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Arnold Schwarzenegger has pointed message for antisemites: ‘You remove your own power’

A man in sunglasses and a black blazer.
Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
(Tomas Ovalle)
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Arnold Schwarzenegger has issued a powerful, 12-minute address urging antisemites to abandon their hateful ideologies and “choose strength.”

On Monday, the former action movie star and former governor of California shared the impassioned speech via Facebook in a video produced by ATTN, a Los Angeles-based “issues-driven” media company.

“I don’t care how many hateful things you may have written online. I don’t care how often you’ve marched carrying that hateful flag or what hateful things you may have said in anger. There is still hope for you,” he said in the video.

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Schwarzenegger, who was California’s most recent Republican governor, began his address by describing the horrors he encountered when touring the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. He also referenced his father, who was a member of the Nazi party, and his upbringing in Austria post-World War II.

“When you walk through a place like Auschwitz, you feel a tremendous weight,” he said. “There are reminders everywhere of the horrors that happened there: The suitcases never claimed by the prisoners . . . The logbooks with thousands of names crossed out, as if a cruel accountant only measured death. The gas chambers with scratches in the walls from the fingernails of people who tried to hold onto life. The crematorium where the Nazis tried to erase all of their atrocities.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger likened the U.S. Capitol siege to Nazi attacks in Europe in a video in which he called President Trump “the worst president ever.”

Jan. 10, 2021

Schwarzenegger said his remarks weren’t aimed at people who have been the target of antisemitism, but rather, he wanted to address people who are fueled by hate, the ones perpetrating the antisemitism.

“I want to talk to you if you’ve heard some conspiracy theories about Jewish people, or people of any race or gender or orientation, and thought, ‘That makes sense to me.’ I want to talk to you if you’ve found yourself thinking about anyone as inferior and out to get you because of their religion or the color of their skin, or their gender,” he added.

“I don’t know the road that has brought you here, but I’ve seen enough people throw away their futures for hateful beliefs, so I want to speak to you before you find your regrets at the end of that path.”

The “Terminator” star discussed growing up surrounded by the men who lost the Second World War. He described the way “their bodies were riddled with injuries and shrapnel” . . . and that “their hearts and their minds were equally riddled with guilt.” He said he witnessed the men drinking to numb their pain and the way they felt like losers who not only lost the war, but had fallen for “a horrible, loser ideology.”

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Two men yelling and holding tiki torches.
Teddy Von Nukem, left, and Peter Cvjetanovic attend a far-right rally in 2017.
(Anadolu Agency / Getty Images)

At one point in Schwarzenegger’s address, the infamous photo of Charlottesville, Va., protesters Teddy Von Nukem and Peter Cvjetanovic was shown. The men became two of the most prominent faces of the 2017 far-right rally. Earlier this year, on the day he was due in court for a drug-trafficking charge, Von Nukem died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at his home in Missouri.

“Throughout history, hate has always been the easy path, the path of least resistance. . . It’s easier to find a scapegoat for a problem than to try to make things better ourselves...,” Schwarzenegger said. “You will not find success on the end of that road... there has never been a successful movement based on hate.”

“I can understand how people can fall into the trap of prejudice and hate. Whether you grew up surrounded by hate or get sucked in by some of Big Tech’s algorithms that push you to the extreme.”

Kanye West recently shared an antisemitic Instagram post claiming that Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs was controlled by Jewish people.

Oct. 10, 2022

“When you spend your life looking for scapegoats, you take away your own responsibility, you remove your own power, you steal your own strength.”

According to the Anti-Defamation League, in 2021 there was a 34% increase in antisemitic incidents than the year before. That was the highest number on record since the Anti-Defamation League began tracking antisemitic incidents in 1979.

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There has also been a staggering increase in antisemitism on Twitter according to combatantisemitism.org, which said that Kanye “Ye” West’s antisemitic comments triggered an increase of 136% in toxic comments, threats and identity attacks toward Jewish people on the social platform.

Jaime Tran has a history of making antisemitic statements and is suspected of shooting two Jewish men in recent days, a criminal complaint said.

Feb. 17, 2023

Late last year, related to West’s tirade against Jewish people, a well-known hate group flocked to a busy 405 freeway overpass in Los Angeles. Demonstrators gave Nazi salutes and displayed a banner that read “Kanye is right about the Jews.”

In the following weeks, L.A. residents found fliers at their homes and on their cars, advertising conspiracy theories about Jewish people.

And last month, Jaime Tran, 28, was charged with federal hate crimes after he shot two Jewish men as they left religious services in Los Angeles. After his arrest, Tran admitted to police that he had searched for a kosher market on Yelp prior to the attacks and knew the men were Jewish because of their “head gear.”

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