Topic category: Other/General
Abe Foxman Did Not Miss The Second Opportunity
Yasser Arafat went to his grave without missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity when it came to achieving permanent peace in the Middle East. The result: war, instead of peace.
Abraham Foxman, the National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, not only missed an opportunity to take the high road when Mel Gibson initially apologized for his drunken behavior, but misused it to attack the integrity of "The Passion of the Christ" (a magnificent film Mr. Gibson made and Mr. Foxman hated and erroneously predicted would have dire anti-Semitic consequences).
To be sure, Mr. Foxman was not alone in meanly magnifying the unfortunate outburst, attributing to it significance it did not merit and assailing a contrite, obviously alcohol-plagued Mr. Gibson. [For the record, Mr. Foxman was not present when Jesus said, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone, so the adulteress was not stoned to death in accordance with Jewish law.]
One excited e-mailer reviled me and Mr. Gibson, me for not getting drunk and Mr. Gibson for not doing anti-Semitic tirades while sober:
"Have you ever been drunk?? Getting drunk does not cause you to curse out Jews, getting drunk is like a truth serum. It exposes your real thoughts, and that’s the issue. If Gibson would just come clean and say what he thinks, without getting drunk, I would have no problem with him. He has a right to his opinions, even if they are retarded.
"And stop it with your persecution complex. I believe in Jesus but I don’t go to church because Jesus never went to temple, instead he decided to keep healing and stay away from the synagogues full of money grubbing church administrators.
"I love how you want to turn this issue into an attack on 'The Passion of the Christ'. I was born a Jew and could care less about the Anti-Defamation League. What I care about is not ending up in an oven like 6 million of my people did while the world stood by and watched.
"You talk about redemption, but all you do is attack, crucify, and try to destroy the opinions of everybody who thinks differently than you do.
"Your skin is as red as a radish and I’ve seen frogs with warts on their face that look better than you do…
"You fat piece of [expletive deleted], I’m not a healer like Jesus and I'm not looking for redemption so go [expletive deleted] yourself [expletive deleted]!!!
There is absolutely no danger that I will confuse this poor, presumably sober soul with Jesus. He seems to be more in need of prayers than Mr. Gibson, who recognizes he has a problem when he's sober and seems to be trying to remedy it and needs forgiveness instead of rejection.
At theconservativevoice.com forum, one poster civilly took exception to the wording of Mr. Gibson's first apology: "The reason Mel Gibson's apology was not accepted is because HE CHOSE NOT to address the anti-Semitic remarks that he made. In fact, he only said that he 'disgraced himself' - implying he damaged only his reputation. Not only is that an insufficient apology, it's a self-serving one. If he would admit what he said about Jews, publicly and specifically address the Jewish community, and apologize and denounce his remarks - he would likely be forgiven by all. He has to make the choice to do so. Until then of course, the pundits and apologists such as yourself will run to his defense, which makes your own motivations and beliefs questionable."
The poster apparently did not appreciate that (1) Mr. Gibson's initial apology covered "a number of things that were very wrong and for which [he was] ashamed" (not merely impolitic words which he would have preferred not to have used); (2) Mr. Gibson acknowledged saying "things [he did] not believe to be true and which are despicable ['so worthless or obnoxious as to rouse moral indignation"] and which made him "deeply ashamed; and (3) disgrace has a religious significance to a person like Mr. Gibson (a sinner like other human beings, but a fervent believer) and often implies "complete humiliation and sometimes ostracism ".
Unsurprisingly (to me), that post elicited these criticisms:
"The man has apologized, if you don't accept it that's your problem. You are free to pack that little black squirming ball of hate around in your mind, and it will harm none but you. Enjoy"
"Even if Mel's apology would of been more specific in the areas you mentioned, that still would have not been good enough. You would have found something to whine about that as well. The fact is that anything Mel would have done would not be good enough in the Jewish community because he chose to do a movie that ACCURATELY portrays the death of Christ and antagonizes the Jewish leaders of His day. Well the Truth hurts sometimes. DEAL WITH IT!!"
That's exactly what Mr. Foxman would have avoided by taking the high ground as soon as it was available, and instead of trying to justify in retrospect his unwarranted criticism of "The Passion of the Christ."
A California chaplain appreciated my analysis and articulated some extenuating circumstances that Mr. Gibson did not invoke (and I did not invoke on his behalf):
"Right on! According to the laws of Abraham (Foxman)....we should never say that the Nazi party was made up of Germans who committed the atrocities that they did. That is being anti-German and puts all Germans in danger.
"I can understand Mel's outburst while under the influence....the Jews were terrible to him when he was making The Passion...slandering him, attacking him and lying about him.
"I am sure you remember the Jewish professor at Clairmont in California who called police to show them that her car had been vandalized with swastikas and anti-Semitic slurs painted on it. She blamed Mel Gibson and his film, The Passion, for this hatred shown her and has ultimately put her life and the life of her family in danger.
"THEN it turned out that the prof had vandalized her own car in order to try and hurt Mel. There were witnesses that verified this.
"So in a weak moment, I can well understand what happened. Anyway, thanks for a thorough and thoughtful analysis.
A respected female commentator likewise called my attention to extenuating circumstances: "AFTER SEEING THE OVERT AND COVERT TRIES AT DESTROYING GIBSON BY SOME JEWS, MAYBE IT IS TOO MUCH TO EXPECT HIM TO BE ALL FORGIVING. OBVIOUSLY, FOXMAN IS NOT. IF HE WANTS TO SEE PREJUDICE UP CLOSE HE SHOULD LOOK IN THE NEAREST MIRROR."
Her email illustrates the problem Mr. Foxman created instead of avoided.
Mr. Gibson himself chose to go the next mile, to apologize further, to take full responsibility and NOT to plead extenuating circumstances:
"There is no excuse, nor should there be any tolerance, for anyone who thinks or expresses any kind of anti-Semitic remark. I want to apologize specifically to everyone in the Jewish community for the vitriolic and harmful words that I said to a law enforcement officer the night I was arrested on a DUI charge.
"I am a public person, and when I say something, either articulated and thought out, or blurted out in a moment of insanity, my words carry weight in the public arena. As a result, I must assume personal responsibility for my words and apologize directly to those who have been hurt and offended by those words.
"The tenets of what I profess to believe necessitate that I exercise charity and tolerance as a way of life. Every human being is God's child, and if I wish to honor my God I have to honor his children. But please know from my heart that I am not an anti-Semite. I am not a bigot. Hatred of any kind goes against my faith.
"I'm not just asking for forgiveness. I would like to take it one step further, and meet with leaders in the Jewish community, with whom I can have a one on one discussion to discern the appropriate path for healing.
"I have begun an ongoing program of recovery and what I am now realizing is that I cannot do it alone. I am in the process of understanding where those vicious words came from during that drunken display, and I am asking the Jewish community, whom I have personally offended, to help me on my journey through recovery. Again, I am reaching out to the Jewish community for its help. I know there will be many in that community who will want nothing to do with me, and that would be understandable. But I pray that that door is not forever closed.
"This is not about a film. Nor is it about artistic license. This is about real life and recognizing the consequences hurtful words can have. Its about existing in harmony in a world that seems to have gone mad."
This time, Mr. Foxman chose the high road. He accepted Mr. Gibson's further apology and opined that it "sounds sincere." Yes, Mr. Foxman could not keep himself from quibbling, saying that he wanted the further apology to have been the first apology.. But, he was generous in his own way, stating that when Mr. Gibson finishes "his rehabilitation for alcohol abuse," the ADL will "help him with his second rehabilitation to combat this disease of prejudice."
My e-mailer in dire need of prayers helpfully emailed me the news that Mr. Foxman had accepted the further apology, closing with "By the way, go [expletive deleted] yourself!!"
He definitely needs more prayers than either Mr. Gibson or Mr. Foxman, both of whom seem to be on the right track now.
Michael J. Gaynor
Biography - Michael J. Gaynor
Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member.
Gaynor graduated magna cum laude, with Honors in Social Science, from Hofstra University's New College, and received his J.D. degree from St. John's Law School, where he won the American Jurisprudence Award in Evidence and served as an editor of the Law Review and the St. Thomas More Institute for Legal Research. He wrote on the Pentagon Papers case for the Review and obscenity law for The Catholic Lawyer and edited the Law Review's commentary on significant developments in New York law.
The day after graduating, Gaynor joined the Fulton firm, where he focused on litigation and corporate law. In 1997 Gaynor and Emily Bass formed Gaynor & Bass and then conducted a general legal practice, emphasizing litigation, and represented corporations, individuals and a New York City labor union. Notably, Gaynor & Bass prevailed in the Second Circuit in a seminal copyright infringement case, Tasini v. New York Times, against newspaper and magazine publishers and Lexis-Nexis. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed, 7 to 2, holding that the copyrights of freelance writers had been infringed when their work was put online without permission or compensation.
Gaynor currently contributes regularly to www.MichNews.com, www.RenewAmerica.com, www.WebCommentary.com, www.PostChronicle.com and www.therealitycheck.org and has contributed to many other websites. He has written extensively on political and religious issues, notably the Terry Schiavo case, the Duke "no rape" case, ACORN and canon law, and appeared as a guest on television and radio. He was acknowledged in Until Proven Innocent, by Stuart Taylor and KC Johnson, and Culture of Corruption, by Michelle Malkin. He appeared on "Your World With Cavuto" to promote an eBay boycott that he initiated and "The World Over With Raymond Arroyo" (EWTN) to discuss the legal implications of the Schiavo case. On October 22, 2008, Gaynor was the first to report that The New York Times had killed an Obama/ACORN expose on which a Times reporter had been working with ACORN whistleblower Anita MonCrief.
Gaynor's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.