In light of the Alice Walker news (in which she recommended an extremely anti-Semitic book in the New York Times), we thought it was time to talk about the other prominent public figures from history and today who we’ve always known to be anti-Semites, but the general public may not. Because yes, Jews tend to keep track of these things better than everyone else.
This is maybe the most depressing listicle we’ve ever run on Alma. And there are so many we’ve left out. Obviously. Lots of anti-Semites out there. But here’s a start:
1. Roald Dahl
The beloved children’s author of Matilda and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was actually an awful anti-Semite. His first wife called him “Roald the Rotten,” and we kinda agree with this nickname. In 1983, he said Hitler was justified in the Holocaust.
“There is a trait in the Jewish character that does provoke animosity. I mean, there’s always a reason why anti-anything crops up anywhere; even a stinker like Hitler didn’t just pick on them for no reason.” Thanks, Roald Dahl.
2. Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel
The famous french designer Coco Chanel was not only an anti-Semite, but a Nazi spy! Cool cool.
As a 2011 New York Times article wrote, “Gabrielle Chanel — better known as Coco — was a wretched human being. Anti-Semitic, homophobic, social climbing, opportunistic, ridiculously snobbish and given to sins of phrase-making like ‘If blonde, use blue perfume,’ she was addicted to morphine and actively collaborated with the Germans during the Nazi occupation of Paris.” Tres chic!
3. Martin Luther (of the 95 Theses)
You may have studied Martin Luther in high school — you know, the dude who pinned 95 theses to the door of a church and started the Reformation and broke away from the Catholic church. What you may not have learned is that Martin Luther was an anti-Semite! Surprise!
He wrote 60,000 words on his hatred for the Jews in a treatise called On Jews and Their Lies, where he argued that Jews were the “devil’s people.” He also advocated for the burning of synagogues, the destruction of Jewish prayerbooks, the censorship of rabbis, and so, so much more. His writings were used by German clergy during the Nazi era to justify the Nazis’ anti-Semitic policies.
4. Ezra Pound
Ezra Pound, the famed poet, was also an anti-Semite. During World War II, he broadcast radio programs on behalf of the Italian government against the Jews. In one broadcast, from March 1942, Pound said, “You let in the Jew and the Jew rotted your empire, and you yourselves out-jewed the Jew. Your allies in your victimized holdings are the bunyah, you stand for NOTHING but usury.”
These broadcasts eventually led to his arrest for treason, for which he, obviously, blamed the Jews.
5. T. S. Eliot
The famous American writer and poet (you probably read The Waste Land, which is “widely regarded as one of the most important poems of the 20th century) was… (can you guess)… an anti-Semite!
In 1934, he wrote, “The population should be homogeneous; where two or more cultures exist in the same place they are likely either to be fiercely self-conscious or both to become adulterate. What is still more important is unity of religious background, and reasons of race and religion combine to make any large number of free-thinking Jews undesirable.”
6. Henry Ford
Is this one obvious? Is Henry Ford *THE* American Anti-Semite? Maybe. But if you don’t know, now you know. Henry Ford is largely responsible for spreading the anti-Semitic text The Protocols of the Elders of Zion in America, and in 1931, Hitler said Ford was his “inspiration.”
As the article “Power, Ignorance, and Anti-Semitism: Henry Ford and His War on Jews” lays out: “The articles in Ford’s newspaper blamed the Jews for everything from the Bolshevik Revolution and the First World War to bootlegged liquor and cheap movies. They also accused the Jews of conspiring to enslave Christianity and destroy the ‘Anglo-Saxon’ way of life. The articles were later gathered into book form and published under the title: The International Jew: The World’s Foremost Problem. This book was translated into 16 languages, and was to have a profound influence upon the growing Nazi movement in Germany.”
Just google Henry Ford anti-Semitism. There’s plenty.
7. Mel Gibson
This one might also be a bit more well-known, but it’d be a shame not to include him on our list. The actor went on an anti-Semitic rant after being arrested in Malibu for a DUI in 2006. While being arrested, he shouted ,”F*****g Jews… the Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world. Are you a Jew?” Gibson blamed this on Israel’s 2006 war with Lebanon, which, no?!
He’s also pleaded guilty to beating his girlfriend and informing her in 2010 that she deserved to be “raped by a pack of n*****.”
A terrible person all around!!!
8. John Galliano
The British fashion designer — he led Givenchy, Dior, and currently is head of creative at Masion Margiela — is no stranger to anti-Semitism.
In February 2011, he was arrested at a Paris bar for an anti-Semitic speech, where he insulted a group of women (taking them for Jews): “I love Hitler… People like you would be dead. Your mothers, your forefathers would all be fucking gassed.”
Due to France’s hate speech laws (go France!), Galliano was found guilty in September 2011.
9. The Royal Family (but not Meghan Markle)
We know there are a ton of Jewish conspiracies surrounding the royal family (hey, we wrote about them!), but many of the royal family members themselves are also anti-Semites. Bloody cool.
Let’s just talk about the modern royals — or else we would be here all day. Edward VIII, who abdicated to marry the American divorcé Wallis Simpson, was friendly to Hitler.
Also, we have to mention it: Prince Harry dressed as a Nazi in 2005 for a costume party. Not really “hatred of the Jews,” more just stupid.
However, there are many notable friends to the Jews in the Royal Fam, like Prince Philip’s mom, who risked her life to save Jews during the Holocaust. Also Meghan Markle. We love Meghan Markle. Can we write about Meghan Markle instead of anti-Semites!?
10. Walt Disney (maybe)
This might have been disproven, kinda, not really clear, but Walt Disney — yes, the Walt Disney — has had quite a number of anti-Semitic theories swirling around him. One biographer, Neal Gabler, wrote, “Though Walt himself, in my estimation, was not anti-Semitic, nevertheless, he willingly allied himself with people who were anti-Semitic, and that reputation stuck. He was never really able to expunge it throughout his life.”
The more you know!