By David Bernstein
Even before Mel Gibson made his infamous anti-Semitic remarks, Gibson became a very unpopular and disliked figure in Hollywood due to the controversy over The Passion of the Christ and his remarks that skirted close to Holocaust denial. After a drunk Gibson said, “F**king Jews... The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world,” Ari Emanuel, undoubtedly reflecting broader sentiment, wrote, “People in the entertainment community, whether Jew or gentile, need to demonstrate that they understand how much is at stake in this by professionally shunning Mel Gibson and refusing to work with him, even if it means a sacrifice to their bottom line.”
It will be interesting to see whether Oliver Stone, who has now expressed the classic anti-Semitic view that “Jews dominate the media,” will receive the same treatment. Stone, in the Sunday Times (original behind paywall):
“Hitler did far more damage to the Russians than the Jewish people, 25 or 30m.”
Why such a focus on the Holocaust then? “The Jewish domination of the media,” he says. “There’s a major lobby in the United States. They are hard workers. They stay on top of every comment, the most powerful lobby in Washington. Israel has f***** up United States foreign policy for years.”
Gibson was an easy target for Hollywood liberals and leftists. A right-winger and a religious Catholic, Gibson was the perfect manifestation of Hollywood liberals’ stereotypes of anti-Semites.
Stone, by contrast, is a Buddhist leftist of partial Jewish descent, the kind of person the Hollywood left usually thinks of as “one of the good guys.” Stone even was clever enough to follow his anti-Semitic remark about Jewish domination of the media, noted in the context of Hitler and the Holocaust, with some pablum about the Jewish lobby, Israel, and American foreign policy. This had nothing to do with the topic at hand, but Stone’s apologists will inevitably claim that his remarks were aimed at the “Israel lobby,” and not Jews per se.
So, what will it be for Hollywood liberals? Is anti-Semitism only unacceptable when it comes from right-wing Christians, or equally bad when it comes from non-Christian leftists, who add a bit of anti-Israel window dressing? (The early returns are not promising; so far, the left-wing blogosphere has responded to Stone’s remarks with deafening silence).