Farewell Helen Thomas

It’s good that Helen Thomas will no longer be in White House press briefings. Not because she sullied the reputation of the Washington press corps with a few undiplomatic remarks, but because those who lack her boldness and bluntness will no longer be able to use her presence to foster the illusion that American journalism still values courage.

When Thomas was asked during a White House Jewish Heritage Celebration on May 27 (before the Mavi Marmara massacre) whether she had any comments on Israel, she said without a pause: “Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine.”

“It’s their land,” Thomas asserted, referring to the Palestinians and baldly challenging the notion that Israel was founded on land that belongs to the Jews. When asked where the Jews should go, she said they should “go home” — to Germany, Poland, America or from wherever else they had emigrated to Israel.

As soon as the video (see below) of Thomas’ remarks was made public, Washington’s mechanisms of tribal discipline swiftly kicked into gear.

Her words were “unconscionably callous and vile,” said Andrew Sullivan. “Thomas deserved what she got,” said Dana Millbank. Both saw her departure as a loss, yet just as President Obama deemed her words “out of line,” no one in Washington was willing to go to the heart of what she said.

In 1948 three-quarters of a million Palestinians were driven out of their homes by Zionists in order to make room for the creation of a Jewish state. For that reason, Helen Thomas, an American of Lebanese descent, apparently believes — as do most people in the Middle East — that the Jewish claim to “own” the land on which Israel was created is a claim based on religious dogma rather than historical fact.

Those families who still possess the keys to homes they lost and the legal titles to land on which they were built, see the issue not as one of “disputed territories” but as one in which colonizers — like America’s settlers — grabbed land and then tried to disguise their acts of dispossession by invoking divine authority.

As Thomas has been dumped by her agent, forced to retire and is now ostracized by colleagues who disingenuously profess their admiration for her journalistic courage, Washington once again displays itself as a unique and rather pathetic satellite of Israel.

As the world condemns Israel’s latest act of unconscionable brutality, America’s media willingly turns its attention to the “unconscionable” words of an 89 year-old woman who had the audacity to say a few blunt words about the Jewish state. Oy veh!

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Comments

  1. humanity4all says:

    The truth is there. No one can change it. It does not matter what is said and done the peoples of the world know what has happened. We all know that there were people and cultures living for thousands of years in the American continent before European invasion! All Australians that have arrived there after 1788 did not fill all the appropriate “customs and immigration” forms!
    I know that what the elites fear the most, is that the people KNOW! This threat was outlined by one of their own at the Council of Foreign Relations meeting in Montreal this previous April. He stated that one of the new develpoments is that ” for the first time in all of human history mankind is politically awakened-that is a total new reality-it has not been so for the most of human history.”

    The world knows the history of Palestine and the peoples can see what their leaders are doing. The people are going to take matters in their own hands. THIS WHAT THE ELITES FEAR THE MOST!

  2. DE Teodoru says:

    The game is simple: once you make ANTI-ZIONIST = ANTI-SEMITE, you’ve got the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights down the crapper. The Zionazis want American Jews as muzzled as they want you. In the end, we’ll all have to make a final decision as to whether we continue to feed this Mossad chief described “strategic liability” to America until it become a giant tapeworm eating us dead from within the bowels or whether we cut it off and let this 62y/o fetus on an American placenta die of inanition by cutting the cord. I hope things never get that extreme and that Netanyahu realizes that if he continues to give in to the Stalinists in his Cabinet he will go down in history as the Prime Minister that let Israel die as a criminal that everyone– Diaspora Jews included– shunned.

  3. Helen Thomas said what’s on the mind of a great majority of people, both in the U.S.A. as well as the World. The reprehensible actions of the Israeli Government towards the Palestinian People, is written in the history books. It can never be changed. It’s too bad that it’s come to the extent it has, but sooner or later, as the boldness turns in contempt, then, as with an unruly child, there has to be a limit to the wantonness on display. Will the World wait until one of the Mad Men detonates an Atomic Bomb? Then it will be too late.

  4. delia ruhe says:

    It’s a real pity. She was the only one pitching hardballs on that softball team called the Washington Press Corps. They will be happy to see her go, I think, as she shows them up for the limpdicks they are.

  5. It’s so sad to see a person pillaried for giving an opinion. I don’t know how the Israelis exercise control in the US but to many of us outside it is criminal how the US allows the Israelis to perpetrate crimes against humanity in Palestine, and give them the money and tools to do it. The Israelis are commiting the same crimes against the indigenous people in Palestine that were committed against them by the Nazis.
    Bravo Ms Thomas.

  6. George B says:

    Don’t we all hate fanaticism, no matter what color or religion cover it is under? I also hate Stalinism and Hitler Youth ideology. I hate Bin Laden and all his followers. I also hate Zionism. Unfortunately this growing trend of Zionist ideas that wants to control the freedom of speech in the United States is going to be the new demagogy for a while. I believe it will be defeated and die one day like any other false racist inhumane ideologies in the history. History will repeat itself. The fake ideologist, religionist, could lie to others, they could try to brainwash the good Americans, they could keep on trying to influence the whole word. They could lie to themselves and believe it. They are lying to their kids and parents. I have no doubt one day they will be defeated and their ideas will die. It will happen like it did to the Stalinist, the Nazi, Saddam, and others like them. God Bless the soul of Yitzhak Rabin who found the reason, and almost made peace, before he got killed by the fanatic Zionist. I am sorry he was killed, peace would have been possible. He was a courageous man. God Bless you brave woman. Thomas Helen, I admire you so much. Only great people like you will change the history. God Bless America.

  7. David Ronce says:

    Oy veh! indeed ~

  8. And now they beat up on old ladies – what would their mothers think?

  9. Norman Chan says:

    I did not know how to contact Helen Thomas, to let her know what I think of her departing words. I will use this space to. Hurrah to you, Helen, who dares to say what is in the minds of many, but are afraid of the consequences of uttering these words. Hail to honesty! Hail Helen!

    How can Israel continue to blockade Gaza, and on what basis? Gaza now looks like Haiti post earthquake, though the destruction is a man-made pogrom created out of alleged self-defence.

  10. cor mol says:

    There is only a slight difference between the American colonization massacres and frontier wars, killing most of the Indians, and the Israel occasional killings and constant humiliation of the Palestinians. Frederick Jackson Turner Frontier Thesis is rooted in the genes of the US population and this explains the deep sympathies for the policy of Israel and the success of the Jewish lobby.

  11. Sam Samatar says:

    If Helen Thomas said prophet Muhammed was a terrorist or all palestinians are terrorists, She would have been congratulated by free speech advocates and will have kept her job. Obviously she messed with the wrong people.

  12. Debonnaire says:

    Very fine righteous wrath. And, when a faux brave liberal like Rachel Maddow blows the shofar and dances the horah after Israel cold-bloodedly murders 9 unarmed humanitarian aid workers – we know that the Zionists rule by fear, an illusury fear we all can vanquish.

  13. Peter H says:

    Paul,

    It’s one thing to say that Israel dispossesed Palestinians of their homes & homeland (which is undeniable). It’s quite another thing to say that Israeli Jews who’ve been living in Israel for 3 or 4 generations should”go back” to Europe. As a commenter on Richard Silverstein’s site said, that’s curing ethnic cleansing with more ethnic cleansing.

    Look, I agree that the outrage over Thomas’ comments is hypocritical, especially when you consider that no one raised a peep when House Majority Leader Dick Armey called for Palestinians to be kicked out of the West Bank in 2002 . I also think that Thomas should be given some slack, given that she’s 89 years old and probably just emotionally reacting to Israel’s outrageous conduct. But you’re not doing the pro-Palestinian cause any favors by defending the comments themselves.

  14. If the Judeo Christian Islamic people of the Israeli-Palestinian lands are to build viable self-sustaining communities the opinions of Helen Thomas must be allowed in the conversation.

  15. Joseph Partida says:

    Another victory for A.I.P.A.C. another influential voice silenced and made irrelevant. I agree with the others that it is up to us, the people, to speak out, resist, and organize to boycott and divest Israel and its American polititians who support it. A.I.P.A.C. does not have US security interest in mind, nor should it have the influence over congress. And Jstreet is really jiveass street, collaborater and another Trojan horse. We will miss Helen Thomas’ courage and her feisty stand for asking the questions of our leaders that put truth to power. And now the American Press Corps joins Fox News in controlled media.

  16. Paul Woodward’s story on Helen Thomas was well done. Whereas Huckabee can say that the Palestinians should be removed from Palestine and get away with it, Ms. Thomas’ remarks are seen “beyond the pale.” Americans know little about the history of the Middle East, and then we wonder why things go wrong over there.

  17. The time has come for the Judeo Christian Islamic people of the Israeli-Palestinian lands to join the global initiative to build viable self-sustaining communities. The primary goal of any viable self-sustaining community is the provision of nutrition, medicine, water and shelter for its members. Such communities strive for spiritual, social and economic empowerment of its people in a marketplace where organic and fair-trade flourish.

    Pierre Harbin-Ahmed
    Director
    muslimmutual.org

  18. la vérité says:

    In our “politically correct” world, one is not allowed to speak one’s mind, one is not allowed to speak the truth and no one is interested in hearing it. Only an individual like Helen Thomas, with courage of of her convictions was able to do it. Her being made to leave the scene will not be her loss……….it will be ours.

  19. I thought The Daily Show’s attack on Helen Thomas was most disgraceful. Jon Stewart compared her to a racist redneck who wants to keep Mexicans out. For this analogy to work Mexican would have to steal US land first, ethnically cleanse a large part of the population, and besiege and oppress the rest. In other words, Stewart’s analogy is itself racist because it suggests the Mexican presence in the US is tantamount to expropriation of its property.

    Paul, your journalism has been superlative. I just thought I should share my appreciation. Respect!

  20. Helen expresses her opinion, and is eliminated by the Exexutive of the US Government for “crossing the line.” What line? Has the US Government set standards for the press corp? Wouldn’t that be a violation of the First Amendment?

    What I want to know is what would happen to a reporter who said the Palestineans Arabs, and should move to Lebanon, Jordan or Egypt? Oh, wait, that is US policy, isn’t it!

  21. Blackbeard says:

    Now that Helen has been fired by Hearst News Service, she is free to write a blog that would be read by so many people who admire her dedication to fact rather than fiction. I wonder how many of the hysterical commentators and condemners who reacted to her remarks have a history of service to NEWS and have received as many awards for it as she has. Take a look at her biography at http://www.helenthomas.org/helenthomasbiography.html and see for yourself. It’s not the sort of thing that you’ll hear on Pox News.

  22. The people of the US have been lied to and fed propaganda for at least the last 30 years — no wonder the propagandists get away with it while those who dare to speak the truth are pilloried. Since the US political class are either gutless or complicit, we can only hope that the growth of mobile media and internet sites like this one and the proclivities of the mobile young will bankrupt the propaganda organs. It cannot happen soon enough.

  23. art rosenzweig says:

    i’m glad you brought up the subject, helen. reflect on all the old anti-semitism in the u.s. and europe. i regret israel terribly, but i think the wwII allies deserved israel as an “up your nose”. i think we got what we deserved, for our arrogant white-christian superiority. i say, to hell with our self-centered arrogance. where was our stinking western compassion? and now we pay attention and support israel. what stinking opportunists we are.

  24. Javed Helali says:

    What did we do when Iraq occupied Kuwait before the first Gulf War?

  25. Sorry to see “grand old lady” Helen Thomas leave the stage like this, she deserves much better. And sorry to see that “political America” is still ruled by the Israel lobby. But there are positive signs. Turkey is raising its voice, much to the worry of Israel, as various editorials in The Jerusalem Post show. And public opinion in Europe is moving in the right direction, so European governments and/or the EU will move accordingly. Just wait and see.

  26. Paul Frye says:

    It does bother me that a woman who has held the feet of so many Washington buttholes to the fire during my 70+ years of life has been silenced out of a need for political correctness. I do believe that the First Amendment issue raised above is quite valid. Helen, you ought to come out this way for awhile. I can see how being”inside the beltway” can be addicting, you’re better off without it. Sadly, the rest of us are not, IMHO.

  27. Dieter Heymann, Houston, USA says:

    One cannot criticize Helen Thomas without first condemning the United Nations for having arrogated to itself the legal power to split a land which it had inherited as the Mandate of Palestine from its predecessor the League of Nations which had stolen it with President Wilson’s support from the Ottoman Empire. On that day in 1947 the United Nations became a totally dysfunctional organization.

  28. “Sullied” the reputation of the Whitehouse Press Corp? As though it wasn’t already sullied before these minor events?

  29. James McNulty says:

    It’s exactly as Pat Buchanan has said several times, “Washington, DC is Israeli held territory! I often wonder just how many people know that under Bush, 40 members of his cabinet, including Michael Chertoff of Homeland Security, held dual citizenship. They were citizens of Israel and of America. Talk about a conflict of interest! Now I wonder just whose interests they were really defending and securing!