The legendary action star Arnold Schwarzenegger recently issued a high-spirited 12-minute address reacting to the rising tide of anti-semitism.
Arnold Schwarzenegger opens up on the matter
The actor took the unusual step of spending the bulk of his message addressing people who indulge in hate directly – similar to his viral message where he addressed the people of Russia following the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Despite all the things we might disagree about, my friends might say, ‘Arnold, don’t talk to those people, it’s not worth it,’” he says in the address distributed by ATTN. “I don’t care what they say. I care about you. I think you’re worth it. I know that nobody’s perfect. I understand how people can fall into the trap of prejudice and hate.”
Schwarzenegger begins his address by vividly describing a tour he took of Auschwitz, where approximately 1.1 million Jews were killed by the German SS during World War II. He references his father, who was a member of the Nazi party.
“They fell for a horrible, loser ideology,” Schwarzenegger said. “They were lied to and misled into a path that ended in misery … they bought into the idea that the only way to make their lives better was to make other lives worse …. It breaks you … it is the path of the weak … there has never been a successful movement based on hate.”
The actor then addressed the people who have embraced a hateful worldview, either due to their upbringing or due to being drawn into extremist online rabbit holes, and encouraged them to improve themselves and their own lives rather than blame others, while falling back on one of his favorite metaphors – struggling in the gym.
“It’s easier to hate than it is to learn, it’s easier when somebody challenges you to get hurt feelings and to go find some echo chamber that will tell you you’re right and they’re wrong,” he says. “No matter how far you’ve gone, you still have a chance to choose a life of strength … You have to fight the war against yourself … The other path is easier – you don’t have to change anything, everything in your life that you aren’t happy about can be somebody else’s fault … You will end up broken. I don’t want you to go through all that.”
According to a report by the Anti-Defamation League last year, the number of documented reports of harassment, vandalism and violence directed against Jews hit a modern record high (since at least 1979) in 2021, while 2022 was trending the same way. Also, a new survey from the American Jewish Committee found that 69 percent of American Jewish adults said they either witnessed or were targeted by antisemitism online, particularly on Twitter and Facebook.