Oscar-winning director Oliver Stone apologized for saying in an interview that the Jewish lobby controls Washington’s foreign policy and that Hitler’s actions should be put “into context.”
Stone in an interview with the Sunday Times had also said that “Jewish domination of the media” has prevented an honest discussion about the Holocaust. Jewish organizational and Israeli officials condemned the remarks, which were published Sunday.
“In trying to make a broader historical point about the range of atrocities the Germans committed against many people, I made a clumsy association about the Holocaust, for which I am sorry and I regret,” Stone said in a statement released late Monday
The article by reporter Camilla Long is not available online without a paid subscription to the newspaper, although British bloggers and other newspapers have printed excerpts.
During the interview, Stone said that Jews were dictating U.S. foreign policy and that the Jewish lobby “are hard workers.”
“They stay on top of every comment, the most powerful lobby in Washington,” he said, adding that Israel has “f—ed up U.S. foreign policy for years.”
“Jews obviously do not control media or any other industry,” Stone said in his apology statement. “The fact that the Holocaust is still a very important, vivid and current matter today is, in fact, a great credit to the very hard work of a broad coalition of people committed to the remembrance of this atrocity – and it was an atrocity.”
Stone, the winner of three Academy Awards, including as best director for “Platoon” and “Born on the Fourth of July,” has a Jewish father. He also directed such films as “Wall Street,” “JFK” and “Nixon.”
On Hitler, Stone said that the German leader “did far more damage to the Russians than the Jewish people, 25 or 30 million. Hitler was a Frankenstein, but there was also a Dr. Frankenstein – German industrialists, the Americans and the British. He had a lot of support.”
“His apology was necessary and we accept it,” Elan Steinberg, vice president of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants, said in a statement. “But whether he acted out of sincerity or as a desperate response to the moral outcry at his comments is an open question. He must be judged by his future words and deeds.”
Israel’s public diplomacy minister, Yuli Edelstein, was among those who had condemned Stone’s remarks early on Monday.
“They are nauseating, anti-Semitic and racist,” the Jerusalem Post quoted Edelstein as saying. “Not only is he showing ignorance, he is demonizing Jews for no reason and returning to the ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion.’
“When a man of Stone’s stature speaks in this way, it can bring waves of anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiment, and may even damage Jewish communities and individuals.”
Stone recently completed a documentary on Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and is working on a documentary series about American history.