Christian evangelicals, strongly linked in the minds of many Jews with Mr. Bush, a born-again Christian, have shown exceptional affinity for the “Passion” and its producer, Mel Gibson, often becoming volunteer salesmen for the film.
The movie’s depiction of Christ’s crucifixion has added to Jewish fears of anti-Semitism and the link between evangelicals and Mr. Bush, Jewish spokesmen say.
Jim Hutchens, president of Christians for Israel, a Washington-based organization with a mailing list of 25,000, says it is “a red herring” to suggest evangelicals are anti-Semitic.
“Evangelical Christians who take seriously the promises of God are pro-Israel,” Mr. Hutchens said. “Only those who hold a replacement theology — which denies the original recipients the benefits of God’s promises in regards to Israel’s modern boundaries — would suggest the Israel of today is not a fulfillment of God’s promises.
“Evangelical Christians are the best friends Israel has, and those in the know among Orthodox Jews and in the Israeli government know that.”