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Slate: Hitchens on Mel Gibson and His Dad

Slate: Hitchens on Mel Gibson and His Dad

Not that you would need my help these days finding articles about the Mel Gibson controversy, but this column in Slate, by Christopher Hitchens, is a look from someone who knows how to write:

In an attempt a few years ago to heal the breach between the Vatican and the Jews, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger did his best to make nice. Jews did not accept Jesus as savior and redeemer, said the man who is now the pope, but they did originate monotheism. Therefore, Judaism could perhaps be regarded in some ways as an “elder brother” of Christianity. The response of Gibson senior was to say that Abel also had an elder brother. … You know what? I think that this qualifies as anti-Semitism, too.

I do not believe for an instant that (as God told Moses) the sins of the fathers should descend to later generations. But when asked about his old man’s many effusions on this subject, from the cheery view that the Jewish population of Europe actually increased in Hitler’s day to the no less upbeat opinion that persons unknown brought down the World Trade Center, the younger Gibson stonewalled consistently by saying that “my father has never told me a lie.” At the time he said this, I was impressed despite myself. He was being invited to disown a raging Jew-baiter at the same time that he was trying to cash in with a Hollywood epic. And he wouldn’t do it!

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