Let's play a little game, shall we? Let's say I drank heavily and then suddenly started shouting obscenities about a certain race, creed or group of people. Let's say you were among that very group of people that I was slandering. Now, the million-dollar prize question is this: Would you forgive me, saying "Ah, Manning was just drunk, he didn't know what he was talking about"? Or would you never speak to me again, feeling that, because my inhibitions were so lowered by my drinking, I was expressing how I truly feel?
I favor the latter perspective myself. Which is why I feel that Mel Gibson's apology to Jews is absolutely worthless. Mad Max can apologize all he wants, but he can never hide the fact that he was letting off what seemed to be some geunine anti-Semitic steam.
"There is no excuse, nor should there be any tolerance for anyone who thinks or expresses any kind of anti-Semitic remark," Gibson said during a second apology — let me repeat, second apology, because the first one was so lame. If he truly believes this, then Braveheart should hardly be surprised if the Jewish community simply nod their heads in agreement and has nothing to do with him.
It is, however, in the nature of most Jews to forgive, so some leaders have welcomed his apology. The national director of the Anti-Defamation League, Abraham Foxman, opined in response to Gibson's second apology, "When he's finished with alcohol rehabilitation, we will be ready and willing to meet with him and to help him get rid of his other addiction – which is prejudice."
Other Jews have struck an even more cautious note. The founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Rabbi Marvin Hier, noted strongly that Gibson's anti-Semitism, like his alcoholism, "cannot be cured in one day and certainly not through a press release."
I will admit to never having seen Gibson's film The Passion of the Christ, so I am not in a position to say that it encouraged anti-Semitism (even though the level-headed Jewish conservative columnists Mona Charen and Charles Krauthammer reckoned it did). I have heard and read plenty about the controversy surrounding it and was always willing to give Gibson the benefit of the doubt. Not anymore. His drunken remarks during his arrest seem to attest to the idea that The Passion of the Christ just may have had an agenda attached to it, after all.
But nothing can top his declaration that "Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world" for such jaw-dropping, in-your-face, dumb-ass demagogy. What wars, Lethal Weapon? World War II? If only those Jews went willingly to their deaths, a war might have been avoided altogether, eh? Those damn troublemakers! Afghanistan? Well, if you believe that myth about Israel organizing the September 11 atrocity, then I suppose you're willing to believe that Jews are responsible for the Afghanistan and Iraq invasions. Because everyone knows those dirty sabre-ratting neo-cons are Jews, right? Oh wait, perhaps you were referring to the current conflict between Hezbollah and Israel — a war which Hezbollah started by attacking two Israeli tanks in Israeli territory, killing eight Israeli soldiers and capturing two.
Even the Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt has blamed Hezbollah, calling their initial actions "a very dangerous game." Jumblatt expressed the opinion to the French daily Le Figaro that Hezbollah "will have to explain itself to the Lebanese" and made it clear that he feels radical elements within Lebanon are entirely responsible because "Israel had evacuated Lebanon" and "the kidnappings extend[ed] beyond our country's borders." Jumblatt also declared that Hezbollah deliberately raised the stakes in order to bring Syria and Iran into open conflict with Israel. It speaks volumes that one of the highest profile leaders of the country being attacked sees the problem within his own nation and not Israel.
But hey, never mind, Israel is still responsible because they start all the wars. Everyone knows that! At least according to one big-mouthed Aussie know-it-all. Actually, according to most of the world, who again find themselves crying in their fruity Frappuccinos and wetting themselves over dead Lebanese civilians — which is all very sad, I grant you — but don't spare a moment to consider Israel's constantly precarious position and its right to protect itself. When will Islamist militants finally learn to stop fucking with Israel? It's a question the rest of the world should be asking itself.
I doubt Mel Gibson will be. Unless he starts quaffing loads of Maccabee beer. Then there may just be a glimmer of hope.