The Shmooze

Abe Foxman Embraces 'Son of God' Movie

By Anne Cohen

  • Print
  • Share Share

“Son of God” is the latest in a series of New Testament movies inspired by the life and death of Jesus Christ. But for once, Jewish leaders are positive about the film’s portrayal of Jews.

Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League told the Wrap that he hopes “Son of God” will be “the antidote to the poison that ‘Passion of the Christ’ became.”

“It’s almost a disservice to ‘Son of God’ to compare the two,” he said.

It’s been ten years (can you believe it?) since Mel Gibson’s Jesus epic opened in theaters. The movie was, and has since been criticized by Foxman and others for its negative and stereotypical portrayal of Jews. “Son of God,” on the other hand, is a big-screen-adapted version of the popular History channel miniseries “The Bible.”

“Gibson bloodied the Jews by portraying them as such villains,” said Foxman. But as the Wrap points out, Foxman doesn’t have the same attitude towards all depictions of the crucifixion.

“The story of the crucifixion and the way it has been used through the centuries has never been good for the Jews,” he said. “Having said that, ‘Son of God’ is the most sensitive, caring depiction of the story of Jesus that I have ever seen. The producers have done everything possible to put the events into historical, political and psychological context.”

According to Foxman, the ADL was met with “Son of God” creators Mark Burney and Roma Downey during the production process. The ADL is even sponsoring a dinner honoring the two on May 8.

But not everyone is as positive as Foxman. In his review of “Son of God” for the New York Post, Kyle Smith was not so enthusiastic about the film’s depiction of Jewish characters (or the movie in general).

Meanwhile, evil Jewish elders lurk in Jerusalem, fretting that Jesus’ antics will cause the Romans to cancel Passover. (As in many movies of this kind, the bad Jews look a lot more stereotypically Jewish than the good Jews.) The editing structure is: miracle, scheming villains, miracle, scheming villains. Though his followers call him “Rabbi,” Jesus here is more entertainer than teacher. Who wouldn’t follow a guy so agreeable, so ready to fix your troubles? “Son of God” is like one of those Good News Bibles that avoids words of more than two syllables.

“Son of God” opens nationwide on Friday. Watch the trailer here:


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: son of god, jewish, anti-defamation league, crucifixion, jesus, abe foxman

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.