The Right Coast

March 03, 2004
Gibson's Denial
By Mike Rappaport

I have not seen the Passion yet. Based on the descriptions of others, it seems that Gibson may have portrayed the Jews more negatively (and the Romans more favorably) than the Gospels or history warrants . But I will reserve judgment on that until I have seen the movie. And, in any event, there is much more to this movie than how it portrays the Jews.

Much more troubling, though, are Gibson's comments in response to questions by Peggy Noonan and Diane Sawyer about the holocaust. As David Frum points out, Gibson may not actually have the beliefs of a holocaust denier, but he sounds not a little like such a denier. Frum concludes his column:
    Is Mel Gibson a Holocaust denier? I am not asserting that he is. After reading two interviews, I still do not know. Shouldn’t I know? Sawyer and Noonan both wished to help Gibson out – to give him an easy chance to show that he does not share his father’s disdain for the murdered Jews of Europe. Yet Gibson declined to avail himself of these chances. I can’t help wondering why.
Frum's column, which discusses the issues more fully, is here. Frum prints letters from readers who disagree with him here. Some of these letters make good points, but in the end I agree with Frum.

I should say that when I first heard about the controversy concerning The Passion, my sympathies were mainly with Gibson. And I think some of the criticisms of the movie are way over the top. That said, Gibson's answers concerning the holocaust are troubling. While some have argued that he does not want to offend or dishonor his father, that is no excuse. Sadly his father dishonors him and his project. While Gibson does not have to go out of his way to criticize his father's view, when he is asked about the holocaust, he ought to speak frankly.