I haven't seen the movie, but the reviews i've read say that Mel makes Caiaphus out to be a scheming evil person bent on Jesus's destruction, whereas Pontius Pilate is a wimp who meekly goes along with the Jews wishes to sort of keep the peace and to sort of be politically correct and appease the Jews. According to the contemporary sources, Pilate was cruel and brutal to the Jews and was rebuked by the emporer. of course nobody really knows what went on and I'm sure that Caiaphus might have seen this upstart as a threat, but the Gospels aren't history. indeed no sources, from Josephus, to Roman Emporer's diaries can be considered true history. Whereas Caiaphus, the high priests, and the pharisees were likely bad guys, it isn't "politically correct" to note that the Romans, including Pontius Pilate, were bad. It's pretty much established fact. It's difficult to say who was more to blame because each had their reasons to end this potential rebellion. To the Romans, this was no different than the soon to come Bar Kochba rebellion, dealt with in much the same way - actually even more brutally. See http://www.livius.org/pi-pm/pilate/pilate01.htm
for some interesting commentary.
So I question the historical veracity of Gibson's work, but as this is his oevre and his take on the passion, I'm not looking for a history lesson from it, no more than I was from Last Temptation of Christ or King of Kings.
Also this comment, "But that does not mean you should ignore what happened. You can forgive, but you must never forget. " not sure what you mean by that. Forgive whom? never forget what? If by your analogy you mean forgive the Jews but not forget what they've done, then the analogy is lost on this Jew. The Jews don't need to be forgiven for Jack when it comes to Jesus, sorry.
And while the Nazi holocaust is established historical fact, and people affected by it are still alive today, the crucifixion of Jesus, while probably true is lost in the mists of time. I'll bet most Jews in Palestine at that time had no idea what was going on.
I do think some of the hysteria about igniting anti-Semitism is overblown, in that cfalk, you are correct, I don't want to go bashing Horst and Dieter after i've seen Schindler's list.
I may be ugly. I may be an American. But don't call me an ugly American.