Steven Spielberg warns of rising anti-Semitism and extremism following Israel-Hamas war

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Steven Spielberg warns of rising anti-Semitism and extremism following Israel-Hamas war

Steven Spielberg delivered an impassioned speech highlighting the importance of stopping the rise of anti-Semitism and extremist views amid the conflict between Israel and Hamas that began in October.

The 77-year-old director was speaking at a ceremony honoring the USC Shoah Foundation, a nonprofit organization he founded that documents interviews with Holocaust survivors and witnesses, during which some six Millions of Jews were murdered by the Nazis.

Photo: USC/Sean Dube/PA Undated photo issued by the University of Southern California of Steven Spielberg speaking at a ceremony honoring the USC Shoah Foundation, receiving the University of California medallion South (USC).
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Photo: USC/Sean Dubé/PA

The foundation – which he established in 1994 after the release of his Oscar-winning film Schindler’s List – was awarded the University of Southern California (USC) medallion, which is its highest honor.

Recognizing the current climate in the middle of the Israel-Hamas WarSpielberg said: “I am increasingly worried that we may be condemned to repeat history, to have to fight once again for the very right to be Jewish.”

More than 32,000 Palestinians have been killed and more than 74,000 injured in Israeli military operations since the dispute began, according to GazaThe Hamas-run Ministry of Health. Israel hit back after fighters from Hamas – a terror group banned in the UK – killed more than 1,000 Israelis and took hundreds of hostages in attacks on October 7 last year.

Spielberg continued: “We can be angry at the heinous acts committed by the October 7 terrorists and also denounce the murder of innocent women and children in Gaza.

“This makes us a unique force for good in the world and is why we are here today to celebrate the work of the Shoah Foundation, which is more crucial today than it was even in 1994.

“This is crucial in the wake of the horrific massacre of October 7. It is crucial to stopping political violence caused by misinformation, conspiracy theories and ignorance.

“This is crucial because stopping the rise of anti-Semitism and hatred of all kinds is essential to the health of our democratic republic and the future of democracy in the civilized world.”

“Echoes of History”

Spielberg’s USC Shoah Foundation documents the testimonies of 55,000 Holocaust survivors. At the ceremony itself, 30 Holocaust survivors and their families were present.

Spielberg continues: “The echoes of history are unmistakable in our current climate.

“The rise of extremist views has created a dangerous environment and radical intolerance [that] led [to] a society [which] no longer celebrates differences, but rather conspires to demonize those who are different to the point of creating “the other.”

“The idea of ​​“the other” is an idea that poisons the discourse and creates a dangerous divide within our communities. “Otherness” rationalizes prejudices.

“It encourages deliberate denial and distortion of reality to reinforce preconceived ideas. Otherness is the fire that fuels extremism and illiberalism.”

“Doomed to repeat the past”

He also said that the creation of the “other” is the foundation of fascism and constitutes “an old playbook that has been dusted off and widely distributed today.”

“Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it.”

One of Spielberg’s best-known films, Schindler’s List, tells the true story of German industrialist Oskar Schindler, who saved the lives of more than a thousand Polish Jewish refugees from the Holocaust by employing in his factory during World War II.

It won seven Academy Awards in 1994, including Best Picture and Best Director for Spielberg.

The director said his “mission” became to create a permanent record for “families, for history, for education and for every future generation.”

“Never again. Never again. Never again,” he concluded.

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