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Steven Spielberg Concerned Antisemitism Is ‘No Longer Lurking but Standing Proud’

The legendary director is concerned about the rise of hatred in America, though he added that "I think essentially at our core, there is goodness and there is empathy.”

BERLIN, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 21: Steven Spielberg attends the "The Fabelmans" (Die Fabelmans) & Honorary Golden Bear And Homage For Steven Spielberg press conference during the 73rd Berlinale International Film Festival Berlin at Grand Hyatt Hotel on February 21, 2023 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

Steven Spielberg

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When Steven Spielberg set out to make “The Fabelmans,” the personal nature of the film ensured that he would have to address topics that he has largely steered clear of throughout his 50-year career. One of those topics was antisemitism in America, as the film features several scenes of Sammy Fabelman being bullied when he moves to new schools where he is the only Jewish student.

Spielberg’s films have addressed oppression faced by the Jewish community, most notably in “Schindler’s List,” but he has avoided portraying his personal experiences with it. While he has previously said that antisemitism “isn’t any kind of governing force in my life,” the director has concerns about the recent wave of hateful behavior toward the Jewish community from American celebrities, athletes, and politicians.

Appearing on “The Late Show with Steven Colbert,” Spielberg spoke out about what he sees as an unprecedented surge in antisemitism that has infiltrated American culture in recent years.

“I find it very, very surprising,” Spielberg said. “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. 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’ve never experienced this in my entire life, especially in this country.”

He continued: “Somehow, the marginalizing 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… Hate became a kind of membership to a club that has gotten more members than I ever thought was possible in America.”

But of course, the famously optimistic director was never going to end his diatribe on a down note. He went on to explain why he thinks humanity is capable of overcoming this current wave of anti-semitism

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

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