'I'm worried about our country': How NFL owner Robert Kraft targets hate with Super Bowl ad

Robert Kraft looks at America, the nation he loves, and is scared about what he sees.

"I don't recognize parts of this nation," he said in an interview with USA TODAY Sports. "I don't like where we're headed. I'm worried about our country right now."

Kraft has always been more than the owner of the Patriots. He's a proud Jew who has dedicated large swaths of his life to fighting antisemitism and fostering racial togetherness, particularly between Blacks and Jews. Kraft, like many others, has watched the steady increase of anti-Jew hate and believes the country is at a perilous moment in its history.

"I saw men dressed up as Nazis in Charlottesville yelling, 'Jews will not replace us,'" Kraft said. "There was the Tree of Life massacre. None of this should be happening in the United States of America."

"We're the greatest country in the world but it's starting to look like Germany in the 1930s to me," he said. When Kraft was read back that quote and asked exactly what he meant, Kraft didn't skip a beat: "And I want to prevent us from getting to the 1940s."

One way Kraft wants to help prevent the spread of Jewish hate, he says, was the purchase of a 30-second advertisement that will play during the Super Bowl. It's the first-ever ad that Kraft's Foundation to Combat Antisemitism has run in the big game. It's also a continuation of the foundation's Stand Up to Jewish Hate campaign. It launched last year with a Blue Square symbol of unity for non-Jews to show their support for the Jewish community.

A trailer for the advertisement can be seen here:

The main theme of the ad: all hate thrives on silence and no one can be a bystander. The people who will change the country for the better will do so by speaking out.

The ad features Dr. Clarence B. Jones. In 1963, Jones helped Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. compose the historic “I Have a Dream” speech. It's not a coincidence that Kraft is partnering with Jones as Kraft has long pushed unity between Blacks and Jews.

"I'm worried about what's going on with younger Americans, especially with Black and Jewish Americans," he said. "I feel like we need to repair that relationship."

One reason for that strain may be the war in Gaza. Marc Morial, the president of the National Urban League, told the New York Times that a longstanding alliance between Blacks and Jews that can be traced back to the Civil Rights movement is "being tested" now because of the war.

Kraft wants to use the ad to also make sure Americans understand just how virulent antisemitism is right now. He wants to do this particularly with younger people.

His warnings are stark and also necessary. Every credible metric that gauges hate shows antisemitism rising stratospherically. In fact, FBI Director Christopher Wray said antisemitism was reaching "in some way, sort of historic levels."

Kraft warns that unless there's unified pushback, the hatred won't stop with the Jews. He again gave an historical comparison.

"In Germany, it all started with the Jews," Kraft said. "Then (the Nazis) went after everyone. What I would say to some Americans is, 'You're next.' Jews, Blacks, Asians, the LGBTQ+ community. It won't stop with the Jews. You're next unless we all stand together."

When talking to Kraft, who I've known for decades, and have interviewed numerous times, there is a sense of urgency in his voice that I've never heard before. Kraft believes that the country, when it comes to anti-Jewish hate, is at perhaps its worst point in decades. He's right.

Kraft also believes that beating back all of that hate will require a unified effort from all Americans. He's right about that, too.

"I want to combat Jewish hate but also all hate," he said. "The way to do that is that we all fight it together."

"Why am I doing the Super Bowl ad?" he said. "The majority of people in America, who are good people, I think they believe there's nothing they can do. But there is. What we need is non-Jewish people to stand up to this hate."

Kraft added: "I believe most humans are good people. I really believe that empathy is part of us. You learn hate over time."

You can also learn to fight it and Kraft is doing just that.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Robert Kraft's Super Bowl ad takes direct aim at hate in America