Slurring more than his words

the author of nine books of fiction and nonfiction, is at work on a book about Christian evangelicals, American Jews and Israel.

IT SAYS in the Book of Proverbs: “Wine makes a fool of you and leads to brawling.” Friday night, Mel Gibson, Christian action hero, found that out the hard way. Tooling through Malibu in his Lexus, he was pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving, got into it with a sheriff’s deputy and wound up in handcuffs.

“Are you a Jew?” he allegedly demanded of the arresting officer.

That question alone constitutes prima facie evidence that Gibson was DUI. Come on, 30 years in Hollywood and he can’t tell the difference between a Jew and a deputy sheriff?

No wonder they booked him.

To his credit, as soon as he sobered up, Gibson apologized to the lawman, something presumably along the lines of: Sorry I called you a Jew, mate. No hard feelings.

In the process of getting arrested, Gibson shared some of his opinions with the cops. One that found its way into their report is that the Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world.

This is not an original theory. Hamas, the elected government of the Palestinians, proclaims in its official charter that the Jews fomented the French and Russian revolutions. Jihad Khazen (no relation to Lainie), a former editor of the well-respected Arabic daily Al Hayat, recently speculated that the first Israeli leaders were actually German Nazis who escaped to the Middle East and, having blown World War II, set out to get the Arabs.

Indeed, there are many places where the assertion that a Jewish cabal controls the world and starts wars for fun and profit is regarded as a simple fact. Unfortunately for Gibson, Malibu is not one of those places.

On Saturday, a chastened Mel issued a statement apologizing to anyone he had offended. He had said “despicable” things that he does “not believe to be true.” He didn’t go into details. He didn’t need to.

Still, there was a puzzling lack of logic to the apology. Evidently Gibson wants people to believe that, although he personally loves Jews, the devil made him lie under the influence of alcohol. Anyone who has tried this explanation at home knows that it is not very convincing.

So, let’s certify that Gibson is an anti-Semite, as his critics have charged since he released the film “The Passion of the Christ” in 2004. I personally liked the movie, mostly because it demonstrated, unwittingly I’m sure, that there were no “Palestinians” living in Israel in the time of Jesus. Judge the art, not the artist, I always say.

Anyway, I confess to being less than shocked to read about Gibson’s Jew-war theory. The tip-off came when he denied being an anti-Semite in an interview with Diane Sawyer in the publicity run-up to “The Passion.” This is known as the Richard Nixon “I am not a crook” principle: When you get to the point you have to declare your innocence on network television, you are probably guilty.

Gibson’s Malibu breakdown not only confirmed that he’s an anti-Semite, but also that he’s a moron. Even rookie anti-Semites know you never use the “J” word. Correct euphemisms include “Zionist,” “Likudnik,” “Israeli” and, in liberal circles, “neocon.” If Gibson had told the cops that Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle were behind all the world’s wars, he would have walked away from the incident in Malibu unscathed.

As it turns out, Gibson’s apology was quickly ruled “insufficient” and “unremorseful” by Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League. The ADL chief has been after Gibson ever since “The Passion” was released and Foxman warned that it would spark anti-Jewish feelings at the cineplex. That alarm made Foxman look foolish. Now it is his turn.

“We would hope,” he said in a statement published on the ADL’s website after Gibson’s arrest, “that Hollywood would now realize the bigot in their midst and that they will distance themselves from the anti-Semite.”

“Hollywood,” of course, is a conservative euphemism for “Jewish.” Foxman’s implication is clear: The, ah, moguls who run the movie business should take this personally and punish Gibson for his thought crime. Ironically, if anyone else ever suggested that the Jews control show business and might act in concert at the behest of Foxman, the ADL would raise the roof.

In fact, Gibson doesn’t have to worry. Before “The Passion” came out, there were studio execs who bragged to Jewish reporters that they would never work with Gibson again. But after the film grossed more than $600 million, these execs raised Gibson on their shoulders and began optioning every goyish property from Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians to the Anglican Book of Common Prayer.

Coincidentally, on the same day Gibson got into trouble in Malibu, a fellow named Naveed Afzal Haq brought a pistol to the Jewish Federation office in Seattle and shot six women, killing one. Two days later, this personal jihad -- one of the most gory anti-Jewish crimes in American history -- got second billing on the ADL website, under “Mel Gibson’s Apology for Tirade ‘Insufficient.’ ”