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August 10, 1973 - Image 11

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1973-08-10

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Canadian Jewish Spokesmen Find Little Danger in 'Superstar'

TORONTO (JTA) — Three
Toronto Jewish community
spokesmen have disagreed
with American Jewish or-

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ganizations which have con-
demned the film, "Jesus
Christ Superstar," as anti-
Semitic.
"The film is not overtly
anti-Jewish in content," Ben
Kayfetz, executive director
of the central region of the
Canadian Jewish Congress,
wrote in a memorandum to
members of the Joint Com-
munity Relations Committee.
"It is possible for a gentile
to view the film and be un-
aware in any conscious way
of the Jews as such being

cdeicides,' " Kayfetz said,
emphasizing he was speaking
for himself, not the CJC.
"I suppose it is never

possible for a Jew to be
totally oblivious of this ele-
ment in the story, but even
as a Jewish viewer of some
sensitivity, my clear impres-
sion is that there is no great
over-emphasis on this aspect
of the traditional story."

Lon Ronson, vice chair-
man of the Joint Community
Relations Committee, said he
felt Christians might con-

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sider the film more anti-
Christian than anti-Jewish
and might be disturbed by
the portrayal of Christ as
"rather weak, overtly human
. . . physically awkward and
mentally ambivalent."
Ronson said while some
scenes might disturb the
sensibility of Jews he did not
think it would affect Chris-
tian attitudes toward Jews.
Steven Ain, a staff mem-
ber of the JCRC, said that
"while comments from
American Jewish organiza-
tions are essentially correct
in their description of vari-
ous scenes and of the script,
their analysis makes one
wonder if we all saw the
same film." He said he
found the film "quite inof-
fensive and rather entertain-
ing."
Six leaders of Protestant
denominations have sharply
criticized the portrayal of
Jews in the film.
In a letter to nearly 2,000
colleagues in Greater Phila-
delphia, the six urged clergy-
men "to counteract the nega-
tive impact the film can have
on Jewish-Christian r e 1 a-
tions."

E. Germans Lift Curb

on Israel Delegation

BONN (JTA) — East Ger-
many lifted the security
blanket on the Israeli dele-
gation at the World Youth
Festival in East Berlin.
The official Communist
Party newspaper, "Neues
Deutschland," carried re-
ports on the presence of the
delegation, which did not at-
tend the opening ceremony,
in order to allay suspicions
that the East German auth-
orities were keeping them
out of sight.
The paper quoted Ben-
jamin Gonen, a member of
the Israel Communist Party
(Rakah) Central Committee,
as saying: "We represent the
other Israel, not that of the
occupation, but that which
loves peace."
The 20-member Israeli de-
legation consists of mem-
bers of Matzpen, the Israel
Communist Party (Rakah)
and pro-Communist Israeli
Arabs.

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"While it is true that the
New Testament's images of
Priests and Pharisees are not
positive, especially when
taken out of their biblical con-
text, the film consistently
moves toward a more nega-
tive portrayal in its attempts
at dramatic intensification,"
the six said in a joint state-
ment to their colleagues.

The Protestant leaders at-
tacked the story line as fol-
lowing the tradition of the
Passion Plays, rather than of
the New Testament, "in im-
plying the now discredited
concept of Jews and Christ-
killers."

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
Friday, August 10, 1973-11

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