So why would Mel Gibson decide to produce a movie about a famed Jewish warrior given his, er, Jewish problem? Easy, explains TMZ. Gibson doesn't think he has a Jewish problem. It quotes sources "very close" to Gibson as insisting that he doesn't hate Jews and that, wait for it, he has many Jewish friends and business associates. Gibson feels that he's made enough mea culpas for his infamous anti-Semitic rant in 2006 and that the movie should not be seen as a bid to mend ties because none need mending. Jewish groups beg to differ.
"I think it's, quite frankly, preposterous," a rabbi with the Simon Weisenthal Center tells CNN. "Judah Maccabee is one of the greatest heroes in Jewish history. Mel Gibson is an anti-Semite. He has made anti-Semitic remarks in the past. I don't know what Warner Bros. was thinking." The Washington Post rounds up similar sentiments ("Judah Maccabee deserves better") from the Anti-Defamation League and other groups. (Read more Mel Gibson stories.)