Jonathan Greenblatt, chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), rebuked Whoopi Goldberg this week for saying the Holocaust was "not about race." However, Goldberg's comments were consistent with the ADL's own controversial redefinition of racism, while Greenblatt's rebuttal was inconsistent with his own organization's woke reduction of racism exclusively to skin color.
Goldberg made her controversial remarks Monday on ABC's "The View," which she cohosts.
"Let's be truthful about it because the Holocaust isn't about race," she said, referring to the Nazis' genocidal effort to exterminate the Jewish people during World War II. "It's not about race. It's not about race. It's about man's inhumanity to man."
Goldberg's cohosts noted that the Nazis viewed Jews as a different race.
"It's about white supremacists going after Jews," said Ana Navarro.
"But these are two white groups of people!" Goldberg responded. "The minute you turn it into race it goes down this alley. Let's talk about it for what it is. It's how people treat each other. It doesn't matter if you're black or white, Jews, it's each other."
In his notorious manifesto, "Mein Kampf," Nazi leader Adolf Hitler described Jews as a separate and inferior race.
"Is not their very existence founded on one great lie, namely, that they are a religious community, whereas in reality they are a race?" Hitler wrote.
Goldberg's comments drew immediate backlash, including from Jewish groups.
"Whoopi Goldberg absurdly claims the #Holocaust 'isn't about race,'" tweeted David Harris, CEO of the American Jewish Committee. "Nazi Germany considered all Jews a 'subhuman race.' That's why they wanted to exterminate the entire Jewish people, including my family, & almost succeeded. Please rethink & apologize."
Six million Jews were "gassed, starved, and massacred because we were deemed an inferior race by the Nazis," wrote StopAntisemitism.org.
The U.S. Holocaust Museum, in what appeared to be a response to Goldberg, added: "Racism was central to Nazi ideology. Jews were not defined by religion, but by race. Nazi racist beliefs fueled genocide and mass murder."
Among those to rebuke Goldberg was Greenblatt, who characterized her words as a "distortion" of the Nazi genocide.
"No @WhoopiGoldberg, the #Holocaust was about the Nazis' systematic annihilation of the Jewish people — who they deemed to be an inferior race," Greenblatt tweeted. "They dehumanized them and used this racist propaganda to justify slaughtering 6 million Jews. Holocaust distortion is dangerous. #ENOUGH."
Goldberg apologized Monday evening for her comments, quoting Greenblatt's tweet before adding, "I stand corrected." The actress and comedian said the Holocaust was indeed about race, adding the Jewish people have her full support.
That same night, Goldberg appeared on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," where she backtracked on her comments and clarified what she meant.
"I think of race as being something that I can see," she said. "So, I see you and I know what race you are."
The Holocaust "wasn't based on the skin," she continued. "You couldn't tell who was Jewish. They had to delve deeply to figure it out … My point is, they had to do the work."
Greenblatt appeared on "The View" the following day to discuss the controversy directly with Goldberg and her fellow cohosts.
Hours later, Goldberg was suspended from "The View" for two weeks over her initial comments.
"While Whoopi has apologized, I've asked her to take time to reflect and learn about the impact of her comments," ABC President Kim Godwin said in a statement. "The entire ABC News organization stands in solidarity with our Jewish colleagues, friends, family, and communities."
During Tuesday's show, neither Greenblatt nor any of the show's cohosts noted that the ADL's own redefinition of racism appears to contradict Greenblatt's comments on race and the Holocaust while, ironically, supporting Goldberg's.
Over the weekend, the ADL came under fire for changing how it defines racism. The current definition on ADL's website reads: "The marginalization and/or oppression of people of color based on a socially constructed racial hierarchy that privileges white people."
The definition previously stated: "Racism is the belief that a particular race is superior or inferior to another, that a person's social and moral traits are predetermined by his or her inborn biological characteristics. Racial separatism is the belief, most of the time based on racism, that different races should remain segregated and apart from one another."
Critics argued the change from a traditional definition to a more controversial one was a sign of the ADL embracing an explicitly left-wing ideology.
According to internet archives, the definition was updated in July 2020, when riots and protests demanding racial justice erupted nationwide in the wake of George Floyd's death.
The edit went largely unnoticed by the public until this past weekend, when it received media coverage and criticism on social media. Much of the criticism noted that the ADL's definition defines racism as something that explicitly benefits white people and can only be perpetrated against people of color.
It's unclear how the Nazi-perpetrated Holocaust, most of whose victims were European Jews with white skin, can fit within the ADL's definition of racism. The definition appears to support Goldberg's initial claims about the Holocaust, despite them being refuted by historical fact, while undermining Greenblatt's response.
"This is entirely unacceptable," the Jewish Policy Center said of the ADL definition.
"The ADL defines 'racism' as something that explicitly benefits white people, koshering any kind of race-based hatred — *very much including antisemitism*, it must be said — that doesn't," wrote Seth Mandel, executive editor of the Washington Examiner magazine.
Just the News reached out to ADL for comment and has yet to hear back.