I've noticed several Jews conservatives considered the movie antisemitic. They are Mona Charen, William Saffire, and Charles Krauthammer. They seem to see blame for Jesus' death attached to all Jews while Christian reviewers have tended to seem blame either the high priests and Romans or all mankind.
I haven't seen the movie yet, but most of the reviews I've heard don't consider it antisemitic. I've heard that the violence is rather grusome and that perhaps Jesus as depicted in this move shed more blood than a human body has. I've also heard that if you didn't know much about Christianity and the New Testament it would be difficult to understand why anyone was mad enough at Jesus to subject him to the punishment he received. There just wasn't much information about what had occured prior to the last 12 hours of Jesus life. Perhaps Mel Gibson is saving that for other movies.
I heard Rush on the radio quoting a rabbi (whose name I didn't catch) who pointed out that Jews should like the movie for one thing anyway: Jerusalem of 2000 years ago, and all the people are Jews or Romans; who are conspicuous by their absence from their so-called "historical homeland"? Hint -- it begins with a "P".
Are you suggesting that Mona Charen, William Safire, and Charles Krauthammer are not scholarly enough to learn about the subject they write about? That's pretty irresponsible and unlike them. I think Occam's Razor would suggest that they know plenty and they just have an agenda like idiots like Paul Krugman.
Every people has its story. Every people has the right to its story. And every people has a responsibility for its story. ... Christians have their story too: the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. Why is this story different from other stories? Because it is not a family affair of coreligionists. If it were, few people outside the circle of believers would be concerned about it. ... Because of that peculiarity, the crucifixion is not just a story; it is a story with its own story -- a history of centuries of relentless, and at times savage, persecution of Jews in Christian lands.
Is it really true that the Jewish story or Muslim story doesn't involve "others"? Or is Krauthammer cropping a picture or cutting a film to take out unwanted faces? Does it follow that if the Jewish or Muslim or Christian story didn't involve others it wouldn't be of interest to outsiders and non-believers? Don't such stories have a universal meaning to all, regardless of whether one believes or belongs? Many Jews would say that of the Exodus story. Many who are at least nominal Christians would say the same of the crucifixion.
And what does it mean to say that "everyone has a story and a right to its story," and to essentially say that the "story of your story is my story -- the story of the persecution of my people." Don't the two propositions contradict? Does one story trump the other? Does the Christian story amount to more than the persecution of the Jews for Krauthammer? Is there not some other relevance of the story, even to non-believers.
Krauthammer seems to believe that we live in wholly separate and self-contained traditions, and that what goes on in another tradition is of no concern to us, except in so far as it attacks or impinges on us. Is that really the case? If traditions are to be hermetically sealed against one another, how does he justify bringing "democracy" to Iraq by force? Is there some inconsistency in Krauthammer's treatment of various cultural traditions?
He has every right to his opinion, but it sounds like he's not the best judge or critic for the picture. In other words, he doesn't even try to find it's good points and bad ones and achieve a balanced judgement, and those who are looking for a fair judgement of Gibson's film will have to look elsewhere.
I haven't seen the film, and don't have an opinion. I did come across a comment (not relevant to this article, but still perhaps of interest) in another review:
most critics last week circled their wagons and took shots at The Passion of the Christ, complaining about excessive violence. It seems like the old story of people only resenting movies with serious content. Casual violence shown just for fun doesnt raise critics ire; they only get upset when violence is made to matter, when its presented artistically.
Movie journalists revealed their cultural biases in last weeks attacks on Mel Gibson, but the hysterical denunciations also exposed their dishonest esthetic criteria. One reason were regularly assaulted with garish, smutty action films like Twisted is because thats what is routinely accepted in the culture. It was stunning to see David Denby on The Charlie Rose Show call The Passion of the Christ "a snuff movie," the kind of insensitive comment that would never be applied to, say, Schindlers List, out of simple cultural respect. Denby breaches that cautionand appears righteous in doing sobecause contemporary film culture is dominated by disbelieving skepticism. If there is a lack of piety in Gibsons film, it has been outmatched by the cynicism of incredulous reviewersand by the weekly tide of sarcastic, nihilistic, anti-human movies like Twisted.
In print, Denby chose a more considered condemnation, "a sickening death trip," which could describe most of the movies that have been pitched to the public as thrill ridesfrom Speed, Pulp Fiction, The Blair Witch Project, Gladiator to such middlebrow morbidity as American Beauty, In the Bedroom, Elephant and demonlover. These films construct a faithless and hip aura in which a subject like The Passion of the Christ can be blithely derided.
I've always considered three columnists to be particularly uninsightful (among plenty of others.) Their take on "The Passion" simply confirms this.