Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Wednesday spoke out against antisemitism and hate, pointing to his family history in the hope it would stand as an example for others.
“My father was, and so many other millions of men were, sucked into a hate system through lies and deceit. And so, we have seen where that leads,” Schwarzenegger told CNN’s Dana Bash in an exclusive interview, after earlier telling her at a forum at the University of Southern California that he had been “born with a father that was a Nazi.”
“I’ve seen it firsthand how broken this man’s – this man were,” he continued. “The kinds of atrocities that happened. How many millions of people had to die and then they ended up losers … in the Confederacy, losers, as they all have, this just doesn’t work. I mean, let’s just go and get along. And love is more powerful than hate.”
The actor, who was born in Austria in 1947 and moved to the US in 1968, has been outspoken about his father Gustav Schwarzenegger’s involvement with the Nazi party during WWII. In a video message released in March, he referenced his father as he called out hate speech and urged those on “the easy path of hate” to “choose a life of strength” and “fight the war against yourself.”
Schwarzenegger’s comments come amid increased levels of antisemitism and a rise in hate crimes across the US. A report released by the Anti-Defamation League last month found that antisemitic incidents in the US at their highest level since the organization began recording them in 1979. Data released by the FBI in March shows that the number of hate crimes reported in the US also increased in 2021.
Schwarzenegger told Bash at the forum that he did not know the reason behind the rise in hate and antisemitic violence, but said: “I think we have to figure out a way of toning it down.