Sunday, August 06, 2006


Mel Gibson's drunk driving arrest, at 2:30 AM on July 28th, revealed that he harbored deep-rooted anti-Semitic feelings. During the patrol car ride to the Malibu sheriff's station he let loose with a tirade of inflammatory statements, which included references to the "fucking Jews" and the statement that "the Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world." That statement has its foundation in the long-held anti-Semitic myth that Jews own and control everything.

When Gibson's ugly behavior first became public, he issued a statement in which he insisted that he was not anti-Semitic, and he attributed his inflammatory outbursts to alcohol doing the talking. He said that his religion, conservative Catholicism, did not allow him to bear any hatred toward others. When that did not calm down the uproar generated by his inflammatory remarks, his publicist released a statement in which Gibson apologized for his behavior to anyone he may have offended, but he left out any references to anti-Semitism. That omission only served to further fuel the controversy surrounding his arrest.

Finally, on August 1st, Gibson's publicist released a lenghty apologetic statement. In part it said, "I want to apologize specifically to everyone in the Jewish community for the vitriolic and harmful words. Please know from my heart that I am not an anti-Semite. I am not a bigot. Hatred of any kind goes against my faith. There will be many in that (Jewish) community who will want nothing to do with me, and that would be understandable. But I pray that that door is not forever closed." The statement also said that he wants to "meet with the leaders in the Jewish community, with whom I can have a one-on-one discussion to discern the appropriate path for healing. I am in the process of understanding where those vicious words came from during that drunken display, and I am asking the Jewish community , whom I have personally offended, to help me on my journey through recovery."

As a Jew, I have been subjected to a number of anti-Semitic slurs, and I have overheard many such slurs used in conversations which were not personally directed at me. These have always been offensive and hurtful to me. Was I offended by Gibson's anti-Semitic tirade? Somewhat, but his hateful words were not uttered in my presence. As a person with a number of years in law enforcement, I was much more offended by LASO's obvious attempt to cover up Gibson's anti-Semitism. Do I believe that Gibson's apology is sincere? Not really! All his apologies were issued by his publicist. It is obvious that these are not Gibson's own words. They were carefully crafted by his public relations people in an attempt at damage control. I would have been more impressed had Gibson held a press conference, admitting he was an anti-Semite and offering an unscripted off-the-cuff apology.

Gibson's most recent apology reveals that he is really in denial about his hatred of Jews. "Please know from my heart that I am not an anti-Semite. I am not a bigot." That's the problem - in his heart he is a bigot. His anti-Semitism is like any other addiction - there can be no cure until the addict admits that he is addicted to aclohol, to narcotic drugs, to gambling, to sex, or in Gibson's case, to anti-Semitism. Gibson was raised by an anti-Semitic father who believes the holocaust was a hoax. He was probably infected with bigotry long ago at the family's dining table.

A number of Gibson's Jewish friends have come to his defense, convinced through their friendship that he is not an anti-Semite. What fools they be! There will always be bigots who hate African-Americans, Latinos, Gays, or whichever group, who will have one or more friends from among the group they hate. Over the years, I've heard many an anti-Semite claim that "Some of my best friends are Jews," and some of them, undoubtably, were telling the truth. Gibson's Jewish friends would serve him better if they confronted him face to face with his anti-Semitism.

Gibson is a brilliant actor and director. Bigots can change, but not until they admit their bigotry. Because he is a big money maker, Gibson's career will not end. Hopefully he can overcome his addiction to hatred. He will never go to trial. He wil cop a plea. His attorneys are fighting to keep the video and audio tapes of his arrest from the public. He will probably be placed on probation, fined, and ordered to undergo counseling and to perform some type of community service.

I have a novel proposal which might help cure Gibson of his anti-Semitism. Instead of the usual community service, sentence him to live for 30 days with a working-class Orthodox Jewish family in New York. Since he has asked for the Jewish community's help, I am sure that the leaders of that community will be able to find an ordinary working-class Orthodox family in New York willing to take Gibson in for 30 days. That will either cure his anti-Semitism or it will drive him further to drink and reinforce his bigotry, but I believe that this unconventional approach is worth a try.

No comments: