Rise in Anti-Semitism in Delaware Town Blamed on Gibson's "The Passion"

May 1, 2004

Source: The News Journal


On May 1, 2004 The News Journal reported, "A series of antisemitic acts in the Rehoboth Beach area since the release of the film 'The Passion of the Christ' on Feb. 25 have prompted members of the Christian and Jewish communities to come together to talk about how to prevent further incidents.

Members of Seaside Jewish Community and the Lewes-Rehoboth Association of Churches will meet Monday night to consider initiating interfaith activities promoting tolerance and understanding.

'I am totally surprised by these hate crimes and never expected to see them in our community,'said Dr. Jeff Hawtoff, president of the 160-member Seaside Jewish Community.

Hawtoff said he has been told about at least six anti-Semitic acts. He speculated they were sparked by the film, which shows Jews calling for the death of Jesus.

The anti-Semitic acts have included Christians taunting Jews and the defacement of property at schools and businesses, Hawtoff said."