Additional Information on Steven Spielberg

* Over the years, Spielberg has contributed money to the political campaigns of such notables as Tammy BaldwinCory BookerBarbara BoxerSherrod BrownBill ClintonHillary Clinton, Michael Dukakis, Richard DurbinJohn EdwardsRahm EmanuelDiane FeinsteinKirsten GillibrandAl GoreTom HarkinTed Kennedy, Robert Kerrey, Tom Lantos, Frank Lautenberg, Patrick Leahy, Carl Levin, Ed Markey, Claire McCaskill, Walter Mondale, Barack ObamaNancy PelosiHarry ReidBill RichardsonCharles SchumerMark Udall, and Elizabeth Warren.

* Spielberg also has made large donations to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the Democratic National Committee Services Corporation, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, HillPAC, the Progressive Politics Network, and Voters for Choice/Friends of Family Planning.

* In December 2005 Spielberg released Munich, a film about the aftermath of the kidnapping and murder of 11 Israeli athletes and coaches by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Olympic Games. Columnist Charles Krauthammer offered the following criticism of the manner in which Spielberg presented the movie’s major characters: “The Palestinians who plan the massacre and are hunted down by Israel are given … texture, humanity, depth, history…. Even more egregious than the manipulation by character is the propaganda by dialogue. The Palestinian case is made forthrightly: The Jews stole our land and we’re going to kill any Israeli we can to get it back. Those who are supposedly making the Israeli case say … the same thing.”

Similarly, a piece by CAMERA.org said that in Munich, “cultured Palestinians” make the case that: “We are for twenty-four years the world’s largest refugee population. Our homes taken from us. Living in camps. No future. No food. Nothing decent for our children…. [T]here are no Palestinians clamoring for the destruction of Israel — as all Palestinian groups did then and, regrettably, leading groups continue to do today. On the contrary, in a contrived encounter between Avner, the movie’s lead, and a PLO member, the latter insists he simply wants a homeland. He also blames Jews for turning the Palestinians ‘into animals’ and charges them with exploiting guilt over the Holocaust…. The movie concludes that Israel should have, in Avner’s recommendation, ‘arrested’ the terrorists ‘like Eichman.’”

Spielberg defended his film by saying that: “[P]robing the motives of those responsible and showing that they are also individuals with families and have their own story does not excuse what they did. Wanting to understand the background to a murder doesn’t mean you accept it.” When an interviewer told Spielberg that “your opponents say that you ‘humanize’ terror,” he replied: “Do these critics really mean that terrorists are not human beings? I try not to demonize them. Again, this has absolutely nothing to with relativizing their acts or sympathizing with them. But I do believe that it sullies the memory of the victims if we do not ask questions about the reasons, about the roots of terror. My film is not supposed to be a pamphlet, not a caricature, not a one-dimensional view of things. I refuse to give simple answers to complicated questions.”

* In November 2015, Barack Obama awarded Spielberg the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

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