Israeli leader asks for Gibson movie ban

Feb. 25, 2004 at 9:16 PM

JERUSALEM, Feb. 25 (UPI) -- The leader of a right-wing Israeli religious party Wednesday asked that Mel Gibson's movie on Christ be banned in his country, Ha'retz news service reported.

Eli Yishai, chairman of the Shas party, said "The Passion of the Christ" should not be shown in movie theaters in Israel.

"The whole thing is a blood libel," he said, using a term referring to a medieval slur that Jews used the blood of Christians to make unleavened bread for the Passover festival.

But it appeared unlikely the film would be banned in Israel, Ha'aretz said.

In the United States, the Anti-Defamation League said the film "repeats all of the stereotypes and myths surrounding the death of Jesus that have accompanied anti-Semitism for the last 2,000 years."

"The Passion," depicting in gruesome detail the final hours of the life of Jesus, premiered in the United States and other nations Wednesday -- but not in Israel.

Jewish leaders say the movie gives a harsh portrayal of Jews and blames them for death of Jesus.

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