Wed Jun 01, 2016 2:42 pm Watch! Steven Spielberg: "we truly believed that anti-Semitism was fading. And we were wrong."
Filmmaker Steven Spielberg Speech
Harvard Commencement 2016
May 26, 2016
" . . . Love, support, courage, intuition. All of these things are in your hero’s quiver, but still, a hero needs one more thing: A hero needs a villain to vanquish. And you’re all in luck. This world is full of monsters. And there’s racism, homophobia, ethnic hatred, class hatred, there’s political hatred, and there’s religious hatred.
As a kid, I was bullied — for being Jewish. This was upsetting, but compared to what my parents and grandparents had faced, it felt tame. Because we truly believed that anti-Semitism was fading. And we were wrong. Over the last two years, nearly 20,000 Jews have left Europe to find higher ground. And earlier this year, I was at the Israeli embassy when President Obama stated the sad truth. He said: 'We must confront the reality that around the world, anti-Semitism is on the rise. We cannot deny it.'
My own desire to confront that reality compelled me to start, in 1994, the Shoah Foundation. And since then, we’ve spoken to over 53,000 Holocaust survivors and witnesses in 63 countries and taken all their video testimonies. And we’re now gathering testimonies from genocides in Rwanda, Cambodia, Armenia and Nanking. Because we must never forget that the inconceivable doesn’t happen — it happens frequently. Atrocities are happening right now. And so we wonder not just, ‘When will this hatred end?’ but, ‘How did it begin?’
Now, I don’t have to tell a crowd of Red Sox fans that we are wired for tribalism. But beyond rooting for the home team, tribalism has a much darker side. Instinctively and maybe even genetically, we divide the world into ‘us’ and ‘them.’ So the burning question must be: How do all of us together find the ‘we?’ How do we do that? There’s still so much work to be done, and sometimes I feel the work hasn’t even begun. And it’s not just anti-Semitism that’s surging — Islamophobia’s on the rise, too. Because there’s no difference between anyone who is discriminated against, whether it’s the Muslims, or the Jews, or minorities on the border states, or the LGBT community — it is all big one hate. . . . "