Saturday, January 31, 2004

Rabbi Mier on The Passion

Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, who recently was able to covertly screen Mel Gibson's Passion movie, has written an excellent Op Ed piece which explains Jewish reservations about Gibson's movie. He brings up several points that have contibuted to ill feelings concerning this film. For instance:

* Gibson's involvement in a splinter Catholic group which has rejected the last 3 Popes and the reforms of Vatican II, during which the Church declared that "the Jews should not be presented as rejected or accursed by God." Particularly troublesome is the rejection of John Paul II, who has done more for Jewish-Xian relations than any other Pope.

* News reports that Gibson's father is a Holocaust Denier. Wether Mel shares his views is unclear, but his relative silence on the subject hasn't reassured anyone.

* Besides the Xian New Testament Gibson used as sources for his script the antisemtic writings of two nuns. The first, Mary of Agreda, a 17th century Spanish aristocrat, wrote of the Jews involved in Christ's death: "Although they did not die [they] were chastised with intense pains These disorders consequently upon shedding the blood of Christ descended to their posterity and even to this day continue to afflict this group with horrible impurities." The other, Anne Catherine Emmerich, was an early 19th century German stigmatic who often described Jews as having hooked noses and who told of a vision she had in which she rescued from purgatory an old Jewish woman who confessed to her that Jews strangled Christian children and used their blood in the observance of their rituals. She claimed the woman in her vision told her that this practice was kept secret so it would not interfere with the Jews' commercial intercourse with Gentiles.

* Gibson's secrecy and unwillingness to accept criticism of the screenplay. To quote Rabbi Mier: Gibson's secrecy about his film stands in contrast with the handling of other controversial films. The producers of a recent drama about the young Hitler responded to criticism by soliciting input from responsible critics. They got good suggestions that made for a better film. In Gibson's case, his lawyers threatened to sue the Anti-Defamation League and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, whose nine-member advisory board issued a thoughtful critique of a leaked version of his script. What is interesting is that the critics were not only Jews but also leaders and scholars of the Catholic Church.

The Rabbi also reiterates why the Romans and not the Jews are to blame for Jesus' excecution. To read the full article Click Here


The background image on this page is a Hebrew translation of the verse from Bob Dylan's song  It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding), from which the title of this blog is taken. Translation courtesy of Yoram Aharon of Hod-HaSharon's page--found via YudelLine-- which has many Dylan lyrics in Hebrew.