‘The Passion of the Christ’ Fuels Antisemitism — on ‘South Park’

By Max Gross

Published April 09, 2004, issue of April 09, 2004.
  • Print
  • Share Share

The Mel Gibson Fan Club’s president recently fielded a call from an irate viewer of “The Passion of the Christ” who disliked the movie.

“Sir,” the indignant fan club president said, “apparently you don’t understand what Mel Gibson was trying to do. He was trying to express — through cinema — the horror and filthiness of the common Jew.”

The fan club president was 8-year-old Eric Cartman, the corpulent, deadpan and hopelessly antisemitic member of the quartet of children on the animated TV series “South Park.”

In perhaps the most biting critique of “The Passion” to date, the Comedy Central show mused on the effect the movie would have on its potty-mouthed protagonists in last week’s episode, “The Passion of the Jew.”

Kyle Broflovski, the show’s Jewish character, was tormented by nightmares about Jesus (and Alan Alda). Stan March and Kenny McCormick were so disgusted by “The Passion” that they set out to get a refund on their tickets from a demented, half-naked Gibson. Meanwhile, Cartman was so moved that he organized fan club meetings and started goose-stepping around in a brown uniform, combing his hair in a cowlick and peppering his speech with words like “Achtung” and “Juden.”

“I’m happy to see all of you were affected by ‘The Passion’ like I was,” Cartman said at a fan club meeting filled with South Park’s sunny Christian residents. “Now, we all know why we’re here, and I believe we all know what needs to be done… But I think it’s best we don’t talk out loud about it until we have most of them on the trains heading toward the camps.”

Although other members of the fan club did not explicitly share Cartman’s antisemitic sentiments, many of South Park’s Christians found their faith affirmed by the film. The town’s Jews, meanwhile, complained that “The Passion” promotes antisemitic stereotypes. “Stereotyping Jews is terrible,” one Jewish character lamented in a voice that would make Woody Allen squirm.

Kenneth Jacobson, associate national director for the Anti-Defamation League, which has long campaigned against “The Passion,” told the Forward that while he is not a “usual fan” of the show, the episode’s jabs at Jews “struck me as classic ‘South Park.’ Everyone is a target.”

“The basic message of the show is: Gibson’s movie is no way to teach Christianity,” Jacobson added, noting that the film is ripe for satire. “The violence is so over-the-top it becomes cartoonish.” According to Jacobson, many people at the ADL watched the episode and approved.

In the episode’s final showdown, the town’s Christians and Jews face off, but when one of the Christians urged everyone to seek inspiration from Jesus’ life rather than his death, Cartman begged the crowd to reconsider: “Oh come on, people. We’re so close to completing my final solution….”






Find us on Facebook!
  • “I don’t want to say, ‘Oh oh, I’m not Jewish,’ because when you say that, you sound like someone trying to get into a 1950s country club, “and I love the idea of being Jewish." Are you a fan of Seth Meyers?
  • "If you want my advice: more Palestinians, more checkpoints, just more reality." What do you think?
  • Happy birthday Barbra Streisand! Our favorite Funny Girl turns 72 today.
  • Clueless parenting advice from the star of "Clueless."
  • Why won't the city give an answer?
  • BREAKING NEWS: Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • Can you guess what the most boring job in the army is?
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.