April 30, 2005


A Rewrite for Hollywood's Blacklist Saga (Ronald Radosh and Allis Radosh, April 25, 2005, LA Times)

For more than 50 years, the communists and former communists of Hollywood have written the script of the past, telling the story of the blacklist in memoirs and histories, movies and documentaries in which they depict themselves as noble martyrs and champions of democracy. It is time, finally, to put an end to the glorification of this unhappy period and take a cleareyed look at the Hollywood Ten, the blacklist and the movie industry Reds who wielded such influence in the 1930s and 1940s.

According to the familiar but utterly romanticized script, the screenwriters, directors and actors who flirted with and joined the Communist Party are unadulterated heroes — just "liberals in a hurry." It is a simple black-and-white tale, as they tell it: The villains were the Hollywood moguls who blacklisted them, the liberals who abandoned the fight, and most of all, the "friendly" ex-communist witnesses who testified about their lives in the party and named names of old associates to the House Un-American Activities Committee.

It is a fable that has acquired an almost irresistible weight as a result of half a century of telling and retelling. Read Lillian Hellman. Or go see the Irwin Winkler film "Guilty by Suspicion."

But is it true? Certainly the blacklist harmed the careers of some of Hollywood's finest. Its damage extended not only to actual party members but, in some cases, to the well-meaning who joined party-controlled "popular front" organizations. But the accepted narrative obscures the important truth about communist influence in Hollywood. The Hollywood Ten were among the most committed of the party faithful, yet they've been wrapped and protected in a romantic haze, allowed to wear their appearance before HUAC as a badge of honor.

One of the few missteps Jim Carrey has made on the route to being this generation's Jimmy Stewart was the nearly good film, The Majestic, which is marred by a laughable anti-anti-communist plotline.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 30, 2005 5:49 PM

The HUAC and McCarthy period served only to enhance the power of real Communists in Hollywood and to solidify the Democratic percentage of Jewish voters for a generation. A lot of decent people were singled out for investigation solely because of their religion and ethnicity and a whole lot of politicos used and still use criticism of the 'Hollywood Left' as code words for 'those damn dirty Christ-killing, boner-nosed Jewboys.' Witness the reaction to official Hollywood's disinterest in the Gospel According to St Mel.

Posted by: bart at April 30, 2005 6:04 PM

No they weren't. A lot of Jews and Hollywood types were communists. They opposed Mel for the same reasons they supported Stalin.

Posted by: oj at April 30, 2005 6:13 PM

Plenty of Jews, especially from Eastern Europe, feared the average people-- and with good reason. Many of the times they lived at the goodwill of rulers. It is no surprise that, suffering under such a system, so many would support revolutions and revolutionary politics. They would only find out later to their sorrow that in the USSR, as in elsewhere, a tolitarian state means being subject to the worst whims and prejudices of the ruler (and often the people), with no separate source of power in the country to resist or moderate it.

Posted by: John Thacker at April 30, 2005 6:40 PM

They opposed Mel because they saw the script as another attempt by a Catholic to encourage persecution and murder of Jews, in line with 2000 years of Catholic history. I thought he should be allowed to make his film, but that I wouldn't pay him a nickel, nor would I pay to see anything else he's in, giving him the Vanessa Redgrave/Jane Fonda/Susan Sarandon/Barbara Streisand/Sean Penn treatment. It had nothing to do with Stalin and everything to do with history.

For you to think otherwise should disqualify you from ever writing another word about Jewish failure to vote for the GOP, because it is abundantly clear you haven't the vaguest clue about our worldview. Read a little Dennis Prager sometime. Don't waste my time with slimy panderers like Michael Medved either.

There are and were Stalinists in Hollywood, Jewish and Gentile, but HUAC and McCarthy weren't an honest attempt to get rid of them, anymore than the current steroid investigations are about cleaning up major league sports. It's all a posture, a kabuki dance. Bogie and Bacall were no Communists in any real sense of the word, yet they got called to testify.

The hearings were an utter failure and have given us half-century of bad movies and posturing by idiots who want to thumb their noses at the 'Establishment' that gives them millions. Do you really think that when Jack Nicholson visits El Tirano Castro that he has even the merest clue about what goes on there or would support it if he did? He's a moron, an idiot savant, a product of the American underclass. Or do you think he would even cross the street, let alone give money to an attempted Communist takeover of America? He does it for his badboy image.

There has always been zero constituency for Communism in America, and Communist movie-making would fail in short order had it been allowed to come to fruition. The idiots we put into office merely wanted to appeal to the anti-semitism of much of America's gentile population of the time in a way which would not appear to be explicitly anti-Jewish. As a Southern Senator of the time said,' Hitler took away the good name from White Supremacy.'

Posted by: bart at April 30, 2005 6:42 PM

They opposed Mel because they're secular Leftist Chrisophobic twits.

Posted by: oj at April 30, 2005 6:59 PM

The use of Passion Plays as a spur to anti-semitism for centuries just eludes you then, huh?

Again, I am secular, but I am certainly not Leftist or Christophobic and the people who pay my salary don't think I'm a twit.

Posted by: bart at April 30, 2005 7:04 PM

They opposed Mel because they saw the script as another attempt by a Catholic to encourage persecution and murder of Jews, in line with 2000 years of Catholic history. I thought he should be allowed to make his film, but that I wouldn't pay him a nickel, nor would I pay to see anything else he's in, giving him the Vanessa Redgrave/Jane Fonda/Susan Sarandon/Barbara Streisand/Sean Penn treatment. It had nothing to do with Stalin and everything to do with history.

Ah, yes. Ignore completely the strenuous efforts of the twentieth century (including by the previous and new pope, but also by American Evangelical leaders) to excise anti-Semitism from Christians, among other things by pointing out that it and has been contrary to doctrine and to the Gospels. The tendency among so many Jews to paint Christianity as inherently anti-Semitic feeds more into anti-Semitism among Christians than anything else.

While you do have a point that there are certainly good reasons for that kind of fear, you should make some effort to acknowledge that the vast, vast majority of Christians simply don't watch the film in that way, and in no way are encouraged to be anti-Semitic. Evangelicals are extremely unlikely to be anti-Semitic, according to the ADL's own polls.

I think that you're correct that many Jews have understandable historical reasons for reacting against the movie. I think you're quite wrong in thinking that worries about Communism were only a mask for anti-Semitism.

Dennis Prager's column on the subject was very balanced; I've read it before.

Posted by: John Thacker at April 30, 2005 7:08 PM

They don't pay you for your opinions, which are generally vile.

Posted by: oj at April 30, 2005 7:09 PM

The argument that there are good reasons for Jews to hate Christians does, of course, defeat the argument that they don't.

Posted by: oj at April 30, 2005 7:12 PM

Communist movie-making would fail in short order had it been allowed to come to fruition.

What, Mission to Moscow never actually got made? What a shock. You go too far in denying both the existence of Communists in Hollywood, and denying that fears of Communism could be about something other than Jews.

I certainly don't think that Jews were afraid or opposed the movie merely because of being twits; there is a real historical legacy there. I think that the continued fear is unnecessary and saddening, though, and unreflective of the current situation. It does make me feel unjustly accused and insulted, especially since all the anti-Semities I've known have been aggressively secular. I've never known a church-going Christian to hate Jews (and I'm from the South), though I have heard it from people who don't go to church. I've certainly never heard the "Christ-killing" accusation; it makes as much sense as hating modern Egyptians after having a seder.

Posted by: John Thacker at April 30, 2005 7:14 PM

Since when is effectiveness the standard for treason? Can you only persecute traitors if your government is actually overthrown?

Posted by: oj at April 30, 2005 7:19 PM

The twentieth century? That whole Holocaust thing just escaped your notice did it? And who were the guards and the executioners? Buddhists? Hairy Ainu? Hitler's propaganda was filled with Christian references. Just troll about some anti-Jewish websites and you'll read stuff that will curl your nosehairs. BTW, any halfway decent book on Jewish history in America will go into great detail about significant discrimination here until relatively recent times.

My discussion here is not to justify the position that some Jews take, which is correctly described as Christophobic, but to explain what that position is, how it developed, what is the dynamic that perpetuates it long after it would seem to be archaic. When Jews hear a non-Jew pointing at Hollywood in a negative way, many of us tend to see it as anti-semitism and not for its substantive value.

You will also note that I specifically referred to 'Catholics.' The reason for this is much of the American Jewish experience with Christians is with Catholics, the rather different opinions of evangelical Protestants are not something to which we are generally exposed. Jew-hatred is endemic in the Catholic experience in America. When one sees anti-semitism in America among White people, it almost always has a pasty Irish face, i.e. Pat Buchanan. My own, and my parents', experiences with evangelical Christians in the South are of an entirely different character, and I apologize for not making that clear earlier. Jewish leaders and groups which equate some well-dressed, earnest,attractive young Baptist missionaries going door-to-door in Jewish neighborhoods preaching the Gospel with the Tsar's Black Hundreds or the KKK or the Nazis are mendacious in the extreme. Many Jews will conflate the various strains of Christianity into one just as many Christians conflate the various sects of Judaism into one. Both are oversimplifications.

As for Mission to Moscow, I don't recall seeing it on a list of the 1000 top box office films of all time. Hollywood is just as much about making money-making films as Hershey, Pa is about making chocolate bars people will buy. The increasing segmentation of the marketplace due to cable will only weaken the power of any cabal to limit the viewer to one type of movie, rather than strengthen it. I don't deny the existence of Communists in Hollywood, merely that they were or are significant. For every Commie in Hollywood, there are a thousand people trying to get laid and make a buck, not necessarily in that order. And ten thousand people who think 'Manny Festo' is a hot new Hispanic film director. "Didn't he do Desperado?"

What the McCarthy persecutions did was create an environment in that remedial high school that is Hollywood in which all the cool kids were Commies or made Commie noises. That has been far more dangerous than a few Bolshies making a B movie here and there.

OJ, making a dopey movie is hardly treasonous. Should Michael Moore be locked up or executed for making Farenheit 9/11? Or should we merely laugh at him for being the lying fat pantload of a loser that he obviously is? Let's save the guillotine for the Rosenbergs, the Hisses, the Ameses. The marketplace will soon throw Michael Moore into a jumbo-sized dumpster. Look what has happened to Danny Glover's career since he came out against the war. People realize that he never could speak properly and now he's reduced to guest starring on desperate network series that have run out of plot lines. Can a mummy or rat movie be far behind, or even a Stephen King miniseries?

Posted by: bart at April 30, 2005 8:03 PM

The Nazis were garden variety secular rational Darwinists. Jews were not uncommonly Communists. A plague on both their houses.

In a better nation Michael Moore would indeed be blacklisted.

Posted by: oj at April 30, 2005 8:28 PM

Well, here's a bunch of nonsense.

1. I grew up among Irish Catholics, as did my father, and he did it during the Depression. Neither of us saw any antisemitism from them and both have life-long Irish Catholic friends.

2. It has never occurred to me, nor have I ever heard anyone say that Hollywood bashing is coded anti-semitism. As the most prominent current Hollywood basher is Joe Lieberman, this strikes me as nonsense.

3. The American Communist party and its fellow travelers were bought and paid for agents of a foreign power. They spent a lot of energy trying to place communists in the film industry. Congress should not have ignored this.

4. HUAC didn't operate the black list, the studios did. HUAC asked questions about communist membership and prosecuted those who lied. The studios, controlled by Jews, apparently, properly fired and refused to hire communists.

5. I didn't see The Passion, and I'm not particularly interested. Obviously, it didn't conjure up pograms in Beverly Hills. The Prager article John Thacker links to seems eminently practical. Those Christians who think that "the Jews" killed Jesus are dolts; those Jews who think that the facts at the core of Christianity are antisemitic are equally doltish.

6. OJ -- It seems a little over the top to call down a plague on American Jews because a few were communists.

Posted by: David Cohen at April 30, 2005 8:52 PM

Communist houses, Jew or not. Nazi houses, even if Christian.

Posted by: oj at April 30, 2005 9:05 PM

Bart, I went to Catholic school K-12. We put on passion plays in school and in church every year (along with nativity ones, etc). I cannot recall one instant when the Jews were blamed or maligned for anything. Whenever Pilate would ask what was to be done with Jesus, everyone in the pews responded "Crucify him!" as they played "The Crowd". If anything, I was indoctrinated into viewing myself as the one who was responsible. That why when I watched Mel's movie, I didn't see this Jewish bigotry that you do, and I so understand why Mel used his own hand to hold the nail that pierced Jesus' hand. But that's just me, a product of Catholic upbringing.

Posted by: RC at April 30, 2005 11:21 PM

Well, I'll just jump in here and note that I'm Catholic and I grew up in a town loaded with Catholics (Omaha), I went to Catholic grade school and then boarded for four years at a high school run by Benedictine monks...and I don't recognize bart's portrayal of my co-religionists. Maybe things are different in Jersey, but I'm racking my brains thinking of any serious anti-Semitic remarks I've ever heard from anybody I've known, other than jokes clearly understood as such. Nothing is coming up.

Also, I think plenty of people both in the past and the present believe Hollywood is suffused with an air of dopey unreality, and linking these negative feelings with anti-Semitism seems overblown. And whether Hollywood actors were Communists because they genuinely believed in Communism or just because they wanted to be avant-garde is immaterial to the fact that they were part of a movement deeply hostile to the Republic.

I understand that this book (written by a leftist historian who purportedly admires the Communist presence in Hollywood, and who therefore has no qualms about outlining its activities) and this book tell the whole story pretty well.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at May 1, 2005 2:05 AM

If one looks at right wing pundits, those who are anti-Israel and anti-Jewish tend to be Catholic, e.g. Novak, Buchanan, Sobran. Those who are pro-Israel tend to be Protestant, e.g. Will, Thomas, Barnes.

If one looks at White members of Congress who vote against Israel, it is self-evident how many are Catholic, e.g. Kleczka, Dingell, Kaptur, Kanjorski, Nick Smith. Far out of proportion to their percentage in the Congress.

If one looks at American history, the role of Catholic Clergy like Fr. Coughlin in organized anti-semitism and by prominent Catholics like Forrestal cannot be understated. Heavily Catholic areas of American law enforcement like the FBI and CIA are hotbeds of Jew-hatred.

There is no question that the Church since Vatican II has tried to change its culture in this regard. Garroting Protestants, burning heretics at the stake and throwing Jews into ovens are not to be done anymore. But, that was 40 years ago, and to expect most Jews to weigh the last 40 years as more important than the previous 1960 years is a little much. I would also remind you that the Vatican takes a stance quite hostile to Israel and that Cardinal Hoyos when asked about the pedophile scandal blamed it on 'American Jews trying to undermine the Church.' The Catholic radio station in Poland is also full of anti-Jewish rhetoric. As is 'The Wanderer' magazine in America.

NY Metro Area politics has been Jews vs. Irish for about a century and that is not about to change. Even in my crappy NJ suburb, that was the case. The Irish were GOP, the Jews Democrats. The three synagogues in town were regularly vandalized and police protection was a feature of High Holy Day services. Relatives and friends of mine in Nassau County have similar stories. David, my anecdotes are at least as instructive as yours.

As for Lying Joe Lieberman, he'd eat a ham and cheese sandwich while peddling a unicycle down Pennsylvania Avenue on shabbos if it would gain him votes. Inter alia, he introduced James Zogby to Clinton.

Posted by: bart at May 1, 2005 6:45 AM

Each will make of this what they will.

Posted by: Barry Meislin at May 1, 2005 8:50 AM

Bart, Jewish history in Europe is no different than Anabaptists (my own). Pacifists and communists tend to get picked on for reasons other than religion.

Posted by: Randall Voth at May 1, 2005 8:53 AM


That's silly. Michael Novak, Richard John Neuhaus, etc. are as philosemitic as anybody. And the neo-Nazis hate Santorum and Brownback for being pro-Israel:


Posted by: oj at May 1, 2005 9:11 AM

The nuns would smack a kid in the head if they heard racist or anti-semitic language when I was in grammar school. Pre-Vatican II. So would my father, a third generation American Irish Catholic born in 1922.

Posted by: Tom C., Stamford, Ct. at May 1, 2005 11:22 AM

CIA is heavily Catholic?

Since when?

Who knew there were all those Catholics at Harvard and Yale in the 40s and 50s. Next thing you know the State Dept will also be a Catholic institution.

I have to agree with Bart tho, those poroms following Gibson's Passion were appalling.

Oh wait, there were none, sorry.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at May 1, 2005 11:39 AM

Of course there were none after the original Passion plays either.

Posted by: oj at May 1, 2005 11:42 AM

umm; off-point, or off the off-point back-and-forth; Tom Hanks, for better or worse, is quite obviously our Jimmy Stewart, Carrey is nowhere near that caliber

Posted by: Palmcroft at May 1, 2005 2:21 PM

Hanks has never made a movie that can touch Truman Show, Eternal Sunshine, or Bruce Almighty.

Posted by: oj at May 1, 2005 2:32 PM

I was surprised to find out that Bruce Almighty was a very worthwhile show. I only really expected a brain-wasting timepasser, but it's better than that...much better.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at May 1, 2005 4:50 PM

Liar, Liar by the same team is too.

Posted by: oj at May 1, 2005 4:54 PM


The Passion Plays were used by Hitler to encourage anti-semitism and Good Friday was a traditional day of Jew-killing in Europe for centuries, as well as occasional anti-Jewish riots in American cities until after WWII.


I guess you never heard of Bill Donovan, James Angleton, William Colby or all kinds of traitors in CIA like Terpil, Wilson, Howard, Agee and Ames all of whom were Roman Catholics and many of whom went to Catholic colleges. The current FBI head is a Catholic who, according to Dov Hikind, has pointedly refused to hire Arabic-speaking Jews who have applied to help out in the thousands. The prior FBI head, Louis Freeh, was a member of Opus Dei who helped the Opista, Robert Hansson, who turned out to be another Soviet agent. They recruit at Notre Dame Law School but not at Cardozo.

The relative lack of violence(there was some but minor) is noteworthy and was certainly contrary to what most people in the organized Jewish community believed would occur. Things may be changing, and I hope they are but there's still lots of ugliness out there.


Neuhaus' flirtation with Christian Reconstructionism scared the manure out of even his longtime Jewish allies like Midge Decter.

I had the privilege of meeting Michael Novak several years ago and he is a decent fellow but I would hesitate to call him conservative as he does support affirmative action. It struck me as remarkable for a Polish Catholic, certainly a victimized group of American Whites who were not slaveholders in any significant number, nor a significant portion of the Southern White population, to support discrimination against his own group for no good reason.

Posted by: bart at May 1, 2005 5:18 PM

There's no history of violence against Jews by Christians following performance of Passion plays. Applied Darwinists are a different matter.

Neuhaus is the best friend Jews have on the Right.

Supporting affirmative action is hardly dispositive.

Posted by: oj at May 1, 2005 5:31 PM

Christian Reconstructionism is scary for a whole lot of reasons but I would think even you would be capable of seeing why it sends shivers to even most sympathetic of Jews.

Views on racial preference are about the most important dividing line between left and right in America.

Posted by: bart at May 1, 2005 5:42 PM


I'm attaching an article from Christianity Today, concerning Passion Plays and Pogroms, because your sense of the matter appears to be another of your delusions like Eric and Julia Roberts being the same person, only much more noxious.

Christian History Corner: Why some Jews fear The Passion
Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ gives Christians the chance to disavow a shameful history of anti-Semitism.
By Collin Hansen | posted 02/20/2004

The Passion of the Christ scares Abraham Foxman. The Anti-Defamation League's national director, currently cast in the role of reluctant film critic, has spent months warning anyone and everyone that The Passion will dramatically strain Christian-Jewish relations and revive age-old Christian hatred for Jews. While most Christians in the West balk at this suggestion, Foxman cannot be dissuaded. He knows the grim history.

"For almost 2,000 years in Western civilization, four words legitimized, rationalized, and fueled anti-Semitism: 'The Jews killed Christ,'" Foxman told the ADL national executive committee during a February meeting. "For hundreds of years those four words—acted out, spoken out, sermonized out—inspired and legitimized pogroms, inquisitions and expulsions."

When Foxman envisions Christ's crucifixion, he does not think about love, forgiveness, or hope. He recalls the Holocaust and Hitler's chilling praise for the famed Oberammergau Passion Play in 1934. He does not weep with unexplainable sadness and joy at the sight of humanity's Savior suffering an undeserved death. He'll never forget the horrifying tales of czarist-era Russian Jews fleeing bloodthirsty gangs bent on Holy Week revenge.

"Read the e-mails, read the Web sites encouraging people to see the film," Foxman warned. "How fragile it is out there. What a reservoir of hatred!"

Hatred? Can we possibly be thinking of the same event? How can he watch Christ's crucifixion and resurrection, the ultimate triumph over death and evil, and think of hatred? The answer to this question is impossible for Christians to fully understand. Sadly, the history of Passion play depictions has been marred by shocking violence against Jews.

"The menace of Jewry"
With the bubonic plague once again sweeping across Europe in 1633, the town leaders of Oberammergau, a Bavarian village, gathered together to beseech God for a miracle. If the Lord would spare little Oberammergau, they promised to thank him by performing a play every 10 years to commemorate Jesus' crucifixion.

After this vow, not one Oberammergau villager died of the plague. The town first performed the play in 1634. More than 350 years later, Oberammergau still remembers its promise. In 2000, nearly half of the town's 5,000 residents participated in the fortieth Oberammergau Passion Play, which drew nearly a half million tourists from around the world.

Yet in the late 1970s, Oberammergau began to draw the ADL's ire. Sensitized by the Holocaust, Jews, especially in Germany, turned a more skeptical eye on Passion plays. Oberammergau, in particular, had been a source of tangible pain. Adolf Hitler had visited the 1934 performance, giving it his eager blessing. "It is vital that the Passion play be continued at Oberammergau; for never has the menace of Jewry been so convincingly portrayed as in this presentation of what happened in the time of the Romans," Hitler had said. "There one sees Pontius Pilate, a Roman racially and intellectually so superior, that he stands out like a firm, clean rock in the middle of the whole muck and mire of Jewry."

To make matters worse, the Dachau concentration camp had performed its horrific duty not far from Oberammergau. While Hitler's brand of murderous anti-Semitism owed far more to scientific determinism than Christianity, he preyed on a history of faith-based persecution. When convenient, Hitler and his Nazi henchmen dredged up the anti-Semitic writings of an elderly Martin Luther to justify their hatred for Jews.

Hitler employed Oberammergau in a similar fashion. He remembered that during and immediately following the Middle Ages, enraged Passion play spectators sometimes invaded the ghettos to exact revenge on Jews for killing Jesus. He hoped Christians would react similarly after viewing the Oberammergau Passion Play. This and other Nazi overtures to the racism simmering barely below the surface of German religious culture produced mixed results, with some churchmen eagerly advocating Nazism and others opposing Hitler on Christian grounds.

Yet as Pope John Paul II acknowledged in 1997, many sincere Christians looked the other way during the Holocaust because in their estimation the Jews were getting what they deserved for rejecting Christ. "The erroneous and unjust interpretations of the New Testament regarding the Jewish people and their presumed guilt circulated for too long" and "contributed to a lulling of many consciences at the time of World War II, so that, while there were 'Christians' who did everything to save those who were persecuted, even to the point of risking their own lives, the spiritual resistance of many was not what humanity expected of Christ's disciples," the Pope told a group meeting to discuss "The Roots of Anti-Judaism in the Christian Milieu."

Guilty blood?
The Pope may have had the Slovakian papal nuncio in mind when making his remarks about the "lulled consciences" during World War II. When asked in 1942 to intervene on behalf of Jewish children slated by the Nazis to be deported to concentration camps, the nuncio refused. "There is no innocent blood of Jewish children in the world. All Jewish blood is guilty. You have to die. This is the punishment that has been awaiting you because of that sin [of deicide]," he replied. Deicide, which means "to kill God," is the foremost "erroneous and unjust" interpretation of Scripture that has incited so much hostility. In Passion plays, a difficult forum for conveying the theological nuance of humanity's collective culpability, the Jews have often become an inviting target.

Unfortunately, deicide has not been the lone charge directed collectively against Jews. As recently as the early twentieth century, pogroms sometimes erupted during Holy Week in Eastern European nations when rumors spread about Jewish crimes. Inflamed by outlandish accusations, such as the claim that Jews killed Christian children and used their blood to make matzo bread for Passover, unruly gangs searched out Jews to kill and maim.

This style of pogrom dates back to the First Crusade. Until this point European Jews largely eluded organized violence, but marauding crusaders on their way to the Middle East in 1096 stopped to slaughter Jews in the Rhineland. One crusader's account recalls, "Behold we journey a long way to seek the idolatrous shrine and to take vengeance upon the Muslims. But here are the Jews dwelling among us, whose ancestors killed him and crucified him groundlessly. Let us take vengeance first upon them. Let us wipe them out as a nation."

Outbreaks of Christian anti-Semitism related to the Passion narrative have been so numerous and destructive that theologian and Holocaust survivor Eliezer Berkovits concluded, "the New Testament is the most dangerous anti-Semitic tract in human history." But neither the New Testament nor The Passion of the Christ is about Jewish deicide or revenge. Each is about God placing the iniquities of us all on his one and only son, who suffered unspeakable brutality to redeem his estranged children. Now is the time for Christians to disavow the history of Passion-linked hatred and show Jews "how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ" (Eph. 3:18).

Collin Hansen is editorial resident for Christian History magazine. More Christian history, including a list of events that occurred this week in the church's past, is available at ChristianHistory.net. Subscriptions to the quarterly print magazine are also available.

Posted by: bart at May 1, 2005 5:49 PM

OJ: Truman Show, Eternal Sunshine and Bruce Almighty are good movies. Eternal Sunshine may be excellent, although I'll have to watch it again. But Truman and Bruce suffer from awful third act problems that pull them back down into run-of-the-mill mediocrity.

Bart: ADL was wrong on The Passion, and was wrong ex ante. It was, in fact, a good proof of their complete disconnect from modern American society in which the semitophiles are all on the Christian right.

Posted by: David Cohen at May 1, 2005 6:36 PM


Note that the notion of anti-Semitic violence following Passion plays is attributed to Hitler? In its 400 years of Passion plays Oberammergau has no such history.

Posted by: oj at May 1, 2005 6:40 PM


No, I don't get why Jews oppose having the law conform to Judeo-Christian morality.

Posted by: oj at May 1, 2005 6:50 PM


Both end exquisitely.

Posted by: oj at May 1, 2005 6:52 PM

ADL turned out to be wrong, thankfully. However, there was no shortage of anti-Jewish invective all over the airwaves and the net during the run-up to its showing. Philosemitism and antisemitism remain strewn across the political landscape for a whole laundry list of reasons.

ADL has been missing the boat on a regular basis since Nathan Perlmutter died. I quit when they praised David Dinkins during the Crown Heights pogrom, and backed affirmative action. Their hostility to manifestations of Christian faith in the public square, including schools, grates on me too. As long as I know that I can get my building permit without rancor at Town Hall, I really don't care if they put a manger in front of it at Christmastime. The country is 90+% Christian and those folks have a right to their traditions just as much as our lousy 2.7% of the population does. Religious carols in schools, KJV readings on a daily basis, Christian devotionals before a football game don't upset me in the slightest and I really wonder at the tender sensibilities of those it does as well as their respect for the rights of others. Bible study is an integral part of Western Civilization. If I insist on rights for myself should I not be similarly insistent on rights for others.

Posted by: bart at May 1, 2005 6:53 PM

The anti-Jewish invective was well earned by folks like Fioxdman attacking the movie and saying Christians would go off on pogroms.

No, people who don't accept responsibilities nor the basis of rights are not necessarily entitled to them. They are threats to the established order.

Posted by: oj at May 1, 2005 7:15 PM

The end of Bruce almost makes the whole thing unwatchable. You can almost see the writers decide that they had written themselves into a hole, and all they could come up with is the most unconvincing riot ever filmed.

The end of Truman isn't that awful, but badly needed a crucifixion. It's as if the Passion ended with Jesus giving Mary Magdalene a big wet one before sitting down to brunch with Pilate.

Posted by: David Cohen at May 1, 2005 9:22 PM

Truman isn't Christ, he's Adam, rejecting security in favor of freedom.

Posted by: oj at May 1, 2005 9:32 PM

The movie seems a little crowded for Eden.

Posted by: David Cohen at May 1, 2005 9:49 PM

Crowded? He's alone.

Posted by: oj at May 1, 2005 10:15 PM