Schindler's List in Malaysia: Anti-Semitism or National Politics? | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 9, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1059-440X
  • E-ISSN: 2049-6710


When Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List was banned in Malaysia in 1994, most Westerners probably saw the act as a simple case of anti-Semitism by the Islamic government of a relatively obscure Third World nation. Although anti-Semitism certainly was a factor, the case was hardly simple.

This incident was complicated in several ways. It was, primarily, the inevitable result of a clash of cultures. One of these, that of the United States, is Western, liberal, economically developed and has an essentially Judaic-Christian tradition. The other is Asian, conservative, a developing Third World economy, essentially Islamic, and has a tradition of government and sense of community that differs from those of the West. Other factors include the realities of national and regional politics, changing alliances among nations and ideological groups, and, finally, the universal factors of simple human pride and emotion.


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