Keep Trying

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

The Passion

Mel Gibson's movie opens tomorrow. The question is not about the beliefs of Mel Gibson or his take of history. I think that Joel Levy of the ADL got it right:

"We are not into boycotts, but it's important to sensitize people to the concerns we have," said Joel Levy, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League. "The movie is a modern-day passion play, and passion plays historically have been the occasion for lots of anti-Semitic activity."

Mark Weitzman, director of the Task Force Against Hate at the Simon Wiesenthal Center had this to say:

The concern is he has selectively taken the worst possible interpretation of the Passion narrative, which involves blaming Jews for the crime of deicide [killing God], and is transferring that blame to all Jews, including Jews alive today," Weitzman said.

Is it reasonable to expect film makers, journalists or bloggers to be sensitive to stirring up anti-semitic feelings? When is a response called for and what form and substance should that response take? I think the first step is to put aside the anger so that appropriate and effective action can be taken.