Like Many Leftwing Allies, Whoopi Goldberg Feels Free To Double Down On Antisemitism

Ms. magazine, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons]

Whoopi Goldberg is once again in hot water for making anti-Semitic comments. Fox News wrote, “Jewish activists and community members demanded Whoopi Goldberg face termination from ‘The View’ over the weekend after she doubled down on past Holocaust remarks, prompting a fierce outcry on social media.

Ten months after getting suspended from ABC’s daytime talk show for insisting that the Holocaust was “not about race,” Goldberg, in a new interview with U.K. paper The Sunday Times, showed little remorse for her past rhetoric, arguing again that the estimated 6 million Jews who were systematically killed in the Holocaust were not targeted based on their race.

“The View” co-host also claimed that the Nazis targeted people of African descent in addition to Jews because they were physically different, and Goldberg went as far as to suggest that Jews had an easier time blending in with White people and hiding from the Nazis than Black people did at the time of the Holocaust.”

In an interview with the Times of London, the liberal Hollywood star doubled down on her past comments about the Holocaust, saying, “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,” she said.

Times journalist Janice Turner pushed back, noting to the 67-year-old actress and comedian that the race laws Nazi Germany officials implemented targeting Jewish people.

When Turner reiterated that “Nazis saw Jews as a race,” Goldberg replied: “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 doesn’t change the fact that you could not tell a Jew on a street,” Goldberg added. “You could find me. You couldn’t find them.”

“Goldberg showed little remorse for her past statement, arguing again that the estimated 6 million Jews who were systematically killed in the Holocaust were not targeted based on their race,” according to The Jerusalem Post.

“‘The View co-host also claimed that the Nazis targeted people of African descent in addition to Jews because they were physically different. Furthermore, she suggested that Jews had an easier time blending in with White people and hiding from the Nazis than Black people did at the time of the Holocaust.

After much pushback and a suspension from ABC after the first quandary, Goldberg eventually gave a semi- apology. ‘I get it. Folks are angry. I accept that and I did it to myself. This was my thought process and I will work hard not to think that way again,” she said earlier this year. ‘I get it. I’m going to take your word for it and never bring it up again.’”

The Antidefamation League has noted that antisemitism is rising on the Left in the United States. “Amidst these distressing developments, a steady stream of antisemitism among the left persists, often related to Israel. Of course, some criticism of Israel is part of a healthy political ecosystem. However, a segment of the left sometimes espouses ideas that go beyond legitimate critique and into antisemitic tropes. Others engage in rhetoric that is not antisemitic but which can have the effect of making many Jews feel ostracized or excluded.

Some scholars suggest that contemporary expressions of anti-Zionism on the left (and right) have their roots in antisemitic Soviet propaganda from the mid-twentieth century. (For example, the Soviet Union pushed action under the banner of “Zionism is racism,” a popular slogan among parts of the far left today.) Left-wing antisemitism can start with vitriolic criticism of Israel as an illegitimate state, accompanied by allegations that Zionism – the movement for Jewish self-determination and statehood in the land of Israel – is a global societal ill that must be eradicated. As this becomes more normalized within some segments of the American left, a hostile environment is created for Jews and antisemitism likely becomes more acceptable. This further isolates Jews as they are increasingly a target of rightwing violent extremism. It is incumbent upon everybody to be on guard lest such problematic attitudes by some opponents of Israel on the American left go unchallenged.  

Some candidates in the 2022 election cycle who hail from the political left have embraced themes related to Israel that range from incendiary to dangerous and antisemitic. Several have played into antisemitic tropes about Jewish power and money in public affairs. Some direct their antagonism and contempt toward “Zionists,” which disproportionately affects American Jews, as a majority view a connection with Israel as part of their Jewish religious, cultural and/or ethnic identities. Others conflate Israel with white nationalism or suggest Israel should not exist. A few accuse Israel of genocide or express sympathy for armed confrontation. These candidates are either running on the Democratic ticket or have been endorsed by smaller left-wing parties or activist groups. 

The dynamics within the left-wing political constellation within which these candidates are located can at times be textured. Some candidates may express valid criticism of Israeli policies. Several may believe their critique of Israel is consistent with their rhetoric on other countries they view as human rights violators. Others may have repeatedly condemned antisemitic attacks or apologized when the Jewish community criticized their rhetoric. In many cases, left-wing candidates who express antisemitic tropes do so only in a handful of tweets. But this does not diminish from the experience of the victims – Jewish people who increasingly feel marginalized.”

Democrats were recently criticized for a double standard when it comes to antisemitism in their party. One report noted, “Meanwhile, House Democrats on Wednesday elected New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries as the leader of their conference, making Jeffries the first black American to head a major political party in Congress.

Not mentioned in the press coverage is the fact that Jeffries’ uncle, Leonard Jeffries, is an academic notorious for his anti-Semitic and black supremacist teachings.

Leonard Jefferies “preaches Jew-hatred like a religion,” according to a 1991 report by the American Jewish Committee.

In 2017, the Anti-Defamation League wrote of Jeffries: He “asserted that ‘rich Jews’ controlled the black slave trade, and that Hollywood was the site of a Jewish-dominated conspiracy to systematically denigrate Blacks. He called the then-Assistant U.S. Secretary of Education Diane Ravitch the ‘ultimate, supreme, sophisticated, debonair racist’ and a ‘Texas Jew.'”

Jeffries told The Wall Street Journal in 2013 that he disagrees with his uncle but is still close to him, presumably having dinner with him on a regular basis. 

Newsweek has also called out the antisemitism of Ilhan Omar, who has said that she believes that Jewish political organizations control Congress with money, writing “Of course, Omar’s record of trafficking in incendiary, antisemitic comments—about Israel, the U.S.-Israel relationship, and American supporters of Israel—goes back nearly a decade. Each time, more or less the same pattern follows the initial outburst: First, she (or someone on her behalf) insists she was misunderstood or her comments taken out of context, though those comments, whether in the form of tweets, interviews, or statements, are all a matter of public record.

Then, rather than debate the merits of the issue, she and her defenders resort to belittling anyone who would question her as a “right-winger,” “racist,” “misogynist,” or “Islamophobe.” In other words, she undermines any possible merit to the criticism by rendering the critic totally out of bounds.

Next, she offers vague assurances that she really wants to listen, learn, and grow from any possible incidents, offering those who want to move on as swiftly as possible the hope that perhaps this won’t happen again—until, of course, it does.

Finally, she uses her life story as the ultimate arbiter of what constitutes justice, accountability, and human dignity, as if no one else in Congress could possibly have a comparable right to address and adjudicate those noble themes.”

In 2019, “rank-and-file Democrats circled the wagons around freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar on Wednesday, forcing party leaders to retreat from plans to rebuke her by passing a resolution condemning antisemitism.”

No wonder Whoopi feels free to spout her hate. 

[Read More: Kevin McCarthy Fighting No Name Congressman For Speaker]

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