JADL REWRITES NEW TESTAMENT
Harmony Grant Daws
3 June 10
Every ten years since 1635, the small alpine town of Oberammergau, Germany has
produced a six-hour Passion Play memorializing the final hours of Jesus Christ. About half the town’s
citizens help produce the play. Amateur actors fill the stage. The citizens are fulfilling their
ancestors’ 375-year-old vow to God to produce the play every decade since He delivered them from
the bubonic plague.
Over the past two decades, the town has been the stage for a different kind of passion play. Few places in the world more perfectly present the drama of Jewish power and aggressive intent to deny public expressions of Christianity.
For the past two decades, the Jewish Anti-Defamation League, ever-ready to stifle any virile expression of Christianity has taken its editing scissors to the play’s script. Jewish crimes have been expunged. Today, the Jews play a bleached and sanitized role in the death of Christ. (What did Jesus say of the Pharisees? Whitewashed tombs?) Romans now stand guard outside Jesus’ first entrance to Jerusalem, “making it clear who is really in control.”
The Jewish high priests debate theology, many siding for Jesus. The infamous blood oath ‒“His blood be upon us and our children” (Mt 27:25) ‒ has been axed from the script. Even Judas, incredibly, is pure at heart. He wants “to facilitate dialogue with the priesthood and is duped into betraying Jesus. It is one of the best roles in the play. When Judas understands that he has been manipulated, he storms the Temple, demanding Jesus’ release.” JADL even wrote in a new scene in which Jesus stands outside the Temple, holds up a Torah scroll and leads His followers in reciting in Hebrew “ the major Jewish prayer known as "Sh'ma Yisroel" ‒ "Hear O Israel, the Lord is God the Lord is One.” (Deut 6:4)
AJ Goldman in Forward says that the gospel has now become a lovely and moving piece of art, now “less about Jesus and more a rare chance to experience a legendary tradition.” He protests that it is no longer anti-Semitic.
Yet for JADL, even the censoring and trashing has not been enough. Its experts
attended a preview May 8 and reported, “ the play continues to depict damaging stereotypes of
Judaism and presents Jewish leadership as deceitful, legalistic, vindictive and xenophobic."
Goldman’s Forward article explains the locus of the conflict: Jewish leaders hate the
Gospels, basically. Before the 2000 production, the play’s dramatic advisor tried to convince JADL
head Abe Foxman that the play was about love and redemption. Foxman bitingly replied, “If you want
to give me love and understanding, there are a lot of other Christian subjects. Give me another
play; if it’s about a Crucifixion in which the Jews kill Christ, you can never clean it up enough.”
For Foxman, the Gospel itself is anti-Semitic and dangerous, as is Christian evangelism to Jews. His book, Never Again? The Threat of the New Anti-Semitism, alleges that “with every annual reading or reenactment of the story of the death of Jesus in Christian churches, millions of Christians imbibed the notion that the Jews had been guilty of the worst crime in history. Into our own time, the deicide libel has been used to justify hatred of Jews and violence against them, including from Christian pulpits.” Violence from Christian pulpits even includes the commission to witness to Jews, according to Foxman, which is seen as attempted genocide of their souls!
Jewish leaders, captained by Foxman, have been radically successful in their assault. In Oberammergau, the gospel has been stripped. Its testimony is unspeakable in public. A 375-year-old religious tradition‒vowed by a city, to thank God for deliverance‒has been knifed of its content. (What happened to the sovereignty of old culture? What happened to the sanctity of traditions?) Nothing could more clearly state unbelieving Jewry’s intent to make the New Testament itself unspeakable, unacceptable (…) illegal.
And still, it is not enough. This year the JADL led a 16-page report from interfaith experts, denouncing the play. They want it decimated completely. The report, “supported by the American Jewish Committee, B'nai B'rith International and the National Council of Synagogues,” calls for “a totally new script using contemporary biblical studies and historical research in order to eliminate continuing damaging negative stereotypes of Jews and Judaism.”
This is about the Bible, plain and simple. The original passion play was lifted from the pages of the Christian Scriptures. The text was taken to the stage. Germans simply dramatized the Pharisees’ vengeful, unrelenting persecution from the book of John; Judas’ ugly, searing betrayal which Matthew witnessed; the Jewish masses’ homicidal contempt, retold by Mark; the agony of Christ, gut-wrenchingly recorded by Luke. History proves what happened. After Jesus’ return to the Father, Christians were persecuted relentlessly. The Jewish Talmud, to this day, records Christ as an evil bastard, now in hell, writhing in boiling semen. (Gittin 56b-57a)
What happened is really not debatable. But it is unacceptable to speak. Anti-Christian Jews can be blamed for nothing. Their leaders must be portrayed as always wise, balanced, good and moderate. As a people, they were never xenophobic or legalistic. And they had nothing, nothing, to do with Jesus’ death. The nails went through His hands and feet as if by magic. There was no murder.
Isn’t it interesting? Jewish leaders allow others no such exoneration.
In Germany, there is no such convenient bleaching of history. A radically different situation prevails. There, no one can be free from their ancestral guilt. No reparations can be enough. It is actually illegal to deny German blood guilt, their culture of hate, their cries through complicity of “Gas them! Gas them!” Under Germany’s Holocaust denial laws, only Jews may revise German history (as in Oberammergau). A person who even questions the Holocaust can go to prison. It is illegal to deny the intentional, mechanized murder of six million Jews. It is illegal even to question the methods used by the Nazis. In Germany, the streets themselves are painted with the memories. Black tulips are grown in memorial sites. Every year on Holocaust Memorial Day the whole of Europe grieves for its guilt and vows it will never be repeated. A timeline of some of the billions spent on Holocaust memorials can be seen here: http://timelines.com/topics/holocaust-memorials.
History, we know, is written by the conquerors. There can be no remaining doubt about Jewish power in the western world today.
Jewish leaders are the scripters of history and Christians are silent and cowed, submitting our sacred Gospels and traditions to Jewish scissors as if they mean nothing.
The world would look vastly different if this weren’t true‒if Jews enjoyed less power, if they mourned or even admitted what they did to Jesus and then to Christians. Picture it.
If Jerusalem were Germany, there would be monuments on every corner. In the concrete graven words would say, “This is where Jewish crowds jeered Christ up the street(…) this is where Jews cried, “Crucify Him.” Plaques and columns would stand between black tulips to announce, “This is where Stephen was stoned because he was a Christ-follower (…) Let us never forget (…) Never again (…) Never again.”
If such awareness were alive in the world‒ if Christians themselves were vigilant to Jewish antagonism, to the cosmic conflict‒ perhaps hate crime laws would not have passed. Perhaps we would not be so far down the road to criminalizing Christianity. That day is coming fast, largely because Christians meekly submit to Jewish leaders’ powerful agenda, always defended by the myth of Jewish innocence and victimhood against the ever-present and irrational “anti-Semitism” of Christians and Gentiles. We have submitted to this myth. We have refused to expose the Talmud. Also JADL. We have surrendered the Gospels to Jewish excising. We have signed contracts when entering Israel, promising not to evangelize. We have underwritten the Jewish state with tax donations and religious offerings. We have lionized the Jewish tradition. We have drunk the Kool-Aid. Even before Jewish activists took scissors to the crucifixion stories, we ourselves used White-out on the words of Christ.
We ignored His timeless warnings,
Be careful, be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees. (Matthew 16:6)
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are (…) (Matthew 23:15)
We ignored Paul,
Beware of the false concision [the Jews] (…) For we are the circumcision which worship God in the Spirit (…) (Philippians 3:2-3)
The problem is that it can’t be had both ways. Stand behind the Bible or don’t. Accept its warnings ‒all of them‒ or admit you are an unbeliever.
Evangelical Christians hold to Biblical literalism yet ignore its most vibrantly relevant truths when they reflect adversely on Judaism. The Bible explains why Oberammergau has been butchered. It explains why Germany is lined with blood yet Jerusalem can continue, without censure, its vendetta against Christianity. Yet Christian leaders themselves need no coaching to ignore these verses.
Unless they stop this willful blindness, Jewish power will continue to grow and someday soon the Bible itself will be replaced ‒ like the Oberammergau script ‒ with the tradition of those who nailed Jesus to the cross.
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