I haven't seen the film and don't intend to at the moment. I'm not that keen on violent movies. I tend to watch them on t.v. rather than see them in the cinema. Maybe I'll change my mind.
The debate about the movie is very interesting, however. Is it anti-semitic or is it not? Obviously, I can't answer, but a couple of things have struck me. First, in the US, those who are most likely to go see the movie are those who tend to be the most pro-Israel. Sure, there are conservative Catholics like Pat Buchanan who are not pro-Israel, but the so-called "religious right", particularly fundamentalist and evangelical Protestants, tends to be fairly pro-Israel.
According to yesterday's Irish Times Ireland's Chief Rabbi has called on the Catholic Church to denounce the film. Chief Rabbi Yaakov Pearlman said the The Passion of the Christ
portrayed Jews "as bloodthirsty, evil, barbaric and as having betrayed and informed on Jesus". It undermined "the Vatican II initiative and I am afraid it will open up old wounds and influence or ignite the anti-Semitism which is growing across Europe today".British Jewish leaders are apparently of a similar mind.
There have been many similar reactions among Jews in America, but there have also been some contrary opinions. Rabbi Daniel Lapin, writing in the Washington Times recently, feels that many of the American Jews protesting about The Passion lack "moral legitimacy" due to their reticence when faced with anti-Catholic or anti-Christian movies and art shows in the past.
The Passion has received glowing praise from those writers at National Review who have seen it. National Review is rarely connected with claims of anti-semitism.
The Jerusalem Post says The Passion "has inspired some curiosity, but little outrage, among Israelis". Jews in Israel have more important things to worry about than a movie. The editorial also notes, correctly, that "ultimately, it will be up to Christians to take what lesson they will from the film and to read their scriptures in a philo- or anti-Semitic light. Vatican II, after all, was not an idea hatched in Tel Aviv".