Whoopi Goldberg suspension: Reflexive response isn’t the way to ameliorate society’s hate and intolerance

by Bob Schwartz

I don’t pay attention to Whoopi Goldberg or The View or ABC Television. Then came this week’s development.

Whoopi Goldberg has been suspended by ABC for saying that the Holocaust was not about race but about man’s inhumanity to man.

What the ADL and other worthy and well-meaning enemies of hate essentially expressed: The Holocaust was about race. She is spreading antisemitic disinformation. That disinformation must be refuted and she must be corrected and punished appropriately.

What ABC did: They corrected and punished Whoopi Goldberg by suspending her.

What ABC might have said and done instead:

Whoopi Goldberg was historically wrong, as she has admitted. But rather than suspension, since we are in the business of information and education (?) we will be producing a program exploring not only the racial motivation of Nazi antisemitism and the Holocaust but also featuring the important studies about the distinctly different types of antisemitism, including racial and religious antisemitism, all of them pernicious.  Many people, Jews and non-Jews, aren’t fully aware of that distinction. This should be of great interest to all our audiences, especially the audience of The View (?). We believe this is a more thoughtful, comprehensive, constructive and valuable response.

For those interested in exploring the topic, in 2019 the Hannah Arendt Center at Bard College held an extraordinary two-day event about Racism and Antisemitism.