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Monday, November 03, 2003

Robert Novak defends Gibson's 'The Passion of Christ'

Criticizes ADL, Foxman for "stirring religious tensions over a work of art"
Oy vey, the shape of things to come:
As a journalist who has actually seen what the producers call "a rough cut" of the movie and not just read about it, I can report it is free of the anti-Semitism that its detractors claim. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and its allies began attacking the movie on the basis of reading a shooting script without having actually seen the film. The ADL carries a heavy burden in stirring religious strife about a piece of entertainment that, apart from its artistic value, is of deep religious significance for believing Christians.

* * *

Foxman and other critics complain that the Jewish high priest Caiphas and a Jewish mob are demanding Christ's execution, but that is straight from the Gospels. Father C. John McCloskey, director of the Catholic Information Center in Washington, told me: "If you find the Scriptures anti-Semitic, you'll find this film anti-Semitic."

* * *

As for inciting anti-Semitism, Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos contended "the film does nothing of the sort." This Vatican official is denying that Gibson violates the 1965 papal document Nostra Aetate, which states: "What happened in (Christ's) passion cannot be charged against all the Jews, without distinction, then alive, nor against the Jews of today."

No such libel is committed by "The Passion," where the mob's Jewish identity is not specified.

The mob's "Jewish identity" may not have been "specified," but Bob Novak sure didn't miss it. Nor will g'zillions of other moviegoers. With all due respect to our Christian friends, given Jews' recent encounters with UN votes, EU polls, Malaysian madmen and Tony Judt (not to mention Arab terrorists), we need this movie like . . . well, we don't need it.