Wednesday, March 22nd | 29 Adar 5783

March 3, 2023 1:19 pm

Filmmaker Steven Spielberg Says Global Antisemitism is ‘Standing Proud,’ ‘No Longer Lurking’


avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Steven Spielberg during his interview with Stephen Colbert. Photo: YouTube screenshot

Academy Award-winning director Steven Spielberg explained why he finds the rise of public displays of antisemitism in the US and around the world “very, very surprising” during his interview on Thursday night with late night talk show host Stephen Colbert.

“Antisemitism has always been there. It’s either been just around the corner and slightly out of sight but always lurking or it has been much more overt, like in Germany in the 30s,” the Jewish filmmaker said during a segment that appeared on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. “But not since Germany in the 30s have I witnessed antisemitism no longer lurking but standing proud with hands on hips like Hitler and Mussolini. Kind of daring us to defy it. I have never experienced this in my entire life, especially in this country.”

During his first late-night interview Spielberg also discussed his latest movie, the Oscar-nominated autobiographical film The Fabelmans, which was inspired by his own childhood and dives into how he developed his love of filmmaking. The coming-of-age drama shows aspects of Spielberg’s Jewish life and upbringing, such as him celebrating Jewish holidays with his family and the antisemitic bullying he faced.

During their conversation that aired on Thursday night Colbert also asked Spielberg why he thinks antisemitism is “raising its ugly head” now more publicly than it has in the past. The director, who established the Shoah Foundation after helming the Academy Award-winning film the Schindler’s List, replied that “the marginalizing of people that aren’t some kind of a majority race is something that has been creeping up on us for years, and years, and years and somehow in 2014, 2015, 2016, hate has became a kind of membership to a club that is gotten more members than I ever thought is possible in America. And hate and antisemitism go hand-in-hand. You can’t separate one from the other.”

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Still, Spielberg is optimistic that hatred and antisemitism will not prevail in conquering mankind. He paraphrased a quote from Holocaust victim Anne Frank, who wrote in her famed diary: “In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.”

“I think she’s right,” Spielberg said about the young diarist before adding, “I think essentially at our core there is goodness and there is empathy.”

Watch Steven Spielberg and Stephen Colbert talk about antisemitism in the video below.

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