You are here

Henry Ford's War on Jews and the Legal Battle Against Hate Speech: In Conversation with author Vicky Saker Woeste

Event Date: 
Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Henry Ford's War on Jews and the Legal Battle Against Hate Speech: In Conversation with author Vicky Saker Woeste

Abstract: Henry Ford's War on Jews and the Legal Battle Against Hate Speech reveals the story of the now largely forgotten 1927 libel lawsuit against Henry Ford, a trial that provided American courts with the first opportunity to consider the legal implications of hate speech. American Bar Foundation Research Professor Victoria Saker Woeste chronicles the dramatic trial that pitted California lawyer Aaron Sapiro, who grew up as an orphan, against one of the most powerful and richest men in America. Sapiro sued Ford when Ford’s newspaper, the Dearborn Independent, alleged that Sapiro and others conspired to control American agriculture for the benefit of international Jewish speculators. The surprising and bizarre outcome of the trial left Sapiro with a shallow moral victory and enabled Ford to evade responsibility for his newspaper; as a result, Ford’s antisemitic tract, The International Jew, remains a staple of antisemitic publishers and websites.