Forty years after she denounced “Zionist hoodlums” while accepting an Academy Award, actress Vanessa Redgrave said she has no regrets. “I had to do my bit,” she told The Hollywood Reporter in an interview published on Tuesday. “Everybody had to do their bit, to try and change things for the better. To advocate for what’s right and not be dismayed if immediately you don’t see results.”Redgrave – who is set to receive a lifetime achievement award at the Venice Film Festival on Thursday – was reflecting on the speech she gave in 1978, after receiving the best supporting actress prize from John Travolta. The actress won for her role in Julia, the 1977 film about the fight against fascism and Nazism in 1930s Austria. But the very same year, Redgrave also produced and appeared in a documentary film called The Palestinian. Critics called the movie anti-Israel propaganda and said it was produced in conjunction with the PLO; Redgrave interviews Arafat in the film. The movie and Redgrave were relentlessly criticized by many Jewish groups, including the extremist Jewish Defense League, who protested outside the awards ceremony. “In the last few weeks you have stood firm,” Redgrave told the audience during her 1978 acceptance speech, “and you have refused to be intimidated by the threat of a small bunch of Zionist hoodlums, whose behavior is an insult to the stature of Jews all over the world, and to their great and heroic record of struggle against fascism and oppression.” After using the phrase “Zionist hoodlums,” an audible gasp and a series of boos can be heard in the crowd at the awards ceremony. According to an April 1978 Jewish Telegraphic Agency report, “several hundred JDL members picketed the Los Angeles Music Center where the awards ceremony was going on. They were kept separate from a small number of PLO supporters. According to a report, the only case of violence occurred when three JDL members jumped three men wearing Nazi uniforms. Two of the Nazis were reportedly taken to the hospital, and two of the JDL members arrested.”While The Hollywood Reporter’s article this week said Redgrave’s “comments were directed at extremists in the Jewish Defense League, who had not only burned her in effigy but had offered a bounty to have her killed. There was even a firebombing at one of the cinemas showing the documentary” – those events occurred well after her Oscar’s speech took place. A theater in Los Angeles was bombed at 4 a.m. the day it was scheduled to screen The Palestinian in June 1978; nobody was injured. In 1980, a group of JDL supporters burned Redgrave in effigy outside a Philadelphia CBS station, after the actress was cast as a French Holocaust survivor in the film Playing for Time. In the years after her Oscar’s speech, Redgrave called for the boycott of the State of Israel, said the country should be dismantled, and expressed support for the PLO. In her interview this week, the British actress said simply: “I didn’t realize pledging to fight antisemitism and fascism was controversial. I’m learning that it is.”Redgrave, 81, is being honored by the Venice Film Festival for her lengthy and colorful career, “a boundless and highly sophisticated generosity, and a healthy dose of the courage and fighting spirit which are a hallmark of her compassionate, artistic nature,” according to the festival.