Feelings of Hostility toward Jews absent in "Passion" film according to Poll

( [email protected] ) Mar 18, 2004 03:14 AM EST

Although critics and other leading figures of religious communities have questioned whether "Passion" will pose a threat in stirring up Anti-Semitism, a recent nation-wide poll conducted demonstrates otherwise. In actuality, the film is lessening hostility towards Jews contrary to what was predicted, a recent poll shows.

The Institute for Jewish and Community Research conducted a research inquiring Americans regarding the film. The poll was conducted nationwide sampling 1,003 randomly selected adults last week, on March 5-9. The calculation determining the credibility of the statistics, the percent error rate of the entire poll, was plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, a calculation that was particularly significant of the population and subjects tested.

Statistics show that 24 percent of Americans familiar with the film say Jews alive at the time of Christ's crucifixion were not solely responsible. Among those surveyed, less than 2 percent blame Jews for the crucifixion.

"While the film may have a different impact elsewhere in the world, so far the Passion of the Christ is not producing any significant anti-Jewish backlash," said Dr. Gary Tobin, president of ICJR.

"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 no appear to be happening. Their concern, however, was not unfounded given the rise of anti-Semitism around the world, and the central theme of Christ killing in anti-Jewish prejudice," Gary stated..

Among the subjects who saw the film, 83 percent said the film does not affect their opinions whether contemporary Jews were to blame, 2 percent said the film made Jews more likley to be responsible, and 9 percent said the film holds Jews less likely of responsibility. Polls results show that most Americans do not particularly hold grudges against the Jewish community, as critics and Jewish leaders assert.

"The questions raised about the anti-Jewish images in the movie helped bring the question of the role of Jews in the death of Christ out in the open. It is better to have dialogue and honest discussion and trust that the bond between Christians and Jews in America is strong," said Tobin.