Earlier this week, actress and comedian Whoopi Goldberg, who co-hosts the show “The View” said on the show, “The Holocaust isn’t about race,” but about “man’s inhumanity to man.” The backlash soon followed and ABC, which produces the show, suspended Goldberg for two weeks. The Holocaust is definitely about race; the only problem is that the Jews are not a race. If they, and the world, knew what being Jewish means, the fate of the Jews and the fate of the world would have been very different from the current dismal state of both the Jews and the world.
Jews are not White, as Goldberg pointed out. They have no distinct color because they have no distinct origin from which they came. The first Jews were followers of Abraham, who was born in Haran—a major city in Mesopotamia, which is today within the boundaries of Turkey. Abraham was not a Jew; he was an idol-worshipper, the son of a successful idol-worshipping priest who had an idol shop.
According to Maimonides (Mishneh Torah), the Midrash (Beresheet Rabbah), and other sources, Abraham was worried about the growing enmity among his people. His concern made him ask poignant questions about life and how it is governed, or as Maimonides put it, “Who is the owner of the Capital?” and how he could help his quarreling townsfolk. Eventually, he discovered that only one force governs everything, and that what his people needed to do in order to overcome their division was to unite until they became as united as that one force.
Abraham began to talk about his thoughts and circulate his ideas. The idea of unity and oneness resonated with some people, but most people shunned it, including his King, Nimrod. As a result, Abraham and his followers were driven out of their city and their country and began to wander toward Canaan.
Along the way, Abraham continued to speak of his ideas and more people joined his entourage. These people later became the people of Israel, and their motto was unity to the point of oneness, or as they later described that level of unity: “as one man with one heart.”
After Abraham’s passing, Isaac continued in his father’s footsteps, Jacob followed Isaac, and so did Joseph. Eventually, when Moses managed to unite the divided nation that had splintered after Joseph’s death, they had become a full-fledged nation.
Their feat—building a nation out of complete strangers by sticking to the notion of unity—has remained unparalleled and unmatched to this day. No other nation had been built this way.
Precisely because of their unique background—their eclectic makeup—they were the perfect example of what the world could be like if all the people became as brothers. The Jews became a model nation for better or worse. When they were united, they were proof that people from different tribes, backgrounds, ethnicities, and faiths could unite above their differences. When they were divided, they displayed all the hatred that the nations feel for one another since the Jews are the descendants of those rivaling and quarrelsome nations.
Because of our unique background, we have been given a unique role in the world: to be a model of unity above hatred and differences. Because of our unique role, we were, are, and always will be at the center of the world’s attention. Because we are expected to show unity and be a model nation, we were, are, and always will be judged by a stricter standard than the rest of the world. Until we complete our task successfully and set a permanent model of unity, the world will keep reproving us and claim that we are bullies, warmongers, and thieves, and will accuse us of every wrongdoing that the world can think of.
Therefore, although the Jews are not a race, the Holocaust was certainly against the Jews, very specifically, and not some conflict between groups of Whites. At the same time, if we want to end antisemitism, we should focus not on silencing antisemites, but on silencing the criticism, spite, and hatred that we feel for one another.
The world will not embrace us until we embrace each other. If we remember this, our future is bright. If we forget it once again, then more troubles are ahead for all of us.