Poll: Passion wont incite anti-Semitism

Sign up for Weekday J and get the latest on what's happening in the Jewish Bay Area.

No need to run Mel Gibson out of town on a rail just yet. A poll taken by the Institute for Jewish & Community Research has found that Gibson’s controversial film “The Passion of the Christ” might actually be lessening anti-Semitism in America.

The poll indicates that among non-Jews who have seen the film or are familiar with it, 83 percent said it had no impact on the extent to which they feel contemporary Jews are to blame for the death of Jesus.

Nine percent said the film has actually made them less likely to hold today’s Jews responsible. Only 2 percent said “The Passion” made them more likely to hold Jews responsible.

Gary Tobin, president of the Institute for Jewish & Community Research, noted that “the film and perhaps even more, the discussions about the film, are having something of a positive effect, which is good news.

“Some Jewish and Christian leaders have been understandably worried that the film might unleash a wave of hostility toward Jews and even erode the constructive effects of Vatican II. But this does not appear to be happening. It is better to have dialogue and honest discussion and trust that the bond between Christians and Jews in America is strong.”