Spielberg says growing intolerance is the root of modern-day antisemitism

Steven Spielberg’s new Oscar-nominated film ‘The Fabelmans’ depicts the racial abuse he faced in the 60s. The director said he was very surprised by the current resurgence of antisemitism.

Director Steven Spielberg has spoken out about his impression of the current levels of antisemitism in the US during his interview on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, reports The Guardian.

When Spielberg was asked whether the abuse that he and the young Jewish hero of his autobiographical drama ‘The Fabelmans’ faced in 1960s California was present today, he said that he found the new global rise of anti-Jewish rhetoric and violence „very, very surprising,” noting that while antisemitism has always been there, it has always been either lurking in the shadows or being overtly out in the open like in the 30s in Germany.

„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,” the director said, adding that „I’ve never experienced this in my entire life, especially in this country.”

Spielberg told Colbert that he felt increased antisemitism was part of a wider trend of intolerance.

„Somehow, the marginalising of people that aren’t part of some kind of a majority race is something that has been creeping up on us for years and years and years,” he said.

„Hate became a kind of membership to a club that has gotten more members than I ever thought was possible in America. And hate and antisemitism go hand in hand; you can’t separate one from the other.”

Spielberg added that he intended viewers of his new film to take a message of hopefulness from the movie. Its hero’s tormentors are ultimately exposed as vulnerable and decent in their own ways.

„To quote Anne Frank, I think she’s right when she said that most people are good,” said Spielberg. „And I think essentially at our core, there is goodness, and there is empathy.”


Photo credit: Gage Skidmore