Saturday, May 15, 2021

A GIANT QUESTION IN ROOM AT SPIELBERG’S CANNES NEWS CONFERENCE

May 14, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Only days after reporters covering the Cannes Film Festival were taken to task for failing to ask Woody Allen about the latest accusations by his son Dylan Farrow that he sexually abused his sister when she was seven years old, those reporters were still reluctant to put any controversial questions to Steven Spielberg. Both Allen and Spielberg were in Cannes to debut their latest films (Allen’s High Society and Spielberg’s BFG), and at a news conference today (Saturday) the issue of BFG author Roald Dahl’s anti-Semitism did in fact come up — but only briefly, and Spielberg sidestepped it nimbly. “I wasn’t aware of any of Roald Dahl’s personal stories,” he replied. “I was focused on this story he wrote … a story about embracing our differences.” spielbergThe reporters asked no follow-up questions, but it did seem odd that the director of Schindler’s List, which deals with the Holocaust, would claim that he was unaware of the numerous anti-Semitic utterances that the children’s author, who died in 1990, had made during his lifetime. Indeed, shortly before his death, Dahl boastfully admitted during an interview with the London Independent, “I am certainly anti-Israel, and I have become anti-Semitic.” Seven years earlier, he told Britain’s New Statesman: “There is a trait in the Jewish character that does provoke animosity, maybe it’s a kind of lack of generosity toward non-Jews. I mean, there’s always a reason why anti-anything crops up anywhere; even a stinker like Hitler didn’t just pick on them for no reason.” In other interviews he had charged that the U.S. government is “utterly dominated by the great Jewish financial institutions” and that the media have given their implicit support to Israel because “there aren’t any non-Jewish publishers anywhere.” Following Dahl’s death, Abraham Foxman, who stepped down last year as the longtime director of the Anti-Defamation League, criticized the New York Times for failing to mention Dahl’s anti-Semitism in its obituary of the writer. Foxman concluded: “Praise for Mr. Dahl as a writer must not obscure the fact that he was also a bigot.”