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Helen Thomas Speaks -- Unfortunately
I don't like seeing anybody lose a job for expressing a controversial, unpopular opinion. But I'm not going to lose any sleep over Helen Thomas' forced retirement.
Helen Thomas is about to turn 90 and is living proof that there’s no fool like an old fool.
For many years she was the White House correspondent for UPI and until she retired -- or was fired -- she was a columnist for Hearst. Columnists, unlike reporters, don’t have to be objective. They’re entitled to their opinions. But when your opinion is the same as the opinion of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the goofy president of Iran, that’s not such a good thing.
Ahmadinejad wants every last Jew in Israel to get the hell out and go back to where they came from – like Germany and Poland. Hey, small world, that’s exactly the same thing Helen Thomas wants. Really!
Asked by a Rabbi outside the White House (during a Jewish Heritage event) if she had any thoughts about Israel, Ms. Thomas said she did. “Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine,” she said. “Remember,” she added, “the Palestinians are “occupied and it’s their land.” (Note: She doesn't even call the country where the Jews live, Israel. To her, it's Palestine.)
But if the Jews “get the hell out,” Helen, where would you like them to go? “Home,” she said, “to Poland, Germany and America and everyplace else.” You know, Poland and Germany where their parents and grandparents used to live before they were wiped out in the Holocaust.
But Israeli is a sovereign state, established by the United Nations, right? Israel is home. A mere technicality, as far as Helen Thomas is concerned – and an unfortunate technicality at that. The Israelis are intruders -- Europeans in an Arab world, Jews in a Muslim world.
So pack the hell up, all you carpet-bagging Jews, and GET THE HELL OUT!
Too bad the rabbi had a camera right in your face, Helen, or else you might have gotten away with your nasty little comment.
It’s no secret that Ms. Thomas, a major league liberal and the daughter of Lebanese immigrants, is no fan of Israel. Over the years she didn't actually ask questions regarding Israel so much as she made mini speeches to the White House press secretary condemning Israel. She has compared Israel’s military to the Nazis and just the other day referred to that Israeli raid on a Turkish "humanitarian aid" ship bound for Gaza as a “deliberate massacre.” She told Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, that Israeli soldiers “deliberately kill people.” And she’s made other comments over the years at the White House making clear that she sees Palestinians as victims of Israeli atrocities, presumably even when those put upon Palestinians are firing rockets into civilian neighborhoods in Israel.
You can be anti-Israel, of course, and not be anti-Jewish. But let’s not pretend that the line isn’t a thin one. As Phyllis Chesler, a liberal college professor who has written a book called The New Anti-Semitism explains it, Israel's critics "have one standard for Israel: an impossibly high one. Meanwhile, they set a much lower standardfor every other country, even for nations in which tyranny, torture, honor killings, genocide, and every other human rights abuse go unchallenged."
"Today," she says, "anti-Zionism is the new anti-Semitism."
Enter Pat Buchanan, a passionate foe of Israel and I suspect an anti-Semite too.
He once called Capitol Hill, "Israeli-occupied territory" ... and right before the first Gulf War, he went on the McLaughlin Group TV show to announce that, "There are only two groups that are beating the drums for war in the Middle East -- the Israeli Defense ministry and its amen corner in the United States."
Now Pat thinks there are too many Jews on the U.S. Supreme Court.
On the nomination of Elena Kagan to the court, Buchanan wrote: “If Kagan is confirmed, Jews, who represent less than 2 percent of the U.S. population, will have 33 percent of the Supreme Court seats.
Is this the Democrats’ idea of diversity?”
Since when is Pat Buchanan a fan of diversity? I don’t remember him screaming for it when blacks or Latinos or women were behind the 8-ball. And with all those numbers – 2 percent this, 33 percent that -- when did Buchanan start favoring quotas? A staunch Catholic, he doesn’t seem to have any trouble with the number of Catholics on the court – six.
Buchanan is right-wing, Thomas is left-wing, but on this one issue, they come together: Both wish Israel would just go away.
Buchanan never apologizes for anything, but Ms Thomas has just said I’m sorry. She issued a statement saying: “I deeply regret my comments I made last week regarding the Israelis and the Palestinians. They do not reflect my heartfelt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance. May that day come soon.”
Sorry, Helen, I for one am not buying it. You meant what you said. Anyone looking at that video knows you were speaking from your heart. You apologized, as so many trapped by their own stupid words do -- because you got caught. But you are not alone, Helen – not by a long shot.
What you said about Israel is what lots and lots of liberals say all the time, especially liberals on college campuses, where they pass around petitions calling for boycotts of Israel – but never utter a word about the daily atrocities in the Arab world, often committed against their fellow Muslims who step out of line. Ruth Wisse,who teaches at Harvard, says that some of our finest universities, including her own, "have gone out of their way to invite speakers best known for their defamation of Israel and the Jews."
So you may find comfort, Helen, knowing you have so many kindred spirits out there – so many “smart” liberals who also wish Israel would disappear. The bad news, of course, is that Israel isn't going to disappear. As the kids say, Get used to it.
And here's the ultimate irony of this whole sorry story: In the end, Helen Thomas took the advice she gave the Israelis. She got the hell out and went home.
I won't miss her.