
I haven't seen the 'Passion' and certainly won't go to see it, but have the following thoughts based on what I've heard:
1. The most objectionable aspect of the movie is its portrayal of the Romans as too weak to withstand the pressure of the Jews. These were the same Romans who massacred at least 1.6 million Jews, who brutally occupied Israel, destroyed the Temple, emptied the land of Jews, and tortured hundreds of thousands of Jews, such as Rabbi Akiva, the great Talmudic sage who was murdered by the Romans. Three of the six Jewish fast days - Tisha B'av, Asara B'Tevet and Shiv'ah Asar b'Tamuz - mourn the spiritual and physical destruction of the Jews at the hands of Rome.
2. It's hard to attack Mel Gibson to the extent the film reenacts scenes reported by the Gospels. Those scenes may be politically incorrect, but they are part of Christian theology.
At the same time, though it may be politically incorrect, Jews have every right to say what almost all of us think: That the issue of Jesus' divinity aside, a lot of what is in the Gospels is a false and anti-Semitic justification for persecution of Jews. Of course, there is little to be gained by saying this explicitly. Instead, the approach of reasonable Christians has been to avoid a literal interpretation of the problematic aspects of the "New Testament" and for Jews to adopt this stance.
On a note related to political correctness, religion and Jewish victims, many, such as President Bush, have insisted on proclaiming Islam to be a religion of peace. This conveniently ignores Muhammed's massacre of Jews in Medina, where he signed a treaty with the Jews, broke the treaty a few years later, decapitated the Jewish men and buried them in a mass grave, and distributed as chattel the surviving Jewish women and children among the masses. It's not politically correct to talk about this, but it's an insult to the memory of the many Jewish victims of Muhammed to pretend that he was a man of peace. Morally, it is no different that acquiescing in descriptions of Hamas and the PLO as peaceful would be.
3. Abe Foxman and others at the ADL may at times have gone overboard in their opposition to 'Passion', but overall their expressions of concern were appropriate. While the manner in which the opposition was expressed played into Gibson's hands by giving free publicity for the movie, in the end somebody had to speak out against him and it.
4. I often agree with Jewish conservatives when they criticize many secular Jews for automatically towing the liberal line. I certainly agree that religious Christians in the United States are not the enemy of the Jews, particularly evangelical Christians who support Israel. While I'm wary of the theological motivations of those who support Israel, I don't think the average Christian supporter of Israel is insincere in his or her support, and we can use all the help we can get.
Yet lately it seems as though it's some of the Jewish Conservatives who are automatically towing the Christian line, regardless of the circumstances. Daniel Lapin and Michael Medved have strongly defended 'Passion' in both Jewish and Christian media outlets, as though trying to prove their bona fides to the Christian right. Similarly, and also troubling, some Jews, including Lapin, insisted on working with a Muslim group to oppose gay marriage, even though the Muslim group has supported terrorism.