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Last Updated: Sunday, 21 March, 2004, 14:39 GMT
Gibson to film Jewish 'Western'
Mel Gibson
Gibson may delay Mad Max 4 to make the story of the Maccabees
Mel Gibson looks set to provoke further antipathy among the Jewish community with plans to make a film about the story behind the festival of Hanukkah.

The Jewish festival of Hanukkah celebrates the Maccabees' victory against Greek king Antiochus IV, 165 years before Jesus was born.

"The Maccabees' family stood up and made war," said Gibson, speaking on a US chat show last week.

"They stuck by their guns and they came out winning. It's like a Western."

Jewish history

"Thanks for trying to make it up to us, but no thanks," Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League told The Sunday Times.

"The last thing we need is Jewish history turned into a Western. In his hands we would probably lose," added Mr Foxman.

Claims of anti-Semitism continue to dog Gibson's controversial film The Passion of the Christ, which has now taken over $300m (163m) at the US box office.

There was further controversy on Saturday, after Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian leader, added his voice to the row.

His adviser told the official Palestinian news agency WAFA that Mr Arafat found the film "moving and historical".

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