When Whoopi Goldberg said the Holocaust wasn’t about race, because Nazis and Jews were both white, she voiced what has become unquestioned truth in today’s progressive circles. The ADL, an organization founded to fight Jew-hatred, is complicit.
When Whoopi Goldberg said the Holocaust wasn’t about race, because Nazis and Jews were both white, she voiced what has become unquestioned truth in today’s progressive circles. By redefining racism to exclude Jewish victims, the political left succeeded in belittling Jew-hatred into something that is not serious.
This intellectual fraud has been so successful that many non-Jews who are not anti-Semitic, and even many Jews, have come to accept its premise. Goldberg is generally considered a voice of reason on her show, and the fact that she would believe or express such views shows how pervasive this alternate reality has become. The lie has helped anti-Semitism flourish while people who should know better ignored it, or even helped it along.
Under this rationale, attacks against Jews are only taken seriously if the Jewish victims happen also to be “people of color.” Otherwise, not. After Women’s March leaders’ blatant anti-Semitism became big news, Linda Sarsour and Tamika Mallory made sure to get photographed marching next to Jewish Women of Color. They evidently hoped to conceal their Jew-hatred and general presumption that Jews could not be victims by this show of tolerating colored Jews among the oppressed.
When ethnic studies activist Artnelson Concordia spoke at an outreach event last fall arranged to reassure Jews worried about California’s ethnic studies requirement, Concordia conceded only that “Jews of color” could be considered marginalized populations who might qualify for inclusion in ethnic studies.
California’s first attempt to impose an ethnic studies curriculum (a variation of Critical Race Theory) was rejected after Jews and others objected to its obvious anti-Semitism. A revised bill was enacted last October. The new law tones down the original bill’s anti-Semitism, but lets California school districts use private curricula instead of the state’s.
Castro Valley school district promptly hired Liberated Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum Institute (LESMCI), the people behind the failed initial bill’s anti-Semitic curriculum, to provide their version of ethnic studies. LESMCI’s curriculum features a focus on “Palestine” that paints Israel as a horrid human-rights violator abusing Palestinian Arabs out of racism.
LESMCI tries to counter charges of anti-Semitism proactively by redefining it. “Antisemitism is discrimination against, violence towards, or stereotypes of Jews for being Jewish,” LESMCI asserts. In other words, LESMCI claims, anti-Semitism is strictly a religious hatred. It has nothing to do with racism or any hatred against Jews based on race, ethnicity, or nationality.
That would have been news to German Jews persecuted under the racially-based Nuremberg laws, the six million Jews who died condemned as subhuman vermin, and many others who suffered because of Nazi racial theories.
As Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks explained, anti-Semitism is a mutating virus by which society projects onto Jews whatever is most hateful to it: “In the Middle Ages, Jews were hated for their religion. In the 19th and 20th centuries, they were hated for their race. Today, they are hated for their nation state.”
Race-hatred and religious hatred of Jews haven’t disappeared or become benign (read, Pittsburgh) just because other deadly mutations (particularly anti-Zionism) have appeared.
Nevertheless, in today’s progressive hierarchy of racism, only racial or ethnic discrimination counts as oppression, and only against non-whites. However fanciful the science on which any discrimination is based, racially-justified persecution of anyone whom today’s racism experts deem “white” simply doesn’t count as racism, let alone oppression. The same progressive experts claim Jews are now “white”, unless they happen to have African-American or maybe Asian or Hispanic ancestry. (But if their ancestors were kicked out of Spain in 1492, forget it, they’re non-Hispanic whites.)
Tragically, the Anti-Defamation League under Jonathan Greenblatt’s leadership has played into the effort to divorce Jews from the reality of racially-, ethnically-, and nationally-based anti-Jewish hatred, persecution, and discrimination.
In July 2020, the ADL even changed its definition of racism. ADL had long defined racism as “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.”
The new version redefined racism as “marginalization and/or oppression of people of color based on a socially constructed racial hierarchy that privileges white people.” In other words, racial superiority is only “racist” if it’s done by a white person against a “person of color.”
Would Nazi persecution of European Jews count as “racism” under that definition? If one defines European Jews as white, the answer is, No.
When Goldberg reached out to Greenblatt, she created a real problem for him. Jewish media had recently begun to cover the changed definition. Greenblatt was in the awkward position of “educating” Goldberg that Nazi and other anti-Semitism often takes the form of racism, while his own organization seemed to deny it. How embarrassing!
ADL has focused on white racism in other ways, too. In January 2022, it hired a prominent activist for Jews of color as its Director of Jewish Outreach and Partnerships, especially to Jews of color.
The ADL appears so enamored of left-wing political advocacy focusing on anti-“color” racism that it was ready to junk its raison d’etre, protecting Jews against bigotry. Instead, it sought to protect a small subsection of the Jewish community. By doing so, it sought to win plaudits from the political left that has basically turned its back on Jews on the false rationalization that Jews are Zionists and “therefore” racist oppressors, not victims.
After some pushback against the ADL’s new definition and the brouhaha over Goldberg’s gaffe, ADL made cosmetic changes to its redefinition. It now says: “Racism occurs when individuals or institutions show more favorable evaluation or treatment of an individual or group based on race or ethnicity.” Occurs? That’s not a definition of a concept, but of an event. What was wrong with the old definition, and why didn’t the ADL revert to it?
ADL’s racism page goes on to define “systemic racism” as a “combination of systems, institutions and factors that advantage white people and for people of color, cause widespread harm and disadvantages in access and opportunity.” The latest changes seem to be window dressing for ADL’s continuing effort to embed racial classifications into its racism definition.
What’s next? Will ADL define how much “white” or “colored” ancestry is required to classify victims and perpetrators correctly?
This racialization of racism belittles the harm caused by anti-Semitism, whether expressed as racist, religious, nationalist, or some other hatred. It’s bad enough when non-Jews dismiss Jew-hatred. Why an organization founded to fight Jew-hatred is privileging other hatreds over anti-Semitism and obsessing about racial classification is inexplicable.DONATE
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