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What Were the Odds of Mel Gibson Running Into a Jewish Cop?

The question of the week comes from Valerie Strauss, Post reporter and a creative dynamo who will join the big blog here starting next week for a two-week stint during my absence: We need a statistician to come in and determine for us exactly how unlikely it was that Mr. Mel Gibson, filmmaker and apparently not a fan of the Jews, in his moment of ultimate ugliness happened to find a cop who is Jewish.

How rare are Jewish cops? I've met a few in Washington, New York and Miami, and there are perhaps a handful of prominent, high-level Jewish police officials, one of whom, Reuben Greenberg, I got to know when he was chief of police in Opa-locka, Fla., when I was covering that town in the early 1980s for the Miami Herald. Greenberg was both Jewish and black; this was one cop who really, really wouldn't tolerate bias in his department.

According to joohoo.com, a site that offers to identify whether prominent folks are Jews:

In fact, there are a number of well-known Jewish cops -- both in real life and in the realm of fiction. HOWARD SAFIR, REUBEN GREENBURG and the late SHERMAN BLOCK are three of the most famous real-life Jewish police officers. Safir, a former federal agent, served as the police commissioner of New York City during part of the Giuliani administration. Greenberg, an African-American Jew, has been police chief in Charleston, S.C., since 1982. Greenberg has some Jewish ancestry and formally converted to Judaism as an adult. Block holds the record as the longest serving head of the L.A. County Sheriff's Office (1981-1998). Block died days before the 1998 election and still came close to winning re-election to the sheriff post!

The site notes that Jewish cops seem to be more prevalent in TV fiction than in real life:

TV cops in years past who were explictly identified as Jewish include Capt. Barney Miller and Detective Fish of "Barney Miller" and Lt. Henry Goldbloom and Detective Mike Belker of "Hill Street Blues." (Miller, Fish and Belker were played, respectively, by Jewish actors HAL LINDEN, ABE VIGODA and BRUCE WEITZ. Actor JOE SPANO, who played Goldbloom, is not Jewish.) But our absolutely favorite Jewish TV cop moments came when Canadian Jewish actors HARVEY ATKIN (Sgt. Ronald Coleman) and AL WAXMAN (Lt. Bert Samuels) had intermittent exchanges in Yiddish on "Cagney and Lacey."

So, math wizards: What were the odds?

And while we're asking questions, answer me this: Exactly why do so many people act surprised when Gibson's true beliefs are bared? Wasn't his depiction of Jews in his Passion film sufficient evidence of his reliance on paper-thin stereotypes and silly caricature in his thinking about Jews?

As David Friedman, Washington director of the Anti-Defamation League, said when I accompanied him to the opening of "The Passion of the Christ" in Georgetown in 2004, "At every level, the movie seeks to portray Jews as Christ-killers" and "it was wall-to-wall condemnation of the Jews, from the most stereotypical-looking Jewish characters to the comparative compassion of the Romans."

Gibson's Jews in Biblical Israel somehow managed to look like Eastern European Jews from a 19-century stetl, complete with hook noses, preposterously pale complexion and no resemblance whatever to Jesus and his followers, who, though they were also Jews from the very same place, appeared to come from a different part of the planet.

By Marc Fisher |  August 2, 2006; 7:49 AM ET
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When I was younger and a devout, practicing Catholic, I always identified with the Jewish community in the Passion stories. After all, Jesus was Jewish. In the masses, the congregation was even made to read the crowd's calls for Jesus's death. It always seemed to me to be a reminder that as people we fail and sin and are often cruelest to those most kind, a call to acknowledge our own role in a sometimes brutal and hypocritical society, to acknowledge our own role in rejecting God's message. It wasn't about it being THEIR fault. It is about it being OUR fault, mankind's fault. So it is so strange to imagine another Catholic interpreting the bible as a reason to lump modern and ancient Jews together and blame them as a group for everything. That just seems so darn anti-Catholic to me. But I digress...

Posted by: Anonymous | August 2, 2006 9:15 AM

I'm not writing to defend Gibson's recent comments. If his comments are proven to be as reported, he deserves whatever spanking the public gives him and then some.

But I do think your take on the Passion of the Christ is too extreme.

Mr. Freidman's comment that it was "wall to wall condemnation" of all Jews is overreaching. It was instead a more limited condemnation of the powerful people that sentenced Jesus to death.

This is basic good-and-evil storytelling lifted almost directly from the Bible. In the biblical story, as recorded by Jesus' Jewish followers, Jesus is the good guy and the religious leaders of the day were the bad guys. Their religous authority was threatened by Jesus' popularity and his message, and so they conspired with the Romans to have him killed. Making those "bad" characters in the movie unlikeable (whether by physical traits or something else) seems to me to be a simple storytelling technique.

There is no escaping the fact that Jesus' story is a semitic story because Jesus was Jewish--as were his followers, family, and the people he taught and healed. And there's no escaping the fact that he was crucified at least in part because of opposition by Jewish religious authorities and Roman complicity.

I fail to see how narratively connecting those facts in the way Gibson's movie does equals anti-semitism, as Mr. Friedman and you claim.

Gibson could well be an anti-semite, but the Passion isn't the proof you're looking for.

Posted by: Richard | August 2, 2006 9:16 AM

I find it hard to believe today an educated person would be anti-semitic. The Jews are our friends and we are united against Islamic militanism.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 2, 2006 9:18 AM

Jewish cops are common in New York City, and even have a group called the Shomrim Society. The following is from their web site, www.shomrim.org:

The first Shomrim Society was established in the New York City Police Department in 1924. Capt. Jacob Kaminsky was the first president. It is rumored that a comment made to a young Jewish officer going on patrol was the spark that started this fraternal and charitable organization. It was suggested that he might feel more at home with a salami, rather than a nightstick, under his arm. Well ,he kept his salami, his heritage and his police status. At that time only 1% of the department was Jewish.

Shomrim really blossomed in New York during the depression years. Civil service jobs provided the only secure means of making a living in those days. The civil service lists of 1935-37 added 400 new Shomrim members.

In 1939 33,000 people took the test. Of that only 1440 passed and one third of them were Jews. Most of them were college graduates out of work teachers, lawyers, accountants and even two doctors. By the mid 1960s this "class of 1940" had filled such positions as Chief Inspector (the highest uniformed rank), a female Deputy Chief Inspector, the Chief of Detectives, Chief of the Organized Crime Bureau and Chief of the Narcotics Division; in effect, it was the class "the stars" fell on.

Today, Jewish Police Officers hold many different positions, and almost every rank in the NYC Police Department. The highest ranking uniformed female police officer is a three star chief and she is also the current highest ranking member of the Shomrim Society.

The goal of the society appears atop its stationery "so that Law Enforcement Officers of the Jewish faith may join together for the Welfare of all"

Posted by: Meridian | August 2, 2006 9:46 AM

I am surprised that people are surprised by Mel Gibson's comments, given that his dad is an anti-Semite and Holocaust denier. The bitter, wormy apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

Posted by: ML | August 2, 2006 9:55 AM

Mel G. should absolutely apologize to the Jewish people and to Christians as well for making such shameful statements, given that he considers himself a true Christian. The comments reported were nothing less than incredibly bigoted. And given the earlier remarks made by his father and Mel's subsequent "I will not speak against my father" remark, no one should be all that surprised that when his guard of inhibitions was locked in a a back room by his friend Jack Daniels, the tirade poured forth. Now for his movie, The Passion. I saw the movie. I am a Christian (somewhat liberal - could be considered a "lapsed Catholic"). I did not see the glaring anti-semitism that many say was present. Perhaps physical appearances were too stereotyped but the story itself seemed to fall in line with how most of us believe (perhaps not as accurately as we think?) these events to have unfolded. After reading your note, I want to see the film again. Maybe if I look for the evidence that many apparently saw the first time around, I can better understand where the film went over the line. I would be very interested in knowing how many Jewish people felt the film was anti-semitic vs. how many Christians or devotees of other religions saw it this way. Maybe folks will weigh in as the day goes on. In the meantime, Mel needs to get out of the limelight and do some serious soul searching. And to answer the question that started this off - I've only known of one Jewish policeman in all my 40-something years. (Not that I deal with policemen very much!)

Posted by: maggie | August 2, 2006 10:02 AM

Mel Gibson is a moron. He claims to be some holier then thou Catholic who makes a film of Jesus yet seems to know nothing about the fact Jesus was himself Jewish.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 2, 2006 10:03 AM

Richard,

Go to a Bible study some time and actually pay attention- by describing the Passion story as a classic good vs. evil plot, you degrade the Holy Book to the level of a Star Wars movie.

A lot was going on at the time in ancient Israel. Multiple sects of Jews were arguing over which one had it right in terms of scripture interpretation and politics (the Pharisees, the Saducees, the Zealots), while at the same time, the Roman Empire was on a seek and destroy mission against anything that resembled a religious cult so as to maintain authority in the region.

To display this history in such a black and white light completely ignores what actually happened and results in anti-semitic attitudes.

I am Lutheran, not Jewish, but to me, such bigotism is terrible. Despite being a fan of Mel's before "Passion" and his drunken tirade, now that he has shown his true beliefs, I will never watch another movie or production of his again!

Posted by: jterp | August 2, 2006 10:15 AM

Putting aside the content of "Passion," I think Gibson and much of the religious right promoted the movie using subtle appeals to anti-Semitism.

After the D.C. preview of the Passion, Laura Ingraham said the movie would "drive the anti-Christian entertainment elite crazy." To me, that sounded like anti-Semitic code. Specifically, the phrase seemed to invoke the ugly myth of cabalistic Jewish liberals using the media, academia and Hollywood to destory Christianity. Gibson and his cohorts manipulated those irrational fears as a marketing strategy. He claimed that he and his movie were being crucified by godless Hollywood, that the movie's critics were motivated by a hatred of Christianity.

Although I'm not Christian, I deeply resent Gibson for playing to people's fears and prejudices that way. I'm fairly certain that Gibson does see himself as a victim of a sinster Jewish cabal. But for me, the more important point is this: to espouse bigoted attitudes is bad enough, but to promote those attitudes in others is much worse.

Posted by: Tonio | August 2, 2006 10:21 AM

Author John Lescroart has wonderful character in his books named Abe Glitsky - a Black Jewish homicide detective. (great summer reading and what else should we be doing in this heat?) It will be interesting to see if Mel Gibson is forgiven for his hateful rants and Passion of an Anti-Semite. I'm hoping he retires to his passions with his Holocaust denying father. They need a island somewhere to rant, drink and hate.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 2, 2006 10:42 AM

New subject. What's with FEMA saying Fairfax is too rich to get aid for victims of floods. Is it just me, but shouldn't Fairfax residents get the same protection as our rich, Beach House owning, second home on the beach neighbors in the South?. Interesting how our President Bush only shows up on the ground in Florida and Mississippi but can't help out his neighbors in Fairfax. What about helping out people with their first homes before we use all our Federal disaster money and flood insurance for second homes? Mel and the heat has inspired me to rant too.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 2, 2006 10:52 AM

For centuries, European painters have shown Jesus as looking as non-Jewish as possible. Would it be wrong to attribute that to latent anti-Semitism, or is that simple parochialism? (Most of the Jesus paintings I've seen show Him looking like a young Barry Gibb. Maybe the other Apostles could have been painted to look like Robin, Maurice and Andy. Sorry, bad joke.)

Posted by: Tonio | August 2, 2006 10:55 AM

I also want to point out that the central tenet of Christianity is that God SENT his only son to die on the cross. Therefore, it was pre-ordained, by God, that Jesus would be crucified. Moreover, the refrain, "Jesus died for your sins," and is a source of "everlasting redemption" is a constant one in the church. Absent his death, according to the Christian belief, millions of people never would have been "saved."

I have always been confused by the condemnation of the Jews for "killing Jesus" and being "Christ Killers" since dying on the cross was Jesus's entire purpose and a fate planned by God. It seems to me that Gibson and others who have blamed the Jews for Jesus's death over the years have fundamentally misunderstood the basic tenet of their own religion.

Posted by: DC in DC | August 2, 2006 11:03 AM

Re Richard's comment: the Gospels were not written down by people who personally knew Jesus of Nazareth; these were the oral versions passed down for a few generations before being committed to writing. Crucifixion is not a Jewish punishment (read the Torah and commentaries if you think I'm wrong); Jesus (with hundreds of other Jews living under Roman occupation of the Holy Land) was a victim of Roman persecution.

I find it noteworth that Gibson belongs to a breakaway Catholic group that rejects Vatican II, which disavowed prior Catholic tradition that the Jews deserved perpetual punishment for rejecting Jesus.

Posted by: Proud to be Jewish | August 2, 2006 11:09 AM

We can SAFELY ASSUME, can we not, that the jews of hollywood, given their big fuss about
The Passion, have been giving Mel GIbson a hard time professionally and otherwise. And that perhaps he's thought 'out to get him'. (Oh, I'm sure not given the kindly reaction now.) And so he's stopped by a Jewish policeman and asks him if he's Jewish. And he is. Of course he was speeding so deserved the stop. But the frame of mind. By the way the policeman seems like a very decent and good man, and HE, who was involved, isn't demanding any groveling. Quite the opposite. But it's good for the average American to be reminded what Hollywood is and what it does. And what comes out of it censored.


? And did we have to hear from every priest in the nation?

Posted by: safely assume | August 2, 2006 11:33 AM

Ward 1-
I'm pretty sure Andy Solberg(the "racist" cop) and Fisher didn't drunken blame black folks for every ill in the world. Mel Gibson did blame Jews for every ill in the world. Would it be anti-semitic to state that jews are generally out of place in the middle of idaho(or in anacostia for that matter)? no, because its mostly true.

There not a fine line, rather a large swath of one, that differentiates the positions.

Posted by: Ann arbor | August 2, 2006 11:33 AM

How does "what are the odds of finding a Jewish cop" qualify as "question of the week"? What is the relevance of how many Jews make a career of law enforcement?

I hope that "the creative dynamo" Valerie Strauss can do better than this during her two weeks as guest host.

Posted by: KK | August 2, 2006 11:33 AM

somehow my post ended up in the middle of the thread even though it was posted after ward 1's comment, or else i am some crazy psychic

Posted by: Ann arbor | August 2, 2006 11:37 AM

Friends like that we don't need.

Posted by: USS Liberty | August 2, 2006 11:38 AM

I remember as a little kid wondering about the part where the Hebrews went in to investrigate the "land of milk and honey" and came out saying how great it was...and that GOD said they were supposed to have it.
And the one where the Jews write the bible and say God says they are the chosen people.

Posted by: The Old Testament | August 2, 2006 11:40 AM

I can offer up a Jewish soccer team:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hakoah_Vienna

Has anyone seen "Watermarks"?

Posted by: Lemuel | August 2, 2006 11:41 AM

joohoo.com, anyone?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 2, 2006 11:50 AM

Actually, don't move here, Virginia is closer.

Posted by: Kansas | August 2, 2006 12:03 PM

Is Reuben Greenberg no longer black and Jewish?

Posted by: Still white and Catholic | August 2, 2006 12:12 PM

Every race has its stereotypes. I am extremely offended at WASP jokes -- we are not all wealthy cotillion princesses and we don't all belong to private country clubs. Most of us have to work for a living, just like the blacks, the Jews, the Hispanics. And having worked for a number of law enforcement agencies in the area, I have only met one Jewish law enforcement person and he was an absolute jerk. He would have been a jerk if he were any other religion. We used to call him 'Little Big Man' behind his back.

Mel Gibson's comments were most likely the result of the alcohol so don't take them seriously. If a Jew said the same things about Christians, it would be 'freedom of speech' but let a Christian say those things about Jews and its anti-semitism. Go figure.

Posted by: Northwest DC | August 2, 2006 12:19 PM

There's at least one Jewish cop in Alexandria. I got pulled over on Christmas one year, and gave him a bitter, sarcastic "Merry Christmas" as he walked away from my car. Then I looked at his name when I was reading the ticket. Oops.

Poor Officer Weinstein was probably stuck working on his day off because everyone else got to take the day off.

Posted by: Steve | August 2, 2006 12:21 PM

Curious wrote: "KK You're right. But perhaps we could look to see how many Jews are in the American military ground troops."

And what would that prove? Perhaps we could also look to see how many children of non-Jewish country club members are in the American military ground troops.

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | August 2, 2006 12:31 PM

Marc--You're a hypocrite. Given your "What's the big deal?" reaction to the D.C. Police Inspector's recent racist remarks in Georgetown, I'm surprised by your hyperbolic banging the pots and pans over Gibson's racist remarks.

For Marc Fisher, racism only counts if it's against him and his family.

Posted by: Ward 1, D.C. | August 2, 2006 12:33 PM

"you degrade the Holy Book to the level of a Star Wars movie."

Are you kidding? IT IS A STORY! Perhaps it is BASED on truth but it is NOT real.

If someone actually believes the The Bible is 100% TRUE, you are a moron and need to move to Kansas.

Don't even get me started as to what may or may not be acutal truth. Go read a freakin science book!

Posted by: Terpz | August 2, 2006 1:02 PM

KK You're right. But perhaps we could look to see how many Jews are in the American military ground troops.

Posted by: curious | August 2, 2006 1:09 PM

Here's a better question. Who cares?

Whether the arresting officer was Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, etc. is irrelevant to the virulent racism that spewed forth from Gibson.

Posted by: Michael | August 2, 2006 1:39 PM

@Northwest DC

I've never known alcohol to be a hallucinagen so excusing his rant bc of his drunkenness is naive. Unless it was a clumsy joke rather than the angry rant it's portrayed to be, I highly doubt the alcohol put some thoughts in his head that normally weren't there.

Alcohol DOES lower inhibitions so it looks like Gibson just lowered the curtains from some of his deep seated and crudest feelings/beliefs. A sober person with the same beliefs would likely have shown restraint. Gibson didn't.

What I still haven't heard is how he even STARTED in his rant. Did he assume the cop was Jewish or are Jews his personal gremlins who he blames for anything bad that happens?

Does he stub his toe and scream out "Jesus killing Jews!"?

If his kids leave money around does he tell them "hey, you'd better keep track of your money or the Jew Fairy will..." ... um, I'll stop there since I'm sober lol

Posted by: Gibson Flogger | August 2, 2006 2:10 PM

"Should the Jewish community apologize (publicly) for the killing of Jesus?"

You can't be serious

Posted by: Ann arbor | August 2, 2006 2:29 PM

Right on, Frankey. But we have to consider the different cultures involved here. Jews value an education above all else. Law enforcement is traditionally a blue collar job. No Jewish mother is going to want her darling prince to go out on the mean streets and put himself in danger, or to live on a diet of lunch meat and fried chicken. Therefore, Jewish boys (and girls) are pushed into colleges to excel in the professions -- lawyering (to defend the uneducated minorities thrown unjustly into our prisons), medicine (so they can marry a nice Jewish girl), or accounting (to keep track of all their money). Police officers most often grow up in blue collar neighborhoods where a college education is a right and privilege of the rich. They most likely served in the military somewhere (another non-Jewish career track), or entered law enforcement to get out of the mind-numbing and back=breaking tradition of the factory worker. Or followed in a father's or uncle's or brother's footsteps. Police families are no unheard of, just like lawyers beget lawyers ad nauseum. Here's a question for you, Marc -- How many Jews work in factories or work as domestics? How many Jews are on welfare? My ancestry is Irish, and if you want to hear about persecution and being driven out of your own country, I'd be happy to fill you in on it.

Posted by: Northwest DC | August 2, 2006 3:08 PM

Yes, I too was amazed that the cop who pulled Gibson over just happened to be Jewish, after Gibson's anti-Semitic rant. I guess it just wasn't Mel's day.

Posted by: Andrew | August 2, 2006 3:26 PM

I'm not at all certain that Fisher's introduction of Post reporter Valerie Strauss as a "creative dynamo," is an introduction of a journalist that I find flattering. Fisher is at least a columnist and you could argue that this blog is an extension of his "day job," but this points to the potential danger of throwing reporters into these waters.

Posted by: WC | August 2, 2006 3:39 PM

How rare are Jewish cops?

My dad, Deputy Inspector Philip Licht, entered the NYPD in 1948 as a Patrolman and served until his death in 1968. He entered with some of his Irish pals from the Washington Heights neighborhood, but Jewish cops were not rare after WWII.

I recall the NYPD Shomrim Society membership marching in the St. Patrick's Day Parade to show solidarity with older police families. I hope they still do.

There is a written exam to enter any police force, and competitive exams for each rank. It should be no surprise that those from backgrounds where scholarship is prized and widespread achieve higher rank. Asian-American officers are doing well in this regard right now.

Another comment cites the Shomrim society. A good place to start is http://www.nypdshomrim.org/shomrim.html

National member chapters are listed at http://www.nationalshomrim.org/page7.html

Posted by: Mike Licht | August 2, 2006 3:40 PM

Wow, religion, race, division....no comprehension.

It's funny when Jews are insulted its Major News....when African American are insulted their playing the race card.

Here's a million dollar question?

Should the Jewish community apologize (publicly) for the killing of Jesus?

Just as Euro-Americans, stop running from the guilt and face up to your past wrongs, say your sorry and attempt to get along as human beings.

Posted by: Frankey | August 2, 2006 4:00 PM

Hey Frankey -- are you a friend of Mel's? Sure sounds like it. And Northwest DC -- clearly you have a problem with Jewish people also. What, just because you're Irish-American, you have a monopoly on persecution? Poor, poor you.

Posted by: Andrew | August 2, 2006 4:36 PM

Andrew -- I am an American. My ancestors were Ulster Irish. They came here 100 years before I was born in America. That makes me an American.

Posted by: NWDC | August 2, 2006 4:44 PM

[someone unsigned wrote]
"I find it hard to believe today an educated person would be anti-semitic." (August 2, 2006 09:18 AM )

True--among college-educated whites. But compared with less-educated blacks, black college students are more anti-Semitic, particularly those who attend predominantly black campuses. Their anti-Semitism is galvalized by Black Studies professors and certain student groups. Whether such students remain anti-Semitic years after graduation, I don't know.

Posted by: Paul | August 2, 2006 5:07 PM

"Friends like that we don't need.

Posted by: USS Liberty | August 2, 2006 11:38 AM"

They are a very dangerous ally and equally as culpable of terrorists acts as the "militant islamisist sects-wahhabism and southern baptisits right to life bombers". Anyone in this day and age claiming their actions represent some sort of god given divine right make me very suspicious!

I'm a gnostic follower of Jesus-BTW.

Posted by: D~ | August 2, 2006 5:13 PM

Frankey, despite what the Gospels say, the Jewish community bears no collective guilt for the killing of Jesus. That alleged guilt is a fiction created by Christians a couple of centuries later. For centuries, Christians used that hateful idea to justify massacres of Jews.

Posted by: Tonio | August 2, 2006 5:17 PM

As a person who was raised Catholic (I am not pretty much agnostic) I find it difficult to comprehend why Christians found it necessary to persecute Jews for so many centuries. The way I see it, the Jewish faith is part of our heritage. Jesus was Jewish. He celebrated Passover. Why don't Christians follow his examples instead of the examples and teachings of men who were far removed from Jesus. I just don' get it. I find it sad that Christians know so little about the Jewish faith when it is part of our Bible and our history. And I find it sad that there is so much friction between the two faiths when we have so much in common(although I understand why Jewish people feel picked on after so many years of persecution). It is kind of a vicious cycle. I think Judaism is kind of an exclusive religion. Observant Jews do not marry out of their faith, nor do they really go out and try to convert people (not that proseltyzing is such a good thing). They appear on the outside as a little exclusive of others, and I think some Christians resent it. Some Christians, on the other hand, are out there evangelizing and proseltyzing and many people of other faiths, including Jews find these practices to be disrespectful of their own cultures and religions, so they become more reclusive within their own group as a way of protecting against the intrusion of Christian evangelism. I don't know. I am from an Italian family, and my best friend is Jewish, and I swear we could be related. Our families are so much alike. Warm and loving, centered around good food and wine, big family celebrations and traditions, lots of kids and respect for family. Why can't we all get along?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 2, 2006 5:18 PM

I think it's disturbing that so many evangelical Christians have made special efforts to convert Jews. The Southern Baptist Convention has had this as official policy for decades, most recently affirmed in 1996.

Posted by: Tonio | August 2, 2006 5:29 PM

There are many bigoted people out there. Unfortunately, some of them have posted here today.

Posted by: Andrew | August 2, 2006 5:30 PM

Northwest, your comments aren't funny enough to be satirical. "..lawyering (to defend the uneducated minorities thrown unjustly into our prisons), medicine (so they can marry a nice Jewish girl), or accounting (to keep track of all their money)." What? The lawyering reason sounds sincere so are you being serious about the other two?

And you say, "I am extremely offended at WASP jokes," yet then you say "Mel Gibson's comments were most likely the result of the alcohol so don't take them seriously."

You sound pretty bigoted to me.

Posted by: cap hill | August 2, 2006 5:34 PM

hey NWDC-

you're 'extremely offended' by WASP jokes, and then play into every single stereotype about Jews. hmm. Methinks you might be remembering a drunken rant or two of your own, no? Yes, there are uneducated Jews, working class, middle class and wealthy Jews. Who do you think digs ditches in Israel?

and by the way, the woman who cleans my apartment is happy to come in on Sunday, but takes Saturdays off. And I'm not paying all that much.

As for your idiotic comment about alcohol, I drink quite often, and never once have I gone on a tirade about Jews running the world. Being drunk doesn't make someone who they aren't, it reveals something about who they are. If I got wasted and beat you up, would you say 'eh. he was drunk, it's not his fault"? somehow I think not.

Posted by: northzax | August 2, 2006 5:35 PM

why is the time so screwed up?

Posted by: 5:42 PM | August 2, 2006 5:43 PM

A great story of a Jewish police officer is Rookie Cop, a book by Richard Rosenthal about his experiences working undercover for the NYC Police Dept. as he infiltrated the Jewish Defense League. He later became Chief of Police for Welfleet, Massachusetts.

Posted by: Henry | August 2, 2006 6:37 PM

It's disheartening to read so many anti-semitic posts. I've never understood people who claim to be christians and then make hateful comments about Jews. As an earlier poster pointed out, according to the story, Jesus death was part of God's plan.
One thing I've noticed over the years is that most "Christians" have very little knowledge of or understanding of the book they claim to hold so dear. At least Jews believe in studying, discussing and arguing about the Torah, something I've always respected about them.

Posted by: nonbeliever | August 2, 2006 6:55 PM

It is written in the Talmud, "A person's nature can be recognized through three things: his cup, his purse, and his anger." In other words, "What does he say when he's had too much to drink?" "How does he spend his money?" and "How does he act when he's angry?"

Gibson's apology will fall on deaf ears, and rightly so. Drunken tongues don't lie.

Posted by: Paul | August 2, 2006 7:06 PM

You left out Schnauser, Steinmetz, and Toody (I think) from the most integrated police force on TV: the 53rd Precinct in the Bronx!

Posted by: where are you? | August 2, 2006 7:13 PM

NO one cares who killed who 2000 years ago. It's all yacking, not the point. Anti-semitism grows and flourishes, from a high, not too hidden percentage to begin with, because the behavior of Jews remains constant. Whether you think it's lovely and perfect or not...whether you like Lebanon or not, or all the crap about making Mel Gibson grovel, is up to each individual. Eye of the beholder, obviously.
But note today the signs and grafitti and demonstrations beginning in the world.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 2, 2006 8:10 PM

I am saddened by the blatant anti-Semitism revealed on this blog today. Mel Gibson's remarks pale alongside the bigoted remarks posted by several, notably Northwest DC and Frankey.

Haven't people figured out yet that it's the person, not the religion, not the race and not the ethnicity?

As for Mel Gibson's interpretation of the death of Christ: whatever the role of the Pharisees, crucifixion was a Roman punishment not employed by the Jews and the Jews did not determine who was punished by the Romans at the time of Jesus's death. Vatican II stated in the mid-1960s that Jesus was killed by the Romans, not by the Jews, a view shared by most historians. Gibson's film takes a pre-Vatican II viewpoint and it is not surprising that the Jewish community is unhappy with this portrayal.

I'm glad that Mel Gibson is entering rehab and, I hope, making an effort to deal with his prejudices. Maybe Northwest DC and Frankey should reconsider their prejudices, as well.

Posted by: anonymous | August 2, 2006 8:39 PM

I'm afraid this unfortunate episode will make the already unpopular Gibson cocktail unbelievably off-the-charts unpopular.

Posted by: Jon Milstein | August 2, 2006 10:12 PM

Posted by: Election Fraud Whistleblower ready to testify | August 2, 2006 11:17 PM

"My ancestry is Irish, and if you want to hear about persecution and being driven out of your own country, I'd be happy to fill you in on it."

Oh pleeze! Which part of Ireland? North? South? You're little sad rant does not impress me. There are people in third world countries that has it much worse off than you do(whatever it was that your ancestors endured 100 year ago).

Posted by: Boo-Hoo to You | August 2, 2006 11:49 PM

Not defending Mel Gibson or anti-Semitism.

I'm calling out "Paul" who makes the stupidest comments on this board namely:

"...black college students are more anti-Semitic, particularly those who attend predominantly black (sic) campuses. Their anti-Semitism is galvalized by Black Studies professors and certain student groups".

Paul, you're an idiot and probably a rabid racist. What Gibson did had nothing to do with Blacks but that didn't stop you from bringing your moronic views into the discussion.

Posted by: ALH | August 2, 2006 11:50 PM

Lets forget about about "The Passion of the Christ" for a moment and give Mel Gibson the benefit of the doubt on that movie. Lets assume that it is infact a project motivated by faith and not intrinsically anti-semitic.

Lets also assume that Mel Gibson's family life (likely a hot bed of inherent anti-semitism given his father's views and reputation)did not rub off on him and that he is not anti-semitic from that.

Lets look at the incident on the Pacific coastal highway in a vacuum. What the heck was that all about? One of the richest most famous individuals on the planet gets drunk, goes joy riding at twice the speed limit, then freaks out at a cop who likely saved his life by pulling him over, and on top of that goes off on a bigoted rant.

Alot of people are saying the Jewish community should forgive Mel Gibson and move on. Thats up to each individual to follow their own hearts.

On a personal level I am very hurt and I feel very betrayed. I'm Jewish and have always been a huge Mel Gibson fan. I saw "The Passion of the Christ." I thought it was excessively gorey but not necessarily anti-semitic. The movie's violence was disturbing but overall the movie was beautiful to watch. I now feel that this individual that has in recent years prided himself in making epic movies about stuggles for freedom and liberty has been essentially faking it to make a buck.

How do you think americans of african ancestry would feel if a huge celebrity got drunk and started shouting the "N" word. Would they be quick to forgive and forget? Would they ever forgive and forget?

I'm not sure what the "Jewish Community" will do. But as an individual I feel very betrayed and hurt and I'm through with Mr. Gibson.

Posted by: AMC | August 3, 2006 8:42 AM

Justice is a natural process and Mel got his. Thank God

Posted by: Mel is Toast | August 3, 2006 9:27 AM

AMC sure is sane, smart, and articulate and this has all been very interesting to read. Its too hot to do anything else.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 3, 2006 12:35 PM

Paul,

I checked your ADL reference. What Colleges/Universities are mentioned ? CUNY, Wellesley, Kean, York, San Francisco State, Columbia. Only one HBCU - Howard.

What's worse, the most recent incident mentioned in the article took place in 1995.

This is how do you substantiate your position that HBCUs are hotbeds of anti-Semitism ?

I googled black anti semitism. There were 701 results. Add college and you'll find even fewer results - less than 450. And most of these references recycle the same incidents and offenders. They aren't unique events. Where's the beef ?

Please provide the readers of this board with a list of the HBCUs that have Black studies professors and student groups that advocate anti-Semitism. Be specific. Who are you referring to ?

Why don't you google anti-black racism. You'll find over 8 million results. You let me know where the problem is.

Finally I note that you failed to address my key point. None of what you said has even the slightest bit of relevance to the Gibson matter. You just wanted to take a shot at Black people and you were surprised to see a response.

Waiting for that list Paul.

Posted by: ALH | August 3, 2006 1:07 PM

I'm a WASP and I'm the first one to make jokes about our subculture. You're offended? Yes, it's been so hard for us WASPs what with never being President or being CEO of major companies or being allowed access to wealth. We've suffered! [/sarcasm]

Please don't try to hop on the victim bandwagon. If someone is making those jokes with an edge, yes, that's rude but whether or not you personally have struggled, our culture has not. Noblesse oblige.

And:

"My ancestry is Irish, and if you want to hear about persecution and being driven out of your own country, I'd be happy to fill you in on it."

The Irish struggled in the past, but they have fully assimilated into this country and culture. Bottom line--the Irish are not persecuted NOW, whereas there are still bigots and worse who target Jews (Mel Gibson, the guy in Seattle, the Egyptian guy in the LA Airport on 7/4/2002 who shot up the El Al ticket counter because he hated Jews). We're talking about how CURRENT attitudes influence CURRENT events, not who's been a victim in the past.

Posted by: NYC | August 3, 2006 1:13 PM

ALH wrote:

I'm calling out "Paul" who makes the stupidest comments on this board namely:

"...black college students are more anti-Semitic, particularly those who attend predominantly black (sic) campuses. Their anti-Semitism is galvalized by Black Studies professors and certain student groups".

Paul, you're an idiot and probably a rabid racist. What Gibson did had nothing to do with Blacks but that didn't stop you from bringing your moronic views into the discussion."

Here we have a lesson in ad-hominem argument.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem

ALH, do you imagine that I pulled this fact out of thin air? Google the phrase "black anti-semitism" together with words like campus, college, or university. Here's a link to get you started:

http://www.adl.org/Sih/SIH-black_student_groups.asp

Note what I did not say. I did not say that blacks are more anti-Semitic than whites. I said that blacks of a certain education level have a different level of anti-Semitism than blacks of a different education level. Among whites, education and anti-Semitism correlate inversely; among blacks, they correlate more directly. It's a curious point worth noting.

As for your charge that I'm a racist, that would come as news to anyone who is familiar with me, my personal essays, or my musical play promoting friendship across racial and class lines on the commuter train. Nearly all the homeless to whom I give dollars every workday are black, and I donate to the Innocence Project, many of whose clients are blacks who got a raw deal because of their skin color.

Posted by: Paul | August 3, 2006 1:18 PM

"I've never understood people who claim to be christians and then make hateful comments about Jews."

Nonbeliever, I apologize on behalf of all Christians who, sadly, fulfill that stereotype. We are NOT all like that--I love my Jewish brethren, we are fellow People of the Book, and frankly, hearing what some so-called Christians say about Jews and gays, I can understand why so many people are suspicious of us. Hate is not a Christian value--Jesus said the two most important commandments were to Love God, and Love Thy Neighbor. It's so simple.

Posted by: Falls Church Christian | August 3, 2006 1:21 PM

this is a repost.

Paul,

I checked your ADL reference. What Colleges/Universities are mentioned ? CUNY, Wellesley, Kean, York, San Francisco State, Columbia. Only one HBCU - Howard.

What's worse, the most recent incident mentioned in the article took place in 1995.

This is how do you substantiate your position that HBCUs are hotbeds of anti-Semitism ?

I googled black anti semitism. There were 701 results. Add college and you'll find even fewer results - less than 450. And most of these references recycle the same incidents and offenders. They aren't unique events. Where's the beef ?

Please provide the readers of this board with a list of the HBCUs that have Black studies professors and student groups that advocate anti-Semitism. Be specific. Who are you referring to ?

Why don't you google anti-black racism. You'll find over 8 million results. You let me know where the problem is.

Finally I note that you failed to address my key point. None of what you said has even the slightest bit of relevance to the Gibson matter. You just wanted to take a shot at Black people and you were surprised to see a response.

Waiting for that list Paul.

Posted by: ALH | August 3, 2006 1:25 PM

Sorry, I wasn't trying to sound racist which I'm not, but merely trying to make valid point, but it seems the whining will continue and the Jewish Community will forever fall behind their past pains as African Americans and slavery as a front to disapprove of public comments.

I have made it a point to associate with as many human beings in my life of living on this earth, and have you know I have Jewish, Irish, French, Africans, Euro-Americans etc.....as friends.

So go figure....


Posted by: Frankey | August 3, 2006 1:40 PM

ALH wrote:
"I checked your ADL reference. What Colleges/Universities are mentioned ? CUNY, Wellesley, Kean, York, San Francisco State, Columbia. Only one HBCU - Howard.

"What's worse, the most recent incident mentioned in the article took place in 1995.

"This is how do you substantiate your position that HBCUs are hotbeds of anti-Semitism?"

You may well be right; my source article may have been referring to blacks on campus in general, not blacks at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

ALH wrote:

"Please provide the readers of this board with a list of the HBCUs that have Black studies professors and student groups that advocate anti-Semitism. Be specific. Who are you referring to ?"

The only source I can put my hands on is the ADL article to which I linked. And as you pointed out, several of those professors teach at non-HBCU schools, so I stand corrected.

ALH wrote:
"Why don't you google anti-black racism. You'll find over 8 million results. You let me know where the problem is."

No need to; like most people reading this forum, I'm well aware of racism against blacks.

ALH wrote:
"Finally I note that you failed to address my key point. None of what you said has even the slightest bit of relevance to the Gibson matter."

Like a number of other posters, I was responding to a specific post that was not about Mel Gibson but rather was about a larger issue: prejudice and its roots. I figured that this was obvious because in my initial post, I quoted the post to which I was responding.

ALH wrote:
"You just wanted to take a shot at Black people and you were surprised to see a response."

Wrong on both counts; I totally anticipated a response like yours and had begun combing the Web for sources; I didn't find them, I suspect because I read the article in a newspaper in the mid 90s. What I did not anticipate were

1. Your lack of civility.

2. How you would brush aside the evidence I adduced to show that I'm not racist. (At least my friends who read my "Connections" essays had a laugh at your charge.)

3. How my admission that I don't know whether campus hatred continued after graduation failed to clue you that I am not a "rabid racist" but a reasonable person in search of the truth.

4. The way you presume to have a Godlike ability to know what motivates what I write.

ALH wrote:
"Waiting for that list Paul."

You win, ALH; I have confessed that I can't provide it to you.

In fact, it appears that I may have been confusing black college anti-Semitism with black anti-Semitism in general. You see, according to a 2002 attitude survey (www.adl.org/anti_semitism/2002/as_survey.pdf ), "African-Americans remain considerably more likely than whites to hold anti-Semitic beliefs. In the 2002 survey, blacks are nearly three times (35%) more likely than whites (12%) to fall into the most anti-Semitic category." College, on college--it didn't matter.

Posted by: Paul | August 3, 2006 8:49 PM

Frankey,

Again, you have displayed a racist attitude (just as you have done in previous blogs). And your attempted appology post on August 3 at 1:40pm was very pathetic. Everyone has a sad story to tell about their past. But some people are able to do it gracefully. I will say no more.......

Posted by: PBWYA | August 3, 2006 9:12 PM

I always wondered why do people always single out the Jews? I didn't do anything wrong. My family didn't do anything wrong. I'm definately not rich. So why is it that being Jewish makes me the center of this supposedly awful conspiracy. Just because some Jewish people behave unscrupulously (as do some individuals of all races and religions) how come we're always the ones that are singled out? Do you think Israel watns to be in a constant state of war?

Posted by: Jewgal | August 3, 2006 9:41 PM

Paul,

With respect to my "lack of civility".

Forgive me for being offended by your initial comments. I didn't intend to treat you with disrespect. I did intend to put the incorrect words you posted to a rigorous test.

And no, I certainly don't profess to having a "Godlike ability" to know what motivates you. I'm no better judge of your intent than you are of mine.

What I do know is that "res ipsa loquitur"

You state that I'm guilty of a personal attack then you let loose on me. You claim that you aren't a racist, but that doesn't stop you from searching high and low for some evidence of Black anti-Semitism.

Thankfully you admitted that your hurtful statements about the faculty and students at HBCUs were not supported by any evidence. You were man enough to let us know that you got it wrong, and one has to respect that.

Good night and good luck.

Posted by: ALH | August 3, 2006 11:53 PM

Rev. Jerry Falwell says he could support a Muslim for US President. See online http://lburgareava.blogspot.com/2006/08/falwell-could-support-muslim-for-us.html

Posted by: lburgareava | August 4, 2006 6:03 AM

PBWYA....ok that's enough and take a long walk off a short pier.

Whiner!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Frankey | August 4, 2006 10:37 AM

ALH,
Olive branch accepted. Peace!

Posted by: Paul | August 4, 2006 12:58 PM

I am a Jew that converted to Christianity that still considers herself Jewish (within a denomination with Reformation theology). I grew up thinking and being told that people were anti-semitic when any Jew (including us) were treated poorly, in our Central Coast California community. It never occurred to me, until after my conversion ("new eyes and ears"), as the previous comment about the jerk cop - who just happened to be Jewish - that it just might be because someone (including us), who was Jewish, in our community was acting like a "jerk." Now, I hate to say it, working in the hospitality service industry, an obnoxious guest is - more than 70% of the time - Jewish. It makes me furious at them. I am not a self hating Jew in the least, I give money to Israel (non-Messianic), I still do the Jewish holidays with my children, love Jews and would live in Israel readily! Another letter, on page 2/3, about Jews wanting/advocating Jesus' death is factually true. But a Christian -like that writer - knows when you have "new eyes and ears," after receiving the Holy Spririt's indwelling at the time of salvation, the Jews represent us ALL, and a true Christian would never feel hatred for the Jews because of this.

Posted by: Susan | August 5, 2006 10:27 AM

Do we view all people of German descent as Nazis? I'm catholic, but don't think of all current day germans as anti-semitic, or fascist - I'll buy a VW - as stated by others - judge each person as an individual. States - Israel, USA, France can make wrong decisions, wrong policies,and we can try to work within the system to make it better, or radically effect change through protest outside of the system (at least in the USA this is possible), but to go through life with a chip on one's shoulder, blaming a religious group or a race is scapegoating. Take ownership of your own situation and don't blame others for your shortcomings.

Posted by: Missing the Point | August 9, 2006 11:12 AM

What I don't get is how we can stereotype the entire Jewish biblical community; nor for Judas actions (though some historians argue that Jesus asked Judas to betray him, see Book of Judas) or the group who, when given the choice of saving Barrabas or Jesus from crucifixion, chose Barrabas. It wasn't like the entire Jewish population came together and took a region wide vote. Holding accountable all for ones actions is a foolish mistake.

The ideas behind anti-semitism make absolutely no sense to me. But hey, Mr. Gibson is allowed to think whatever he wants. He should, however, remember the idea my father instilled in me "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." Gibson needs to be sent to his room to think about his actions, like my father did to me after reminding me of those words.

Posted by: C. George | August 9, 2006 12:21 PM

The wife and I watched "Passion of the Christ" on HBO last night. Mel Gibson really hot the mark with this movie and now we understand better why people hate the Jews. Is the same thing happening now with Bush being controlled by the Jews to eliminate ARAB nations? Even our pastor mentioned that the Jews shall be persecuted until eternity.

Posted by: Albert | August 14, 2006 5:50 PM

Yes, there are plenty of Jewish cops! My new book "Jews in Blue" discusses many of them. The book can be viewed at http://www.cambriapress.com/cambriapress.cfm?emplate=4&bid=17

Posted by: Dr. Jack Kitaeff | August 20, 2006 11:12 PM

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