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Whoopi Goldberg has apologized and been suspended for all of two weeks for expressing views on “The View” that were racist and wrong. Lucky for her that her targets were Jews. Otherwise, she would be banned from television for life, silenced, canceled and forever frozen out.
Even the slightest taint of racism these days is a career-ender, just like that, sometimes very unfairly.
“Sorry” doesn’t matter.
I’m not arguing that Whoopi Goldberg should be canceled, although she certainly deserves it more than many who have been.
I just wish ignorance and hate directed at Jews was treated as seriously as ignorance and hatred directed at others.
It was not, to quote Goldberg’s ignorant rant about the Holocaust, just “two white groups of people. … This is white people doing it to white people, so y’all going to fight amongst yourselves.”
No, it wasn’t. It was about white supremacy, about race and Jewish blood. It didn’t matter, Goldberg should know, whether you practiced the Jewish religion or not. If you had Jewish blood, you died. Simple as that. How could she not know? Whoopi Goldberg is not a stupid woman.
Whether you chalk up Goldberg’s comments to ignorance or antisemitism almost doesn’t matter. She is not the only one. Every index of antisemitism is on the rise. It was only a few weeks ago that a synagogue in Texas was held hostage in an antisemitic incident. And don’t tell me it doesn’t count if it’s about Israel. The fact that of all the countries in the world, the left singles out Israel for special criticism is not a coincidence. It is also antisemitism, all dressed up.
It is particularly troubling to see such ignorance/hatred flourish on college and university campuses, where “Zionist” — believing that there should be one nation on the planet where Jews will always be welcome and free — has become a dirty word, a disqualifying description, a shorthand for persecution.
How many times must we say this? I don’t agree with everything Israel does, nor do I agree with everything my own country does. Democracy works that way. More: Of course I wish that Israel could secure its survival without the need to constantly be on war footing. But I don’t pretend to have an answer, except that of all the countries in the world, what makes Israel stand out is not its oppression but its religion.
Why are so many Jewish college students — not to mention their professors — unwilling to stand up to the haters in our midst?
The generation of survivors, of witnesses to the Holocaust, is dying. It is all the more important for those of us who they raised and educated and to whom they told their stories to keep that history alive.
I served as a presidential appointee to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, which built and maintains the museum in Washington, as well as sponsoring exhibitions and programs around the world. One of the continuing debates was over how much of our work should focus on the keeping the memory of our Holocaust, the Shoah, alive, and how much should focus on stopping modern-day genocide. The answer, of course, was we needed to do both if we were to do either well. In my day, we had enough survivors on our board to ensure that the memories were with us always. Today, it is not so easy.
Adolf Hitler showed us that racial hatred is not limited to any one group or one skin color. In modern days, we have seen the way race can be twisted and used as a weapon to divide us. Surely Whoopi Goldberg, a Black woman who adopted a “Jewish name” and even identity, should know this. And if she doesn’t — and she clearly did not, at least insofar as it applied to the Holocaust — she is surely not alone.
I remember watching Oliver Stone’s “JFK,” with its invented conspiracy that I am sure some contemporary viewers today would take as truth, and wondering whether someday, someone would make a movie with an invented conspiracy instead of the Holocaust. And would people believe it? Would it be treated as a debate with two sides, when really, there is only one? I have no doubt Goldberg has learned her lesson, and “The View” will reflect that. It’s everyone else’s views that worry me.