Whoopi Compares America to Nazi Germany

The Nazi comparison is often cited too casually particularly on "The View" where Joy Behar compared former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to Hitler. The October 26 edition was no exception.

In an unusually deep and interesting conversation about forgiveness, Whoopi Goldberg, who took the redemption side, pulled the Nazi comparison to 21st century America. Apparently those who want an aggressive War on Terror and wish to crack down on illegal immigrants are no better than those who tried to wipe out an entire race. (Video available here.)

GOLDBERG: Well, I think because one of the things that happens when you get nationalism whipped up in a country is people start going "yeah it's them, it's not us, it’s them, it’s not us, let's go get them!" We saw it happen. We saw it happen here.

People started saying, "oh, yeah, it's all those people, you know, those people from other countries, you know, the ones that wear stuff over their heads and they’re coming over here. And all those illegal people, they’re coming, we've got to get rid of them. And we got to get-" And so everybody starts going, "yeah, we've got to take care of it, yeah, we got to take care of it." And it’s so easy to fall into it.

HARRIS: It is a mob mentality, sure.

GOLDBERG: What I, what I’ve come to understand really over the last several years is how easy it is for us to become nationalistic and not recognize that we are -- the Nazis believed that it was them and not us.

The transcript of the exchange is below.

WHOOPI GOLDBERG: Deborah Norville is one of our guests today and, as you know, she's written this new book called "Thank You Power." And one of the things that she says is she feels that anger can really poison your system.

JOY BEHAR: And resentment, also.

GOLDBERG: Resentment could just make you nasty and bitter and awful. Do you think?

BEHAR: Sure, well, it's probably true to some extent. But I think that there are a lot of people who’ve lived many years, many long lives who are angry and mean and rotten.

SAMANTHA HARRIS: But they’re miserable and everyone around them is miserable.

BEHAR: They’re miserable, but they're alive. That’s all they care about is that they're alive.

SHEPHERD: But some people, you know, when you're around some people and they're so miserable and you feel like you've been drained to the limit because that's all they can talk about. Because I remember talking about forgiveness. It's hard to hold unforgiveness in your body because it- I do, you do get poisoned by it, because you focus on that and you can’t do anything else. You don't think so?

JOY BEHAR: Well, yeah, I agree with that to a large extent. There are some things are unforgivable. I’m sure you’d forgive it if it’s unforgiveable.

SHEPHERD: Okay, I don't understand what you just said.

[laughter]

GOLDBERG: Yeah, you don't know what you said either, do you?

BEHAR: Because I hate to harken back to World War II, but there was evil in Hitler's Germany, right?

SHEPHERD: Yes.

BEHAR: And many people were killed and there have been other things that have happened, since that other genocide. Those people who are the victims of genocide, let's say. Let's say they survive it after they’ve been- I mean you've seen those movies, so you know what people went through.

SHEPHERD: Yeah, absolutely.

BEHAR: Do you think that they should forgive the Nazis?

GOLDBERG: Yes.

BEHAR: You do?

GOLDBERG: Yes.

BEHAR: I don't think so.

SHEPHERD: Why, Whoopi?

GOLDBERG: Well, I think because one of the things that happens when you get nationalism whipped up in a country is people start going "yeah it's them, it's not us, it’s them, it’s not us, let's go get them!" We saw it happen. We saw it happen here. People started saying, "oh, yeah, it's all those people, you know, those people from other countries, you know, the ones that wear stuff over their heads and they’re coming over here. And all those illegal people, they’re coming, we've got to get rid of them. And we got to get-" And so everybody starts going, "yeah, we've got to take care of it, yeah, we got to take care of it." And it’s so easy to fall into it.

HARRIS: It is a mob mentality, sure.

GOLDBERG: What I, what I’ve come to understand really over the last several years is how easy it is for us to become nationalistic and not recognize that we are -- the Nazis believed that it was them and not us.

BEHAR: Therefore?

GOLDBERG: They said get rid of them and everything will be fine.

BEHAR: But if you're one of them, then you're not so easy to forgive them.

GOLDBERG: But you have, no, but you have to recognize that "them" changes all the time. That point it was the Jews. This time it's the blacks. That time it's the, the Ind --

BEHAR: I understand that.

GOLDBERG: So you have to recognize as human beings --

BEHAR: Yeah, but if you're the victim.

GOLDBERG: I've been the victim, but I can’t, yes, yes.

BEHAR: You might have been the victim to some extent.

GOLDBERG: I have been the victim. I've seen the victimization and I have to forgive because if you don't, you stay right just here and everybody says, see, nothing changes. And it has to change. And if not with me, then who?

BEHAR: Well, I'm not saying you shouldn’t- you should go ahead and be as bad as the perpetrator. You should not reproduce that behavior.

GOLDBERG: Absolutely.

BEHAR: But I think that, if you've been done to the way some people have been in this world, I would rather be dead than forgive them. Frankly, I am very vindictive in that way. [Applause] Really, I would not forgive them. I would rather be dead.

GOLDBERG: I'm glad you all are clapping because one day, if you should wake up and you are "them," think about it. Because it's that easy. You could be -- tomorrow it could be blondes. 25, 30 years ago it was black people. Before that it was Hispanics, and before that it was Jews, and before that it was all of this. No, no, but I’m saying the people who are applauding and saying yes we'd rather be dead than forgive, where would we all be if we hadn't figured that out?

BEHAR: The thing is to stop it. That's different.

GOLDBERG: But if you don't talk to the people who do it, you'll never forgive.

BEHAR: I'm not talking to Nazis. No, no, no, no.

[Applause]

GOLDBERG: Listen, then you know what? Well, this is why South Africa -- this is why Nelson Mandela is one of those people who I look up to. Because all that was done in South Africa to those folks, and Mandela said, you know what? We cannot stand here on this. We have to move forward and the only way to move forward is to talk about it and say, ok, how do we make sure this doesn't happen again.

BEHAR: Oh I agree and I admire Mandela, too. But I personally could not forgive it. I believe what you're saying. I believe that you’ve got to move on and you’ve got to deal with this type of thing in the world, but I personally would never be able to get over that hump. Let's say they killed my mother, they killed my children. I wouldn't forgive them. No.

GOLDBERG: Then we're stuck.

SHEPHERD: How would you be able to move forward?

BEHAR: That's why I say I'd rather be dead.

GOLDBERG: Sad.

SHEPHERD: Wow.