Media focuses on Lebanon conflict, not Gibson
While the Stateside furor over Mel Gibson‘s anti-Semitic outburst rumbles on, people in Israel have been largely unmoved by the story.Not surprisingly, the lion’s share of Israel’s media has been focused on the conflict in Lebanon. “We have a war going on. Even Mel Gibson and his stupidity counts as nothing,” says Goel Pinto, film critic for leading Israeli daily Ha’aretz. Or, as the paper’s chief U.S. correspondent Shmuel Rosner wrote in one recent blog about Gibson’s apologies, “To accept — or not to accept? And does it really matter?” Only Israel’s E! Channel has felt some Gibson backlash: The showbiz channel yanked a previously scheduled bio show on the star after receiving some phone complaints. But while Web sites and blogs have been filled with locals posting their views on Gibson’s gaffe, the incident hasn’t made much of a dent in the mainstream media. Even tabloid daily Maariv hasn’t featured the story on its homepage. In fact, the continuing crisis in Lebanon and Gaza has diminished much of the arts and culture coverage in Israel. Ha’aretz’s arts section, usually 16 pages, has been halved to only eight. Film execs in the country also don’t expect much in the way of long-term repercussions for Gibson. Though “The Passion of the Christ” was not released commercially in Israel — it only played at arthouse Tel Aviv Cinematheque — Gibson remains a big draw with Israeli auds. “It’s a shame for the Israeli and Jewish people who love his movies, but who am I to judge? To be honest (Hezbollah leader Hassan) Nasrallah bothers me more than Mel Gibson,” says Dorit Ishay of local film distrib Globus Group.