Whoopi Goldberg Doubles Down on Antisemitic Comments, Insists Holocaust ‘Wasn’t Originally’ About Race

Despite being chastised and corrected this year, The View host felt emboldened to repeat her offensive comments about Jews...in the middle of Hanukkah.

Whoopi Goldberg Doubles Down on Antisemitic Comments, Insists Holocaust ‘Wasn’t Originally’ About Race
Photo:Paul R. Giunta/Getty Images (Getty Images)

The holidays are supposed to be a nauseatingly cheerful time of year, but the Jews couldn’t make it through eight celebratory days of Hanukkah without being interrupted by antisemitic hate. My people, in fact, enjoyed just five full days of candle-lighting and prayer-reciting before that streak was brought to a halt by repeat antisemitic offender Whoopi Goldberg.

On Saturday, the sixth day of Hanukkah, UK paper The Sunday Times published an interview with Goldberg, the host of ABC’s The View, in which she doubled down on her insistence that the Holocaust “wasn’t originally” about race. (The Holocaust was entirely about the construct of race: The Nazis codified their persecution of Jews into the Nuremberg laws, which legally classified Jewish people as a separate and lesser race than Adolf Hitler’s preferred white, Aryan race.) By Tuesday, the head of the Anti-Defamation League, Jonathan Greenblatt, had called out the comedian for her “offensive” and “ignorant” comments, according to The Hill.

The Times interview marks the second time this year that Goldberg, 67, has used her platform to spread antisemitic sentiment. In January, on an episode of The View, Goldberg and her co-hosts were discussing a Tennessee school board’s banning of Maus, a Pulitzer-winning graphic novel about Nazi concentration camps, where more than six million Jews were systematically murdered during WWII. During this conversation, Goldberg insisted that the Holocaust was “not about race.” “This is white people doing it to white people,” she said at the time. “Y’all go fight amongst yourselves.” A few hours later, Goldberg tweeted an apology, conceding that the Nazis had considered the Jews “to be an inferior race.” (Her Twitter account is currently deactivated.)

In response to Goldberg’s comments, ABC News quickly suspended its host for two weeks, and president Kim Godwin condemned the comments as “wrong and hurtful.” Just 10 months later, despite repercussions for her first round of jabs at Jews, Goldberg felt emboldened to resurface those same problematic views without any evidence of growth or accountability. This time around, responding to a comment from the Times reporter that Nazis did actually see Jews as a separate race, Goldberg responded, “Yes, but that’s the killer, isn’t it?…The oppressor is telling you what you are. Why are you believing them? They’re Nazis. Why believe what they’re saying?”

“It wasn’t originally [about race],” Goldberg went on. “Remember who they were killing first. They were not killing racial; they were killing physical. They were killing people they considered to be mentally defective. And then they made this decision.”

After the reporter reminded Goldberg that “the Nazis measured the heads and noses of Jews to ‘prove’ they were a distinct race,” Goldberg stood firm: “They did that to Black people too. But it doesn’t change the fact that you could not tell a Jew on a street. You could find me. You couldn’t find them. That was the point I was making. But you would have thought that I’d taken a big old stinky dump on the table, butt naked.”

Setting aside the “big old stinky dump” remark, it’s important to understand that while Goldberg herself is part of intersecting oppressed minority groups as a Black woman in America, her assertion that the Holocaust wasn’t about race echoes the same messaging employed by white supremacists and neo-Nazis today.

“Germans considered themselves the ‘master race’ and claimed all other non-Aryans were inferior. This is a trope we still hear echoed by white supremacists in the U.S. today,” the ADL’s Greenblatt continued in his statement responding to Goldberg’s latest comments. “In a moment when antisemitic incidents have surged across the US, [Goldberg] should realize that making such ignorant statements can have real consequences.”

Those very real consequences have been here for years, but have only recently grown louder and more ruthless, spreading from the dark corners of 4chan and incel-fueled chat rooms onto California highway overpasses and ABC’s morning programming. In 2017, hordes of neo-Nazis in Charlottesville took to the streets chanting, “Jews will not replace us.” The deadliest antisemitic attack in US history took place in 2018 when a mass shooter murdered 11 people at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. The Anti-Defamation League says that antisemitism has peaked at historic levels in the United States in recent years, and attacks on Jewish institutions—including a Chabad, a kosher market, the homes of Rabbis, and synagogues—increased by 61% from 2020 to 2021, according to ADL’s 2021 Audit of Antisemitic Incidents.

The fact that Goldberg felt she had the authority to suddenly revisit her take on the Holocaust does not exist in a vacuum. Donald Trump and a growing legion of alt-right apologist Republicans began reintroducing coded antisemitism into politics long before the 2016 election, with some even going so far as to recently publicly evoke Hitler himself. With the implosion of Kanye West came the collision of pop culture, politics, and white supremacy, and along with it, the mainstreaming of antisemitic hate and white nationalist conspiracy theories inflating Jewish power (The Jews own Hollywood! The Jews control the banks!).

The more repetitious and over-generalized these views become, the more blurred the mass genocide of the Jews becomes. “This is how you get anti-vaxxers pinning yellow stars on themselves to suggest that they are oppressed by vaccine mandates,” an NBC culture critic wrote. To gloss over the Holocaust and the racial purity messaging that caused it is, essentially, to erase all of our suffering.

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