5. The Jerusalem Post: Are Jews white? Is Whoopi Goldberg Jewish? ‘The View’ Holocaust controversy, explained
On a Monday episode of The View, co-host Whoopi Goldberg stated that the Holocaust was not about race, rather it was about “man’s inhumanity to man.” This comment was made in the context of the show discussing Art Spiegelman’s graphic novel Maus, which the Tennessee School Board decided to ban, and “immediately went viral and struck a nerve, leading to what Goldberg described as a deluge of accusations of antisemitism and Holocaust denial, and criticism from groups like the Anti-Defamation League.” Goldberg apologized later that day, but on Tuesday she was served a two-week suspension from the show.
There are a lot of moving parts to this story that require a nuanced conversation. Frankly, I didn’t find an article that fully addressed all of the intersections of this situation. The Jerusalem Post is known to be conservative, but I found this article to be helpful. While there is no doubt that what Goldberg said was antisemitic, as Nazi Germany considered Jewish people to be of an inferior race, I do not believe the actor’s comments came from a place of malice. To me, it sounded as though she did not understand how race and racial ideology function differently across time and geographical regions. Whether Jewish people should be considered a race—or an ethnic group, a religion, a family—is a topic “that has polarized the Jewish community — and those who seek to discriminate against them — for centuries.”
Along with a written apology, Goldberg went on Late Night with Stephen Colbert to clarify her remarks, and after still misunderstanding their impact, invited Jonathan Greenblatt from the Anti-Defamation League to The View to discuss her comments, take accountability, and publicly learn and have a conversation about why and how the Holocaust was about race.
Many have considered Goldberg’s punishment harsh, including “Jews across the political spectrum … who objected to her original remarks.” Even Spiegelman, the author of the book The View had been discussing that day, agreed Goldberg’s suspension went too far. “I think [Goldberg] had conflicting images of where we’re at right now, in the sense that somehow us Jews have become honorary white in this moment, and that allowed her to get a bit confused about where the issues really are,” Spiegelman said in a Democracy Now segment.
As a point of contrast, Meghan McCain, a former co-host of The View, said numerous abhorrent and discriminatory remarks during her tenure and never received even close to the same punishment—something that has been noted across social media. Further, McCain took this moment to slam Goldberg’s “bizarre, incoherent, and even dangerous comments about the Holocaust” in her column for the Daily Mail without taking accountability for any of her own dangerous comments.