By Mona Charen: Syndicated columnist
Someone suggested to me the morning after Mel Gibson’s thunderclap
that his career was over.
Ha! Far from it. This is the start of a whole new gig.
If Gibson had used the N word, or defamed feminists, or praised
George W. Bush, he might be in serious trouble. Those are the
reigning taboos in Hollywood. But anti-Semitism barely ruffles a feather.
How can this be true when everyone knows that the Jews control
Hollywood? Well, consider what the Los Angeles Times found
when it questioned several Hollywood heavyweights about their views.
There were one or two who claimed that Gibson’s outburst
would cause them to think twice before working with him again. Ari
Emanuel, dubbed a “superagent” by The Washington Post, urged
others in Hollywood to “shun” Mel Gibson. But he was the outlier.
The others were more timid. In fact, such lame and limp condemnations
have not been heard since the National Council of Churches
commented on Hamas and Hezbollah. (“When will all Israeli
leaders see that aggression only breeds more aggression . . . ?”)
Talent manager Bernie Brillstein allowed as how “If he calls me
tomorrow, would I represent him?
The answer is no. That doesn’t make me right. I just don’t like bigots.”
That doesn’t make me right?
What moral courage! Nor did Brillstein suggest what his
response would be if Gibson were to phone him the day after tomorrow.
Other members of the supposed Jewish cabal in Tinseltown were
more self-assured. Producer Peter Guber scorned talk of boycotting Gibson.
“Any types of call of that nature fly in the face of what free speech
is. Anybody trying to prevent anybody from being gainfully employed is distasteful to me.”
Paramount producer Lynda Obst opined that “In one of the few areas where we have power, I don’t think we should act in what anti-Semites consider to be stereotypical
ways. This could be an opportunity where we say to anti-Semites that Jews don’t boycott. I don’t like blacklists; I don’t like any form of blacklist.”
So an anti-Semitic rant can actually rebound to Gibson’s advantage as overeager Jewish producers scurry to demonstrate that they are not “stereotypical Jews.” Nice trick.
This particular anti-Semitic complaint — that Jews control Hollywood — has always struck me as particularly ironic. The Jews who work in Hollywood certainly do not use their influence to further the interests of Jews or Israel. Quite the opposite.
Before about 1965, Hollywood (which even then was top-heavy with Jewish creative talent) treated religion (nearly always Christianity) with respect and affection. From “The Bells of Saint Mary’s” to “Boys Town” to “Ben-Hur,” religion was portrayed in heroic and saintly hues. What changed in the ’60s was not thatJews took over Hollywood but that liberalism did.
And as liberalism triumphed,religion began to be portrayed as bigoted, corrupt and stupid. Christianity has been maligned in the process, but so have Jews and Israel.
Consider one of the nominees for an Academy Award last year: “Paradise Now.” I didn’t see it but understand from reviews that it treats with sympathy the grooming
of two Palestinian suicide bombers who blow themselves up killing innocent Israelis.
I did see Steven Spielberg’s “Munich.” With Jews like this, who needs Mel Gibson? “Munich” is a taut, sophisticated thriller that portrays Israeli agents as coldblooded, conscienceless killers altogether on the same moral plane as the terrorists they track. Along the way it defames Israel’s founding, basically arguing that the state was created illegitimately.
Mona Charen writes for Creators Syndicate.