Jewish groups have expressed fears of “another blood libel” against Jews due to the anti-Islam film that has been said to have triggered the widespread riots in Muslim countries.
While there have been conflicting reports as to the identity of those behind the inflammatory film that is allegedly responsible for provoking the recent wave of Mideast violence, reports indicate that it was in fact produced by Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a 55-year-old Coptic Christian living in California, not by an Israeli-American Jew who had identified himself under the pseudonym of Sam Bacile.
In interviews with US media outlets, Bacile claimed to have raised five million dollars to produce the film from Jewish donors.
"That turns out to be a massive lie," said the Simon Wiesenthal Center. "We remain deeply worried that those initial media reports will be used by Islamist extremists to further fan the violent anti-Semitism that is a part of that sub-culture of hate."
The Wiesenthal Center has urged the media to avoid casting the video as an Israeli or Jewish product.
"We need media to ensure that this film does not become another blood libel against world Jewry," it said.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) similarly voiced concern over the propagation of lies and slander against the Jewish people.
"In an age where conspiracy theories, especially ones of an anti-Semitic nature, explode on the Internet in a matter of minutes, it is crucial for those news organizations who initially reported on his identity to correct the record,” said ADL National Director Abraham Foxman, “It is not a question of freedom of speech; it is a question of responsibility. News organizations need to clearly correct the record so that this myth does not morph into another Big Lie blaming and scapegoating Israelis and Jews."
"Even after reports later surfaced that the filmmaker was not Israeli or Jewish, news organizations across the Arab world and anti-Semites and anti-Israel activists have continued to describe him as such," Foxman added.
The film was promoted on the websites of extremist Christian pastor Terry Jones and Morris Sadek.
Furthermore, the cast and crew have voiced anger at having been exploited during the production of the film, with some saying that offensive parts of dialogue had been dubbed over their own words and that they had been duped into believing they were making an adventure film set 2,000 years ago called "Desert Warrior."