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Mel Gibson, Jews, and Power

The movie star’s brand of anti-Semitism, revealed anew in a recent Joe Eszterhas letter, is precisely what made him want to tell the Maccabee story

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In case you haven’t been paying attention—or, like me, have been in a state of deep geriatric denial—you might be interested to know that ’90s nostalgia is in full swing: The Mommy Wars are back, I heard a couple of teenage girls browsing the sale racks at Anthropologie engaged in earnest discussion about where they could buy the most authentic “’90s dresses,” and Newt Gingrich has been running around loose, hairdo unchanged, being gross. But the best evidence that the decade of rollerblades, raves, and Yanni Live at the Acropolis is back may be the resurfacing of Joe Eszterhas, the luxuriously maned shlockmeister whose steamy Clinton-era extravaganzas of greed, lies, and improbable lesbianism once made him the highest-paid (and most notorious) screenwriter in Hollywood. Last week, Eszterhas returned to drop a new bomb on the American public: Mel Gibson is a raving anti-Semite.

This discovery, trumpeted in an open letter by the screenwriter to Malibu’s favorite Sedevacantist, was made during the collaboration on the screenplay for M.C.K.B.I., Gibson’s long-anticipated Maccabee biopic, during which Gibson repeatedly referred to Jews as “Hebes” [sic] and “oven-dodgers” and claimed the Holocaust was “mostly a lot of crap.” (A perplexing assertion, that: How can we be “oven-dodgers” if there were no ovens?)

Personally, I’m about as shocked by this as Eszterhas himself seems to be; which is to say, not at all. Gibson, despite the various prevarications made by obliging publicists in the cold, sober light of day, has for a long time been about as public an anti-Semite as it’s possible to be in this day and age without actually gunning down children on their way to Hebrew school, something Eszterhas—who famously cut off all contact with his father upon learning, at age 45, that the older man had been an author of Nazi propaganda in Hungary during the war—has addressed before, writing in his 2008 memoir Crossbearers: A Memoir of Faith that Gibson “shared the mindset of Hitler.”

Some have drily noted that these concerns didn’t register fully until Gibson rejected Eszterhas’ script, but I’m not going to ding him for that; even in my admittedly minor experience with Hollywood, I know how terrifyingly quickly one’s scruples, moral and artistic, can evaporate the moment you think you see someone reaching for a checkbook. But I do disagree with Eszterhas’ claim that Gibson, due to his implacable anti-Semitism, was planning to pull the plug on the project all along. Rather, I think it was Gibson’s particular brand of Jew-hatred that made him want to film the Maccabee story in the first place—and it’s also why we should be glad he isn’t.

Hanukkah, like Purim, is one of what I thought of as a child as “the happy holidays”: a rare occasion on which the constantly embattled Hebrews were pleasantly surprised to not be horribly massacred. (Passover, with its long list of culinary prohibitions and endless housework, always seemed too punitive to be included on this very short list.) Over time, it got even happier, mainly due to the frantic need of parents to prevent a full-scale Hasmonean-style revolt from generations of children faced with the assaultive pine-needled splendor of Christmas. But for all the cheerful triumphalism behind the bedazzled dreidels and oily platters of latkes, the fact remains that the historical Maccabees were not always so nice. It was a different time, and they were certainly living under a repressive regime, but the fact remains that Mattathias did kill other Jews for sacrificing (undoubtedly under some duress) to the wrong god. When, in compliance with the laws of their Syrian-Greek masters (or Assyrian-Greek, depending, as far as I can tell, on where you went to Hebrew school), some Jews refrained from circumcising their sons, Judah Maccabee came down from the hills under cloak of night and did it himself—whether they liked it or not, a fact of which Gibson is well aware.

How much of this sort of thing made it into Eszterhas’ discarded script it’s hard to say, although those in the know make it sound like quite a bit. It’s easy to imagine Gibson’s grudging respect, even genuine admiration, for such acts, brutal as they may be; he’s generally proven himself to be on the side of the fanatics. But in light of the very real debate about the moral question of “Jewish Power” being waged internally—and for that matter, externally, by those who would be more than happy to settle it for us, generally without our input—I can’t be too disappointed that a man who had in vino veritas proclaimed the People of Israel to be “responsible for all the wars in the world” (a kind of Die Juden sind unser Unglück for the new century) has voluntarily or otherwise deprived himself of the chance to film a fearsome group of Hebrew predators forcibly circumcising a screaming child, a la noted San Diego foreskin advocate Matthew Hess’ (no relation to Rudolf) “Monster Mohel,” or, say, brutally massacring the women and children of uncooperative towns in their beds. (Given his track record toward what was once politely termed “effeminacy,” it’s pretty horrifying to imagine how he might have portrayed the Hellenizers. I expect, at minimum, copious male eyeliner and hot pokers up bums—and I don’t mean that in the nice way.)

There’s a fascinating film to be made from the Maccabee story, one that tackles themes of tribalism and humanism, identity and morality, freedom and faith. But Gibson, for whom unanswerable—and as such, very Jewish—questions seem to be as horrifying as Vatican II, isn’t the man to make it. More likely, M.C.K.B.I. stood to be something else: the world’s first ostensibly pro-Jewish anti-Semitic propaganda film.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to get my hands on that script.

***

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Mel Gibsons Father was anti semitic and Mel himself is no differant. He was instilled at an early age with hate, just like the Nazi’s instilled hate for Jews, Gypsies and any other group out side of their superman logic. He really needs psychoanalysis in an institution.

Mel Gibson was always a anti semitic.  No one should be surprised by these latest revelations.  The fact that he wants to do a story on the Maccabees in spite of his bigotry & ignorance shouldn’t surprise anyone either, as he’s also a business man.

I still say that Michael Bay should direct a Maccabees movie.  The explosions lasted for eight days, while there was only enough Megan Fox to last for one!  Just make sure that Judah isn’t played be Shia LeBoeuf.

J. Arnon says:

So Gibson isn’t going to make his “antisemitic” movie, that’s good news. End of story. What need is there to belabor the point and give the shmoke more publicity?

btw: I don’t see the Macabees as fanatics. In their day most people were fanatic of ne sort or another. Do you think the Hellenist were not fanatics? Why do you think they went half way around the world spreading their superstitious version of Greek culture. 

These folks weren’t either Platonists or Aristotelians. 

The whole binary opposition of fanatic Jews versus tolerant Hellenists is another 19c German myth. 

Has anyone here read about the Antioch rulers?

Sure – Gibson is an anti-Semite.  Lots of Gentiles in the film industry resent Jews – and Jewish power in the film industry.  But we only have Eszterhas’ word on Gibson’s latest alleged rants and why should anyone believe Eszerhas about anything? 

Disliking 20th century Ashkenazim and admiring Judas Maccabeus are not incompatible or contradictory -  not even for Mel Gibson.  Sorry to break the news, but you can’t claim moral superiority on the basis of what the Jews did 2200 years ago in resisting Hellenic tyranny.

Uzi_86 says:

*Please fix the links to the Wrap in this article: they go to page not found*

wbc= idiot

That may be true, but it’s irrelevant.  Ad hominem attacks are stupid.  If you disagree with what I said, explain your disagreement. 

As a logical matter it is entirely possible that Gibson wants to tell the story of the Maccabees for its moral and religious value to a contemporary audience – including todays Jews.  And none of that is inconsistent with the fact that as a general matter he does not appear to be fond of present day Jews.  If you disagree, explain.  If you can’t explain, shut up.

avi kraft says:

its ironic that this anti semite pulled a giant hasbara for Israel but too bad no one noticed.  in his movie the passion all the characters are Jews or Romans.  there are no  arabs in the movie because what was then Called palestine had no arabs and there was only jewish palestine and no such thing as an arab one.   the movie actually destroys the palestinian narrative.

Jmgrambo says:

Resenting Jews does not equal being anti-Semitic, unless the resentment is based on the religion as opposed to jealousy. Gibson has made anti-Semitic comments in the past and does not deny being anti-Semitic.
Why believe Eszterhas? For one thing it is in line with Gibson’s past comments as well as his up bringing. If you can’t see that, then indeed you are an uninformed person with no sense what so ever.

He’s no more crazy than any other person who believes the plagerized BS in the bible. Another story of something that never happened and made up characters who never really walked the earth. If you think Mel is a wacko….look in the mirror.

The story of the Maccabees is an actual historical event, at least in regards to the war.  It was written on by the Jews, the Greeks, and even the Romans have records of their treaties with Judah and the later Hasmonean kings.

Rmarcus8 says:

With Mel Gibson being ,well, Mel Gibson, I agree with what my dad
believed which was that “An anti-Semite is somebody who hates us just a
little too much.” Other times, not so much.

My dad’s world view speaks to the very nature of our amazing religion
and culture and why the corollary to What is a Jew” is “What constitutes
hating us and what is just jealousy (Please see: Number of Jewish Nobel
Prize winners). And somewhere in there is the eternal question “Why do
we drive the goyim crazy?”

Right, that and the audio tape taken by his son during their stay at Gibson’s home in Costa Rica. 

Which, given the rants by Gibson previously released during his battle with his then girlfriend depict Gibson not so much as a run of the mill bigot, but a severly unhinged personality with real potential to commit substantial violence against others.

Right, so most Jews and Christians run around threatening violence against their guests and loved ones?

Sorry, but whether Mel Gibson likes Jews or hates them, he still comes across as mentally disturbed. 

 The rants about the former girlfriend have nothing to do with is anti-Semitism – they are the evidence of the pitiful rage of an older man who lost his family to the temptations of a faithless tart. 

I’m not defending Gibson, I’m impugning Eszterhas’ integrity.  Eszterhas was perfectly willing to put up with Gibson so long as he thought there was a paycheck coming.  When he’s thrown off the project he writes an open letter complaining of conduct that, if true, would have caused an honest man to quit long before.

WBC, 

I agree with you about the former girlfriend and note that they depict him as unhinged in general. 

Eszterhas may have been doing what many working stiff’s do with a boss that’s a nutter or has one or more problematic issues – and that is hunker down, and try to do the job at hand while not letting his vastly more powerful superior (or in this case, the man who is supposedly paying the bills) interfere with his morale and esprit de corps. 

Rembmer, Esterhas originally believed that Gibson did want to make this as a serious movie. 

What his letter points out is that it was not just one night of bad behaviour, but the second that put things in perspective. 

However, by that point, Esterhas probably believed that he had aleady invested sufficient presonal costs into this script and just wanted to get it done and move on. 

1.  In view of the fact that the vast majority of Jews in this country are not in the slightest bit religious, your statement makes no sense.
2.  Jealousy need not be the motive.  One can also resent Jews because they are, as a general rule, annoying people.

 I think we get your drift. Just stop masturbating in front of that picture of Hitler.

You deny you’re annoying?  Oy vey.

hendl says:

mmmm

hypnosifl says:

It’s idiotic to say in a scolding tone “you can’t claim moral superiority on the basis of what the Jews did 2200 years ago in resisting Hellenic tyranny” because, although the statement is true, the writer of the article isn’t doing so nor is anyone in the comments. It is equally idiotic to pedantically point out that “disliking 20th century Ashkenazim and admiring Judas Maccabeus are not incompatible or contradictory” because no one is claiming they are incompatible or contradictory (perhaps you should reread the part where the author says “It’s easy to imagine Gibson’s grudging respect, even genuine admiration, for such acts, brutal as they may be; he’s generally proven himself to be on the side of the fanatics”), though if you don’t recognize that anyone who “dislikes” an entire ethnic group is an idiot not worth defending, then you are probably an anti-semite yourself.

The person to whom I replied was saying by implication that Gibson’s only motivation was monetary because he is anti-Semitic. Q.E.D. My points are:

1. Jews in Israel of 165 BC and American Jews of 2012 A.D. have damned little in common; and
2. The mere fact that Mel Gibson appears to dislike the latter does not negate the possibility (indeed the probability) that he greatly admires the former; and
3. It is entirely possible (if not probable) that Mel Gibson wishes to tell the story of Judas Maccabeus because he wants to teach 21st century “moderns” – Jews and Christians alike – something about morality and faithfulness.

And I always thought you people were supposed to be smart.

hypnosifl says:

The person to whom I replied was saying by implication that Gibson’s only motivation was monetary because he is anti-Semitic.

That may have been the implication, but it wasn’t clearly stated, and it’s equally possible this commenter was just saying that money was a significant motivation. Still waiting for you to point out where the article writer or any commenter made any suggestion of “moral superiority” based on the actions of what the Jews did 2200 years ago (in case you missed it, the article was actually rather disapproving of these ancient Jews, and suggested that Gibson liked them because they were “fanatics”). 

Also, several of your comments suggest you do in fact think all members of a given ethnic group share some essential common nature, so that it is reasonable to lump them all together in order to make collective judgments about them–your comment rationalizing Gibon’s attitude of “Disliking 20th century Ashkenazim”, your comment “Jews in Israel of 165 BC and American Jews of 2012 A.D. have damned little in common”, and your snarky comment “I always thought you people were supposed to be smart”. This lump-them-all-together attitude is typically the sign of a bigot, not to mention being an example of a more general form of irrational thinking known as essentialism.

Sigh…

1.  I have not rationalized Gibson’s anti Semitism.  It is irrational.  But artists are generally allowed to be irrational – except if they are Christian, white, and politically conservative.
2.  Try making a list of all that the Maccabean revolutionaries have in common with present day American Ashkenazim.  You might start by comparing religious observance.  I’d bet that the average Evangelical Protestant has a better grasp of Jewish History than the average (mostly secular) Jew.
3.  Lumping people together would be a pretty good way to describe (as just one example) the JDL and the ADL, who interpret any criticism of one Jew as criticism of all Jews and any criticism of the state of Israel as anti-Semitism.
4.  Remember all the Jewish agitation about “The Passion of the Christ?”  Do you remember the hysterical predictions that it would incite pogroms?  I don’t remember a single Jew suggest that perhaps it was a statement of religious faith.  Gibson risked a great deal to make that film – a movie that only a Catholic would truly understand – filmed in Aramaic and Latin with subtitles.  Unheard of.  The result was a blockbuster motion picture that made Gibson very wealthy and not a single pogrom resulted.  And only (coincidentally I’m sure) ignored by the Hollywood elite until after it made that ton of money.  And then suddenly Mel wasn’t a leper any more.  If he makes this movie (which I bet will happen) he’ll be loved again.  Money is the best deodorant – especially in Hollywood.
5.  Christians believe as a matter integral to their faith that Jews are a Chosen People.  But they also understand that it has absolutely nothing to do with merit.
6.  There is still no reason to believe Eszterhas’ word on anything.

***…. Well,Mel Gibsons,was always a anti  semitie….and no one shold be …surpried…..if you disagree….explain…..

hypnosifl says:

1.  I have not rationalized Gibson’s anti Semitism.  It is irrational.  But artists are generally allowed to be irrational – except if they are Christian, white, and politically conservative. 

There are many forms of irrationality, and bigoted, hateful forms tend to be treated differently than nutty but basically harmless forms. Non-Christians, non-whites and political liberals in prominent positions aren’t given a free pass for genuinely bigoted attitudes. Would you agree that if Gibson has an attitude of “disliking 20th century Ashkenazim” as you suggested, this is not just irrational but bigoted? I didn’t see you decrying that attitude in any way in your original post, you seemed purely to be defending Gibson there. 

2.  Try making a list of all that the Maccabean revolutionaries have in common with present day American Ashkenazim.

Statistically the Maccabean revolutionaries would have little in common with any large group of educated people in a liberal democracy, but I’m sure a small number of religious fanatics of various stripes (including Jewish ones) would be willing to conduct the same sort of terrorism as those Maccabean revolutionaries. Were you speaking only in a statistical way when you said “Jews in Israel of 165 BC and American Jews of 2012 A.D. have damned little in common”? Even if so, the fact remains that neither the article-writer or any of the commenters have claimed the average member of each group would have much in common, so you seem to be trying to score points against a strawman position that no one has asserted.

3.  Lumping people together would be a pretty good way to describe (as just one example) the JDL and the ADL, who interpret any criticism of one Jew as criticism of all Jews and any criticism of the state of Israel as anti-Semitism.

I think it’s silly to say these organizations “interpret any criticism of one Jew as criticism of all Jews” (do they accuse critics who pan the latest Adam Sandler movie of being anti-semites?), and though there is some truth to the fact that they sometimes see anti-semitism in what is just opposition to Israeli policy, why are you using this as a “defense” of lumping on Gibson’s part or your own part? Aside from the general invalidity of the “tu quoque” argument, the ADL and JDL are just two particular organizations, they certainly don’t mirror the opinions of all American Jews (particularly liberal ones), and jumping from “the ADL and JDL do it” to “you Jews do it to” would be an example of just the sort of “lumping” I was talking about, if that’s what you’re getting at.

I’d bet that the average Evangelical Protestant has a better grasp of Jewish History than the average (mostly secular) Jew.

I don’t see how this is relevant to the discussion aside from just being a way to take a dig at the “average Jew”, but in any case I doubt it’s true. Evangelicals probably wouldn’t know much about Jewish history outside of Biblical times (and lots in the Bible is considered unlikely to be true by historians, for example the Jews were probably never enslaved in Egypt so the Exodus is likely a myth), and this study suggests that even when it comes to the Bible, outsider groups like Jews, Atheists, and Mormons tend to know more about it than Christians.

4.  Remember all the Jewish agitation about “The Passion of the Christ?”

Sounds like more “lumping” from you–I don’t know what “Jewish agitation” means, I only remember agitation from a few specific Jewish organizations. The Jews do not share a hivemind like the Borg on Star Trek, you know.

I don’t remember a single Jew suggest that perhaps it was a statement of religious faith.

What, the movie as a whole? Or the way Jews were portrayed specifically? If the portrayal was anti-Semitic there’s no reason to excuse it because it was a matter of faith, bigotry justified by religious beliefs is often criticized in the public square. And the “not a single Jew” again is suggestive of the “Jews all share a common hivemind” attitude (as with your earlier comment “I always thought you people were supposed to be smart” which you have not apologized for); if you had been genuinely interested in seeking out differing opinions from Jews, you needn’t have looked any further than the anti-semitism section of the Passion of the Christ’s wikipedia article, which notes that “Two Orthodox Jews, Rabbi Daniel Lapin and conservative talk-show host and author Michael Medved, also vocally rejected claims that the film is anti-Semitic”. 

 5.  Christians believe as a matter integral to their faith that Jews are a Chosen People.  But they also understand that it has absolutely nothing to do with merit.

First, how is this relevant to anything under discussion? Seems kind of like you brought it up just to say “you Jews think you’re so great because you’re the chosen people”. Second, plenty of secular or religiously liberal Jews don’t believe in the “Chosen People” story, and of the more religiously conservative Jews who do, I don’t think it’s usually taught that this is a matter of merit.

6.  There is still no reason to believe Eszterhas’ word on anything.

Sure, I agree, I never disputed that aspect of your comments. On the other hand, if you’re saying we have good reason to be confident the accusations are false, I’d say that’s unjustified as well, they are somewhat plausible given Gibson’s known history of anti-semitic outbursts. There’s really no reason for confidently dismissing either man’s version of events.

1.  Really?  Gee, I don’t recall a lot of Jews complaining about Jeremiah Wright or Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton even though they do incite violence and Mel Gibson never has.  To say that leftists don’t get pass is nonsense.
2.  That you call the Maccabees terrorists and religious fanatics is astonishing.  They remained faithful to the Covenant, resisted Hellenic Cultural assimilation, and the desecration of the Temple.  They saved the Jewish people from disappearing altogether.  Do you celebrate Hanukkah?
3.  No, I’m merely saying that Jews do as much lumping as you are criticizing Gibson and me for.  If you deny that when Jews get together you don’t hear a lot of stupid generalization about ‘goyim’ you’re lying.
4.  If the Exodus is not true, then what is the point?  Secular cultural Jewishness is meaningless.  My former accountant (now semi-retired) is the President of the local synagogue.  On Passover he wears a yarmulke, holds a Seder, and drinks Mogen David.  He is both a socialist and an atheist.  Having read the entire Bible cover to cover twice, I can guarantee you I’ve read more Jewish Scripture than he has.  And he appears fairly typical.  From my limited observation, Liberal Judaism is about as religious as the Kiwanis.
5.  A lot of people depend on Wikipedia for their facts, but they generally refuse to admit it.  “Jewish agitation” against Gibson and the film included the ADL and the Simon Weisenthal Center – hardly fringe groups.  Moreover, what they were protesting was simple historical fact.  Jesus was arrested and tried by the Sanhedrin and falsely denounced by them to Pilate.  The mob did demand the release of Barabas in preference to Jesus.  The Romans didn’t know who Jesus was and had no reason to crucify him except to avoid Jewish rioting.  So what, exactly, was improper about the way that Jews were depicted in the movie?  There is nothing in the film that suggests Jews qua Jews are guilty of deicide.  As for the comment about all Jews being smart – that was merely an insult of your intelligence, not that of Jews generally.
6.  My reference to Jews as the Covenant People merely states the Christian view.  God chose the Jews to be the “light unto the nations” – but in his Providence he made them to do so in small numbers.  The history of the Jewish people as preserved in your scriptures is one of the preservation of small faithful remnants from age to age.  It doesn’t hurt to remember that nearly every Prophet was martyred – and not by Gentiles.

Admiral_Shackleford says:

What you’re saying, and I hope you’re not agreeing with Mel Gibson, is that an anti-semite can find value in biblical stories about ancient Israelites/Hebrews, while still hating modern day Jews for no good reason at all?

Would it be ad hominem to say you’re trolling the discussion boards and
since you’re not really adding value to the conversation you should be
flagged for being uselessly inflammatory and bigoted? I don’t think so…

Admiral_Shackleford says:

“And I always thought you people were supposed to be smart.”

“You People?” Um excuse me? If you’re trying to demonstrate that you’re not a bigot, you’re doing an awful job. I’m taking a screenshot of your stellar comment for posterity. But back to my point…

 Jews have been celebrating and thinking about Hannukah for more than a 2 thousand years, and they need a lesson from Mel Gibson? Mel Gibson is entitled to his own interpretation of a biblical story, but his Jew-hatred credentials don’t make him an authoritative figure when it comes to the story of the Maccabees.

Hanukkah is about Jews resisting assimilation and being proud to be who they are, having not been absorbed into mainstream society despite eternities of efforts by Jew-haters. Gibson can take away any other lesson he wants to derive from that story, but his perverted ideas are not useful at all for normal sane individuals.

hypnosifl says:

1.  Really?  Gee, I don’t recall a lot of Jews complaining about Jeremiah Wright or Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton even though they do incite violence and Mel Gibson never has.  To say that leftists don’t get pass is nonsense.

Can you point to specific quotes where they “incited violence”? Or made comments expressing bigotry? The only thing I can recall off the top of my head was Jesse Jackson’s comment about “Hymietown”, and certainly a lot of Jews protested that language at the time. If you can find other examples of bigoted/violent comments by any of these men, I’m sure it would take little time or effort to find complaints from Jewish commentators. Your “Gee, I don’t recall a lot of Jews complaining” sounds like another attempt to portray “Jews” as some sort of monolithic group who all think  the same way; if you aren’t an actual anti-semite, you sure do a good job of mimicking their rhetoric, as this is a very common trope.

2.  That you call the Maccabees terrorists and religious fanatics is astonishing.  They remained faithful to the Covenant, resisted Hellenic Cultural assimilation, and the desecration of the Temple.  They saved the Jewish people from disappearing altogether.  Do you celebrate Hanukkah?

Only in a pretty half-assed way, I’m not religious. My saying they were fanatics and used terror tactics wasn’t an attempt to demonize them, I don’t see them as either pure villains or pure heroes, and they were resisting some equally fanatical policies put in place by the king at the time. Still, I can’t look too fondly at their persecution of more Hellenized Jews (forced circumcisions and such as discussed in the article), especially since previous infighting between them and the Hellenized Jews was what prompted the king to institute those draconian policies, if they had all just been willing to live and let live that there likely wouldn’t have been that kind of persecution from above.

Also, on the “saved the Jewish people from disappearing” comment, simply because an event had good long-term historical effects doesn’t mean we should approve the actions of the people who caused the event. For example, I think the diaspora shaped Jewish culture in a lot of beneficial ways, creating more emphasis on learning and scholarship in the Jewish religion and also giving Jews more of an outsider perspective on whatever societies they lived in, but that doesn’t mean I morally approve of the Roman actions that caused the diaspora. Similarly, a Christian might think Christ’s crucifixion was an important and necessary event without morally approving of those who did the crucifying.

3.  No, I’m merely saying that Jews do as much lumping as you are criticizing Gibson and me for.

Some Jews do. But blanket statements about what “Jews” do are just the sort of lumping I’m criticizing, Jews do not act or think as a monolithic bloc.

If you deny that when Jews get together you don’t hear a lot of stupid generalization about ‘goyim’ you’re lying.

Where would you get this delusional level of confidence if you haven’t actually seen what Jews say in get-togethers with your own eyes? Once again, if you aren’t an anti-semite you do an excellent job of imitating their paranoid fantasies. I can’t speak for Jews everywhere, but the liberal and mostly secular Jews I know don’t use the word “goyim” except in jest, when doing a sort of affectionate parody of Old World yiddish-speakers. The closest you get to serious griping about non-Jews is complaints about the Republicans and fundamentalist Christians in this country, but that’s typical of liberal circles and I see just as much of it from liberal non-Jews. 

4.  If the Exodus is not true, then what is the point?  Secular cultural Jewishness is meaningless.

Why is it meaningless? Caring about a distinct culture with its own particular traditions, humor, and values is meaningless? Albert Einstein, for example, once said that “the Jewish religion like all others is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions”, but nevertheless he felt a sense of identification with the Jewish people, describing them as ” the Jewish people to whom I gladly belong and with whose mentality I have a deep affinity”. Is this attitude incomprehensible to you? If so, do you think it’s also meaningless for Irish-Americans, Italian-Americans, Greek-Americans and so forth to care about and identify with their own particular heritage?

And of course not all Jews who might doubt Exodus are entirely non-religious like I am, Reform Judaism allows for a wide range of opinions on the degree of truth in the Bible, so while I would guess the majority of Reform Jews probably believe in it to some degree, it is possible to find examples that don’t, like the Rabbi who wrote this piece.

5.  A lot of people depend on Wikipedia for their facts, but they generally refuse to admit it.

What is the point of this non sequitur? Are you criticizing me for directing you to wikipedia links? One should not trust wikipedia absolutely of course, but many statements in wiki articles are backed up with references to other sources that can be double-checked, as was the case with the statement about Michael Medved and  Rabbi Daniel Lapin defending Gibson’s movie from charges of anti-semitism.

“Jewish agitation” against Gibson and the film included the ADL and the Simon Weisenthal Center – hardly fringe groups.

I didn’t say anything about the agitation being from “fringe” groups, I just resisted yet another attempt by you to talk about “the Jews” as if they were a monolithic group who all agreed with one another on any given topic. If you had made a more reasonable statement like “some prominent Jewish groups such as the ADL and the Simon Weisenthal Center accused the movie of anti-semitism” I wouldn’t have had reason to dispute such a statement.

Moreover, what they were protesting was simple historical fact.  Jesus was arrested and tried by the Sanhedrin and falsely denounced by them to Pilate.  The mob did demand the release of Barabas in preference to Jesus.  The Romans didn’t know who Jesus was and had no reason to crucify him except to avoid Jewish rioting.

Those are only “simple historical facts” to Biblical literalists who take it on faith that everything in the Bible is the precise truth. There is no corroborating evidence for any of that outside the New Testament, and historians who aren’t committed to any sort of literal reading tend to see it as significant that the Gospel that’s thought to be the earliest-written (Mark) doesn’t seem to portray the Jews as badly as later Gospels (see this article for example). Of course it is natural that Gibson’s movie would base itself on all the Gospels, but the accusations of anti-semitism in the movie had to do with choices about which version of events to emphasize (for example Mark portrays the crowd before Pilate being more interested in the freedom of Barabbas, who was probably a member of a Jewish rebel group who many Jews would have seen as a hero, as opposed to being eager to see Jesus crucified–see the discussion here). And there is also the accusation that Gibson’s film portrays the Jews more uniformly negatively than even the later Gospels, for example this author writes:

‘First, one got the impression that not only the corrupt Jewish high priests yelled for Jesus’ crucifixion, but also just about the whole population of Jerusalem—that is, at least representatively, the entire Jewish people. This came through very strongly over and over again, mainly in the views of the crowds, who, other than a few women, were rejoicing and even participating with stones, jeers, and spitting, at the brutal suffering of this fellow Jew. Not a single Jew is presented with any kind of character development, nor does one get any sense throughout the film of what the faith of Judaism might have been like—the very faith of Jesus himself. Here I think even the Gospels, as much as they do (especially Matthew and John) put blame on the “Jews,” do not support this view. Jesus was apparently incredibly popular with the masses. The very reason the Caiaphus “kangaroo court” was called illegally after midnight was because these leaders knew they could never pull this off in broad daylight, with the likes of Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathea, and Gamaliel present, and doubtless many others of such views who had authority and influence. The Gospels witness that Jesus was too popular and loved by thousands to risk an open arrest. The common people heard him gladly and hated this corrupt Temple leadership, as we learn in various Jewish sources. ‘

As for the comment about all Jews being smart – that was merely an insult of your intelligence, not that of Jews generally.

Making a sneering comment about what “you people” are like is insulting to the group as a whole, even if the stereotype is ostensibly a positive one. If you insulted an individual asian person by saying “I thought you people were supposed to be good at math”, or an individual black person by saying “I thought you people were supposed to have rhythm”, would you honestly expect other asian or black people present not to be offended since they weren’t the direct target of your insult?

6.  My reference to Jews as the Covenant People merely states the Christian view.

Yes, but it seemed apropos of nothing, it didn’t appear to be a rejoinder to any specific comments by me or anyone else. It seemed like the only reason you brought it up was so that you could shoot down some strawman Jew who was claiming the Jews had special “merit” by virtue of being “chosen”.

It doesn’t hurt to remember that nearly every Prophet was martyred – and not by Gentiles.

Again, apropos of nothing, maybe you just like to randomly bring up ancient crimes committed by Jews when you get into an argument with a Jew, to “bring them down a peg” or something?

128517 says:

You are sicko and your words implying Gibson is a fanatical anti semite is just ridiculous. Exposing the evils of a people is not the same as hating a people .  Just as the media constantly mocks, vilifies real Christians…   so why is it not a hate crime to persecute and promote hate to Muslims and Christians?   The Christians need to take to court every single word of hate or negativity just as the jews do.  History has shown the socialists and communist have done just as much or more hate crimes and murder of Christians, tens of millions, in many revolutions ; Russia, France, Spain, China..   I think we need to focus on that instead of so much the one holocaust of jews.  All are evil and a crime.

I would personally love to see a Mel Gibson movie about the Maccabees.  You can say what you want about the man, but he makes great movies.  A Maccabee story in the same vein as The Patriot and Braveheart would be great entertainment.

Just because his personal views are anti-semitic, you generally don’t see that as a theme in his movies. 

Yes, it is a very well established historical fact.. Also, it is not in the bible, at least not the Hebrew Bible and only as apocrypha in some Christian Bibles.  It is an incredible story and I would love to see someone tell it well.

itzhak says:

mel gibson,it not anderstoth at the sitoation to israel,he is narckot,he can go to psicyater thak mor joint,he is psichopat manyok

Ummm….the story of the Maccabees isn’t a fable. It was an actual historical event that is well documented by many secular sources.  So, yeah….awkwaaaaaard.

WBC says:

 1.  Start by googling “Al Sharpton” and “Freddie’s Fashion Mart.”  Then try to tell me that Sharpton has never incited violence against anyone.  And then tell me why Jews spew bile at Gibson but give Sharpton and his ilk a pass.  There is not a nickel’s worth of difference between Al Sharpton and Barack Obama except self control.
2.  Just for historical accuracy, the diaspora preceded the Roman destruction of the temple in 70 A.D.   There have always been Jewish populations outside of Israel since at least the destruction of Israel by the Assyrians.  But please try to imagine how  Jews could have survived as Jews had the Maccabees not refused to worship idols or allowed swine to be sacrificed in Jerusalem.  And again for the sake of accuracy, Christians do recognize that the crucifixion was necessary for salvation and do not believe that the Jewish people are responsible.  But the people who were responsible were in fact Jews, and the original Christian persecutions were carried out by Jews.  On the other hand, Gamaliel saved the Apostles from the Sanhedrin. 
3. The reason that stereotypes work is that they are recognizable. 
4. Secular Judaism is meaningless because it reduces Judaism to mere ethnography.  Good luck in trying to make that last more than a couple of generations.
5.  You implied that there was no organized Jewish demonization of the movie.  To which I reply- B.S.  It was orchestrated by mainstream Jewish organizations.
5(a).  The New Testament is the historical record, and there is no contradiction between the Four Gospels.  The facts are the facts.  Gibson did not unfairly portray anyone.
6.  The Torah is pretty clear on what the Covenant entails.  That  every prophet was persecuted and nearly all of them martyred is also fact.  That is simply historical evidence that the Jewish people spent a lot of time missing the point.

WBC says:

No, what I’m saying is that one can admire the Maccabees and appreciate the moral value of their example and still not care for 21st century Jews.  Gibson’s motivation in making such a movie need not be motivated merely by a desire for money, and is not in conflict with his antisemitism.  Why is it so difficult to understand the obvious?

WBC says:

If you think that the story of the Maccabees is merely about Jews being proud of being Jews and resisting assimilation, then you are one of those Jews that needs lessons from someone. Mel Gibson is as good as anyone else for that purpose – regardless of whether he despises Jews or not.

Admiral_Shackleford says:

 Nice try, Mel Gibson.

Admiral_Shackleford says:

 Is it because I’m a nefarious Christ killing Jew who loves making money?

WBC says:

The simpler explanation is that you’re a somewhat dim-witted self-absorbed navel-gazer who thinks everything is about you and yours. Grow up. I’m sure that there are whole consecutive minutes and even hours that Mr. Gibson does not engaged in plotting the destruction of International Jewry.

JamesPhiladelphia says:

From my long ago years of college.

We were four friends that hung around. Three Jewish me, Abe and Hector, one non Jew Rudi. Rudi was having some problems with me an Hector. We were waiting outside class. Suddenly Rudi says I hate 2/3 of the Jewish people. It would have been nicer if he had said I love 1/3 of the Jewish people.

spostol says:

I have no comment. This was an interesting afternoon read, much more so than the original superficial nonsense from Shukert.

 Not just Paul, but the very Gospels of Jesus “testify” to Jewish “treachery”. In other words, bulls**t as usual in the “New” Testament.

I wonder: if the Jefferson Bible is edited to remove all reference to Jews, Israel, Jerusalem, rabbis, synagogues, high priests, temples and so on (especially all the “conspiracy” against Jesus), and then shared massively in all languages to all people, would the Christian mega-obsession over all three (manifesting in both Judeophobia and Christian Zionism) become far less of a danger to the public?

Maybe Jesus would become less of an easy tool of exploitation by those looking for an outlet for their anxieties, and more of the fictional, universal sage of ethics that he probably was all along.

JamesPhiladelphia says:

Paul made the christian bible the fundamental document of hatred, followed by the muslim koran. The Jewish carpenter and the muslim mohamed must be turning in their graves.

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Mel Gibson, Jews, and Power

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