Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Anti-Semitism on the rise in Canada. Some blame Mel's Movie

A "chilling" new audit by a Jewish group says a record number of anti-Semitic incidents were reported in Canada last year.

Read the rest here.

B'nai Brith Canada's League for Human Rights released a report Tuesday citing 857 incidents across the country. That's the highest number since the organization began tracking such incidents 22 years ago. And it's up 47 per cent from 2003.

The number of anti-Jewish incidents in Canada jumped around the time Mel Gibson released The Passion of the Christ, an advocacy group said Tuesday.

That surge in the spring of last year also coincided with increased tension in the Middle East but at least some of the harassment can be attributed to the controversial film, the head of B'nai Brith Canada says.

Read the rest here.

I watched The Passion of the Christ and I found it very moving. Yes, there were bits that made me very uncomfortable in how they portrayed Jews. But I don't think the film made converts to the anti-semitic cause. It probably gave fodder to anti-semitic sentiments all ready out there.

But Mel's movie was no worse than what we hear from pulpits on Good Friday, or when the Pharisees are portrayed as power-hungry politicians, or when the Jews are presented in sermons as enemies of the new covenant, hung-up on law rather than gospel, forgetting that Jesus was a torah-keeping Jew.

Lutheran theology teaches that all sinners crucified Christ. Not the Jews, specifically. We're all on the hook. No one is exempt.

So today, I condemn violence against my Jewish sisters and brothers, and will say a prayer for those who feel they need to act violently against God's Chosen People.

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