Liberty Just in Case

A Dialogue for the September 12th World

Posted by Mark on September 27, 2003

A Defense of Mel Gibson’s New Movie, from an Orthodox Rabbi

Finally, I believe the attacks on Mel Gibson are a mistake because while they may be in the interests of Jewish organizations who raise money with the specter of anti-Semitism, and while they may be in the interests of Jewish journalists at the New York Times and elsewhere who are trying to boost their careers, they are most decidedly not in the interests of most American Jews who go about their daily lives in comfortable harmony with their Christian fellow citizens. You see, many Christians see all this as attacks not just on Mel Gibson alone or as mere critiques of a movie, but with some justification in my view, they see them as attacks against all Christians. This is not so different from the way most people react to attack. We Jews usually feel that we have all been attacked even when only a few of us suffer assault on account of our faith.

Right now, the most serious peril threatening Jews, and indeed perhaps all of Western Civilization, is Islamic fundamentalism. In this titanic 21st-century struggle that links Washington, D.C. with Jerusalem, our only steadfast allies have been Christians. In particular, those Christians that most ardently defend Israel and most reliably denounce anti-Semitism, happen to be those Christians most fervently committed to their faith. Jewish interests are best served by fostering friendship with Christians rather than cynically eroding them. Rejecting flagrant anti-Christianism on the part of Jews claiming to be acting on our behalf would be our wisest course as a community. Doing so would have one other advantage: It would also be doing the right thing.

— Radio talk-show host, Rabbi Daniel Lapin, is president of Toward Tradition.

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