Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Local rabbi reacts to Mel Gibson’s remarks

Mel Gibson said today he is not a bigot and he apologized to "everyone in the Jewish community for the vitriolic and harmful words" he used when he was arrested for investigation of drunken driving.

"I'm not just asking for forgiveness," Gibson said. "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."

Gibson said he's "in the process of understanding where those vicious words came from during that drunken display" and hopes members of the Jewish community, "whom I have personally offended," will help him in his recovery efforts.

Rabbi Chuni Vogel, director of the Chabad Jewish Enrichment Center in Brandywine Hundred, said Gibson would do well to try to understand the source of his remarks. In Vogel’s view, there’s something in Gibson causing hurtful statements, loosened by drink.

“It’s a lousy thing to say -- that Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world,” Vogel said. “It’s way up on the inflammatory scale and extremely offensive given what’s going on today.”

The Associated Press and reporter Gary Soulsman contributed to this report. For more coverage, read Tuesday’s Life section of The News Journal.

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