Mel Gibson's controversial movie The Passion Of The Christ has come under attack once more - this time by representatives of two Jewish groups who viewed the film.

The AMERICAN JEWISH COMMITTEE, which sent its interfaith experts to church screenings in Florida and Illinois, says the movie contained "unnecessary and destructive imagery of Jews" and "represents a disturbing setback" to relations between Jews and Christians.

ABRAHAM FOXMAN, America's national director of the ANTIDEFAMATION LEAGUE, who has accused Gibson of holding anti-Semitic views, saw the film for the first time on Wednesday night (21JAN04) in Florida and deems it an "unambiguous portrayal of Jews as being responsible for the death of JESUS".

Gibson, who directed, funded and co-scripted the film, has repeatedly denied that his movie maligns Jews.

Jewish groups have been worried that Gibson's script would ignore modern teaching by the Roman Catholic Church and many other denominations that Jews were not collectively responsible for Christ's death. The notion of Jewish guilt fuelled anti-Semitism for centuries.

23/01/2004 19:39