Spielberg: 'Fundamentalists' in Jewish Community Angry With Me

Says his film on 1972 Munich Olympics 'never once attacks Israel,' barely criticizes assassination policy.

Director Steven Spielberg, whose film 'Munich' about the killing of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics has provoked controversy, said in remarks published Monday that the picture "never once attacks Israel" and that "so many fundamentalists" in the Jewish community are angry with him for his portrayal of the Palestinians.

"Munich" has been a target for criticism from both left and right for raising questions over Israel's assassinationn policy and the moral price Israel may have paid for targeting the Palestinian guerrillas who killed Israeli athletes.

In a roundtable discussion with editors of Newsweek magazine along with other nominees for the Directors Guild award, Spielberg said:

"So many fundamentalists in my own community, the Jewish community, have grown very angry at me for allowing the Palestinians simply to have dialogue and for allowing Tony Kushner to be the author of that dialogue."

According to Spielberg, "'Munich' never once attacks Israel, and barely criticizes Israel's policy of counterviolence against violence. It simply asks a plethora of questions. It's the most questioning story I've ever had the honor to tell. For that, we were accused of the sin of moral equivocation. Which, of course, we didn't intend - and we're not guilty of.

Spielberg said he knew the film was going to "receive a volley from the right," but he was surprised "that we received a much smaller, but no less painful, volley from the left. It made me feel a little more aware of the dogma, and the Luddite position people take any time the Middle East is up for discussion."

The noted director said moviemakers have become much more politically vocal since the re-election of President George W. Bush.

"Maybe I shouldn't get into this ... I just feel that filmmakers are much more proactive since the second Bush administration."

In remarks released by the magazine on Sunday, he said, "I think that everybody is trying to declare their independence and state their case for the things that we believe in. No oneis really representing us, so we're now representing our own feelings, and we're trying to strike back."