OK, so I suppose most everyone (in North America, at least) has heard about Mel Gibson and his arrest over the weekend for driving while intoxicated, during which he apparently dislodged a litany of anti-Semitic slurs to the officers who arrested him. He has since apologized TWICE in three days, and he swears he is in alcohol-rehabilitation and that he is most definitely NOT an anti-Semite.
Hmmmm. Normally, people who aren’t anti-Semitic don’t hurl such slurs at police officers, even while drunk. Ever heard of in vino, veritas? I don’t think being drunk is a good excuse for being racist. You’re either drunk, or you’re a drunk racist.
This isn’t the first time ol’ Mel has been accused of being anti-Semitic – his blockbuster 2004 movie The Passion of the Christ was targetted as anti-Semitic for depicting Jews as the killers of Jesus. Well, I don’t know about y’all other christian-raised folks out there, but that sure as hell is exactly what I was taught in Sunday School! So, if it’s a *true* piece of history (which I’m not saying it is, agnostic as I am even about Jesus’ LIFE much less his death), is it anti-Semitic to point out something that is an unflattering truth? Bummer for Mel, who was gaining a bit of backup from the christians who supported his movie for their own reasons, his papa spoke out not long after the movie was released, saying that the Holocaust was a big fat piece of fiction. Sucky timing.
Now, I read that Mel wants to meet with leaders of the Jewish community to find a way to heal after his racist statements. !!! I mean, how much bigger can one man’s ego get? Why on earth would leaders of the Jewish community want to meet with Mel Gibson after he spewed all that hatred about Jews? Mel is clearly trying desperately to hang onto his career and his reputation for being a “good guy.” Why should leaders of a community he has expressed hatred for want to help him improve his public image? Talk about white male privilege.
So, point #1: just because you were drunk, doesn’t let you off the hook for being an anti-Semite. Sorry, Mel.
Which brings me to the current war in Lebanon. I’ve been quiet about this so far, but I’ve been seething inside, believe me. I don’t think Israel has any right to be in Lebanon blowing shit up. Last I checked, it was the Palestinians who got the shitty end of the stick with the creation of Israel out of already-occupied land in the Middle East after WWII. I know it’s a lot more complicated than that, but for crying out loud, what the heck is Israel doing in Lebanon NOW?
So, does the fact that I am critical of Israel make me an anti-Semite? Ummmm, no. Criticising a country’s politics doesn’t mean you hate the people from that country – or their descendents – and it doesn’t mean that you’re a racist. I am pretty critical of the US most of the time. Does that mean I hate all americans? No. Of course not. THAT WOULD BE RIDICULOUS.
Point #2: it is possible to criticize Israel and NOT be an anti-Semite. For the record.