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In 2003 America, in order to silence their critics an increasing number of people no longer feel it’s necessary to debate with facts to prove their point. Instead, they choose to shout down detractors with infantile rhetoric, name-calling, and insults, because to them that kind of nonsense passes for legitimate “debate.” In reality, though, such tactics only serve to cover up ignorance.

A case in point is Mel Gibson’s newest movie project, “The Passion,” a soon-to-be film classic depicting the last 12 hours in the life of Jesus Christ. People who haven’t even seen the film yet are labeling it – and Gibson as its director – a Jew-hating, anti-Semitic tale simply because it was Gibson’s “passion” to make a film that is historically and biblically accurate.

Chastised by so-called Jewish “academics” who, for reasons only they know, seem to have an interest in concealing the fact that Jews of old pressured and implored Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of ancient Judea, to crucify Jesus – who was Himself a Jew and whose fate was foretold at several junctures in the Bible – the movie is noteworthy not only for its accuracy but its realism, say those who’ve seen it.

While such qualities normally earn praise, the Jewish “academics” – men like Abraham Foxman, head of the Anti-Defamation League – see only resentment and “anti-Semitism.”

But how can a historically accurate film be “anti-Semitic?” Who knows. Foxman himself does little explaining.

“Discussions about Mel Gibson’s forthcoming movie ‘The Passion’ have taken a disturbing turn,” Foxman wrote in an Aug. 4 op-ed published in the New York Sun.

“Rather than focusing on an effort to find out whether Mr. Gibson is making a movie on the death of Jesus that is consistent with church teachings and free of the anti-Semitism that haunted passion dramas for centuries, the very raising of questions is now being depicted as a part of the culture wars that have overwhelmed American society in recent years,” he writes.

The thing is, if Gibson’s movie is “consistent with church teachings,” then it can’t, by nature, by “anti-Semitic” – just honest.

It’s no secret there has been a historical rift between Jews and the Catholic Church, of which Mel Gibson belongs (as do I). And some could argue it’s a matter of interpretation of the Bible. But regardless of which version you read, the gist of Jesus’ crucifixion is the same: Jews admonished Pilate to kill him.

Enter some misdirection. In a Sept. 19 letter to Slate.com, Rabbi Eugene Korn, director of Interfaith Affairs, chastised the Web mag for an article claiming “Jews did kill Jesus” by insulting detractors and relying on a technicality.

“No scholar, historian or informed reader of Christian scriptures makes such an absurd statement,” he wrote. “Jews never crucified anyone, since crucifixion was a Roman punishment for the political crime of sedition against the Roman Empire.”

Jews didn’t perform the crucifixion, they just clamored for and supported it. Oh. History can be cruelly honest, I agree. But that does not an anti-Semite make.

It’s easy to understand why Foxman & Co. reflexively insult instead of debate. They have been able to get away with it for far too long. Friendly media weenies have given them a pass for years instead of pressing them to validate the insults with fact. So, like a child who instinctively hits when he is angered or perturbed, these Jewish “leaders” lash out at anyone questioning their version of history – even if it comes directly from Scripture.

In the case of Gibson’s film, Foxman may be partially right. There was anti-Semitism involved in the lynching of Christ, but it was Jews themselves committing and condoning it. Call it Semitic suicide, perhaps, or maybe even Semitic cleansing. Whatever it was, it is a fact that cannot be disputed.

There is a term for these race- and ethnic-baiting mental midgets: ignorant. Dare to call them such.

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