The Lie of the Crucifixion, the St. Matthew Distortions
The president of the American Jewish Committee was quick to
brand a recent anti-Semitic statement by Italian Bishop Luigi Carli
of Segni, as "an anti-Semitic attack" and as "medieval arrogance."
(See Jewish News, April 22.)
The Anti-Defamation League's release announcing the publication
of the sociological study "Christian Beliefs and Anti-Semitism," con-
tained this telling paragraph:
"According to the study, the main theme in religious hostility
toward Jews has been that they are under a curse based on the
literal interpretation of Matthew's report in the New Testament
that the Jewish multitude took 'His blood upon us, and on our
children.' This version of Jewish guilt in the crucifixion is cited
as having 'long served as a rationale for anti-Semitism' by those
who believe 'God is punishing the Jews and hence there is divine
approval for Christians doing likewise.'"
Yet, neither the American Jewish- Committee nor the Anti-Defama-
tion League has seen fit to call attention to and to warn against the
horrible film, "The Gospel According to St. Matthew."
There is no way of knowing what the reactions are among the
many who presently are in the audiences at the local theater showing
this film. But if one instance is an indication — the answer of a mother
to her very young child's query during the showing of the film, "Yes,
they are all Jews"—it could well serve as a guide to the possible effects
of the film. And if the hordes of youths who were in the waiting line
for late Saturday night showings of the film are any indication at all,
it means that new audiences are moving in to witness the portrayal
of the lie about the crucifixion as a charge against Jews, and to hear the
false evidence of Matthew, part of which is the constant outcry, in
the Gospel and reiterated in the film — "Woe unto you, scribes and
Pharisees, hypocrites!" This is repeated in St. Matthew, chapter 23,
verses 14, 15, 23, 25, 27, 29.
Then the film, which portrays nearly all Jews, fails to indicate,
although they are mentioned, the superior role that was played by
the Romans and Pontius Pilate! True, they are there, the_ Romans and
Pilate, but they are minor, and St. Matthew's venom, distortions and
appeals to hatred for the Jews are contained, first in the declaration
by Pilate, as Jesus is ordered to die: "I am innocent of the blood of
this just person: see ye to it." So, according to Matthew, even Pilate
was innocent! Then came the next sentence, (St. Matthew, 27:25):
"Then answered all the people, and said, 'His blood be on us, and
our children." (The bold type in the quotes are in the New Testament
That is how bigotry began, this is how it is being perpetuated!
And a film made by a former Communist, Pier Paolo Pasalini, is being
hailed in all reviews amidst virtual silence in Jewish ranks! Are we
too busy with ecumenism that is so uncertain?
Let it be known: the MattheW film is anti-Semitic because it
continues and lays stress on the lie of the crucifixion — which was a
Roman and not a Jewish practice, in which Jews are guiltless — and
we speak of Jews of all times It is an anti-Semitic film because
of its literal revival of the most outrageous misrepresentation of the
Jesus story. It even libels Jesus and his followers during his lifetime
because they were all Jews! And if there were criticisms of the priests
of his time they can be found in Jewish Scriptures (Old Testament),
without going to distorted texts wherein there is appeal to hatred.
Why aren't there Christians, especially among the ecumenically-
minded of this age, to cry out against the anti-Semitic film? But we
are asking the same question about unedited textbooks in which the
hatred against Jews still persists. How sad the historic status, that
ancient lies cannot be erased, that prejudice is built upon religious
ardor, that truth has not yet made man free of hatred and bias!
* * *
Bigotry's Hoary Head Still Protruding
When the Vatican Ecumenical Council adopted its schema on the
Jews, a Catholic periodical published a cartoon showing a couple of
kids in a heated argument, and the Jewish lad was accosted with the
charge: "You former Christ-killer!" It served the purpose of a cartoon:
as entertainment. Tragically, it also served another cartoon purpose:
it portrayed human emotions and the inevitability of bigotry's re-
Last week, one of the leaders in the battle against the proposal
to end the age-old charge against all Jews implicit in the crucifixion
teachings—Bishop Luigi Carli of Segni, who was the leader in the
successful effort to prevent the adoption of a stronger statement on
the Jews at the Ecumenical Council—reaffirmed the ancient charges
against Jewry for whom he pronounced an "of condemnation by God"
judgment. In a 44-page article in a clerical magazine, Bishop Carl
revived the deicide charge, and now we are, in a sense, back where
we started with a vociferous element in the Catholic Church.
It is no wonder that the president of the American Jewish Com-
mittee, Morris B. Abram; called the new outburst "an anti-Semitic
Nevertheless, the fact remains that the vote on the statement
"deploring" anti-Semitism, as formulated by the Ecumenical Council,
was adopted by a vote of 1,763 to 250. But there remain the 250, and
it is impossible to know whether this number can spread or reduce.
The new outburst by the Bishop of Segni assumes added signifi-
cance because it exploded at a time corresponding with a report issued
by the Anti-Defamation League of Bnai Brith which asserts that anti-
Jewish prejudices in the United States are being reinforced and fos-
tered by Christian teachings.
A sociological study entitled "Christian Beliefs and Anti-
Semitism," made by University of California Research Center, to
be published undef an ADL grant by Harper and Row, indicates
that at least a fourth of those who show anti-Semitic tendencies
"have a religious basis for their prejudices while nearly another
fifth have this religious basis in considerable part" and that the
religious basis for prejudice is lacking in only 5 per cent anti-
There has been an element of blindness in viewing conditions
affecting Jews throughout the world. Hitler was toasted on his birthday
last week in many areas, including England and Australia, as well as
in Germany and in other areas. There have been evidences of a re-
invigorated anti-Semitic movement in this country. The study that was
made possible by a $500,000 grant from ADL to probe "the enduring
phenomenon of anti-Semitism in the United States, in an effort to find
effective ways to combat the menace, refutes the "comfortable and
complacent" view that anti-Semitism has ceased to be a real problem
in this country.
The California sociologists' findings strike at the root of the
problem by calling for "a systematic reappraisal of Christian
education, both as it teaches its history and doctrines and in the
way it deals with the question of anti-Semitism as such."
The Tragedy of Religious
Shazar Gift Inaugurates
Hillel Campaign in Israel
Distortions and the Lie of
the Charge of Crucifixion
JERUSALEM — A personal gift
from President Zalman Shanr
initiated a Friends of Hillel In
Israel campaign to assist the Bnai
Brith Hillel Foundations program
in that country.
The Hillel Foundations are main-
tained on the campuses of the
Hebrew University in Jerusalem
and Techni•n in Haifa.
Friends of Hillel in Israel was
organized by a group of govern-
ment, education and business
leaders. Mrs: Itzhak Ben-Zvi,
widow of Israel's former president; ,:;-
Ambassador Avraham Harman.
Dr. Eliahu Elath, president of The '—
Hebrew University; Rabbi Joseph
Lookstein, president of Bar Ilan
University; and Solomon Wolf, a
prominent Tel Aviv attorney, are
among the members of its national
While major religious organizations have condemned anti-Semitism
and have made efforts to resist it, the version of Jewish guilt in the
death of Christ, especially as presented in Matthew in the New Testa-
ment, carries much weight. The ADL-sponsored study shows that a
majority of Christians in this country acknowledge the mutual roots
of Judaism and Christianity, nevertheless 43 per cent of Protestants
and 50 per cent of Catholics who were queried nationally in the Cali-
fornia sociologists' research identified the Jews as the "group most
responsible for the crucifixion."
The hideous charges against Jews thus gain ground uninterruptedly
because the Christian teachings have not been changed, textbooks have
not been revised. The Jew is the Christ-killer and the convenient scape-
goat in religious prejudice remains the abused everywhere.
It is no wonder, therefore, that a bishop has emerged in Italy to
revive the old charges, to treat Jews as god-killers, to speak of us as
surviving "illegally with respect to God."
The revived attack on Judaism by Bishop Carli—he was careful to
make a distinction between "Judaism" and the idea of anti-Semitism,
yet his article reeked with bias —'serves anew to set into action what-
ever vigilance can be practiced to be on guard against bigotry's revival.
The values of ecumenism remain: it is necessary for men of all faiths
to live together in harmony. That does not erase the fact that in mat-
ters of bigotry the burden of action lies upon those who are responsible
for the venom of anti-Jewish hatred.
More Pius XII Revelations in New Documentation
A misfiled document discovered working on his doctorate was the "The Deputy," the play that has
accidentally in the archives of the genesis of "Pius XII and the Third aroused a continuing international
Third Reich by a young historian Reich: A Documentation" by Saul controversy over the silence of
Friedlaender, which will be pub- Pope Pius XII in face Of the Nazi
lished by Knopf May 17 in a mass murders.
translation from the French and
Among these documents, most
German by Charles Fullman.
of which are secret German dis-
The document was a dispatch patches between the Vatican and
from the German embassy at the the Reich Foreign Office, are the
Vatican, stating that Pius XII had original, harrowing eyewitness re-
Joseph M. First, secretary and requested a special concert per- port by Kurt Gerstein of concen-
general counsel of Triangle Publi- formance of the Berlin Opera tration camp gassings; a moving
cations, Inc., and a noted civic Company in Rome. The date was letter from Eugene Cardinal Tis-
leader, Sunday was elected the March 1941, by which time the serant about the fall of France;
ninth president of the Jewish Pub- Nazis' practice of euthanasia in a fruitless appeal to the Pope for
lication Society of America at its mental hospitals, their oppression a few words of moral support from
78th annual meeting at the War- of Poland, and their segregation the president of the Polish govern-
wick Hotel, Philadelphia.
policy against the Jews were widely ment in exile; another from the
He succeeded Sol Satinsky, who known. Friedlaender asked for Chief Rabbi of Israel and others.
After Saul Friedlaender's par-
served as president of the world's the other Vatican files in Wil-
oldest organization of its kind for helmstrasse, and eventually he de- ents were killed at Auschwitz, he
the past six years. Satinsky was cided to publish a collection of was hidden in a Catholic - mon-
documents. Many of these were astery until the end of the war.
elected a life trustee.
unavailable even to the author of He went to Israel in 1948.
First, a resident of Merion, Pa.,
was elected a trustee of Temple
University a week ago. He earned
his bachelors and master of laws
degrees from the University of
Pennsylvania and the University of
Pennsylvania Law School. He
graduated cum laude and was case
editor of the University of Penn-
sylvania Law Review, was a
By BORIS SMOLAR
Gowen Fellow and is a recipient
(Copyright, 1966, JTA, Inc.)
of the Order of the Coif. In 1958
JEWISH IMAGE: The first part of the $500,000 study on anti-
he was awarded the University of
Pennsylvania Alumni Award of Semitism in the United States — conducted by the University of Cali-
Merit, and three years later the fornia on funds from the Anti-Defamation League of Bnai Brith —
Pennsylvania Bar Association Dis- reveals the extent to which Christian teachings still continue to
foster anti-Jewish prejudice in this country. More important are
tinguished Service Award.
the other parts of the same study which throws light on how Americans
Elected vice presidents of the in general see the Jew.
Jewish Publication Society were
These findings give a picture of the image of the American Jew
David C. Melnicoff, of Philadel- as conceived by the American non-Jew today. They are built an a
phia; Leo Gusik and Maxwell M. national cross-nation sampling, the figures of which are yet to be
Rabb, both of New York City; thoroughly analyzed.
Philip D. Sang of Chicago, and
From the preliminary analysis, one can see that ancient anti-
Jerome J. Shestack, of Philadel- Jewish canards still have a tight hold on the minds of too many
Americans. Even stereotyped thinking about Jewish physical appear-
William S. Fishman, of Phila- ance remains strong. More than 40 per cent of those questioned
delphia, was elected treasurer; Dr. thought they could tell whether a person is a Jew just by the way
Paul Sloane, secretary; Dr. Chaim he looks.
Potok, editor, and Lesser Zussman,
Only 25 per cent said that the Jews do not control internationa -'•
banking, while 29 per cent stated that Jews do control internationa
finance; 45 per cent answered they didn't know; 41 per cent said th. --
"Jews are more willing to use shady practices" but 47 per cent re-
Random Issues Poetic
Works of 82 Russians
About 60 per cent thought that" the average Jew has more money
Edited by Avraham Yarmolinsky than most people," and only 1 per cent thought they have less money
with translations by Babette than most. About 38 per cent gave the answer "about the same."
Deutsch, "Two Centuries of Rus- More than 55 per cent believe Jews to be more ambitious than others;
sian Verse," published by Random only 2 per cent thought the Jews less ambitious; the remainder Con-
House, contains more than 350 sidered the Jews as ambitious as other Americans.
selections by 82 poets from Lo-
More than 50 per cent of those asked thought "Jews stick together
monosov to Voznesensky.
too much" and 39 per cent rejected this idea of clanishness. The rest
More than 100 poems have been didn't know.
newly translated for this volume.
Discouraging as this picture may be, there is also a silver lining
Yarmolinsky's introduction serves showing that direct contact with Jews impresses the American non-
as a critique of the individual Jew and changes his negative views of them which are usually based
poets and is a useful survey of on hearsay. Thus, 62 per cent of those interviewed in the cross-section
trends in Russian verse. He has sampling said that the more contact one had with Jews, the more one
written many books on all phases got to like them; 13 per cent said this wasn't true and 18 per cent
of Russian literature and civiliza- were't sure.
tion and has prepared American
More than 75 per cent said they found Jews warm and friendly
editions of almost all the great people; 74 per cent found Jews "becoming more and more like other
Americans"; 83 per cent said it would make no difference to them
Babette Deutsch, the translator, whether Jews lived in their neighborhood or not, and 65 per cent
is a highly regarded poet. Her expressed the opinion that a social club did not have the right to re-
most recent books are "Poetry in ject a proposed member on the ground that he was Jewish.
Our Time," "The Poetry Hand-
It will take many months, and perhaps a few years, until the data
book," and "Collected Poems, 1919- of the University of California will be analyzed and correlated. In the
meantime these findings show that as time goes on the Jewish image
in the eyes of the average American who comes into contact with
Jews is improving. Where facts replace myth and where knowledge
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
replaces hearsay, attitudes change for the better.
2—Friday, April 29, 1966
Joseph M. First
,f PS President
alle 0 l•Milli0111111
..and Me /