On Monday afternoon, Whoopi Goldberg said something so unfathomably stupid about Jews and the Holocaust, it makes the mind reel.
In a discussion on the ABC show The View about a Tennessee school district’s recent decision to remove from its curriculum the graphic novel Maus, which is about the Holocaust, Goldberg said that the Nazis’ murder of six million Jews was “not about race.”
According to the Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony (EGOT)-winning comedian and actress, “These are two white groups of people. This is white people doing it to white people, so y’all going to fight amongst yourselves.”
There is some rather stupefying irony in the fact that Goldberg and her fellow co-hosts were discussing Maus because this is the epigraph of the book: “‘The Jews are undoubtedly a race, but they are not human’ – Adolf Hitler.”
Jews will argue amongst themselves about whether they are a race, but to antisemites there isn’t much question.
In the wake of her comments and a disastrous follow-up interview on Stephen Colbert’s show in which Goldberg focused on how the controversy had damaged her, there are the predictable calls for her to be fired from The View.
But rather than cancel Goldberg, perhaps it would be better to educate her.
First, we could start with the fact that the Holocaust was not a fight between “two groups of white people.” Most (but hardly all) European Jews have “white” skin, but the Nazis certainly did not consider Jews to be white. The Nazis believed instead that Jews despoiled the Aryan race.
It’s why they enacted the Nuremberg Laws to separate Jews and non-Jews and encouraged Jews to emigrate to Palestine. It’s why they eventually rounded up Jews and sent them to concentration camps. And it’s why in 1942 they decided on a “Final Solution” to the Jewish problem—the systematic extermination of European Jewry that took the lives of six million people.
It also happens to be why they killed the descendants of Jews who had converted to Christianity. For the Nazis, even the slightest hint of Jewish blood was grounds for elimination.
If Goldberg needed a more recent example…