Jews were terrorists before the State of Israel was founded, American filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola told Variety magazine in an interview published last week. But it was not clear that he was speaking critically.
In his role as jury president of the 15th Marrakech International Film Festival, Coppola, addressing the subject of fundamentalism, also said: “We were terrorists, in the United States.
“Terrorism is when you don’t have an army,” said the director, whose ancestors were Italian immigrants.
“You use anything else you have. We were terrorists, in the United States. The Jews before Israel were terrorists. What we sometimes call terrorism is the last resort of people who don’t have jet planes, so that they use what they have.”
Coppola, behind film classics such as The Godfather and Apocalypse Now, told Variety that one can only understand the modern world by researching the underlying roots of current events.
Saying he wished that CNN would “shut up,” he criticized the media for what he said was its failure to understand complex phenomena such as radical Islam, with the result that the West had failed to grasp the roots of the problem.
“I know a lot about the Middle East and I know a lot about Islam and it seems to me what we have are fundamentalists who are taking the wrong parts of their religion. I don’t even know where to find what they’re taking from it,” he said.
He said a project of his utopia, Megalopis, was abandoned in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks. “All of a sudden the city was in flames — so I didn’t know how to write my way out of that one.”
Coppola said he recently read Killing a King: The Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin and the Remaking of Israel, a new book by journalist Dan Ephron. He didn’t elaborate.
On filmmaking, Coppola said the industry has stagnated and is caught between cliché-ridden blockbusters and small indie films, with nothing in the middle. He said that today’s filmmakers face tremendous constraints and that their main concern is getting their next job. “Even Spielberg, at the top of the industry, has to wheel and deal.”
He added that film and television were merging and that the new works of cinematic art would range from a few seconds to hundreds of hours, rather than the traditional 90-minute format.