Whoopi Goldberg and the Jewish Moral Dilemma
Like a virus, antisemitism survives by reproducing into different strains, and each new strain can be more deadly than the last.
In a talk once about the mutation of antisemitism, the late Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks said, “Each time as persecution descended into barbarity, the persecutors reached for the highest form of justification available. … In the 19th and 20th centuries Jews were reviled because of … the scientific study of race. Today, Jews are attacked because of their nation state, Israel.”
And now, antisemitism has mutated yet again — promoting the notion that Jews are not a separate and unique people, but have morphed, as it were, into the world’s “white” population.
If you simply declare that Jews are a non-race, you don’t need to go to all the trouble of scientifically proving they are an inferior one.
Erasing Jewish race and identity conveniently removes the Holocaust as a way for Jews to justify the right of self-determination in a Jewish state. How can Jews declare, “Never Again,” if the Nazi’s didn’t target them because of their race? And by erasing Jewish race and identity, Jews can be defined as white European imperialists occupying land in the Middle East that belongs to others.
By declaring that Israeli Jews are unwelcome white colonial settlers, the false accusation of “apartheid” can be leveled against Jews the world over. Also, by erasing Jewish race and identity, antisemitism ceases to exist. How can one despise a non-race? By magically making Jews white imperialists, Jewish students on American college campuses can be maligned as racist white bigots. This new mutation of antisemitism raises the justification for the scapegoating of Jews to a new level and era — and a violent one, I fear.
The talking points for this new mutation of antisemitism were propagated by Whoopi Goldberg on ABC’s daytime talk show, “The View.” In a panel discussion about the Holocaust, Goldberg proclaimed, “Let’s be truthful. The Holocaust isn’t about race. No. It’s not about race. It’s not about race. It’s not about race. These are two white groups of people.” I’m curious why Whoopi Goldberg passionately repeated herself four times? Could it be the age-long historical facts surrounding the persecution of the Jewish race does not conveniently fit into her narrow, race-based vision of the world, so she is reduced to endlessly repeating slogans that support her ideology?
Later on, Goldberg appeared on Stephen Colbert’s late night show, and doubled down on her opinion: “You can’t call this [the Holocaust] racism.” Colbert then asked Goldberg if she understood that the Nazis saw the Jews as a race. And here is where Goldberg pushed the same woke mantra from her morning show: “You see, this is what’s interesting to me because the Nazis lied. They had issues with ethnicity not with race. Most of the Nazis were white people and they were attacking other white people. … This wasn’t racial. This was about white on white.”
Curiously, using the phrase “white on white” to describe the Nazi genocide of Jews is a commonly repeated slogan to delegitimize Jews these days. By my count, during both shows, Goldberg repeated through inference or direct statement, “The Holocaust was not about race” 12 times, “Jews are white people” 5 times, and the Holocaust was “white on white” 4 times. So, either Whoopi Goldberg believes the woke ideology that Jews are not a race but are instead white — and perhaps white colonialists oppressing other people — or she fears being steamrolled by a culture given over to hysteria where feelings overrule facts. Either way, Whoopi Goldberg is compromised.
This new mutation of antisemitism declaring that Jews are white supremacists poses a moral dilemma for Jews. Why? Because fear of being maligned can cause one to compromise and hide from their identity. The beloved Lord Sacks once addressed this dilemma: “I am not a Jew because of antisemitism or anti-Zionism. What happens to me does not define who I am. Ours is a people of faith not fate. It’s not so much of what we are, but what we are called on to be. I am a Jew because being a child of my people, I have heard the call and the dreams and hopes of my ancestors live on in me. I am a Jew because our ancestors were the first to see the world is driven by a moral purpose and I am a guardian of their trust now and in the future.” This is not a time for Jews to hide from their identity, but to celebrate and appreciate it, and in some cases, return to it.
The author is the president of Israel Team Advocates.