I am inclined to cut Mel Gibson some slack

David Quarter davidquarter at sympatico.ca
Sat Sep 14 09:15:20 MDT 2002

Fred Feldman wrote:

  I don't believe that Gibson is motivated by anti-Semitism.  He is
> obviously driven by commitment to the views of his sect which do
> center primarily on the Jewish question or the role of Jews.   Is it
> anti-Semitic to think Jews killed Christ?  It wouldn't surprise me if
> the debate over this boxes Gibson into statements that can be
> anti-Semitic but I really don't think he intends or represents any
> threat at all to the Jewish people.

 I've been hanging around a group of Jewish professionals every
Monday evening for the past five years. We play sports together at
one of the city's Jewish community centres. In the process, it is
not unusual for me to slam Jesus Christ (some times pretty badly)
if things are not going as planned.  Part of the reason, of course, is
that I hate losing. But  I think the resort to shouting the "Lo*d's
name in vain" is something I picked up from my Dad who's favourite
saying in times of distress ( for as long as I can remember at least)
was/is "Je*us Chr*st, G-d Old Mighty". As you might imagine, my
Dad's not Christian. He is a Jew. Albeit, a secular Jew. And
although he doesn't shy away from hiding his distate of Christianity
(particularly Catholicism) his dislike for the holy scriptures
permeates the entire major religious spectrum (including, Judaism).
So this is not just about Christianity (although at the moment, due
to love affair with Israel, his hatred for islam has probably eclisped
his hatred for the other major religions).

I never really put any thought into this issue, yet going by the logic
that Fred Feldman raises concerning whether Mr Gibson could be
considered an anti semite for making this film, could it not be
argued that my Dad, based at least on his repeat "blasphemous"
(in the eyes of devout Christians) comment about Christ, is a anti

Going back to my earlier comment about my slamming Christ:  no
one at the community centre ever complains when I shout my
obsenities about the good Lord. In fact, most of the people smile in
agreement. I can even remember when after one of my particularly
foul mouth tirades, one of the older members commented
jockingly: "David -- this is a Christ free establishment". At the time,
I never payed much attention to this remark -- and the possible
underlying motivation behind it. But, not too long after that I came
across books and wrtings on the Jewish religion from a critical (to
understate the point) perspective. Two that stand out was written
by the same author -- a  recently deceased Israeli Professor of
chemistry and political activist named Israel Shahak. Some of you
might have already heard of him. In any case, in his books he
states that in various sections of the Talmud (quoting the actual
sections) Christ and Christianity are blasted (to put it midly).
Although he claims that most secual or reform Jews would be
unaware of this since many do not read the "holy scriptures", this
raises an important point (which Shahak himself has repeatedly
made): is Judaism anti Christian?

I'm of the opinion that this is not the case -- and even if there was a
kernel of truth to the statement that Judaism has been traditionally
anti Christian, I suspect that not all devout Jews would be so.
Perhaps amongst some of the more radical layers -- such as the
Hassidic and "modern" othordox -- you will/would find stronger
feelings of anti Christian sentiment, but surely th is is not to
suggest alll devout Jews hold such feelings; and that Judaism is
therefore an anti Christian religion?

 I would think not, just as I suspect that an individual such as
Gibson, who is perhaps a devout Christian, yet who has similarly
crossed paths with Jews his entire acting career does/would not
condemn the entire Jewish "race" for the purported actions of their


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