TORONTO (Aug. 2)
Three Toronto Jewish community spokesmen have disagreed with American Jewish organizations which have condemned 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 Community Relations Committee.
“It is possible for a gentile to view the film and be unaware in any conscious way of the Jews as such being ‘decides.'” Keyfetz 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 element in the story, but even as a Jewish viewer of some sensitivity, my clear impression is that there is no great over emphasis on this aspect of the traditional story.”
Lon Ronson, vice-chairman of the Joint Community Relations Committee, said he felt Christians might consider 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 Christian attitudes toward Jews.
Steven Ain, a staff member of the JCRC, said that “while comments from American Jewish organizations are essentially correct in their description of various scenes and of the script, their analysis makes one wonder if we all saw the same film.” He said he found the film “quite inoffensive and rather entertaining.”