For Christians, the Passion—from the Latin passus, the word means "having suffered" or "having undergone"—is the very heart of their faith. Down the ages, however, when read without critical perspective and a proper sense of history, the Christian narratives have sometimes been contorted to lay the responsibility for Jesus' execution at the feet of the Jewish people, a contortion that has long fueled the fires of anti-Semitism.
The article by Jon Meacham is drawing fire from conservative evangelicals – but does a good job of placing the death of Jesus in an historical context.
Update: My cousin Bryan asked a good question: who are these conservative evangelicals who object to the Newsweek story? I should have provided links. Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, is one of those objecting. You can read his article here. Focus on the Family is another group upset. Read their website story. There are plenty of others if you search Google.