Mel Gibson's controversial new film THE PASSION OF CHRIST has found an unlikely defender in a senior American rabbi.

RABBI A JAMES RUDIN has urged people not to boycott the movie, which has enraged some Jewish religious leaders who argue it blames Jews for the death of Jesus Christ.

Having seen a rough cut of the film, Rabbi Rudin - who is the AMERICAN JEWISH COMMITTEE's senior adviser on inter-religious affairs - wants the film to unite Jews and Christians.

He says, "Use this movie in what we call a teachable moment to bring together Jews and Christians to look at the whole story of how the Passion has been used and abused."

The Passion Of Christ stars stunning Italian actress Monica Bellucci as Mary Magdalene and THE THIN RED LINE star Jim Caviezel in the title role.

28/11/2003 19:35