"Jesus was executed by a proper rabbinical court for contempt of rabbinical authoritiy"
"But no-one would say anything publicly about Jesus for fear of the Jews."
(The Bible, John 7:13)
The Herald Sun, Australia, 08 June 2003
Religious row over Mel's film
MEL Gibson has declared war on two of the most powerful religious groups in America.
By MICHAEL McKENNA in Los Angeles
The actor has threatened a lawsuit against the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Jewish-run Anti-Defamation League over a report criticising the depiction of Jews in his controversial new film about the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The two bodies want changes to the script.
Gibson co-wrote, directed and funded the $40 million "The Passion", which finished shooting in Rome last month.
The film, starring Monica Bellucci and James Caviezel, is spoken entirely in Latin and Aramaic and will be released without subtitles. Gibson has yet to find a distributor for the film, scheduled for release next year.
"According to the Talmud, Jesus was executed by a proper rabbinical court for idolatry, inciting other Jews to idolatry, and con-tempt of rabbinical autho-ritiy. All classical Jewish sources which mention his execution are quite happy to take responsibility for it; in the talmudic account the Romans are not even mentioned."
Shahak, Jewish History, Jewish Religion, Pluto Press, London 1994, p. 97
Gibson is reportedly a member of a traditionalist Catholic movement, operating outside the mainstream church, that embraces a 16th century form of the religion that uses only Latin in mass.
The movement rejects the reforms of the Second Vatican Council of 1962-65 that eliminated the belief that Jews were collectively responsible for the death of Jesus.
Catholic and Jewish scholars said they feared Gibson was going to use his celebrity status and film to promote his views.
Sister Mary Boys, professor of practical theology at Union Theological Seminary in New York, said: "The Anti-Defamation League and US Conference of Catholic Bishops reviewed the script and we wrote a report that was sent to Mr Gibson's company.
"We have concerns about the role of Jews in the movie and we were hoping to get some changes. Mr Gibson's company has retaliated by threatening a lawsuit."
Sister Boys declined to detail the exact concerns about the script.
Gibson and Bruce Davey, his partner in Icon Productions, would not comment.
Earlier, Gibson lashed out before a newspaper published the ultra-conservative views of his father, Hutton, 85.
Mr Gibson Sr, a traditionalist Catholic, was quoted as saying the holocaust never happened and the World Trade Centre was destroyed by remote control.
Gibson said at the time people were trying to denigrate his father because he was making the movie, and admitted some Jews might be offended by the movie, although that was not intended.
"I've never seen a rendering that equals this for reality," he said. "The versions I've seen (are) more like fairy tales.
"This actually happened. But, when you look at the reasons behind why Christ came, why he was crucified - he died for all mankind and he suffered for all mankind - anybody who transgresses has to look at their part or look at their culpability."
Father William Fulco, a Jesuit priest and Los Angeles-based professor of Mediterranean studies, said he had seen no evidence of anti-Semitism while working on the script. He translated the script.
"The Passion" is the first film Gibson has directed since winning an Academy Award for Braveheart.
"It must be admitted at the outset that the Talmud and the talmudic literature ... contain very offensive statements and precepts directed specifically against Christianity. For example, in addition to a series of scurrilous allegations against Jesus, the Talmud states that his punishment in hell is to be immersed in boiling excrement ...
Jewish children are actually taught - passages such as that which commands every Jew, whenever passing near a cemetery, to utter a blessing if the cemetery is Jewish, but to curse the mothers of the dead if it is non-Jewish."Israel Shahak, Jewish History, Jewish Religion, Pluto Press, London 1994
pages 20-24, 94 (ISBN 0 7453 0818 X)