Père Gibson Unbound

Unbelievable. For whatever reason, Mel Gibson either failed or didn’t even attempt to put his wacko Holocaust-denying father in isolation from the press during this crucial period preceding the opening of his film, and now the old fellow is giving radio interviews on the supposed technical impossibility of cremating six million bodies and so forth. During one lengthy broadcast interview, Hutton Gibson, who is 85, said that Jews were out to create “one world religion and one world government,” and he outlined a conspiracy theory involving Jewish bankers, the U.S. Federal Reserve and the Vatican. Mel Gibson spends a year trying to ease Jews’ anxieties about his graphic film on the crucifixion of Christ, and then he lets this happen.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at February 19, 2004 11:30 AM | Send

Lets this happen? Gibson père is in Australia, Gibson fils is (usually) in the United States, and the old gent seems a willful fellow anyway. I’m not sure Mel Gibson could have prevented his father’s outburst, and I cannot imagine that he is anything but very dismayed about about it.

Let’s not go Mr. Foxman one better and start judging a film none of us have seen on the basis of what the director’s father - not the director himself - says about unrelated topics. HRS

Posted by: Howard Sutherland on February 19, 2004 12:19 PM

Mr. Sutherland simultaneously excuses Gibson for his failure to keep his father away from the media and misconstrues my own criticism of Gibson. I was not judging the film, I was judging Gibson. It was certainly within his ability to tell his father that his views were extremely damaging and embarrassing to Gibson and harmful to his film and that under no circumstances was he to give any interviews to the press, period. Either Gibson did not tell his father that, or he did tell his father that, and his father outright ignored him. If the former is the case, as seems more likely to me, then Gibson is at best an irresponsible ass. Which seems to run in the family.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on February 19, 2004 12:30 PM

I don’t know either Gibson, so I cannot say whether either Gibson fils is an irresponsible ass, although Gibson père certainly seems to be.

From the little I have read about Hutton Gibson, Mr. Auster’s second scenario strikes me as entirely likely. Given the controversy that has been brewed up around The Passion and the fact that the media have zeroed in on Hutton Gibson before, Mel Gibson probably has asked his father to restrain himself. Anyone who knows many grumpy old men won’t be too surprised to find that they sometimes ignore their juniors and say whatever the Hell they want.

All of which is to say that any judgment resulting from whatever Hutton Gibson said should be of Hutton Gibson, rather than of his son or his son’s film.

Posted by: Howard Sutherland on February 19, 2004 12:56 PM

Hutton Gibson has been giving interviews about 9/11 conspiracy theories and Freemason conspiracy theories before this. Mel Gibson knows just how much damage his father is doing to his career, and I cannot imagine a reasonable person concluding that Mel has not done his best to restrain his father. Short of having his father kidnapped there is simply not much that Mel can do. Hutton is his own person.

Posted by: Thrasymachus on February 19, 2004 1:03 PM

On the basis of truly dumb, tone-deaf things I’ve seen Gibson say about the Holocaust, it would not surprise me at all that he doesn’t understand how damaging his father’s views are, and that he therefore did not take strong measures to keep his father away from the media.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on February 19, 2004 1:06 PM

Maybe things will be clearer in a day or so. If Mel doesn’t distance himself in a big way from his father’s remarks, it will be hard to have any sympathy for him should The Passion bomb at the box office. Some will be quick to use guilt-by-association smears. Personally I think far too much is being made of The Passion by both conservatives (pro) and the lib/left (against).
Gibson is a somewhat better than average actor with some awards on his mantle. That doesn’t make him a wise statesman for our time or the final word on Jesus. His film will probably be just average to good. What the controversy tells me is more about the double standard that the likes of Abe Foxman use when it comes to religion and freedom of speech.

Posted by: Chris M. on February 19, 2004 1:06 PM

Hutton Gibson lives outside of Houston.
Doesn’t Mel live in L.A.

It would be interesting to find out how much of an influence the father has been on the son; something I cannot speculate on.

Posted by: matt on February 19, 2004 1:09 PM

I’ll admit it’s possible that what Thrasymachus saying is true, though it seems a contradiction in terms to say that a sophist speaks the truth. :-)

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on February 19, 2004 1:10 PM

“It seems a contradiction in terms to say that a sophist speaks the truth.”



Posted by: Thrasymachus on February 19, 2004 1:20 PM

I didn’t know Gibson père had returned to the United States, but I don’t think that changes my conditional defense of Gibson fils (call it the grumpy old man defense). Chris M is right to offer some perspective. There are Christians who are boosting the film almost as a Second Coming, which is over-wrought, while there are Jews who condemn it as a probable cause of new pogroms, which is both insulting and absurd.

People who are interested should watch the film, and then we’ll have a better idea of what we’re talking about. Hutton Gibson’s odd views, wherever he expresses them, really don’t have anything to do with it.

Out of curiosity: what are the tone-deaf things Mel Gibson has said about the Holocaust? I don’t pay much attention to celebrities, so I don’t know what they might be. He has certainly taken pains to repudiate the view that the Jews are uniquely guilty of the murder of Jesus Christ. HRS

Posted by: Howard Sutherland on February 19, 2004 1:38 PM

Here’s an example of previous flare-up of the controversy:


Mr. Auster may prove correct in the long run. I only hope he’s not being to quick to make conclusions with little supporting evidence concerning this charge.

Posted by: Joel LeFevre on February 19, 2004 1:45 PM

There is little of substance in the article linked by Mr. LeFevre that would advance the debate. However, there is this: “Gibson said: ‘[My father] never denied the Holocaust. He just said there were fewer than 6 million.’”

Now this is pathetic. I’ve read extended quotes by Hutton Gibson. The man is a Holocaust denier, and Gibson’s denial of that fact does not make me think well of him. He should just have said, “My father has views that I don’t share.” Instead, he defended him.

As for Mr. Sutherland’s question, I don’t have the Gibson quote on hand that I was thinking of, but it was to the effect that “Lots of people were massacred in the war, and lots of Jews were killed too.” In other words, he incorporated the Jewish genocide into the general badness of war. This of course is a standard formulation used by people who are ignorant of what happened to European Jewry, or by people who don’t care what happened to European Jewry, or by people who are outright Holocaust deniers.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on February 19, 2004 2:09 PM

Mr. LeFevre writes:

“Mr. Auster may prove correct in the long run. I only hope he’s not being to quick to make conclusions with little supporting evidence concerning this charge.”

I’m not sure what charge Mr. LeFevre means. I’ve said nothing about the movie. I said that if Gibson did not take measures to shut his father up, especially during this period, then that would be blameworthy. Does Mr. LeFevre disagree?

The only other charge I made was that Gibson said dumb, tone-deaf things about the Holocaust. I’ve already explained what I meant by that. If the quote turns up, we can discuss it further.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on February 19, 2004 2:29 PM

Well, this might be what Mr. Auster was referring to, and yes, I think I’m seeing his point:


Posted by: Joel LeFevre on February 19, 2004 2:31 PM

I will say though. Mr. Auster keeps referring to Gibson’s need to “take measures to shut his father up”. A son CANNOT ‘shut his father up.’ (Nowadays, fathers can’t even shut their sons up.)

The most that he can do — and what he must do — is (1) Stop covering up what his father is saying, (2) publicly and clearly denounce and disavow these statements, (3) demand that his father not make such statements publicly, and (4) make clear to the public that he has made this demand.

I assume that is all Mr. Auster’s comment infers. But if, after the above, Gibson the elder continues his tirades, there is nothing more Gibson the younger can do.

That said, Mel Gibson, as the WND article above reports, has “accused ‘modern secular Judaism’ of trying ‘to blame the Holocaust on the Roman Catholic Church.’” If he does not take the appropriate steps at this late date, as a professing Traditionalist Catholic, that statement will keep blowing up in his face, giving undeserved credence to the ADL’s spurious charges.

Posted by: Joel LeFevre on February 19, 2004 2:56 PM

The article Joel found has the quote I was thinking of:


Among other things Gibson discussed in his interview with Noonan, he told her that “he loved his father,” according to the Times. Noonan persisted, telling Gibson: “You’re going to have to go on record. The Holocaust happened, right?”

Gibson made clear his position: “I have friends and parents of friends who have numbers on their arms. The guy who taught me Spanish was a Holocaust survivor. He worked in a concentration camp in France. Yes, of course. Atrocities happened.

“War is horrible. The Second World War killed tens of millions of people. Some of them were Jews in concentration camps. Many people lost their lives. In the Ukraine several million starved to death between 1932 and 1933. During the last century 20 million people died in the Soviet Union.”


As the NewsMax article goes on to explain, Gibson’s statement is pathetic. For a person in his exposed and vulnerable position not to realize how this statement would come across, indicates either deep cluelessness or something worse.

But now I have to say something in Gibson’s defense. Mr. LeFevre writes:

That said, Mel Gibson, as the WND article above reports, has “accused ‘modern secular Judaism’ of trying ‘to blame the Holocaust on the Roman Catholic Church.’” If he does not take the appropriate steps at this late date, as a professing Traditionalist Catholic, that statement will keep blowing up in his face, giving undeserved credence to the ADL’s spurious charges.

Unfortunately, Gibson is correct that modern secular Judaism is trying to blame the Holocaust on the Roman Catholic Church. This idea is in school texts, it’s in a video at the Holocaust Museum, it’s in lionized books by such authors as James Carroll and Daniel Goldhagen. However, given Gibson’s questionable stand on the Holocaust, he’d probably not the best person to be making this argument.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on February 19, 2004 3:17 PM

Mr. Gibson wan’t in need of being defended from my statement. Mr. Auster articulates the exact point I was making.

Posted by: Joel LeFevre on February 19, 2004 3:24 PM

What strikes me in all this is how eager the media is to use Hutton Gibson as a scarecrow to discourage people from seeing The Passion…using Pop to embarrass and discredit his son. What Hutton Gibson thinks is properly of interest to exactly nobody, except God and maybe Mel.

Posted by: paul on February 19, 2004 4:47 PM

paul is correct in terms of how the media will obviously exploit the elder Gibson’s statements. But how Mel Gibson handles this situation IS important, given the controversial context in which his movie is being released.

Posted by: Joel LeFevre on February 19, 2004 5:05 PM

It’s also worth noting that, per Auster’s opening remarks, Hutton Gibson is also accusing the Vatican of being part of this global conspiracy that includes Jews. Thus he is also attacking the Roman Catholic Church as well. What does Mel Gibson have to say in response to THAT?

Posted by: Joel LeFevre on February 19, 2004 5:07 PM

“What Hutton Gibson thinks is properly of interest to exactly nobody, except God and maybe Mel.”

When people don’t want to deal with an issue, they often say things like, “This doesn’t matter,” “This is a distraction,” “Let’s talk about the really important issues.” But that’s not the way public debate works. Mel Gibson happens to be on the firing line at the moment, especially from Jewish groups and spokesmen, for making an extremely graphic movie about the Crucifixion that some people fear could bring back the kind of anti-Semitism that was sparked by the Passion Plays of olden times. Whether one agrees with that or not, the controversy is happening. The fact that Mel Gibson’s own father is a Holocaust denier, combined with the fact that Gibson himself has made ambiguous comments about the Holocuast, is obviously going to be of interest in this context.

Sure, the movie is the movie, and we’ll all see it and have lots to say about it. But Paul’s notion that we shouldn’t be talking about Gibson’s father is just silly.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on February 19, 2004 5:11 PM

“But Paul’s notion that we shouldn’t be talking about Gibson’s father is just silly.”

I think I was simply unclear. By all means we can talk about Gibson’s father, because the liberal media has now made a public issue of him. Before they did, though, Hutton and his views weren’t of much interest—the world is full of nuts, and one of them is Mel Gibson’s dad, so what? My point was that despite the inherent irrelevance and insignificance of Hutton’s views, the media have seized on him as a Big Story, simply as an indirect way of trying to undermine the film’s commercial chances. (“You want to pay good money to a guy whose father’s a Nazi?”) Mel’s own stated views, as quoted, are something of an embarrassment, but they’re at a vast remove from Hutton’s.

Posted by: paul on February 19, 2004 5:25 PM

In reply to Paul, I am not a part of the liberal media; and I have not read a word of what the liberal media has been saying about Hutton Gibson; and I am not seeking to discredit Mel Gibson’s movie. I simply saw a news story about Hutton Gibson’s comments, and I thought the fact that he was saying these things was of interest and worth talking about, so I posted the item here at VFR.

So I reject Paul’s notion about the inherent insignificance of this story, and his idea that one must be a liberal opposed to the Gibson movie in order to want to draw attention to it.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on February 19, 2004 5:32 PM

I am now well and truly baffled. I never suggested that VFR is part of the liberal media (!!!), and am sorry if I’ve given offense.

Posted by: paul on February 19, 2004 5:37 PM

Now Paul is reading into my comment a meaning that was not there. My previous comment was not implying that Paul was saying that VFR was part of the liberal media. Rather, Paul had made a general complaint about the way liberal media have pushed this story; and I was saying, by way of illustration, that here is a weblog that is not a part of the liberal media, yet it also featured the story. Therefore the notion that the Hutton Gibson story has only become of interest because the liberal media has been sensationalizing it, is simply not true.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on February 19, 2004 5:45 PM

Agreed that it is a cop out for Mel to simply dodge the issue. Since this controversial film is his project, he ought to answer questions with less ambiguity, and not dodge the open questions swirling around. Having said that, the newsmax piece is very revealing insofar as it sheds light on the gulf between Jewish activists such as Rabbi M Hier from the S Weisenthal Center, Abe Foxman, and gentiles who resent the fact that history seems to gloss over the deaths of Ukrainians and others as merely due to famine. Foxman and Hier want the deaths of Jews in to be regarded as unique relative to other deaths during the war. They have a point - the Jews were systematically hunted and murdered because of their religion & ethnicity. However, Foxman then undermines his point and raises the prospect of a double standand when he says this:

“At the very least it was ignorant, at the very most it’s insensitive,” Foxman said. “And you know what? He doesn’t get that either. He doesn’t begin to understand the difference between dying in a famine and people being cremated solely for what they are.”

Maybe I’m mistaken, but I thought the reason that millions that died in 1930s USSR was to a large extent that Stalin sealed their borders and would not let them receive food aid. Sure there was a famine but Stalin & his henchmen were only too happy to ensure that millions died because they were either:
-not trustworthy or reliable supporters of his regime (ideogically suspect)
-Not Russian but rather from captive countries such as the Ukraine or Lithuania. (ethnically suspect)
-from regions within the Ukraine that were more loyal to the older Czarist regime, or were traditional religious, conservative communities (religiously & ideologically suspect)
So, to a large extent the death of those in the Ukraine was facilitated by Stalin’s regime - you could then say this was murder by starvation due to unacceptable ideology & ethnicity.

Mel should acknowledge that 6 million Jews were hunted down & murdered, but he should demand that critics such as Foxman stop belittling the calculating evil of Stalin’s regime that led to the deaths in the 30s.

Posted by: Chris M. on February 19, 2004 5:48 PM

Set aside Hutton Gibson for the moment, and set aside the film too. Mel Gibson stands accused here of making ambiguous comments about the Holocaust. Judging from the links from this thread, it seems that Gibson fils acknowledged the Holocaust, and then had the temerity to note that the Holocaust of Europe’s Jews was not the only mass crime of the World War II era.

Mr. Auster’s point that, under the circumstances, it was impolitic of Gibson to appear to qualify the Holocaust is well-taken. Nevertheless, Gibson said nothing untrue and nothing wrong.

Without diminishing the enormity of the Holocaust, I have the impression that to many of the Jewish leaders who work so hard to keep the memory of the Holocaust always before us, and who use it and accusations of anti-Semitism as a moral bludgeon to silence those with whom they disagree, there is a double-standard of death. The deaths of Jews in the Holocaust are crimes without peer in history, while it is gauche or anti-Semitic to mention in the same breath with them the deaths, at the same time and in the same places at the hands of the same murderers, of non-Jews. Presumably those non-Jewish deaths are just ordinary deaths, nothing one need particularly take notice of.

I repeat, I do not deny the horror of the Holocaust nor do I question its magnitude. Still, I have been troubled by what I see as an attitude that some deaths are important and others are not. Perhaps that troubles Gibson too. I’ll convict him of naïveté perhaps, but I do not believe his remarks were anti-Semitic.

I hope Mr. Auster will not throw me off the site for this posting! HRS

Posted by: Howard Sutherland on February 19, 2004 5:54 PM

To Chris,

I agree that the dismissive comment by Foxman about the Ukranian famine is truly shocking. I had not noticed it when I looked at the article before. Beyond Foxman, who is of course an appalling person, one of the great scandals of our time has been the deliberate blocking out of the historical memory of Communism. This is a mark against our society.

But Foxman with his bullying idiocy, and liberal society’s cover-up of the crimes of Communism, are not the issue here. The issue is Gibson’s response to Peggy Noonan’s direct question about the Nazi genocide. Whether or not it’s fair that the Nazi genocide is so well known while the Ukranian mass starvation killings are not so well known, that wouldn’t justify Gibson in his relativizing remarks about the Holocaust. He’s a grown man, he’s playing in the big leagues, he’s in the spotlight at this moment, and under those circumstances he gave Noonan a disturbingly obtuse and tone-deaf reply. I personally formed a negative judgment about him based on that reply.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on February 19, 2004 6:02 PM

Mr. Sutherland is correct that I disagree profoundly with his comment and with the assumptions it expresses, but I don’t want to get into a further discussion about that now.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on February 19, 2004 6:27 PM

I pretty much agree with what Mr. Auster has said about Mel Gibson not realizing that his NewsMax interview, at a moment in time when his movie is under fire, was not the time or the place to qualify any remarks about how horrible the Holocaust was.

However, one thing has troubled me for a long time. I believe the downplaying of deaths under Stalin and Mao is because the political Left in America have always been sympathetic to Communism. What explanation is there for the near silence about the 4 million non-Jews killed by the Nazis? I believe there were about 3 million Poles and Slavs, and the remaining 1 million included Gypsies, homosexuals, the disabled, the mentally retarded, the mentally ill, etc.

Posted by: Clark Coleman on February 19, 2004 8:22 PM

Here is a partial answer to Mr. Coleman’s question as to why we hear so much about the Jewish victims of the Nazis, but very little about the Polish, Gypsy, homosexual, and mentally retarded victims of the Nazis:

- The future leader of Nazi Germany did not write a two-volume manifesto in which he made Poles, Gypsies, homosexuals and the mentally retarded the sole cause of all the ills of Aryan man.

- The Nazi leader did not give speech after speech singling out the Poles, Gypsies, and homosexuals as the enemies of Germany.

- On taking power in Germany, the Nazi leader did not immediately proceed to withdraw the civil rights of all Poles, Gypsies and homosexuals. Nor did he have all of them them fired from their jobs, remove their citizenship, and hold mass rallies designed around creating hatred for Poles, Gypsies and homosexuals, with hundred-yard long banners saying “Germans! The Poles, Gypsies, and homosexuals are your Catastrophe! “Young German women! The Poles, Gypsies, and homosexuals are your Catastrophe!”

- On invading Poland in 1939, this Nazi regime did not immediately start herding all Poles, Gypsies and homosexuals into ghettos and slowly starve them to death.

- After having started the war, the Nazi leader did not say that the war had been forced on him by Poles, Gypsies, and homosexuals.

- On invading Russia, the SS Einsatsgroup did not immediately start rounding up all all Poles, Gypsies and homosexuals in every conquered city in Russia and Poland and take them out to the woods and start gunning them down en masse.

- On conquering Denmark, the Nazis did not start immediately rounding up every Gypsy, homosexual and mentally retarted person in the entire country and ship them to concentration camps.

Does the point start to be clear? Those other groups were targeted, too. But the Jews were the designated enemy of Germany, who must, as Jews, be “removed” en masse from Europe. They were the prime and special object of the Nazi atrocities, the Other around whom Nazi ideology was formed.

And let me throw in one final difference. The Poles, Ukranians, and Gypsies didn’t seem to produce many books about their ordeal, so their experiences remained relatively invisible to the world. The Jews did write books, and make movies. (About ten years ago I saw a theatrical film about the Ukranian terror famine; it was the first movie on the subject I had seen, and, I believe, the first ever made.)

Note: Please don’t anyone jump down my throat if I haven’t gotten every single details right in the above sketch. For all I know, the Nazis simultaneously hunted for every Gypsy family and every homosexual in Denmark to ship off to concetration camps even as they were doing the same to the Jews. But the overall outline I’ve described is accurate. The Jews were the special, publicly designated demon of Nazi Germany, they were by far the largest group, perhaps the only group, singled out for total extermination, and they comprised the majority of all the civilians killed. There were a few hundred thousand homeless Jews left in Europe at the end of the war; yet the Polish nation was still intact, and there still lots of Gypsies.

All the above factors made it inevitable that the main focus of people when thinking about the Nazi atrocities would be on the Jews.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on February 19, 2004 8:59 PM

I would like to make an observation about Gibson and his father. They are traditionalist Catholics, which means that they reject Vatican II and see it as part of a Masonic/Leftist infiltration of the Church, which itself is part of an international Masonic-Communist-Jewish plot to undermine Christianity. This conspiratorial view is not unique to the Gibsons and some version of it was held by every Pope from Benedict XIV, who in 1751 denounced Masonry, to Pius XII. In his encyclical, HUMANUM GENUS, Pope Leo XIII, wrote, referring to the Masonic conspiracy, as follows:

“At this period, however, the partisans of evil seem to be combining together, and to be struggling with united vehemence, led on or assisted by that strongly organized and widespread association called the Freemasons. No longer making any secret of their purposes, they are now boldly rising up against God Himself. They are planning the destruction of holy Church publicly and openly, and this with the set purpose of utterly despoiling the nations of Christendom, if it were possible, of the blessings obtained for us through Jesus Christ our Saviour.”

Pope Pius X warned in PASCENDI DOMINICI GREGIS, 1907, that those in “the ranks of the priesthood itself, who … thoroughly imbued with the poisonous doctrines taught by the enemies of the Church … who vaunt themselves as reformers of the Church; and … assail all that is most sacred in the work of Christ, not sparing even the person of the Divine Redeemer, whom, with sacrilegious daring, they reduce to simple man.”

In 1958, Pope Pius XII (the target of much Jewish anti-Catholicism), in an address to the Seventh Week Pastoral Adaptation Conference, in Italy stated: “… the roots of modern apostasy lay in scientific atheism, dialectical materialism, rationalism, illuminism, laicism, and Freemasonry - which is the mother of them all.”

The Gibsonian conspiracy theory is ensconced in pre-Vatican II views about the occult nature of Masonry and Communism. Many of its adherents, while not denying the Holocaust, maintain that the numbers were exaggerated and that it was used as a propaganda tool to create the secular state of Israel.

I am not espousing the above-mentioned views. I simply want to point out that Gibson’s father is no more nuts than Leo XIII. And, who knows, maybe there is a conspiracy!

Posted by: Manny Alvarez on February 20, 2004 12:41 AM

Mr. Alvarez points to the various views of pre- or anti-Vatican II Catholics, incorporates Hutton Gibson with them, and ends by saying that “Gibson’s father is no more nuts than Leo XIII.” This is a completely unwarranted conclusion.

Leo XIII spoke of “partisans of evil,” led by the Freemasons, who were seeking to despoil the Church and destroy Christianity.

Here a quote from the linked article about Hutton Gibson (and he’s said a lot worse than the below):

“‘It’s all — maybe not all fiction — but most of it is,’ he said, adding that the gas chambers and crematoria at camps like Auschwitz would not have been capable of exterminating so many people.”

Thus Mr. Alvarez has tried to piggyback a Holocaust denier onto perfectly respectable, traditionalist Catholic figures. Either he thinks that Holocaust denial is as respectable as opposing the Masons, or he thinks that opposing the Masons is as depraved as Holocaust denial. Either way, he’s gone off the rails of reasonable argument.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on February 20, 2004 1:34 AM

Mr. Auster: You are quite correct in pointing out that I exceeded the bounds of reasonable debate when I placed Leo XIII in the same camp as modern day Holocaust denial. And for this I apologize. I did not mean to demean traditionalist Catholicism by equating it with anti-Semitic legends. You are also correct in obeserving that Hutton Gibson is a Holocaust denier. And I further agree that Mel Gibson’s comments regarding the charge of Holocaust denial have been insufficient, thus leaving him, and the film, unecessarily vulnerable to attacks from anti-Christian groups.

The point of my prior post was simply that conspiracy theories may or may not be irrational depending on whether a conspiracy actually exists. Like the old joke, “just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean that they’re not out to get you…” the de-Christianization of the West, the growth of the managerial state, the erosian of national sovereignty, the undermining of sexual morality, the secularization of the Church, et cetera…may only be explicable in terms of conspiratorial forces.

I, unfortunately, lack the intellect and encyclopedic knowledge to formulate a credible conspiratorial theory of history. I must admit, however, that the direction of history since 1789 makes the suspicions of the Popes seem quite reasonable.

Posted by: Manny Alvarez on February 20, 2004 2:14 AM

As Mr. Auster pointed out in his post of 8:59 PM, Jews were indeed singled out as the oppressor-untermenschen of the Nazis. While it is certainly true that others were liquidated as well - especially the Gypsies, it is not disputable that the Nazis’ primary target was the Jewish populace. The Nazi regime executed approximately 21 million souls in the period 1933-1945, according to Rummel’s “Death by Government” site. (http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/NAZIS.CHAP1.HTM) This figure is not inclusive of combat deaths inflicted by Nazi forces upon opposing armies or guerillas.

No one except an apparent member of the flat-earth society like Pere Gibson would deny that 6 million Jews were murdered by the Nazis. Even so, I find it disturbing that the only figure consistently cited by Jewish groups such as the ADL, the Holocaust museum, etc., etc., etc. is the oft-repeated number of 6 million. Foxman and his ilk typically will not even waste the breath to mention other victims. One is left with the unmistakable impression that the other 15 million individuals simply didn’t exist - they were in essence non-persons or non-humans. It would thus appear that Hutton Gibson is not the only one denying Nazi crimes and atrocities. He and Mr. Foxman have something in common after all.

Add to this the overt media campaign of obfuscation and cover-up of the many millions slaughtered by Marxists, many of whom were of Jewish ethnic origin, carried out for decades now by prominent Jewish media owners like the Ochs/Sulzburger family, plus the genocidal activities of the George Soros in Eastern Europe and the blaming of the Nazi genocide on the Catholic church already mentioned and a pattern of behavior becomes clearly discernable within a segment or faction of Jewish society. With such a clearly discernable pattern of behavior, it is not surpising that some folks, Pere Gibson and Pat Buchanan being good examples, would allow their emotional reaction to take over and slander all Jews. Out of anger and outrage, they have fallen into Father Fahey’s error, which is basically the mirror image of Goldhagen.

My personal view is that secular Jews like Foxman, like their nominally Christian counterparts such as George W. Bush, have in fact embraced liberalism as the true faith while retaining the external trappings of the traditional faith. Orthodox and conservative Jews, much like their consrevative and orthodox Christian counterparts, are for some reason extremely reluctant to formally excommunicate and repudiate those who have adopted the new, counterfeit religion served up by liberalism. Both would do well to formally excommunicate and repudiate such people.

Posted by: Carl on February 20, 2004 2:17 AM

I’ll give Mr. Alvarez the same answer I’ve given before when we’ve discussed theories of a great conspiracy to destroy the West: that the supposed conspiracies add nothing to what we _already know_, namely that there are forces that seek, often consciously and openly, to destroy America, Christianity, the white race, and the West.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on February 20, 2004 2:20 AM

Yes, Mr. Auster, I concur that such forces exist and that they are often public. But does that rule out the existence of covert elements, as well? Are we incapable of detecting the presence of groups of powerful individuals who act behind the scenes to further diabolical agendas? Why can’t a conspiracy theory add to what we know if it helps to explain motive and teleology?

Posted by: Manny Alvarez on February 20, 2004 2:30 AM

I am surprised that this issue has only come up in the mainstream meida now, as this story have been kicking around for several months just below the radar (the WorldNetDaily story was from Sept. 2003).

In any case, I find it difficult to explain why Mel Gibson has not been more unambiguous in his comments. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, I would suggest that he is unwilling to say anything critical about his father becasue he loves him.

Nonetheless, there is a limit to filial love. Gibson needs to immediately make the statement that there were 6 million Jews exterminated by Hitler in the Holocaust. (Unless, of course, he really is a Holocaust denier, in which case I would rather he says so now, rather than have us find out after the release of the movie, at which time such a revelation would be absolutely the most damaging to Christianity). He can bring up the issue of other atrocities, including Stalin’s genocide in Ukraine, at another time.

Posted by: Michael Jose on February 20, 2004 2:47 AM

Yawn. Hutton Gibson is clearly playing the Candace Gingrich role here, and he merits about as much attention as does Candace. The sooner he rejoins her in oblivion, the better. ‘Til then, let’s not give his puppeteers in the media a boost.

The constant warnings that this film will lead to a rise in anti-Semitism are suspiciously vague about what form that would take. Do they mean— and they certainly imply— arson, random assault and murder? Or merely plummeting bagel sales, invitations to country clubs rescinded, and Adam Sandler movies shunned?

The former is not very likely in this country. In Miami Beach, Jews can get CCW permits with no problem. If they can’t in Manhattan Beach or Manhattan, well, whose fault is that? If Mel Gibson can overturn the cockamamie (and fairly recent) anti-self-defense policies of his native New York, he’ll have done millions of Jews far more good than harm, whatever his movie says. (Not that he’d be thanked for it; check out the attitude in the final paragraphs of this screed:
http://www.spectacle.org/495/guns6.html )

If I remember correctly, the last time a crucifixion movie stirred up physical attacks on Jews, the perpetrators were not Christians, but Mussulmen! They revere Jesus as a Prophet, and took violent offense.

As an aside, I attended the very Catholic grade school that Hutton claimed to have kept Mel and his siblings out of because it was too “liberal”— probably the same class as Mel. I can assure the Gibsons that it was not liberal at all. It was merely vacuous. No ideas at all, left, right or center. Public school, with habits, ties and fees.

(More likely, Mrs. Gibson’s lack of a driver’s license kept him out. They lived 10 miles from the school.)

Posted by: Reg Cæsar on February 20, 2004 3:06 AM

I think that it is extremely off-base to either expect Gibson to be able to control, or desire to rebuke, his own father. This is his dad, and he isn’t going to come out and denounce him as a vicious anti-Semite (which he obviously is). Neither can Gibson simply slap his own father in a box to prevent him from speaking to the media. Patents usually aren’t controlled by their own progeny, and offspring shouldn’t be expected to speak against their parents.

I typically agree with you, Lawrence, but this is not a valid suggestion. It’s wrong.

As for Mel Gibson’s comments on the Holocaust, they were indeed somewhat dismissive, but as Howard Sunderland notes, they were also not untrue. Long have people attempted to downplay all of the other slaughters that took place in the era surrounding WWII, and I personally do not believe that this is positive. Three million Catholics died in the Holocaust, and nobody remembers this. So if you want to suggest that Gibson was insensitive, then, I cannot endorse that viewpoint. He was merely standing against historical revisionism.

Posted by: Owen Courrèges on February 20, 2004 3:14 AM

By the way, if anyone’s looking for a “blood libel” in a Gibson film, at least one Englishman used that term for the scene in “The Patriot” where British soldiers burned a church with women and children inside. I haven’t seen that movie, and won’t, until this issue is resolved.

They’re Irish. You know who their real enemy is!

Posted by: Reg Cæsar on February 20, 2004 3:23 AM

There is a large difference between Hutton Gibson and Candace Gingrich, political activism. Hutton Gibson has been an activist in the anti-Semtic wing of the conspiratorialist fringe since the 1950’s. He belonged to and wrote for the Liberty Lobby and was expelled from the John Birch Society for being anti-Semitic.
Candace Gingrich was a stay-at home mother.

In politics and media, perception is reality.
Gibson’s failure to takea concilatory tone on the Holocaust and his playing games with numbers has made him suspect. (As did his initial use of the anti-Semitic writtings of Sister Emmerich)
Gibson created a PR disaster by not giving straight answers. He could have respectfully disavowed his father’s beliefs. Instead he gave a combative answer.
Try to look at this rationally, and not as a fan of Gibson.

If Gibson wanted to address the crimes of t he Communists and the suffereing of non-Jews in the Holocaust, I suggest that he make a movie on this subject, rather than give evasive answers.

Posted by: RonL on February 20, 2004 3:53 AM

Ok, Mr. Alvarez, maybe I’ll open a new thread in the near future in which people can present their own theories (200 words maximum) on the destruction of the West, including conspiracy theories.

Mr. Jose is absolutely right when he calls for an unambiguous statement from Gibson about the Holocaust and says that the issue of other atrocities could be appropriately discussed at some other time. This is an absolutely key point. If people have a concern about other atrocities, then they ought to discuss them. But, if they ONLY discuss them in the context of the Jewish Holocaust, and if they ALWAYS bring them up when the actual issue being discussed is the Jewish Holocaust, then they create the impression that they’re not really interested in those other atrocities for their own sakes, but only as a way of lessening the Jewish Holocaust. When people approach the Jewish Holocaust this way, they make their own motives suspect, as Gibson has plainly done in my mind.

Ron L (who has previously posted here as Ron) has got every point right. I encourage Mr. Courrège, Mr. Sutherland, and Caesar to reflect on what Ron has said.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on February 20, 2004 8:48 AM

“There is a large difference between Hutton Gibson and Candace Gingrich, political activism.” —Ron L

The point was that both were being used by forces in the media solely to embarrass their famous relatives, and would have remained obscure had they not been so useful. Also, both were more than happy to grab the mike and spout their views.

Miss Gingrich even went on to write a book. Of course, her cause is somewhat more popular in the publishing business than is Mr. Gibson’s!

Posted by: Reg Cæsar on February 20, 2004 12:46 PM

As an aside, I do not know why so many Protestant Churches have supported the Gibson movie. Protestantism, especially Puritanism, upon whose principles the American nation was built, has a strong iconoclastic streak in it. This heritage was clear as late as the 1950s in Hollywood movies such as BEN HUR, where only synecdochical representations of Christ were allowable, such as his shadow, hand, or back. The full figured depiction of a bloodied Christ would have outraged the Puritans. Not to mention that Puritans were staunchly Philosemitic in an age when Passion Plays were a genre whose effect was to produce pogrom after pogrom.

Posted by: Paul C. on February 20, 2004 3:10 PM

According to the Gibson family as reported at NewsMax, Gibson père was tricked into the interview by the radio host, who called him on the phone, identified himself as a fan of his son’s, and didn’t tell him that the conversation was being recorded for broadcast.


Posted by: Lawrence Auster on February 20, 2004 3:18 PM

Protestant’s, like Catholics, very much believe in Jesus Christ, and they are not going to stand for massive disrespect of their much disrespected Savior. Consider C.S. Lewis and the respect accorded him by Catholics.

Posted by: P Murgos on February 20, 2004 7:28 PM

Protestant’s, like Catholics, very much believe in Jesus Christ, and they are not going to stand for massive disrespect of their much disrespected Savior. Consider C.S. Lewis and the respect accorded him by Catholics.

Posted by: P Murgos on February 20, 2004 7:29 PM

Ron L,

“In politics and media, perception is reality.

“Gibson’s failure to take a concilatory tone on the Holocaust and his playing games with numbers has made him suspect. (As did his initial use of the anti-Semitic writtings of Sister Emmerich).”

I’ve already agreed that this is a problem of perception, but I don’t believe you can constantly blame people when their statements are perceived incorrectly. This is what the left wants anyway, isn’t it? If a person feels offended, then whatever was said must have been objectively offensive, regardless of the intent.

“Gibson created a PR disaster by not giving straight answers. He could have respectfully disavowed his father’s beliefs. Instead he gave a combative answer.”

The answer wasn’t ‘combative.’ He told Diane Sawyer just to “leave it alone,” in a very calm and collected voice. He didn’t want to rebuke his father in any way on national television, and frankly, I don’t blame him.

Posted by: Owen Courrèges on February 20, 2004 7:41 PM


Gibson did give a straight answer, during the Sawyer interview. Frankly, I’m beginning to think that the only thing that will satisfy some people is if Gibson effectively denounces his own dad as a vicious anti-Semite, and that just isn’t right.

Posted by: Owen Courrèges on February 20, 2004 7:47 PM

Now why would Mr. Courrège so misconstrue the plain meaning of several people in this thread? No one has suggested that Gibson needs to “denounce his father as a vicious anti-Semite.” What has been said, over and over, is that he needed to dissociate himself from his father’s views, which are, indeed, anti-Semitic. For him to say, “I do not agree with my father about these things,” which is all we are expecting him to say, would not be _denouncing_ his father.

Gibson is in a unique position as the maker of a film which amounts to a modern cinematic Passion Play to be seen by tens of millions of people all over the world at the very moment when there is more anti-Semitism in the world than at any time since the Nazi era. Not only that, but Gibson is a pre-Vatican II Catholic. Not only that, but Gibson’s father is an outspoken anti-Semite and Holocaust denier. Under those circumstances it a reasonable expectation that Gibson would have enough intelligence to see that he needs to separate himself convincingly from any suggestion of anti-Semitism or Holocaust denial. His incredibly obtuse comment to Peggy Noonan that, yes, innocent Jews were killed (a fact that even the worst Holocaust deniers would agree with), combined with his refusal to dissociate himself from his father’s views, failed the test miserably.

The fact that some of Gibson’s critics are unreasonable, such as Foxman, does not mean that all his critics are unreasonable. But Mr. Courrège acts as if they are; their “perception” of a problem, he argues, is their _own_ problem, and doesn’t deserve respect. Mr. Courrège’s inordinate defensiveness on this issue, his refusal to see the reasonableness on the other side, would make any reasonable conciliation impossible.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on February 20, 2004 8:59 PM

Here is Gibson at the Sawyer interview:

Asked his view on the Holocaust, Gibson, who had been criticized for comparing it to other wartime atrocities in a previous interview, said, “You know, do I believe that there were concentration camps where defenseless and innocent Jews died cruelly under the Nazi regime? Of course I do. Absolutely. It was an atrocity of monumental proportion.”

Sawyer then asked, “Are you looking into the face of a particular kind of evil with the Holocaust?”

To which Gibson replied: “You’re looking — yes. What’s the particular evil? I mean, why do you need me to tell you? It’s like, it’s obvious. They’re killed because of who and what they are. Is that not evil enough?”


Posted by: Thrasymachus on February 20, 2004 9:45 PM

Thrasymachus’ quotation is a big relief. A bad thing Christian’s need is a prominent Christian ambivalent about the Holocaust. I hear Mel Gibson is very intelligent; but this does not guarantee against political naiveté. Let’s give him some room. He has a lot of things to contend with including a hostile movie industry, a hostile media, a large family, a huge amount of money at risk, a career at risk, and massive, smart criticism. He is first and foremost an actor and might not be the practical intellectual that his delicate selling task requires; maybe he can’t get it exactly right. I sure could not.

Posted by: P Murgos on February 20, 2004 10:22 PM


Well, as Michael Jose noted: “Giving [Gibson] the benefit of the doubt, I would suggest that he is unwilling to say anything critical about his father becasue he loves him.” This is probably the truth. Mel has already repudiated anti-Semitism in no uncertain terms, and acknowledged the Holocaust and its evil, also in no uncertain terms. You want him to express these views in the context of his dad, and I consider that a denouncement. So does he.

As Gibson said, “You’ve gotta leave it alone.” He’ll talk about his own views, and I agree that it was a good idea to clarify them following his dismissiveness in the Noonan interview, which he did in the Sawyer interview. But he is under no obligation whosoever to address his father’s view. Given this, I must repeat that it’s wrong to ask him to anything other than what his conscience demands.

So when you say Gibson needs to speak to the subject of his father’s views, I think it is you who are being unreasonable. He is not his father’s keeper.

Posted by: Owen Courrèges on February 20, 2004 11:30 PM

Mel Gibson’s father is nothing less and nothing more than just a father. He grew angry watching attacks against his Mel for so long. I doubt that his uneducated remarks will influence such “moviegoers” as evangelists. I also doubt that Jews will see the Passion anyway. Who else would not see the movie because antidiluvian intelectual said something?

Posted by: Stan S on February 20, 2004 11:49 PM

Owen Courrèges wrote
“I’ve already agreed that this is a problem of perception, but I don’t believe you can constantly blame people when their statements are perceived incorrectly. This is what the left wants anyway, isn’t it? If a person feels offended, then whatever was said must have been objectively offensive, regardless of the intent.”

The problem is that Mr. Gibson’s statements have given fodder to those who wish to undermine his movie. Mr. Gibson knew the question was comming but gave an imprecise answer. That was a mistake, unless he wished to stoke the furor to get media attention.

“The answer wasn’t ‘combative.’ He told Diane Sawyer just to “leave it alone,” in a very calm and collected voice. He didn’t want to rebuke his father in any way on national television, and frankly, I don’t blame him. “

I do. Mel Gibson did not answer the question. He could have done so respectfully.
I don’t think that you understand the emotions tied up with this. You cannot wish away the realities on the ground, because you do not find them to be fair.

Posted by: RonL on February 21, 2004 12:01 AM

It is possible for a son to express disagreement with his father’s views without being disrespectful of his father. I personally wouldn’t view a statement to the effect of “my father’s view and mine differ in this matter” as being disrespectful, but perhaps Mel Gibson does.

In a way, Gibson did indicate his independent view in the course of the Sawyer interview. He clearly stated that innocent Jews were specifically taregted by the Nazi machine, herded into camps and slaughtered during the Holocaust. This statement directly contradicts remarks made by his father. The fact that Mel Gibson chose not to directly disavow, denounce, or disparage his father on national television is understandable -even if one wishes he’d been a bit more direct about stating he and his father held different views about the issue.

Of course, that’s not enough for Foxman, et al. Nothing short of repudiating Christianity altogether would be enough for the ADL and their fellow travelers. In light of Foxman’s own flippant and dismissive remarks about the murder via starvation of some 8 million Ukranian men, women, and children, anything he has to say on this issue should be regarded for what they are: the rantings of an anti-Christian bigot.

Posted by: Carl on February 21, 2004 3:03 AM

It should not be required that Gibson denounce his father on national television. He just needs to be more clear about his own beliefs.
Gibson should, whenever asked, say that yes, six million Jews were exterminated by Adolf Hitler, and that they were killed just for being Jewish.
However, he need not say anything about his father. Whenever someone asks him to, he just needs to say: “I will not under any circumstances discuss my father. If you want to know my beliefs, yes, the Holocaust happened, yes, six million Jews were killed… (et cetera). ” If they then press him, and ask, “So you disagree with your father on this issue…” he should say “I will not under any circumstances discuss my father. Period.”

Posted by: Michael Jose on February 21, 2004 5:43 AM

Mr. Jose’s approach is reasonable. But Carl, I’m sorry to say, is taking the same kind of hyperbolic stand as Mr. Courrège. Carl says: “Of course, that’s not enough for Foxman, et al. Nothing short of repudiating Christianity altogether would be enough for the ADL and their fellow travelers.” Well, thanks a lot, Carl. I guess that I and everyone else in this discussion who has been critical of Gibson’s statements is an ADL “fellow traveler” demanding that Gibson “repudiate Christianity”! Such a hyperbolic characterization of the Gibson critics denies any reasonable, good-faith basis to their position, and so assures that Gibson and his supporters will automatically, mindlessly resist EVERY statement or expectation coming from the critics. It is the language of warfare.

The psychology underlying the Courrège and Carl position seems to be as follows: “The Jews and their supporters are not really concerned about anti-Semitism and the Holocaust; they just want to destroy Christianity. They are the enemy. So we’re going to reject every concern they express.” By taking such a position, Gibson’s defenders virtually assure a continuation of the very kind of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial that is the issue here.

And I’ll also say this. Anyone who believes that the statement, “Innocent Jews were massacred for being Jews,” is an adequate formulation is simply ignorant of the Holocaust issue. The most rabid Holocaust denier will acknowledge that innocent Jews were massacred for being Jews. But he limits their numbers to a couple of hundred thousand and assimilates the massacre of the Jews into the generic badness of war. There is no Holocaust denier who could not live comfortably with Gibson’s comments, even including his phrase “an atrocity of monumental proportion,” since the deniers will say that there were _lots_ of atrocities of monumental proportions during WWII, and what happened to the Jews was simply one of them.

Now, I’m not suggesting that we go around demanding of people that they emit satisfactory formulations about the Holocaust. But when you’re in the position that Mel Gibson is in, and the Holocaust has become an issue, and you’re asked about it, and you give the kind of reply that Gibson gave, then that’s a real problem.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on February 21, 2004 8:34 AM

I have a gripe. I am Polish. Last time I checked approximately 2.5 million Polish were exterminated in the Nazi Holocaust. I demand the emergence of a bloated Polish windbag named.. oh.. Foxmanski. I hope Foxmanski will scour every newspaper in the country for any anti-Polish sentiment. I hope he will monitor the internet and all television broadcasts to verify that all outlets conform to his personal standard of philo-Polishism. Today a Polish joke, tomorrow the ovens!

Posted by: Olga on February 21, 2004 10:55 AM

Mr. Auster, I was not including yourself or anyone on this board, or even others who have criticisms of Gibson in the phrase “fellow traveler.” My apologies if that’s how it came off. My point was that Foxman and his allies (leftists all) are dishonest in their criticism, a typical modus operandi for them. Rabbi Lapin’s article nailed them on this.

Mel Gibson’s remark “they were killed for who and what they are” is quite unambiguous. It implies that Jews were singled out for murder just because they were Jews. Is it the failure to mention the number of Jews murdered (6 million)? What is it, in your opinion, that Mel Gibson is denying?

I think we can all agree that his father is a Holocaust denier. I disagree with your characterization that anyone who mentions the fact that the Nazis slaughtered millions of gentiles for various reasons as well is a Holocaust denier. The Jews and arguably the Gypsies were the only ethnic groups specifically targeted for extermination by the Nazi regime just for being who they were. That fact does not render illegitimate the mention of millions of Poles, Russians, French, Dutch, and others who were often slaughtered in the same camps or by the same firing squads.

Posted by: Carl on February 21, 2004 11:56 AM

Olga doesn’t get it. She wants to suggest a moral equivalency between the Jews and the Poles, and use that to dismiss the present Jewish case. But the Poles of Europe were not effectively wiped out as a people and a culture in World War II. There is not today a world-wide phenomenon of anti-Polishism. The Polish nation is not surrounded by mortal enemies seeking to mass murder its people and destroy it as a state. There is not a body of politically correct opinion all over the world giving moral support to terrorists who are seeking to destroy Poland. And there is not, behind these more recent events, a thousand-year-old tradition of Passion Plays that sometimes sparked murderous anti-Polish riots.

We are in a impasse here, as Christians and Jews, I’m afraid we’ll never get beyond it, though we COULD get beyond it if people would think outside their limiting concepts. So let me try to describe both the impasse, and the way out of it.

On one side, many Christians, particularly Catholics, have a resentment of all the attention that is focused on Jews, the way Jewish organizations like ADL try to make everyone dance to their tune, the way they seem to use the Holocaust as a club over people’s heads. In particular, they resent the notion that the Jewish Holocaust was a unique event in history. They see this notion as a weapon by which Jews seek to dominate others. They resent that dominance, and so they start reflexively to reject any claims made about the Holocaust, which they see as only the leading edge of a deeper campaign to delegitimize Christianity itself.

On the other side, many Jews and liberals see this Christian resistance as proof of anti-Semitism, and so re-double their efforts to indict and marginalize Christians, including the more recent horrible idea that the Holocaust was the ultimate expression of Christianity itself.

The solution is that Christians such as Olga need to understand and acknowledge that the Holocaust was indeed unique, and that anti-Semitism is a bigotry that is uniquely virulent and widespread, and uniquely dangerous to its targets. If Christians were to acknowledge that, THEN they would be in a strong moral position to start arguing for the proper recognition of other bigotries and atrocities that have occurred, and which have not received their proper recognition. But as long as they only bring up those other bigotries as a foil to diminish or relativize Jewish claims about the Holocaust, then (1) they don’t have moral legitimacy because their own starting point is the denial of the evil that was done to the Jews; and (2) they don’t have credibility because they don’t seem to care about those other bigotries for their own sake, but only as a foil to use opportunistically against Jewish claims.

But if these Christians took a moral position on the Holocaust and anti-Semitism, then (1) they would have the moral standing to speak about other atrocities, and (2) they would have the moral standing to protest EFFECTIVELY the excesses of the liberals and the Jewish organizations. As it is now, they don’t have such moral standing, because their position is merely resentful and reactive.

At the same time, Christians’ sincere and unforced acknowledgment of the Jewish case would lessen the suspicion on the part of many Jews that the Christians are really anti-Semitic.

In connection with the above, I recommend that everyone read Martin Gilbert’s magnificent book The Holocaust, which gives the fullest account of what happened to the Jews of Europe between 1933 and 1945. Once you read this book, you will have an understanding of what the Nazi war against the Jews was about. The Holocaust won’t be a slogan any more, a slogan to be either mechanically repeated or mechanically resented. It will be REAL to you.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on February 21, 2004 12:17 PM

I see, jews are more important. Nevertheless I recommend a federally funded museum to commemorate the Polish Holocaust. Nevermind that the Holocaust was in EUROPE. Maybe the Swiss should alocate a portion (40 million) of their annual budget for a museum commemorating the American Indian. Since we are recognizing atrocities across the pond - after all.

Posted by: Olga on February 21, 2004 12:40 PM

Sadly, Olga confirms my analysis. So the impasse must continue, as far as Olga is concerned.

The Holocaust Museum is an example of the overreaching by the Jewish community that I was talking about. I am totally opposed to the Holocaust Museum being located in our national capital, on the Mall. I think it’s an outrage. But the impasse is seen in the fact that Olga’s understandable resentment over the Holocaust Museum makes her reject all claims about the Holocaust, and makes her reject outright even my thoughtful presentation.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on February 21, 2004 12:45 PM

I am getting onto this thread a bit late, but will have quite a lot of comments.
1) Mel Gibson probably has no control over his crazy father, but it is reasonable to expect him, if only in his own interest, to disavow his father’s views.
2) The discussion of Polish (and other)Nazi victims vs. Jewish sufferings under the Nazis doesn’t seem to me to be balanced by anyone very well. It is true that, AT THE TIME, the Nazis were only embarked on completely destroying only Jews and Gypsies, and the Polish UPPER CLASS. (The original use of the Einsatzgruppen in 1939 was to finish off the last group, not yet the Jews.) However, apart from such “selective” measures that managed to kill off some millions of Poles as well as three million Soviet prisoners of war, the Nazis intended to ultimately expell the entire Polish population into Siberia. I doubt that many would have survived this process. It is not entirely unreasonable to see Poles and other Slavs as in the same boat as the Jews — in the long run. AS it happened, the Jewish end of the boat sank faster.

Posted by: Alan Levine on February 21, 2004 12:52 PM

Further comments: the term Holocaust was coined to describe only what happened to Jews, and, in terms of the purpose of those who designed it, is is indeed “horning in” for other groups to claim to have been victimized as part of it. Personally, I find the term stupid and offensive on several levels, and simply a failure in that there is nothing about it that sounds specifically Jewish, so it lends itself to misuse or inflation. So I personally avoid using it,and simply say “Shoah” or refer to the “destruction of the European Jews” in my own writings. But in original and conventional usage it does apply to the Jewish experience, and not any other.

Posted by: Alan Levine on February 21, 2004 12:59 PM

Thanks to Mr Levine for applying an even hand here. Mr. Auster is obviously too biased to discuss this matter rationally. Soon Mr. Auster will suggest there is no similarity between Hitlers massacre of jews and Israel’s genocide against Palestine. And remember, Olga loves you!

Posted by: Olga on February 21, 2004 1:14 PM

In answer to Clark Coleman and Howard Sutherland’s complaints about the “differential” between the attention given to Nazi atrocities and Communist atrocities, and to the possibly lopsided attention given to Jewish victims of the Nazis vs. others, there are several factors operating here.
1) Both of you have missed the obvious point that Nazi atrocities are all tied up with a world war, which was the central experience for a generation. The Reds just did not give us a world war — though they came close once or twice.
2) That said, it is obvious that there are other things involved, most obviously leftwing prejudice — the Nazis were “right wing” villains while the left either supports or can’t get worked up about them.
3) It is of course obvious that many Jews are simply wrapped up in the sufferings of their own people, so that they are less worked up about either Communist atrocities or Nazi atrocities, which were lesser in any case, against other people.
Up to a point, this is hardly unnatural even if not admirable, although I personally think it is often stupid in terms even of self-interest, and the exaggerated fascination with the Nazi destruction of the Jews that has developed over the last generation is downright morbid.
3) Aside from Jewish self-involvement, it seems to me that, quite aside from political biases, people find Nazis more interesting that the Communists. I do not share this view, but people who are unmistakably conservative anti-Communists have told me that the Nazis are “more colorful” villains than the Reds. I might note, in passing, that the vast market for books about WWII and the Nazis does not seem largely aimed at what might be called “holocaustmaniacs.” The latter, in fact, are often amazingly ignorant about the larger issues.

Posted by: Alan Levine on February 21, 2004 1:21 PM

In reply to Olga: To adapt a phrase, God defend me from my non-friends! I see not the slightest similarity between Israel’s treatment of the Arabs and anything done by the Nazis. I have nothing else to say to you!

Posted by: Alan Levine on February 21, 2004 1:25 PM

I agree with Mr. Levine that the term “Holocaust” is an impedement to clarity, and thus to charity. But the fact of the matter is that there is no word to describe the demonic effort undertaken by the Nazis for eradicate the Jews. The thing is almost beyond comprehension. I say ALMOST because the horrifying truth is that the capacity for such unspeakable evil resides in all of us sinners.

In my view, we have simply not yet put enough distance between us and the Shoah to adequately reflect on it. Perhaps we never will.

I also think that great damage has been inflicted over the years by the abuse of the very serious charge of anti-Semitism, and of the Holocaust as a historical event more broadly. It is difficult to even put words to the problem, but I will never forget the day my high school class went to watch Schindler’s List and many of sat in horror as a large number of (mostly black, I’m sad to say) student whooped and hollered as if they were watching Die Hard. It was precisely the kind of desensitivity to violence that Gregg Easterbrook bemoaned several months ago, and then went on to criticize Jewish entertainment executives for promoting and enshrining in our culture — an effort for which he was villified ferociously.

Sin is too deep for us; we cannot look at this evil with clear eyes. And to look at it wrongly is to dishonor the memory of those lost.

Posted by: Paul Cella on February 21, 2004 1:28 PM

Olga, there is really no equivalency between Nazi Germany and Israel. Arabs comprise some 20-25 percent of the population of Israel proper. While there may be some mild forms of discrimination, they still enjoy considerably more liberty, including the right to vote, than their fellow Arabs in surrounding dictatorships and fiefdoms.

Posted by: Carl on February 21, 2004 1:30 PM

And let me second Mr. Levine’s other comment:

Olga, there is NO SIMILARITY between Hitler’s massacre of the Jews and Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians. It is an obscenity to suggest that there is.

Posted by: Paul Cella on February 21, 2004 1:33 PM

Additional points about Nazi vs. Communist atrocities: 1) The former were committed in the heart of Europe by what had been regarded as one of the world’s most civilized countries, while Communist outrages mostly occurred in what Neville Chamberlain once described as “far away countries of which we know nothing.”
2) It is a fact that it is more intellectually demanding to study the Reds than the Nazis. Nazism was a phenomenon limited to one well known country for 12 years. To study Communism properly, one must be acquainted with more exotic countries over a period of 70 years. That is too much to expect.. given the damage the liberals have done to our educational system!
3) Howard Sutherland is hardly imagining things when he sees some Jews trying to twist the Nazi experience into a club with which to beat the West as a whole or the RC Church in particular: it simply is not the whole explanation for what goes on here, though it is certainly the main motivation for a psychopath like Abe Foxman. (Who is also not too well endowed with brains.) By the way, do not underestimate the ignorance of some of these people — some of them just cannot tell the difference between Christian sects.

Posted by: Alan Levine on February 21, 2004 1:39 PM

Well, Olga has exposed herself as an anti-Israelite. Her complaints were not based on a reasonable gripe that was carried a bit too far; she’s simply a bigot and is not welcome to post at this site.

How often it happens, that you start a dialog with someone like Olga who seems not unreasonable, then the conversation progresses a couple of steps, and the mask comes off! Such people are too primitive even to care that they are confirming the very thing they blame the Jews for believing: that people who complain about the focus on the Holocaust are really Jew-haters.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on February 21, 2004 1:43 PM

It has been said that if the Roman Catholic Church bears some special responsibility for the Nazi crimes against the Jews, then secularized Jews bear some special responsibility for the crimes of the Communists.

Is that a formulation that Messrs. Auster and Levine would assent to?

Posted by: Paul Cella on February 21, 2004 1:53 PM

But Mr. Cella, I don’t think the Catholic Church bears some special responsibilty for the Nazi crimes. I think that’s an obscene falsehood. The Church has its own distinct set of crimes against the Jews, spread out over centuries and most of them far in the past. I don’t see any link between the Church and Nazism.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on February 21, 2004 2:00 PM

I fail to see that either the Roman Catholic Church or “secularized Jews” — other than INDIVIDUALS who were Communists or Communist sympathizers, of course — bear any responsibility for either Nazi or Communist atrocities. By the way, although I am not a fan of the RC Church, its record during WWII,as far as saving Jews was concerned, was better, not worse than that of the other Christian churches, even though Catholics had in the past generally been more hostile to Jews than Protestants.

Posted by: Alan Levine on February 21, 2004 2:06 PM

“It has been said that if the Roman Catholic Church bears some special responsibility for the Nazi crimes against the Jews, then secularized Jews bear some special responsibility for the crimes of the Communists.”

I think it would be unjust to lay the blame for Marxist crimes solely at the feet of secularized Jews, since there were secular Jews who opposed Marxist crimes and plenty of Gentile Marxists who participated in them, Likewise, it is unjust to lay Nazi crimes at the feet of Roman Catholicism, as the Catholic church and many of its faithful were opposed - even to the point of sacrificing their own lives - to the Nazis and the majority of Nazis were non-Catholic.

Posted by: Carl on February 21, 2004 2:10 PM

I wrote the above question in haste. I should add that I DO NOT believe the RCC bears a special responsibility for Nazi crimes. But, by the logic of those who hold just that, is it not fair to reply that secular Jews bear responsibility for Communist crimes?

Posted by: Paul Cella on February 21, 2004 2:33 PM

For those that do not know, I am Jewish. I am the son and grandson of survivors of the Holocaust and of Soviet atrocities. I believe that both should be discussed, but do not see why they should be compared.

The Nazi Holocaust targeted certain groups
1) All Jews
2) All Gypsies/Romany
3) Political and cultural opponents
4) Effeminate homosexuals (the masculine homosexual men not only were not targeted, but many were part of the Nazi movement from the beginning.)

The Nazis also wished to halve the Slavic populations. 1/2 were to die, 1/4th were to be enslaved, and 1/4 expelled across the Volga or Urals.
However, many were also recruited for unpleasent tasks. Others VOLUNTEERED to be members of the SS.

Because of this, I do not put the mass murder of local Slavic populations in the same catagory as Jews and Romany.

Olga’s assertion that 2.5 million Poles died is false. 2.5 million ethnic Poles were killed. 2.9-3 million Polish Jews were killed. About 1/2 million other Poles were murdered.
That Olga would only count her kin but not my kin as Polish was a good indicator of latent anti-Semitism. Her ridiculous claims of a genocide against Palestinians simply shows the hatred of Jews. I am sure that if pressed she would blame the crimes of Communists on Jews.
That is a common syndrome amongst eastern Europeans, but especially in Ukraine and Poland, where it was communist policy to blame the Jews.

Posted by: RonL on February 21, 2004 2:49 PM

RonL’s figures for Poland coincide exactly with the ones I am familiar with. While it is a very dense site with lots of figures, tables, footnotes, etc, I highly recommend R. J. Rummel’s “Death by Government” site (http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/welcome.html) for a good overview of the issue.

Posted by: Carl on February 21, 2004 3:25 PM

Does anyone want to go see the film with me wearing kippot (yarmulkas)? It’s a pity Frieda, the spirited Jewish lass, hasn’t been posting here for a while.

There’s also an interesting pro article on the file at Zenit.org and a con at aish.com by Rabbi Benjamin Blech.

People need to be reminded that upwards of 250,000 Jews were crucified in AD 63 by the Romans. This Gibson film can parodoxically be used as a homage to them in the historically-minded viewer’s mind.

Posted by: Brent on February 21, 2004 7:24 PM

Since people have brought up the Stalin era killinmgs, you may be interested in a biography of Stalin on the History Channel.

It is on now (8-10pm EST.)

I suppose taht I could wear a kippah when I see “The Passion”

Posted by: RonL on February 21, 2004 7:50 PM

“Not only that, but Gibson is a pre-Vatican II Catholic.”

There is no such creature. Vatican II did not set any new dogmas. Vatican II was not a renouncement of the Council of Trent or Vatican I or any other councils. All Catholics in union with the Pope are pre and post Vatican Catholics. The pre and post Vatican II labels are a false distinction propagated by more secular and liberal Catholics. Unfortunately, the label suggests some type of moral superiority among Catholics of a certain era. Mr. Gibson’s has not been clear about his relationship to the Catholic Church other than occasional comments about a fondness for the Latin Mass (which is still allowed and becoming more popular again).

Posted by: TCB on February 22, 2004 12:29 AM

Well, there is a certainly a movement of traditionalist Catholics, and I’ve known some of them personally, who reject Vatican II, regard its docrinal and liturgical reforms as a horror. There have been well-known dissenters such as the Abbe George de Nante who reject Vatican II, describing its main teachings the the Religion of Man.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on February 22, 2004 1:05 AM

It is not wrong for Gibson to challenge the disproportionate focus on the Holocaust over other 20th century atrocities (disproportionate in terms of attention paid vs. total number of victims killed - state-sponsored mass murder has killed between 60 and 170 million people in the 20th century) per se. However, in context, he was being asked about his belief specifically on the Holocaust, so mentioning other atrocities only serves to (a) attempt to qualify the Holocaust and (b) to distract people from the specific question on whether he believes in the Holocaust.
Let’s put this in perspective for those who do not understand this.
New York Times columnist Walter Duranty is infamous for helping Stalin to deny that there was genocide going on in the Ukraine in the early thirites.
If his son were to say:
“Certainly some many people have been killed in deliberately-engineered famines. Some were Ethiopians, some were Germans, some were Armenians, and some were Ukrainians. A great number of groups have fallen prey to politically-motivated famines,” wouldn’t you interpret the last sentence as intended to exonerate Stalin to some extent, or at least to qualify his guilt?

Posted by: Michael Jose on February 22, 2004 2:10 AM

A side note:
Gibson’s dissembling reminds me of Sean Hannity on Hannity and Colmes whenever he is asked a potentially embarassing question about conservatives. (For example, the Confederate flag controversy).
Instead of answering the question (does he think that the flag should be removed form the SC state house), he would focus on blaming the DEmocrats for doing the same thing (in the case on the Confederate flag, he would point to Democrats who had supported it in various ways, e.g. Clinton supporting elements of the Confederate flag being retained in the Arkansas state flag). While he had some good points in and of themselves, he nonetheless avoided ever answering a question about what Bush should have done vis a vis the flag.

Posted by: Michael Jose on February 22, 2004 2:16 AM

Re RonL’s remarks: I hate to sound like I might be giving aid and comfort to Olga and her ilk (by the way, Olga is a suspiciously Russian name for a Pole!) but he is slightly off-kilter on one point. Poles, and other, Eastern Europeans generally did not regard Jews as “Jewish Poles” or Jewish members of their nationality even if they were not anti-Semitic. Jews were in effect a nationality as well as a religion in most of the countries east of Germany, and this was tacitly the view taken by most Jews as well. That was perhaps beginning to change as more and more Jews began to regularly speak the “state languages” like Polish rather than Yiddish, but that process had not proceeded very far before the Nazis came.
The fact that some Slavs — Bulgarians, Slovaks, Croats, and Ukraininansn — were dumb enough to ally themselves with the Nazis does not mean that the latter were not mortally hostile to them. One should not bracket Poles with the latter, as even Polish fascists were anti-Nazi.

Posted by: Alan Levine on February 22, 2004 12:31 PM
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