Whoopi Goldberg, the comedian and actress who is also co-host of the ABC talk show “The View,” repeatedly said during an episode of the show that aired Monday that the Holocaust was not about race, comments that come at the same time from the rise of anti-Semitism in the world. She then apologized.
In the episode, Ms. Goldberg said the Holocaust was about “man’s inhumanity to man” and “not about race.” When one of her co-hosts challenged that claim, saying the Holocaust was motivated by white supremacy, Ms. Goldberg said, “But those are two groups of white people.”
She added: “It’s white people doing it to white people, so you’re all going to fight amongst yourselves.” As she continued to speak, the music turned on, indicating a commercial break.
During World War II, as part of a policy of mass extermination, the Nazis killed six million Jews – about a third of the world’s Jewish population at the time – on the grounds that they belonged to an inferior race. .
After her comments drew widespread criticism, Ms Goldberg apologized. “Jewish people around the world have always had my support,” she said in a statement released Monday evening. “I’m sorry for the hurt I caused.”
During a Monday appearance on Stephen Colbert’s ‘The Late Show,’ Ms. Goldberg explained that as a black person, she thinks racism is based on skin color, but realized that everything the world doesn’t see it that way. “I get it. People are angry,” she said. “I accept that, and I did it to myself.”
Jewish groups said Ms Goldberg’s comments were dangerous and the latest example of growing ignorance about the Nazi genocide. Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt wrote on Twitter Nazis: “They dehumanized them and used this racist propaganda to justify the slaughter of 6 million Jews,” he said. “Holocaust distortion is dangerous.”
Meghan McCain, former co-host of ‘The View,’ said on Twitter on Monday that anti-Semitism was “a poison that is increasingly excused in our culture and television – and permeates spaces that should shock us all. “.
According to a 2014 report by the Anti-Defamation League, more than one billion people worldwide hold anti-Semitic views. More than a third of people in the 102 countries surveyed had never heard of the Holocaust, according to the report.
Jewish communities around the world have reported an increase in annual anti-Semitic incidents, according to research by the Anti-Defamation League. That sentiment is pronounced in Europe, where 89% of Jews felt anti-Semitism in their country had increased between 2013 and 2018, according to a 2018 European Union survey of about 16,500 Jews. The survey also found that 40% of European Jews fear being physically attacked, and in 12 EU countries where Jews have lived for centuries, more than a third said they were considering emigrating because that they no longer felt safe as Jews.
Last month, the United Nations passed a resolution condemning Holocaust denial and distortion. Ms Goldberg’s comments also came weeks after a gunman held several people hostage at a Texas synagogue for 11 hours.
David Baddiel, British comedian and author of the book ‘Jews Don’t Matter’, said in an interview that anti-Semitism had very little to do with the religion itself – descendants of Jews who had converted to Christianity were also killed in the Holocaust because they were considered members of the Jewish race.
“If you’re a race, an ethnicity, like the Jews, who have been persecuted for many, many centuries, mainly because it fits who you are, your parents, your ancestors, then that’s racism,” Mr. Baddiel said.
“There is no other word for it.”