Spielberg: Antisemitism in US ‘standing proud with hands on hips like days of Hitler’

Steven Spielberg has expressed his concerns over the rise of antisemitism in the United States.

The filmmaker appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Thursday night (2 March) to discuss his Oscar-nominated movie The Fabelmans, which was released in January.

In the semi-autobiographical film based on Spielberg’s childhood, one of the characters suffers antisemitic abuse at the hands of a group of school bullies.

Colbert asked Spielberg if found the current rise in antisemitism surprising.

“I find it very, very surprising,” he 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 Thirties.

“But not since Germany in the Thirties 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.”

The Schindler’s List director added: “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…

“Hate became a kind of membership to a club that has got 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.”

Steven Spielberg attends at the The Fabelmans premiere (Getty Images)
Steven Spielberg attends at the The Fabelmans premiere (Getty Images)

According to the US Anti-Defamation League, the country has recently seen a rise in antisemitic incidents, with 2,717 incidents last year – the highest since it began tracking in 1979.

Spielberg said that despite what he has observed, he is optimistic about the future.

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