The Conspiracy

WTF, Helen Thomas?

Unless we’re seeking an easy target for righteous 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 the Eisenhower 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 I can 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.

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12 Older Responses to “WTF, Helen Thomas?”

  1. Jenny
    June 7, 2010 at 12:43 pm #

    Helen Thomas’ remarks were offensive, to Jews and to non-Jews as well. I’m glad she’s been forced to retire and is being subjected to condemnation, however something else needs to be said. As someone old enough to have developed a perspective, I’m of the opinion that anti-Semites like Thomas wouldn’t have come to this sense of entitlement to spew such hatred and disrespect with impunity, had some Jews, and Jewish organizations not laid the ground in preparation for justifications to pay selective attention to hatred and intolerance. We’ve all seen groups, like the Anti-Defamation League, a group that was founded to ensure the rights of all not to be subjected to the defamation and dehumanization that was used against the Jewish people and others by the nazi government, to marginalize and delegitimize their human and in fact civil rights. The ADL still lists that purpose on their web page, but rather than honoring that premise, they view that aim to be only selectively applied, and in fact exploit what they’ve reduced to a farce, to promote a hateful and discriminatory policy. We’ve read statements by Jewish leaders and individuals, whether it’s those who demand we fling US borders open wide, or who demonize US citizens, suffering from economic displacement, homelessness and destitution be smeared as “racist” or “Xenophobes” merely for daring to petition their government to seek redress, as the constitution affords them the right to do, ignoring the fact that the US citizens doing so, are black, brown as well as white, in the face of the lies that there exists a worker shortage, when these citizens are living proof that they have always and still do, want and desperately need those jobs.

    We’ve read articles by Jewish activists, and lawyers decrying any discussion of enforcing our laws, or the Arizona law, and going further beyond the claims of “welcoming the stranger” to statements saying that “we support the outsider”, and justifying that with claims that Jews have been denied the right to emigrate to the US, when the truth is anything but. I never see any recognition of the fact that Jewish communists, in both the former USSR, or in the US, who berated Winston Churchill and FDR for not embracing the Hitler-Stalin Pact, Jewish Communists who were silent in the face of the threat of Hitler’s advocacy, or what they knew that the Stalinists, including Jewish Stalinists had done to Russian peasants who were Christians by the Bolsheviks. Or the fact that Israel had in fact turned away Jewish refugees from Germany and Poland during the lead up to what became the Holocaust.

    We’ve seen over reaching grasping for power and control on the part of those who sought to gain advantage and preference, morph into a sense of entitlement to exploit the concepts of hate and intolerance as a means of legally discriminating against others and wielding the power to harm.

    For a long time, honest discussion has been sidelined by Jewish and others sensitivities, that can no longer be allowed. We all need to engage in an honest dialogue on the subject and end this exploitation as it’s only in aid of inhumane and abusive behavior that only serves to return us to the horrors of the last century. It’s amoral to attempt to pin the harms that all nations of the world, all people, all religions at one time or another have engaged in, on one group, race or ethnicity, and it needs to end today. I know that I will no longer support those who seek to exploit the past to hide their own hatred behind.

  2. G. E. Gardner
    June 7, 2010 at 1:54 pm #

    Seriously; senile dementia. Whatever nasty little thoughts were rattling around in her head, she had the sense to keep them to herself until this bizarre moment. I’d find it more sad than anything, if she weren’t just dripping with bile. However messed up her cognitions were at that moment, it’s clear she really, really meant it. I’m not sure what value there is in the official “apology” she issued. I think regular people know the difference between repentance and damage control.

  3. Erik Esselmann
    June 7, 2010 at 4:16 pm #

    Her comments were taken out of context. “Home” is very much Europe for the Ashkenazi Jewish population, the fact they were persecuted there has little to do with this being true. While I don’t know if there is any reason to believe she is actually anti-semitic (sort of odd though, since she’s defending Palestinian sovereignty), from this comment alone… I really don’t feel comfortable demonizing this woman. In this world where many readily available media sources can use your words against you, it wasn’t the most tactful statement.

    Parry this statement with the idea of ex-patriate African-American slave populations moving to Liberia and ousting native residents from their land. Just because he or she was persecuted, in the past or present, a seventh generation freed slave in 1860 doesn’t have special privileges to remove current residents from what may even be proven as their ancestral homeland. This free citizen, while being born and living under persecution, is still moreso a citizen of the United States than of some claimed piece of land in Africa, in which people already live.

    Individual rights are more important than nationalist goals, and the Jewish people–who have already suffered enough, and unfairly, under the banner of kulturkampf nationalism–should know better than any group how little having a national “Jewish” state matters. I believe Jews can live in Europe and the U.S. readily and without fear–compare this to the situation in Palestine–and while no one should try to pressure them to do so, I think it’s a moral prerogative to compel the Israeli state to stop what it is doing… at so much cost and so little profit, for themselves and the world.

  4. laszlo
    June 7, 2010 at 4:20 pm #

    Her comments were akin to someone saying “enough already with the Crucifixion and the Rising up – why don’t those Christians get off of the cross already!” She went after the main tenet of Judaism: from A Song of Ascents, written by King David (Psalm 126): “When God will return the captives to Zion, we will be like dreamers. Then was our mouth will be with laughter, and our tongue with singing. They will declare among the nations: “God has done great things with these.” Or, as one wise sage once said about the Jewish right of return: “If you are a Jew you want to consider 3 things: location, location, location.”

  5. Miriam
    June 7, 2010 at 4:51 pm #

    You know what’s even better about this whole thing? The “interviewer with a camera” was actually a rabbi wearing a yarmulke. He was doing the interview for this site: rabbilive.com.

  6. invisible_hand
    June 7, 2010 at 6:54 pm #

    i am appalled at thomas’ comments. such a virulent sentiment should be responded to by much better speech.

    what is similarly appalling to me, and much more compelling than the chest-thumping of certain respondents, is that a similar sentiment calling for the expulsion of palestinians from the land is treated as entirely normal and acceptable even in america.
    http://wonkroom.thinkprogress.org/2010/06/07/fleischers-double-standard-on-expulsion/

  7. Nic
    June 7, 2010 at 10:15 pm #

    It was a shocking coming from thomas because she knows better. for the record norman finkelstein has never made any comments about
    jews gojng back to germany or poland. he is an old time leftist zionist like chomksy who believes in a two state solution land believes that it is the only way to save the nature of the jewish state.
    a state with a majority of jews ruled by jews.

  8. Adam
    June 8, 2010 at 1:18 pm #

    Jenny: I fail to see what any of this has to do with the immigration debate, and your causal reasoning seems rather precarious–although I do applaud your creativity.
    Erik: I liked your analogy, but if I understand you correctly, I think the opposite point emerges: whether the Israelis or Liberians had the right to establish states is an interesting academic question. However, now that each population has been settled in its country for several generations, to suggest they be expelled is tantamount to suggesting ethnic clensing. Should we really attempt to reverse every major human migration in history? Should European Americans all move back to Europe? Should North Indians (descendents of the Indo-Europeans/Aryans) move back to central Asia? This seems impractical.

  9. Adam
    June 8, 2010 at 1:20 pm #

    Oh yeah, Ben: your my-my-hey-hey theory is the most interesting and amusing I’ve heard, although it’s (unfortunately) almost definitely wrong.

  10. Lou
    June 9, 2010 at 1:48 pm #

    1. Leave to to the privelaged young Jew cracker to forget about all of us who came not from Europe, but from the Middle East itself, prior to our being evicted and being taken in as refugees to Israel, where, although at first treated as second-class citizens by the Ashkicrackers, we at least were no harassed and butchered as dhimmis.

    2. Who do I blame? Why New Voices, the ADL, etc etc — all those folks that think announcing to the world that the Biblical parts of this land are not ours, that we are willing to ethnically cleanse our own citizens from a piece of ground – all with the hope that it will gain us a place among the nations and acceptance of our passports anywhere. Have fun as pariahs.

    3. Disengagement supporters. Eff you.

  11. Melania Pinchock
    July 28, 2010 at 8:12 am #

    Good article dude Thank you

  12. German Mcniel
    July 28, 2010 at 10:15 am #

    Thank you ! interesting article

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