Mel Gibson, who directed and produced The Passion of the Christ, drew severe criticism, Friday, from Jewish leaders, for making a film about Judah Maccabee.
Gibson’s company Icon Production is collaborating with Warner Bros. studio and is planning to make a film about Judah Maccabee. It’s said that Gibson may direct or even be an actor in the film, but it hasn’t been determined yet.
However Gibson’s involvement in the film has triggered concerns among some Jewish leaders who have called the film a “travesty”.
Judah Maccabee is a hero of the Jewish people and a universal hero in the struggle for religious liberty, he deserves better. It’s facetious that his story is told by a person who has no respect for other people’s religious viewpoints Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, said in a statement.
“Gibson’s plan is simply an insult to Jewish people,” Rabbi Marvin Hier from Los Angeles’ Simon Wiesenthal Center said.
He has antagonistic viewpoint towards Jews. Casting him as a director or perhaps as the star of Judah Maccabee is like casting (Bernie) Madoff to be the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission, or a white supremacist as trying to portray Martin Luther King Jr. It’s simply an insult to Jews.” Hier told the Hollywood Reporter.
The film is still in the stage of planning and the script has not been finished. Even actors and actresses of the film have not yet been decided either, a spokesman from Warner Bros Studio said.
Meanwhile, Gibson and a studio spokesman are keeping quiet on the subject. They didn’t give any comment on the criticism. A representative for Gibson didn’t say which Hollywood stars will act in the film.
As son of a Jewish priest, Judah Maccabee led a guerrilla revolt against armies of Seleucid Empire in the 2nd century B.C. in Judea. Maccabee is a historical figure and is revered by many Jewish people. One famous festival Hanukkah commemorates the triumphs against Seleucid Empire.
During 80s and 90s Gibson was one of the most bankable stars in Hollywood. The film “Braveheart” won Oscar award for him after he started a career as a director in the mid 1990s. After that he directed the movie “The Passion of the Christ” in 2004. It became one of the most successful films of the decade. However, it also brought him various criticisms, the most noteworthy being that he was anti-Semitic.
In 2006, he was disgraced for his derogatory comments about Jews after he was arrested for drunken driving. He ranted at the officer, “The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world. His arrest and derogatory comment became a hot issue to the world and it made him forever associated with anti-Semiticism. However, he publicly apologized later.