Mel Gibson Says "Passion" Critics Miss the Point

NEW YORK, FEB. 14, 2004 ( Mel Gibson says those who accuse him or his film «The Passion of the Christ» of sparking anti-Semitism avoid the central point he hoped to make.

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«I don’t want people to make it about the blame game,» Gibson says in an interview airing Monday on ABC News’ «Primetime.»

«It’s about faith, hope, love and forgiveness,» he said. «That’s what this film is about. It’s about Christ’s sacrifice.»

The ABC program includes an interview of Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, according to the Associated Press.

Foxman told an ABC interviewer he does not believe Gibson or the film are anti-Semitic but added that the movie «has the potential to fuel anti-Semitism, to reinforce it.»

In late January, after Foxman raised concerns about the movie, Gibson sent a letter pleading for a détente, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Gibson’s letter to Foxman asks him to join in «setting an example for all of our brethren; that the truest path to follow, the only path, is that of respect and, most importantly, that of love for each other despite our differences.»

The movie will premiere in more than 2,000 theaters nationwide on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 25.

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