Holocaust denialist Whoopi Goldberg regales us once more, with her platitudes on race

HOLOCAUST DENIALIST Whoopi Goldberg has doubled down on her bizarre assertion that the event which reduced a pre-War population of 11 million Jews living in areas controlled by the Nazis to 5 million, was merely ‘white on white violence’.

After issuing an apology for similar statements made on a talk-show programme earlier this year, the Hollywood actress, re-entered the fray as if she had learn absolutely nothing from the previous experience, necessitating yet another retraction.

Goldberg’s latest remarks are deeply offensive and constitute a form of Antisemitism, in which the speaker attributes race to Jews, in order to, yes, make a point about race.

Another dimension is the manner in which the speaker also denies that race-based policies, such as that which existed under the Nazis, are even racist. In effect, decontextualising the Holocaust as nothing more than ‘white privilege’, and is thus a blatant form of denial.

In a new interview with a British newspaper, The Sunday Times shared during Hanukkah, Goldberg 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 ‘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.’

Goldberg suggested “these are two white groups of people. 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.” You can read my earlier comments and response to this statement here.

Whoopi’s comments are not simply illogical and wrong-headed, but could mislead one to conclude that black persons such as herself, cannot experience racism.

Race is the child of racism not the father. The issue here is not whether “Jews are divided on whether they are a race, religion or both” or perceive themselves to be a race (they don’t) but whether the Nazis did.

For the record, the Jews for the most part, form an historical community much like the Kurds, in which ethnicity plays a part, however there are many sub-communities, and thus one may discern Haredi, Sephardi, Ashkenazi and Mizrahi or Oriental Jews.

Local news-outlets such as IOL have failed to cover this story since it exposes and thus jars with the obvious attempt to decontextualise the Holocaust in order to provide a different narrative to the Israel/Palestine conflict, one in which the tragic genocide never occurred.

UPDATE: IOL are now carrying Whoopi’s second apology and retraction.

Israel – Whose Bantustan?

ONE of the claims made by apartheid revisionists, aside from their strange assertion that apartheid is somehow a Jewish conspiracy against the world, is that the Palestinian entities in the West bank and Gaza are similar to the apartheid-era bantustans, and thus the Jews, or at least Israelis, are somehow guilty of the crime of apartheid.

In an opinion piece published by Business Day, revisionist Allister Sparks complains about “the herding of the Palestinian majority (sic) into the equivalent of noncontiguous Bantustans that can never be viable, independent states and are in effect under Israeli military control.” Aside from the fact that Non-Jews are, for all intents and purposes, a minority in Israel, the country is in itself, the result of a UN Bantustan plan in which British Mandate Palestine was divided up several times. First into two halves resulting in the creation of the Palestinian majority state of Jordan and the proposed new Jewish Homeland, then again and again, until you have the three parts which we see today which include the satellites of West Bank and Gaza.

Jordan or Palestine? Can you tell the difference by looking at their flags?

Revisionists on the whole ignore the ongoing Jewish refugee problem created as a result of successive expulsions from the Holy land and places like Spain during the Inquisition and modern day Syria — demanding that we focus on the exclusive problems of only one group of more valued, displaced persons, and ignoring the subsequent Jewish refugee question following the two European world wars. South Africa’s own history bares testimony to the manner in which apartheid policies created by race supremacists and fascists were responsible for this refugee crisis.

On 1 May 1930. the parliament of the Union of South Africa passed an Immigration Quota Act, a law which was introduced into the house by the then Minister of the Interior, D F. Malan. The law effectively curtailed Jewish immigration to South Africa from Eastern Europe.

While boatloads of German Jews fleeing the Nazis were being turned back and Malan (still leader of the opposition) was openly supporting Adolf Hitler’s brown shirts, South Africa entered World War II on the side of the colonial powers which were responsible for the failed UN-sponsored Middle East partition plan. The tragic story of the voyage of the St. Louis. a German ocean liner most notable for an ill-fated journey in 1939, in which her captain, Gustav Schröder, tried to find homes for 937 German Jewish refugees is the subject of a well-known 1974 book called Voyage of the Damned.

Denied entry to Cuba, the United States as well as Canada, these refugees were finally accepted to various countries of Europe. Historians have estimated that, after their return to Europe, approximately a quarter of the ship’s passengers died in concentration camps.

After the war, South Africa embarked on its own tragic journey to D F Malan’s apartheid government. It is not insignificant that apartheid was introduced in the same year that Israel like the later Transkei, gained its independence from the Western powers. Several conferences on the Jewish refugee problem, most notably the Bermuda Conference and Evian Conference failed to resolve the problem of Jewish refugees, a fact widely used in Nazi propaganda.

Following the UN partition plan Jews were forcibly expelled from the Arab States and North Africa. Some 850 000 Jews lost their homes and property and were forced to flee to the new state of Israel, while some 472 000 Arabs*  were forced into the neighbouring Arab states and Jordan. The refugee problem remains with us today, along with the land question, as these states still refuse to return 100 000 square km of deeded property, land once owned by Arab Jews, and ancient Aramaic communities in Syria face renewed bombardment by missiles.

NOTE:  Arabs claim that 800,000 to 1,000,000 Palestinians became refugees in 1947-49. The last census was taken in 1945. It found only 756,000 permanent Arab residents in Israel. On November 30, 1947, the date the UN voted for partition, the total was 809,100. A 1949 Government of Israel census counted 160,000 Arabs living in the country after the war. This meant that no more than 650,000 Palestinian Arabs could have become refugees. A report by the UN Mediator on Palestine arrived at an even lower figure – 472,000.

Wikipedia – home to white supremacists and the Christian rightwing

Wikipedia anonymity breeding racism?
Wikipedia anonymity breeding racism?

WIKIPEDIA, the online encyclopaedia has become a haven of neo-conservative tinkering and revision of history under apartheid. A recent internet debate (archived here), shows the mindset of a generation which has grown up without direct knowledge of the apartheid system yet hankering after a period in which a minority white government ruled over a black majority denied the franchise.

A controversial article about an incident of unrest, equivalent in scope and political fallout to the 1960s Kent State shootings, at the prestigious University of Cape Town, during the 1987 State of Emergency was narrowly voted out, after right-wingers gained the upper hand, deleting the piece as being “not significant enough to warrant an article.” Despite criticism of systemic bias by two contributors, one of whom confirmed “accusations of censorship at the time”, the view that the incident was “just another storm in a students’ teacup to protest a military cross-border raid” has prevailed.

During the state of emergency South Africa’s press were under orders restraining their ability to cover an incident in which 500 students, black and white, staged a protest and were shot at by police on campus. 6 students were injured by buckshot. It was the first time since 1972 that police had used gunfire to quell a student disturbance on a predominantly white campus. Dozens of police with tear gas, guns, whips and attack dogs stormed a protest march against forced conscription, the war in Angola, cross-border raids by the SADF into neighbouring states, the continued detention without trial of student leaders, the banning of the African National Congress and continued incarceration of Nelson Mandela, to name a few of the grievances of the time.

As one of the persons caught up in the resulting 14 day melee, I went from being a law student to a political activist overnight. The entire campus was involved, classes were shut down. There were sit-ins, and teach-ins. Helicopters circled overhead. Teargas covered the plaza and Jameson steps. A South African breweries truck was torched. Traffic snarled up De Waal drive for miles. A pregnant woman was whipped by a sjambok wielding policeman in the library. Rubber bullets were also used.

The event signalled a turning point in the history of the otherwise liberal establishment. Students were radicalized. I went from being an idealist, to an ideologue, caught up with the political discourse of an era which had more resonance with similar student uprisings in the Paris Sorbonne of 1968 than Cape Town of today, needless to say, much of what happened was undocumented, underground and under siege.

Wikipedia editors (protected by anonymity of the internet) chose instead to perpetuate the suppression of the event, merging one citation, taken from the article, with the UCT campus main page, thus deleting the piece in full, and prolonging a reign of censorship. Nothing was done by the academic institution to mark the twentieth anniversary of the student uprising last year, and even the SRC has forgotten that it had once been the site of barricades. As the originator of the piece dismissed as a “poorly-referenced rant, written mostly in first-person or as a memoir, of student unrest” one has to admit criticism that there is currently little or no access to online references that can affirm the existence of government-sponsored censorship during the state of emergency.

For example, a news clipping taken from the Cape Times (and available from the South African library) begins: “Large parts of the University of Cape Town campus were at times uninhabitable yesterday afternoon and some lectures were disrupted as a result of actions by certain people which may not be reported in terms of state-of-emergency press censorship,” is not available online.

While the foreign press referred to cross-border raids by the SADF as the cause, local newspapers told another story: “An hour confrontation between the people who may not be identified and about 150 – 200 students followed a lunch time meeting attended by about 700 students, called to protest at the deaths and firing of SA Railway’s and Harbour’s Workers Union (SARHWU) on Wednesday.”

Most news references from the period have yet to be digitized and made available to the public.

The existence of secondary source material apparently taken from the foreign press such as the Boston Globe is problematic since access to what one could call primary sources are restricted by a subscription fee. The mainly republican-lead US press, following the lead of the Cape Times and other liberal newspapers played down the event which lead to the announcement of the unbanning of political parties and the release of Nelson Mandela. A period which ushered in the transition to democracy.

Just how out of kilter with popular opinion the press were can be seen by a report in the The Los Angeles Times which refers to the University as a “white school“. College is also frequently used to describe the ivy-league institution, reducing the world class university in stature somewhat. Attempts to diminish the impact of the event have largely been successful. Personal testimonials have yet to be collected. Those who can say they were there, are now approaching middle age or in their mid-forties. Most have have either immigrated, died from neglect, or been quietly forgotten.

The initial head-count of 500 students engaged in revolt which quicky expanded to at least 1500 over the ensuing weeks has been reduced by the logic of redneck journalists such as John Battersby (the New York Times’ correspondent who in a masterful manipulation of the facts, reported about the event second-hand) to “about 350”, and this figure is now officially estimated at no more than 15 persons engaged in illegal activities.

Hopefully history will prove Wikipedia wrong. As more black students gain access to the internet, questions will be asked. What happened to the 5000-plus students who were affected by the 1987 UCT uprising? How did this impact on their academic careers? Were the instigators ever re-integrated into society or simply marginalized? Were the victims of the resulting unrest compensated by civil society for the wrongs perpetrated by callous policemen who chose to see every student as a communist, a “kaffir-lover” or a MK sympathizer?

Were the government spies and apartheid agents ever brought to book? Were the detainees released? How many people actually died defending an unjust system, and how many causalities were there in the conflict? Did anybody bother to mention those still locked up in psychiatric wards for refusing the draft, or the innocent bystanders still without limbs, simply because politicians sent an entire country to war?

* google list of sources

* New York Times downplays Kent-State-like story, reducing conflict to historical footnote.

NOTE: This is not the first time my work has been the subject of rightwing revisionism. A year ago an entire posting on this blog was deleted without permission by my hosts at the time, Amagama/ Blogmark, an online site associated with the Mail and Guardian but operated by Media24. It concerned a review of a book on the Border War. I have yet to receive compensation for the material, licenced under the creative commons which has not been returned, despite promises by senior management.