Mel Gibson's Judah Maccabee Film Upsets Jewish Leaders

| by Michael Allen

The ADL (Anti-Defamation League) has raised objections to Mel Gibson's proposed film about Jewish warrior Judah Maccabee, citing Gibson's history of anti-semetic slurs. Gibson is teaming with screenwriter Joe Eszterhas to write the film, which Gibson may direct.

The ADL released a statement asking Warner Bros., which is producing the film with the actor, to “reconsider Gibson’s involvement in this project.”

The ADL said: “As a hero of the Jewish people and a universal hero in the struggle for religious liberty, Judah Maccabee deserves better. It would be a travesty to have the story of the Maccabees told by one who has no respect and sensitivity for other people’s religious views."

The statement continues: “Not only has Mel Gibson shown outward antagonism toward Jews and Judaism in his public statements and actions, but his previous attempt to bring biblical history to life on the screen was marred by anti-semitism.”

Another Jewish leader, Rabbi Marvin Hier, told The Hollywood Reporter, "Mel Gibson has shown nothing but antagonism and disrespect to Jews."

Gibson gave an interview to The Atlantic about why he wanted to tell the story of the Maccabees:"I just read it when I was teenager, and it's amazing. They profaned his Temple. They killed his father. They . . . all kinds of stuff. Oh, my God, the odds they faced. The armies they faced had elephants! How cinematic is this!"

When asked about his infamous anti-semetic rant, Gibson responded: “That day they (the Israeli Defense Forces) were marching into Lebanon. It was one of those things. It was on the news.”

Warner Bros. has yet to respond to the controversy.