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Friday, April 13, 2012

The Mel Gibson-Joe Eszterhas Contraversy Over the Maccabees

Nadene Goldfoot
Joe Eszterhas, 67 year old famous Hungarian Catholic screen writer, who wrote "Basic Instinct" and "Showgirls"  learned in 1990 that his father was being investigated by the US Department of Justice for writing anti-Semitic propaganda in Hungary in the 30's and 40's. 

Joe is living in Hollywood and is in contact through business with Mel Gibson, who also has a father that is also known to be very anti-Semitic.  The two men with anti-Semitic fathers have reacted to Jews in opposite ways. Mel has already directed The Passion of the Christ, a movie that portrayed Jews in an extremely unfavorable manner.  This movie could have been the cause of a lot of anti-Semitic reaction in any community.

 Robert Jacobs, the regional director for the Pacific Northwest ADL (Anti-Defamation League). noted that the ADL and other Jewish organizations have been "accused of being alarmist" in their criticism of the movie. He indicates that they were concerned that the film "....might reverse the past 40 years of increasing interfaith dialogue or result in misunderstandings that could harm Jews both here in the United States and overseas." After viewing the movie, he said that he: "...saw two hours of nearly unrelenting violence and torture, horror and viciousness such as I have never seen. Two hours of hell, portrayed in the film as instigated, demanded, insisted upon by Jews. The film does not only show a few Jewish leaders calling for Jesus' torture. The film portrays nearly all Jews -- Jews in the Temple, Jews in the streets, Jews in the courtyards, Jews on bridges over Jesus' path -- as stoning, condemning, screaming and beating on Jesus....Nearly every Gibson-created scene portrays the High Priests and the Jews of Jerusalem as horribly vicious, brutal and inhuman."

Gibson is known to have a hot temper and has said very anti-Semitic statements, following in his father's beliefs.  Joe had found out about his father's anti-Semitism and seems to want to correct this injustice with his behavior.  He has written a screen play about the Macabees who fought against invasion in Jerusalem.  Judas Macabee and his sons were the founders of the holiday of Chanukah and were very brave guerrilla fighters. 

The two men have collided with Joe being the writer of the film, working on it for the past 2 years,  and Mel in on the production as the future director.  It turns out that Joe is accusing Mel of sabotaging the production.  Warner Bros. have decided to cancel the project. 

Joe says that Mel is an anti-Semite and that's why he won't make "The Maccabees.  He feels that Mel hates Jews.  He says Mel told him that the Holocaust was mostly a lot of horseshit and the only reason he would make this film would be to convert Jews to Christianity.  Mel also believes it is the Torah that made references to the sacrifice of Christian babies and infants.  Joe says that he corrected Mel in that it was the Protocals of Zion that said such a thing but he insisted that it was the Torah.  Gibson also is quoted by Joe as calling Jews "Hebes, oven-dodgers and Jewboys."

Joe said he felt that the only reason Mel took on the project was because he was already being called anti-Semitic and he was trying to say they were utter fabrications, but Mel is denying this, of course.

Last year the Jewish community was very surprised that such a movie about the heroism of the Maccabees was going to be directed by Mel Gibson.    In 2006 Gibson was arrested for drunk driving and was full of anti-Semitic outbursts, as liquor seems to loosen up so many tongues.

Perhaps this was a blessing in disguise for Eszterhas.  I don't believe that any Jewish person would want to see a movie about a famous Jewish person of history being portraying by Mel Gibson's direction.  That's like putting the kiss of death on the movie.  It's wonderful that Joe wrote this script and he deserves a better staff to get this done.  How about finding a Jewish director?  There's Stanley Kubrick, Steven Spielberg, Billy Wilder, Sergei Eisenstein, Fritz Lang, Woody Allen, George Cukor, and others that should be most interested in this great opportunity.  Maybe it could even be made in Israel. 

http://latimesblogs/ list of Jewish directors,0,2650034.story

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