Norman Lear is 100 years old, but the five-time Emmy winner still remembers the terrifying moment more than 90 years ago when he says he heard “the vicious, anti-Semitic voice of Father Coughlin raging against American Jews.”
Coughlin was a popular radio preacher in the early part of the 20th century who blamed “international bankers … the media … communists” for the country’s problems, all of which were coded references to ancient lies about Jewish cabals taking over the world . In the days after the 1938 government of violence in Germany known as KristallnachtCoughlin defended the Nazi regime.
Earlier this week, former President Donald Trump claimed on social media that American Jews need to “come together” to show appreciation for Israel “before it’s too late.” ADL President Jonathan Greenblatt told CNN that Trump’s warning sounded like a threat.
The former president went on to say that American Jews’ sense of gratitude should extend his path as well.
“No president has done more for Israel than I have,” Trump wrote on social media, likely referring in part to his decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem. “However, somewhat surprisingly, our wonderful evangelicals are far more appreciative of this than the people of the Jewish faith.”
Today, Lear wrote that Donald Trump’s “shocking words about American Jews” took him right back to that moment in the 30s with Father Coughlin.
“I’m nine years old again,” he wrote, before linking the moment to another defining period in his life – and the life of the country.
“I am convinced that that horrifying moment resulted in my early enlistment in World War II and the 52 combat missions over Nazi Germany that followed,” stated Lear, who made the connection between American anti-Semitism and the Nazi regime.