25% Of Americans Believe Jews Killed JesusBy Nathan Guttman
Posted to the website of Bridges For Peace
February 24, 2004
WASHINGTON - One in four Americans believes the Jews were responsible for the death of Jesus, a new survey shows.
The survey, sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), was conducted in December, before the release of Mel Gibson's film, "The Passion of the Christ." The film premiered on February 25 in 2,800 theaters throughout the United States, and most showings were reportedly sold out.
Anti-Defamation League Director Abraham Foxman says he finds it worrisome that so many Americans already believe the Jews are to blame for the death of Jesus. He says the film, which blames the Jews specifically for the crucifixion of Jesus, may strengthen this perception.
The ADL poll found the belief in the culpability of the Jews was stronger among older Americans, those with less formal education, and among African and Hispanic Americans.
Another poll, conducted by the ABC network, found that 10 per cent of Americans blame Jews living today for the death of Jesus.
Gibson said the film, which describes the last 12 hours in the life of Jesus, is faithful to the New Testament description of events and is not at all anti-Semitic. He called anti-Semitism "a sin."
It has been claimed that "The Passion of the Christ" is problematic because it exaggerates the role of the Jewish crowd and the high priest in demanding the crucifixion of Jesus, while minimizing the role of the Romans. It has also been noted that the film ignores historical context - the fact that the Romans crucified Jesus, as they did thousands of others whom they viewed as fomenters of dissent, threatening the stability of their rule.
Pray that the current controversy over the Mel Gibson movie will show Christians and Jews how we must work harder to understand one another. Pray that Christians will understand that Jesus gave His own life up for the salvation of many. Pray that the painful anti-Semitic attacks, which often followed passion plays in the past, not be replicated in the present.
"The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life--only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father" (John 10:17-18).
A Concise Summary of Who We Are
Bridges For Peace is a Jerusalem-based, Bible-believing Christian organization supporting Israel and building relationships between Christians and Jews worldwide through education and practical deeds expressing God's love and mercy.
It is our desire to see Christians and Jews working side by side for better understanding and a more secure Israel.
Founded in 1976, Bridges for Peace seeks to be a ministry of hope and reconciliation. Through programs both in Israel and worldwide, we are giving Christians the opportunity to actively express their biblical responsibility before God to be faithful to Israel and the Jewish community.
For too long Christians have been silent. For too long the Jewish community has had to fight its battles alone. It is time Christian individuals and congregations speak up for the people who gave us the Bible.
We are committed to the following goals:
- To encourage meaningful and supportive relationships between Christians and Jews in Israel and around the world.
- To educate and equip Christians to identify with Israel, the Jewish people, and the biblical/Hebraic foundations of our Christian faith.
- To bless Israel and the Jewish people in Israel and worldwide, through practical assistance, volunteer service, and prayer.
- To communicate Christian perspectives to the attention of Israeli leaders and the Jewish community-at-large.
- To counter Anti-Semitism worldwide and support Israel's divine God-given right to exist in her God-given land.
We are accomplishing this through a variety of programs:
- Dispatch from Jerusalem: A bi-monthly publication with pertinent and positive news from Israel and informative insights into the hopes and aspirations of the Israeli people, all in a prophetic context.
- Israel Teaching Letter: Monthly in-depth studies bringing to light the fuller meanings of biblical concepts from the Hebraic roots of the Scriptures.
- Jerusalem Mosaic: A dynamic television series, shot on location in Israel, which brings the Land of the Bible and her people direct from Israel to you.
- Update From Jerusalem: Weekly e-mail update with prayer focus. To subscribe, visit our website at Bridges for Peace and sign up on the left hand column of our front page.
- Chai Night Prayer and Study Groups: A monthly intercessory prayer program sponsored by individuals and churches around the world who desire to "Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem."
- Bridge-Building Projects: Promote better Christian-Jewish understanding and support for Israel on the local and regional level around the world. Projects such as Hebrew classes, film series, Israel Awareness Programs, speakers bureau, study seminars, etc. are offered.
- Operation Ezra: A vital social assistance program providing a channel of practical help to a variety of worthy projects in Israel utilizing cash contributions and gifts-in-kind from Christians to bless Israel. Through our Food Bank, food gifts are channeled to help Israel's needy. Currently we are assisting Jewish immigrants to Israel, Israel's elderly and poor from many communities.
- Project Rescue/Project Hope: These programs help the poorest Jews, from the countries of the Diaspora, prepare to immigrate to Israel (Project Rescue) and helps sustain those who cannot come, the elderly and the sick (Project Hope). Without our help, most would find the cost of passports, visas, ground transportation, lodging, etc., out of their reach.
- Short Term Service: A wonderful opportunity for Christians to build sincere relationships by volunteering to serve as short term staff assisting Israel's poor and new immigrants directly via our BFP Food Bank/Distribution Center, Gleaning Program, and Home Repair Project, and assisting in administrative and Bridges for Peace Forest in Israel: Located on Mt. Tabor, this forest gives Christians the opportunity to participate in the greening of Israel and the fulfillment of the prophecies about the restoration of the Land.
- Bible Study Tours in Israel: Bridges for Peace provides a variety of travel opportunities and lectures to help you or your tour group gain a deeper understanding of Israel, the Jewish people and the Jewish roots of our Christian faith in light of the Bible, history, archaeology, and current events. An extensive pre-travel study manual is a part of all BFP tours and is also available to individuals or tour groups coming to Israel.
For More Information, write to any of our national offices. (addresses below.)
We are also available to help you plan activities in your area. When you come to Israel, we would like to meet you or speak to your group. Please contact us in advance to visit our International Headquarters in Jerusalem. Phone: +972-2-624-5004, FAX: +972-2-624- 6622
We invite you to join us in a practical expression of this desire to bless Israel by becoming an active Bridge-builder and participating in fulfilling biblical prophecy through the vital and important work of Bridges for Peace.
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