Unless we’re seeking an easy target for righteousÂ indignation, we tend to ignore the mass of anti-Semitic crackpots on the internet. It’s another thing, though, when a respected journalist who’s been covering the Oval Office for half a century tells all the Jews to “get the hell out of Palestine,” as former Hearst columnist Helen Thomas did on Friday. Check it:
What baffles me is why Thomas would go off like this to an interviewer with a camera. She’s been a journalist since theÂ EisenhowerÂ administration in one of the most high-pressure environments in the country, so why doesn’t she know to keep her mouth shut while standing outside the White House on Jewish Heritage Day? To be an anti-Semite is one thing, but to be a stupid anti-Semite while a rabbi is interviewing you is another. Even Norman Finkelstein would have been more tactful. Maybe.
The only answer IÂ canÂ come up with is that Thomas, who has a considerable presence in Washington and is four presidents past retirement, wanted to go out with a bang. Think about it: before Friday a bunch of journalists and political junkies knew her name. Now she’s table talk at every Jewish household from Miami to Seattle, and even made Ha’aretz. I guess it’s better to burn out than to fade away, as Neil Young says.
So I salute you, Helen Thomas, for sacrificing your career, reputation and credibility for fifteen minutes of Jewish fame. And if I’m wrong, and you didn’t mean this to happen, you should learn about something called YouTube. All the kids love it these days. Here’s the link: www.youtube.com.
It sure is swell.