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Noted Hollywood Actor

Continues “Hollywood Double Standard”

(Remnant News Watch March 31, 2010)


by Mark Alessio



Mary Magdalene (Barbara Hersey), Jesus Christ (Willem Defoe) and

Judas (Harvey Keitel) in the viciously Christophobic The Last Temptation of Christ

( Posted 3/31/10) On February 11, 2010 actor Harvey Keitel hosted a lunch in New York City, during which he spoke about Quentin Tarantino’s World War II film, “Inglourious Basterds.” (New York Daily News, Feb. 12, 2010).

"You have to have the courage and the convictions," said Keitel, who has an uncredited voice cameo in Tarantino’s film. "When we started to make the movie, people said to me, ‘Oh my God, the idea of these Jewish guys killing the Nazis! You're going to have trouble with this and this and this’"

Keitel went on to say, “I called the head of the Anti-Defamation League and I called Elie Wiesel, and I showed them the script. Then I showed them the movie, and they said, 'We love it!'"

In a February 18, 2010 article at The Huffington Post, Abraham Foxman, National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, declared, “Like its predecessors Schindler's List and Life is Beautiful, Inglourious Basterds should be recognized with an Academy Award.” Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, found the film to be “quite exciting …. quite ingenious.”

Tarantino, unlike Keitel, saw no need to defend his film, which was written over a ten-year period. "I don't really think about it too much," he said. "I do the stories that I do, and some people don't like them. But that just makes me think that I'm doing my own thing – I would never defend my work. Ever."

Comment: It is interesting that Harvey Keitel felt enough concern about the possibility of offending Jewish sensibilities that he sought the favor and approval of the ADL and Elie Wiesel.

This same Harvey Keitel portrayed Judas in Martin Scorsese’s “The Last Temptation of Christ,” a film which portrayed Jesus as a confused mystic, plagued by migraines and filled with guilt for having driven Mary Magdalene to prostitution by not having “made an honest woman of her” (i.e. marrying her)! The film also featured a fantasy sex scene between Jesus and Mary Magdalene. Funny, isn’t it, that Mr. Keitel (who must surely have understood the “controversial” nature of that script) did not run docilely to any Catholic groups, concerned about offending Catholic sensibilities and begging for an imprimatur.

Mr. Keitel also appeared in the film, “The Bad Lieutenant.” This one featured the graphic rape of a nun on a church altar by some crack-heads, a scene so brutal that one online reviewer described it as “57 agonizing seconds that seem like 5 minutes.” No problem there, right, Harvey?

No, scenes of Jesus Christ having sex and the graphic rape of a nun on an altar are business as usual, but Mr. Keitel worries that Jewish sensibilities will be offended by a movie about – heroic Jewish soldiers! Figure that one out.

Even before the premier of The Passion of The Christ, many Jewish and “Catholic” activists complained that Mel Gibson’s film would be historically inaccurate. They chastised him for combining Gospel accounts and using extra-Scriptural sources (i.e., the writings of Anne Catherine Emmerich). This was supposed to destroy the historical credibility of the film. However, both Foxman and Hier are unconcerned with the fact that, in Inglourious Basterds, Hitler and his top German officials are successfully killed by the titular characters, blown to bits in a trap set in a movie theater. They do not feel that the true history of World War II is trivialized by this distortion.

In this case, Foxman and Hier actually got it right. Tarantino’s film is neither a documentary nor a dramatization of actual events. It is an action film, a revenge fantasy set during World War II. This is evident when the film opens with the legend, “Once upon a time in Nazi-occupied France.” As such it must be taken on its own terms. And many Jewish viewers have, understandably, done so with relish. In an August 26, 2009 article at The Huffington Post, Rabbi Irwin Kula, President of The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, wrote:

Ahhh, to simply terrorize Nazis and after killing them, to scalp them! I have no idea what gentiles will experience while seeing this movie (and I really am sorry to cluster all gentiles together, especially since Aldo Raine [the character portrayed by Brad Pitt], part Apache Tennessee hillbilly with twang, is not a Jew), but if I'm really honest, this Jew felt twinges of excitement, thrills, chills he's never felt before seeing violence. I don't even go to action films, yet alone violent movies, as they've always turned my stomach. But this one turned me on (though when I awoke the morning after, I had this strange sense of embarrassment over having gotten so into it). Unfortunately, I really enjoyed it!

Rabbi Kula doth protest too loudly. No one has suggested that Jewish viewers would watch “Inglourious Basterds” and then start assaulting German people. That would have been considered an insult, would it not? Yet, before The Passion of The Christ hit the screens, some Jewish scholars, such as author Paula Fredriksen of Boston University, predicted that the film would trigger anti-Jewish violence. Stop and ponder that for a moment. What were those activists really saying? They were saying that Catholics and Protestants are so inherently barbaric, so vicious and stupid, that the simple act of viewing a film could unleash a bloodlust that must be held in check quite poorly to be set off so easily.

Of course, no such violent incidents occurred, but we have yet to hear any apologies for the insult. Apparently, apologies are only necessary when proffered by Catholics.

It is unfortunate that the same leeway granted to Quentin Tarantino was not granted to Mel Gibson. Foxman, Hier, Kula and company calmly accept both Tarantino’s premise and approach to his story. At its Israeli premier, Inglourious Basterds “elicited cheers and hearty rounds of applause,” according to Haaretz (Sept. 16, 2009). Tarantino, who was present, was given a standing ovation. Sara Miller of Haaretz wrote: “Like Madonna and her devotion to all things kosher, Tarantino's latest movie should ensure him a warm welcome in the Jewish state, now and for many years to come.” Harvey Keitel had nothing to worry about.

What a difference. During the Passion hysteria, the film was placed deliberately at the wrong end of a telescope, stuffed into a tiny box and turned into something that it was not. The title of the film said it all. It was about the Salvific Passion of “the Lamb of God … Him who taketh away the sin of the world.” But the activists turned it into a film about Jewish priests, about Roman politicians, about anything but its true subject.

The ADL’s Abraham Foxman wrote, “What you see and hear for two hours is the Jews, the Jews, the Jews.” What movie was he watching?

Another critic, Rabbi Michael Pinz, observed, “The worst was the assistant chief priest, the fellow with the hook nose and the ugly gleam in his eye.” They were even coming down on the physical appearances of the actors – many of who were Italian! Hey, if Pinz is concerned with hooknoses, I’ll show him some photographs of my relatives back in Italy, where he can gasp at some truly impressive beaks. And, what do you know, no one there cares.

Jewish film-critic Michael Medved wrote, “If the [Passion] becomes a hit, the overwrought Jewish critics of the film will have succeeded only in demonstrating their irrelevance.” Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds was designed to have audiences rooting and cheering. It is in the very nature of the revenge fantasy to satisfy a desire for retribution, and no one would deny audiences – Jewish or otherwise – their enjoyment.  However, when the Passion premiered, we were bombarded with lecture after lecture on the unreliability of the Gospels, the vindictiveness of the Evangelists who wrote them and the cruel history of the Church that preserved them. The simple fact that viewers were rejoicing in a film honoring the Supreme Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, that they – no less than the viewers of Inglourious Basterds – were experiencing a film that spoke to their hearts and experiences, never occurred to the bloated gasbags.



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