Gibson and the Holocaust

I personally don’t see what all the controversy is about with the Mel Gibson film, The Passion. Apparently, there is a line from the bible that Jewish ‘leaders’ object to since it insinuates blame for the death of Jesus on his fellow Jews as collaborators with the Romans:

Mel Gibson has cut a line from his new film The Passion of Christ, in an apparent concession to Jewish lobby groups who have accused him of stoking anti-Semitism and reviving the old accusation that Jews bear collective responsibility for killing the Son of God.

A friend of the actor-director said the final version will not include a line from St Matthew’s gospel in which the Jewish high priest Caiaphas says of the crucifixion: “His blood be on us and on our children.”

Gibson has apparently inflicted further damage with an interview in Reader’s Digest, in which he was challenged to acknowledge the Holocaust happened. Gibson responded: “I have friends and parents of friends who have numbers on their arms. The guy who taught me Spanish was a Holocaust survivor. He worked in a concentration camp in France. Yes of course. Atrocities happened. War is horrible. The Second World War killed tens of millions. Some of them were Jews in concentration camps. Many people lost their lives.”

Gibson’s choice of words has incensed Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, who wrote in a letter to the actor-director: “To describe Jewish suffering during the Holocaust as ‘some of them were Jews in concentration camps’ is an afterthought that feeds into the hands of Holocaust deniers and revisionists.”

I don’t think any one group reserves special status for the atrocity of World War Two. After all, 15-20 million Chinese were killed, 15-20 Soviet Russians, millions of Japanese, and untold other Europeans, Americans, and Japanese, etc. This in addition to the six million Jews, six million Slavs, and the countless other Gypsies, homosexuals, and those others found unsuitable to the Nazi government. I do think that the Jewish Holocaust receives the most attention at the expense of the other victims. I understand that the Jews were targetted for extermination by the Nazis and I am sensitive to that, but to me, being so vigilant against perceived threats to the Jewish community betrays a type of cultural nationalism. It calls into question fundamental questions of race, ethnicity, and identity.


  1. Particularly since the Israeli government is currently toying with genocide.

  2. You’d at least expect them to be more sensitive maybe.