Amazing! Right-wing personalities like Sean Hannity and Ben Shapiro were in the forefront last week in defending Whoopi Goldberg against her two-week suspension and possible dismissal from ABC for her dumb remarks about the Holocaust not being a matter of racism.
The right wing understands that people are human, and they sometimes make stupid statements and do stupid things. You don’t wreck a person’s career because of that.
Yet, someone from the left, like MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski, feigned shock and dismay that Goldberg faced such severe discipline. “If Whoopi Goldberg is canceled, that would be the end of this all. This cancel culture is getting out of hand.” How rich is that! Suddenly the left feels the pinch of cancel culture and they can’t handle it.
How much understanding was offered to Rosanne Barr when she was instantly dismissed by ABC for a “racist Tweet” in 2018? How about Megyn Kelly? Or for that matter, the countless politicians ruined because they were found to have used blackface decades ago (with the exception of Democratic Virginia Governor Ralph Northam who was given a pass). Bye-bye to them.
Of course, the greatest cancellation was Donald Trump, who was canceled from every major social media outlet. On the other hand, any discussion about Hunter Biden’s massive corruption forced the cancellation of that news outlet, like the New York Post. And statues of legendary figures like Theodore Roosevelt or Christopher Columbus are all canceled. Probably, Abraham Lincoln will be canceled one day. while the statue of the notorious anti-Semite Peter Stuyvesant still stands proudly in New York.
The problem with leftist liberalism is they want things to be according to what their Utopian values say they should be. All people should share their wealth. All criminals are essentially good. All achievers are bad, and all non-achievers are by definition oppressed by the achievers. Therefore, whites are oppressors as are Asians and Jews. Israelis are oppressors of Arabs.
It’s a very simple narrative. In fact, the ADL, until about two weeks ago, defined racism as those from the white community who bring harm to those of colored skin. Nothing else. That is the playbook that Whoopi Goldberg followed. Not her fault. She bought into the leftist drivel. And that is what allowed Amnesty International to believe they were purveyors of the truth. Arabs are oppressed. Israelis are oppressors. No need for facts.
But let’s bring this a bit closer to home. I am a big believer in the yeshivah system. I went through the system and so did all my children and grandchildren, baruch Hashem. And they are all great, bli ayin ha’ra.
Yet, there are times when yeshivah kids are living in a world in which they think it ought to be, not which it is. They sometimes are not prepared to live in a “baalhabatish” world of working-class people and rabbanim, not roshei yeshivah. I do not want to be specific, because I might be guilty of generalizing when, as a rule, yeshivah people excel in regular interaction.
I had an interesting conversation with a “baal-habas” from our shul, Zev Wilon, long ago a talmid of Rav Moshe Feinstein’s Mesivta Tifereth Jerusalem. The mashgiach ruchani (spiritual supervisor) of his time was the renowned Rav Michal Barenbaum zt”l. Reb Zev told me that at one of his shmuezen (discourses), in Yiddish of course, Rav Michal bemoaned the fact that a husband can come home from a day’s learning, walk home in the rain, and with his soaking raincoat plop on the couch. “Where is his derech eretz, his concern for the hard work of his wife in keeping the house spotless? What is his learning worth?” Unfortunately, too many shmuezen are about lofty topics, and not enough address the young man coming home with a soaking raincoat.
We could all use a reality check. The world would be a lot better for it.
I need to conclude with a clarification. In last week’s article, “The Ring of Truth,” I mentioned that a certain person, who had served the Torah community but also pursued a leftist agenda, recently left this earth. Some people assumed I was referring to Rabbi Simcha Krauss z”l. It was definitely not Rabbi Krauss. I may have had some hashkafah differences with Rabbi Krauss, but I would not write that way about him in an article following his p’tirah. I was referring to a non-rabbinic leader.
Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld is the Rabbi of the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills, Vice President of the Coalition for Jewish Values, former President of the Vaad Harabonim of Queens, and the Rabbinic Consultant for the Queens Jewish Link.