Watch the press conference for yourself. Were his words taken out of context or did he made a series of ill-conceived jokes? Amidst the sarcastic humor and careless arrogance, I personally found Lars Von Trier's anti-semitic comments to be serious, self-assured, and stunningly ignorant.
For those of you who haven't read about it or seen it yet, film director Lars Von Trier rambled at a press conference in Cannes, "I'm a Nazi," "I understand and sympathize with Hitler," [but I am] not against the Jews... as much as Israelis are a pain in the ass." Later, after pressure from the festival, he released a non-apology apology. One of those "If I've hurt someone, I'm sorry" statements.
As Von Trier was crapping his pants, he continued to look over at Kirsten Dunst, who squirmed uncomfortably while Herr Director stumbled on about his respect for the fuhrer, the demon that most people consider the most abhorrent, bloodthirsty fiend of the 20th century.
Look, I have nothing against Kirsten Dunst or the rest of his cast. They were all clearly disturbed by what they were hearing and were put in an obviously horrible and awkward position. That said, I have a thought for anyone else who finds themselves sitting at a dais or a dinner table with someone spouting the filth that came out of this man's mouth. Don't squirm, don't smile nervously, don't look at anyone else to help you. If you don't agree with him your only option is to protest. You do that with your mouth or your feet. Say something or stand up and walk out. Whatever you do, do something.
As for his nonsense apology, empty expressions of regret and forced contrition are not a salve on the wounds that people like this cause with their poison.
UPDATE: I did a cursory search and found out that this isn't the first time Von Trier has claimed to be a nazi. In an interview in 2005 he also said it. Was he joking then too? Here is the question and answer:
Q: You grew up with a Jewish father. On her deathbed your mother told you that, in fact, your real father was a descendant of the Danish composer J.P.E Hartmann. And that this was her way of securing a "creative genetic make-up" for her child.
A: Until that point I thought I had a Jewish background. But I'm really more of a Nazi. I believe that my biological father's German family went back two further generations. Before she died, my mother told me to be happy that I was the son of this other man. She said my foster father had had notgoals and no strength. But he was a loving man. And I was very sad about this revelation.