Bill O’Reilly Brings Oberammergau to The American Screen

By bringing the Jew hatred of the Oberammergau Passion Play  to life in American theaters, Fox’s O’Reilly  exhibits himself as a bigot.  His Jew hatred is all too typical of the right, hidden very shallowly under the thin cover of a passion  for Jews to die in a bloody war so Jesus can return.

This is what you get from O’Reilly’s “Killing Jesus” movie.  Characterizing the apostles, a community of lay Jews trying to survive under Roman rule, “Billo” paints these followers of Jesus as victims not of Rome or of a high priesthood that supported the Roman lords, but as victim of the Jews.

As a Roman Catholic, Mr. O’Reilly does not care that the resistance to Rome in the year 1 was led by a group of teachers, the group that eventually became today’s rabbis.  That group opposed the corrupt priesthood, and taught the people of occupied Judea to turn the other cheek, avoid violence against Rome while strictly following Jewish law and tradition.  That group were the Pharisees. Jesus and his crew of peasants were lay followers of the Pharisees.

It was O’Reilly’s villains, the Pharisees, who led the opposition to Rome.  O’Reilly’s movie might merely be called anachronistic, if it did not take up the banner of Oberammergau  and depict Jesus as the victim not of Rome, but of the Pharisees.    His movie  picks up on the caricature created by Reformation-era Protestants to ridicule the Papacy as modern Jewish Pharisees.  Like the murders of Jesus, the Pope and his court were painted as legalistic, hypocritical evildoers.

This image of the papacy led to horrid wars in Europe amongst the Christians, but for Jews the annual passion play in Oberammergau lead to genocide. Will O’Reilly now bear the blame for that crime?

The irony for me, as a Jew who is very proud of the resistance led by the Pharisees, is the ignorance Christians like O’Reilly have of the role of Hillel.  If Fox’s  bloviator read any modern scholar, including the Jesus Project, he would realize that the words attributed to Jesus, the famous sermon on the mount, words we must admire, are from the teachings of the leader of the Pharisees, Hillel.  We named our son Hillel in honor of the great teacher.  Hell, all Fox needs to do is to ask for counsel from Bill’s own church. Since Pope John XXIII, the papacy has condemned this false view of the Jews.

Even the show’s air date serves to promote hatred of the Jews. If Killing Jesus is supposed to be history why did O’Reilly choose to release his version of the Oberammergau Passion Play on Palm Sunday? Isn’t he aware that Oberammergau’s version incited riots and the murder of Jews?

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