At a press conference at the headquarters of News Corporation, Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn), along with nearly 100 New Yorkers, urged distributors to reject Mel Gibson's film "The Passion."
"In screenings, Mel Gibson's film dredges up the age-old lore promulgating the guilt of Jews in the crucifixion," said Hikind. "Throughout history, the week leading up to Easter was one of the most dangerous for Jews, because the rabble had been stirred up by passion plays which portrayed hook-nosed Jews clamoring for Jesus' death. This film turns the clock back to the dark ages."
According to a statement released by News Corporation, 20th Century Fox, which had first rights to the film, will not distribute Gibson's film. News Corp. stated, "Icon has indicated to us that it has a number of alternative distribution options that it is pursuing. In light of that, Fox and Icon have agreed not to partner on this project."
"Gibson's film is turning out to be a remake of the passion plays which spurred the mass murder of Jews," Hikind asserts. In 1934, after viewing the ignoble passion play in Oberammergau, Adolf Hitler declared that it "convincingly portrayed the menace of Jewry." Hikind called on other potential distributors to decline "The Passion."
The film has been denounced for its tone and tenor which shows a bloodthirsty Jewish mob cheering the torture and execution of Jesus and assigns culpability to Jews. The Second Vatican Council in Rome, in 1965, issued an edict, Nostra Aetate, by Pope Paul VI, vindicating Jews, stating, "what happened….cannot be charged against all Jews without distinction, then alive, nor against the Jews of today." The document also condemned "hatred, persecutions, displays of anti-Semitism, directed against Jews at any time and by anyone." Gibson's religious sect discards Vatican II completely.
"I am calling on New Yorkers to join me in urging distributors to reject Mel Gibson's depiction of Jews as killers. ‘The Passion’ in its current form will spur anti-Semitic fervor," Hikind charges, "and resurrects the age-old canard of deicide. It impugns Jews and shows them to be a murderous cabal. As such, this film should not be distributed by any company."