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.
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.