Video depicting Jesus at Auschwitz denounced

02 May 2014


Way of the Cross: an actor portraying Jesus approaches the gates of Auschwitz in the video That Jew Died For You

Way of the Cross: an actor portraying Jesus approaches the gates of Auschwitz in the video That Jew Died For You

A VIDEO that portrays a cross-carrying Jesus being sent to thegas chambers at Auschwitz, produced by Messianic Jews, has been condemned as "beyond offensive".

The video, That Jew Died For You, was made by the group Jews for Jesus, and was released last month to coincide with the build-up to Easter, Passover, and Holocaust Remembrance Day in April.

In it, Jews are shown being herded by Nazi soldiers towards the gates of the concentration camp at Auschwitz. Among them is the figure of Jesus, carrying a cross. The guards dismiss him as "Just another Jew", before sending him to the gas chambers, as the words "That Jew died for you" appear.

In a statement, the chief executive of the Council of Christians and Jews, the Revd David Gifford, said: "The Council of Christians and Jews deplores the video That Jew Died For You, produced by Jews for Jesus. It is insensitive, offensive, and totally inappropriate.

"The use of Holocaust imagery to seek to persuade Jews or others towards a particular religious cause is intrinsically wrong. It will cause hurt and distress to many who watch it. It causes unnecessary dissension and bewilderment to Jews involved in the authentic dialogue with Christians."

The associate executive director of Jews for Jesus, Susan Perlman, told the newspaper The Christian Post that they hoped to engage Jewish people in conversation."We think that the conversa-tion about who Jesus is is import-ant for Jews and Gentiles todiscuss, and especially at this time of year.

"We want Jewish people to understand that the sufferings inflicted at the hands of the Nazis were in no way based on the teachings of Jesus. In fact, he suffered and died on our behalf to show us the love of God."

Since the video was released on 2 April, it has been viewed more than 1.2 million times on YouTube, but has caused controversy both in the United States and in the UK.

The vice-president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Jonathan Arkush, said: "To use the Holocaust as a promotional tool for any cause is beyond offensive. This is a crass attempt to court controversy at the expense of the victims of the Holocaust, and it should be treated with the disdain that such behaviour deserves. This cult seeks to prey on the most vulnerable to mislead about Judaism and divide families."

Founded in 1973, Jews for Jesus is an organisation of Messianic Jews who seek to "make the messiahship of Jesus an unavoidable issue to our Jewish people worldwide". They hand out evangelistic tracts, and produce materials to encourage Jews to consider Christian claims.

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