Yad Vashem invites Whoopi Goldberg to visit, learn about Holocaust

Chairman Dani Dayan welcomed Goldberg's apology but said her initial statement suggests a wider problem.

ACTRESS WHOOPI GOLDBERG wears a pair of Israeli designer Levi’s  100% handcrafted banana shoes. (photo credit: Courtesy)
ACTRESS WHOOPI GOLDBERG wears a pair of Israeli designer Levi’s 100% handcrafted banana shoes.
(photo credit: Courtesy)

Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem chairman on Tuesday invited talk-show host Whoopi Goldberg to visit the Holocaust Memorial Museum to learn more about the causes of the Shoah. The invitation came in the wake of a controversy that exploded on Monday after Goldberg stated on ABC‘s “The View” that “the Holocaust isn’t about race.

The TV show panel was discussing the removal by a Tennessee school board of the Holocaust book Maus from its curriculum earlier this month. All five co-hosts opposed the board’s decision, saying the acclaimed graphic memoir should be taught in classrooms. But Goldberg differed strongly with her colleagues on the question of exactly why the Holocaust should be taught to students.

“If you’re going to do this, then let’s be truthful about it,” Goldberg said, before elaborating that “these [Jews and Nazis] are two white groups of people.”

She has since apologized for what was “an unfortunate indication of a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of the Holocaust and antisemitism.”

Yad Vashem chairman Dani Dayan welcomed the apology but said that Goldberg’s initial statement suggests a wider problem.

 YAD VASHEM Chairman Dani Dayan: There are several layers where Yad Vashem and UNESCO could develop cooperation partnerships.  (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90) YAD VASHEM Chairman Dani Dayan: There are several layers where Yad Vashem and UNESCO could develop cooperation partnerships. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

“The statement by Whoopi Goldberg on the ABC talk show The View, only days after the world marked International Holocaust Remembrance Day, is an unfortunate indication of a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of the Holocaust and antisemitism,” Dayan said in a statement.

“We must not mince words; people need to know what led to the Holocaust, the unprecedented murderous drive to annihilate the entire Jewish people, their religion, culture and values by the Nazis and their collaborators, primarily due to of the unfounded belief that Jews were their foremost and extremely dangerous racial enemy.  

"While her apology and clarification are important, I extend a personal invitation to Ms. Goldberg and other influencers to learn more about the causes, events and aftermath of the Holocaust here at Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem."

JTA contributed to this report.