Photo: AP
Photo: AP

Mel Gibson asks for some Jewish help

After making anti-Semitic slurs during a drunken driving arrest, actor apologizes to all Jews: 'I am not an anti-Semite. I am not a bigot'. He even gets chance to atone for his sin: A rabbi invites him to speak during Yom Kippur ceremony

Mel Gibson acknowledged making anti-Semitic slurs during a drunken driving arrest and begged Jewish community leaders Tuesday to meet with him to find "the appropriate path for healing." A sheriff's watchdog, meanwhile, said deputies appeared to have handled Gibson's arrest properly.


It was the actor's second apology since sheriff's deputies stopped him for speeding early Friday on Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, where officials said he was doing 87 in a 45 mph zone. He was arrested for investigation of drunken driving after a hostile, offensive confrontation with deputies.


The latest apology went far beyond the first - which spoke primarily to deputies - by addressing Jewish groups directly.


"I want to apologize specifically to everyone in the Jewish community for the vitriolic and harmful words," Gibson said in a statement issued by his publicist Tuesday. "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. ... 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."


Give us proofs


Jewish groups generally said they wanted to see proof of Gibson's repentance before meeting with him.


"We always felt that there was another agenda, but we never called him an anti-Semite. I guess this moment in Malibu finished the circle, and so now it all comes together," said Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League.


"But I'd like to put it behind him, I hope he wants to put it behind him, but you need to work at it. You can't just say I'm no longer a drunk; you can't just say I'm no longer a bigot. You need to work hard at it, and we're ready to help him."


Yom Kippur gig?


Meanwhile, TMZ, a showbiz website owns by AOL, has obtained a letter from a prominent Los Angeles Rabbi asking Mel Gibson to speak at his temple on Yom Kippur.


In the letter, David Baron, the Rabbi for the Temple of the Arts, the largest entertainment industry synagogue in the United States, wrote: "I wish to invite you to come and speak in order that you might directly express to the Jewish community your remorse. I feel that Yom Kippur, Day of Atonement, would be an appropriate time."


Rabbi Baron added: "In our faith we are commanded to forgive when the offending party takes the necessary steps and offers an apology from the heart."


TMZ contacted Rabbi Baron, who is vacationing in Spain. He said: "Some members of the congregation were skeptical about Mr. Gibson's recent statement and felt he was absolute anti-Semite. My response was 'better a repentant anti-Semite than an unrepentant anti-Semite.'"


פרסום ראשון: 08.02.06, 18:37
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