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Wednesday, April 7, 2010 as of 11:14 AM ET

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  • Mel Gibson linked to film about historic Jewish warrior, angering Jewish leaders

    Mel Gibson has reportedly teamed up with screenwriter Joe Eszterhas of “Basic Instinct” and “Showgirls” fame to tell the story of the historic Jewish warrior, Judah Maccabee, who led the way to the first celebration of Hanukkah.

    Wait, what?

    Is this the same Mel Gibson who went on a drunken anti-Semitic tirade after his 2006 arrest in Malibu, CA? The same Mel Gibson who reportedly ranted, “”F*****g Jews…The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world” to a Los Angeles County Sherrif’s Deputy?

    Why, yes it is!

    According to Deadline.com, Gibson “has long wanted to make” the film, saying that the beleaguered actor and director is “determined” to get back to making movies.

    While it’s entirely possible that teaming up with Eszterhas to make a film about a Jewish hero reflects Gibson’s sincere desire to create an historical drama, some Jewish community leaders are not very pleased.

    “Mel Gibson has shown nothing but antagonism and disrespect to Jews,” Rabbi Marvin Heir said in a statement to the Hollywood Reporter. “He’s had a long history of antagonism with Jews. Casting him as a director or perhaps as the star of Judah Maccabee is like casting Madoff to be the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission, or a white supremacist as trying to portray Martin Luther King, Jr. It’s simply an insult to Jews.”

    Heir, the founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, also had a warning for the film’s distributor.

    “Warner Bros. is making a terrible mistake,” he said. “Most of the people that are going to come to a film about Judah Maccabee are the Jewish community. Surely they know the Jewish communities are not going to come to this film.”

    The director of the Anti-Defamation League, Abraham Foxman, concurs.

    “Judah Maccabee deserves better,” Foxman said. “He is a hero of the Jewish people and a universal hero in the struggle for religious liberty. It would be a travesty to have his story told by one who has no respect and sensitivity for other people’s religious views.”

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