An unacceptable slur

The following article appears in today’s Daily Telegraph newspaper:

Atone for remarks, leaders demand – MEL’S DRUNKEN MELTDOWN

JOE HILDEBRAND

Australian Jewish groups are furious at Mel Gibson’s anti-Semitic outburst, with calls for him to show his remorse by making a donation to a Jewish charity.

Jewish leaders from around the country condemned the actor’s drunken rant about “f…g Jews” and his absurd claim they started every war in history.

They have also branded as ludicrous reported claims by senior Los Angeles police officers the comments should be struck from police records because they were “too inflammatory”.

Australian Union of Jewish Students president Greg Weinstein said it was ludicrous to suggest anti-Semitism should be covered up because of the situation in the Middle East.

“If anyone has something like that to say I think the opposite should be done,” he said. “It should never be tolerated or sanitised in any circumstances.”

Jewish author and commentator Anthony Lowenstein said it beggared belief someone who had worked in a Jew-dominated industry like Hollywood for so long could be so anti-Semitic.

He said Gibson’s apology did not atone for his action and he ought to make a donation to a Jewish charity as a gesture of regret.

NSW Jewish Board of Deputies chief David Knoll said it needed to be examined whether Gibson had breached any US racial vilification laws and if so he should be punished accordingly.

“If a person in NSW calls for violence or humiliation against other people by reason of their race or ethnicity that’s a criminal offence and should be prosecuted,” he said.

Despite the outrage, many were not surprised at the outburst given the charges of anti-Semitism levelled at Gibson over his 2004 film The Passion of the Christ.

Gibson’s father, an extreme Catholic whose religion his son shares, has also been accused of being an anti-Semite.

“Regrettably it’s not surprising,” Australia Israel and Jewish Affairs Council executive director Colin Rubenstein said. “There’s a whole history with regard to him.”

(For more on Gibson’s behaviour, see here.)