American Anti-Semite and Holocaust Denier Willis Carto Dies » ADL Blogs
October 30, 2015 3

American Anti-Semite and Holocaust Denier Willis Carto Dies

Willis Carto, one of the most vir­u­lent anti-Semitic pro­pa­gan­dists in the United States, died this week at age 89, accord­ing to Counter-Currents, an online white suprema­cist jour­nal. Carto had been active on the extreme right for over 60 years and was asso­ci­ated with var­i­ous move­ments from neo-Nazism to Holo­caust denial. He spread hatred against Jews through anti-Semitic conspiracy-oriented pub­li­ca­tions and by hold­ing con­fer­ences that fea­tured other well-known anti-Semites and Holo­caust deniers.

Willis Carto

Willis Carto

Carto estab­lished an intri­cate net­work of big­otry and was most well-known for two out­lets that had a last­ing impact on the extreme right. He founded the Lib­erty Lobby, based in Wash­ing­ton, DC, in the 1950s, which became an impor­tant source of anti-Semitic pro­pa­ganda. Lib­erty Lobby united var­i­ous right-wing con­stituen­cies, from hard-right lib­er­tar­i­ans to con­spir­a­to­r­ial anti­com­mu­nists to racists, by using pop­ulist rhetoric to inflame their anti-government and nativist fears, while incor­po­rat­ing implicit anti-Semitic notions in many of its publications.

Lib­erty Lobby pub­lished The Spot­light, a weekly news­pa­per which pro­moted anti-Semitic con­spir­acy the­o­ries. The Spot­light became the pre­miere pub­li­ca­tion of the extreme right from its incep­tion in 1975 until it ceased pub­li­ca­tion in 2001.

In 1979, Carto took the lead in a grow­ing area of anti-Semitism when he founded the Insti­tute for His­tor­i­cal Review (IHR), to cre­ate and mar­ket Holocaust-denial pro­pa­ganda. Based in Cal­i­for­nia, IHR oper­ated under a guise of schol­ar­ship and pub­lished “revi­sion­ist” stud­ies laced with anti-Semitic themes in the Jour­nal of His­tor­i­cal Review. It soon became the lead­ing Holo­caust denial orga­ni­za­tion in the U.S.

In the 1990s, Carto lost con­trol of IHR in a legal dis­pute but went on to found another Holo­caust denial pub­li­ca­tion, The Barnes Review, which is still in cir­cu­la­tion. Carto filed for bank­ruptcy fol­low­ing his legal prob­lems with IHR, which led to the end of Lib­erty Lobby and The Spot­light in 2001. How­ever, Carto and the for­mer staff of The Spot­light went on to found a new weekly pub­li­ca­tion, Amer­i­can Free Press, which con­tin­ued Carto’s run of anti-Semitic propaganda.

Amer­i­can Free Press and  The Barnes Review, attract the most vit­ri­olic anti-Semites. While it is unclear what will hap­pen to Carto’s anti-Semitic pro­pa­ganda empire, his death may dis­rupt or shut down the publications.