Actress and TV host Whoopi Goldberg piped up yesterday to say that the Nazis did not kill six million Jews because of racism but just because man can be evil and inhumane to other men. You see, according to Whoopi, most Jews and most Nazis were white so it can’t be racist can it? This is so blindingly obviously wrong at every level. Jews were killed because they were Jews. It was racism. And downplaying that, or pretending the holocaust was not, as we say today, a “racially motivated crime” is racist. But then in liberal circles in the West, anti-semitism and holocaust denial is not really considered proper racism any more, after all the Israelis are mainly Jews and, everyone in Islington, Hollywood or on most campuses agrees that the Israelis are ghastly fascists. Whoopi then doubled down!
As the storm over her racist remarks intensified she went on various chat shows to be quizzed by fawning interviewers and on one she insisted that the Jews and the Nazis were “fighting each other”. This is such an unbelievable canard. Were the babies whose heads were smashed against rocks or trees to save bullets as the Einsatzgruppen swept through the Steppes, “fighting” the Nazis? Were those poor women and children herded into the gas chambers at Auschwitz really “fighting” the Krauts? Of course not.
That, perhaps, sealed her less than severe fate. Even her network, ABC, must consider blatant holocaust denial a step too far. Whoopi has now been suspended from her TV show “The View” for two weeks. That allows ABC to show that it is doing something without actually doing anything.
Now, for the record, I would not have suspended her at all. That is not because I do not find her views and clear prejudice deeply revolting. I do. But cancelling folks because of their views or words is wrong. It is not what a free society should do. I’d like to see Whoopi kept on our screens so that she can be challenged again and again and again on what she said until she realizes that what she said about “fighting” was in fact holocaust denial and so false and thoroughly revolting. And so that her viewers and apologists come to realise why what she said is such a falsehood and so dangerous. For those who mean it when they say “never again” do not consider holocaust denial acceptable but something that must be exposed by free discussion as a dangerous lie, rather than merely driven underground to spread slowly but unchallenged.
In the end I’d hope that even Whoopi would come to accept accept that the Jews, like the Gypsies, ended up in Auschwitz precisely because the Nazis held a racist world view.
Conservatives have today contrasted the treatment of Whoopi with others such as Roseanne Barr who made a tweet which was racist and though she groveled was cancelled – by ABC – and her career was at an end. Barr is, of course, a conservative. So is there a double standard? Sure. Of course there is. Anti Semitism – and holocaust denial ticks the boxes for that – is, among too many on the left, the acceptable form of racism.
In a free world both Barr and Goldberg would not be cancelled. But the statements of both would receive equal opprobrium as would the folks who made them.