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French Integrity

The French, taking a brave stand against anti-semitism.

French cinema chains are refusing to distribute or screen Mel Gibson’s controversial film “The Passion of the Christ” because of fears it will spark a new outbreak of anti-Semitism.

France is the only European country where there is still no distribution deal for the film, which depicts the last days of Jesus Christ in graphic detail and is accused by critics of stoking anti-Jewish sentiment.

The film was released in America last week, but French distributors are wary of its impact on audiences and want to gauge its reception elsewhere in Europe, where it is due to open next month.

“We don’t want to be on the side of those who support such anti-Semitism,” a veteran film industry figure said. “When we distributed ‘It’s a Beautiful Life’ by [Roberto] Benigni, we were worried about the risk of making a comedy about the Holocaust, but that was different. There’s enough anti-Semitic stuff circulating here already without us throwing oil on the fire.”

The debate over the film is highly sensitive in France, where a spate of firebombings of synagogues and Jewish schools and attacks on rabbis over the last year has led Israel to denounce it as the most anti-Semitic country in Europe.

Of all the steps France could be taking to combat the rampant Jew-hating going on there, this is the best they could do?  Simply pathetic, and all-too-typical of what I’ve come to expect from them.

Posted by Lee on 02/29/04 at 01:31 PM in Europe and the UK • Permalink

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