Jewish Leader Wants Actor to Make On-Camera Statement Against Anti-Semitism

by Bill Fancher

(AgapePress) An Orthodox rabbi has come up with a suggestion to resolve controversy between Christians and Jews over Mel Gibson's new movie The Passion.

New York Rabbi Yehuda Levin feels Christians have every right to see a movie about the central figure of their faith. On the other hand, he says, Jews have a valid concern about the film's portrayal of Jewish religious leaders and their part in the crucifixion of Jesus.

"There is a legitimate fear amongst the Jewish community that this [film] might evoke passions that have not existed in the Christian community in America -- perhaps never," Levin says.

The Jewish community leader has a request for Mel Gibson. Rabbi Levin would like the actor-filmmaker to appear on camera and publicly discourage any anti-Semitic bitterness or negative reactions against Jewish people.

"I would love to plead with Mel Gibson that he personally should come on camera, either at the beginning or the end of the film, and urge those who see it not to transfer any negative or hateful feelings toward the Jewish community today," Levin says.

The rabbi fears that the outcry against the film by some Jewish critics may have alienated Christians who perhaps do not realize how Gentiles have reacted to depictions of the gospel in the past. He explains that for centuries Jews have been persecuted in Europe, mainly because of their role in the crucifixion of Christ.

"Unfortunately, the groups that are dealing with this have, because of their fear, probably antagonized Gibson and others in the Christian community who don't understand the 2,000 year history of the Jewish people, especially in Europe -- of what we suffered when [the Church staged] 'Passion Plays,'" Levin says.

According to BBC reports, Gibson's publicist has said that no one associated with The Passion is interested in fuelling hatred, bigotry or anti-Semitism, and that in fact, the producer has stated "this film is about love, hope, faith and forgiveness."

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