Longer Helen Thomas


basically, this was a hit job to deflect criticism by most Americans over recent actions. they even timed it - by delaying release - so it would be used when most people were not thrilled by all our US tax dollars going to the authoritarian regimes in Egypt, Palestine, and Isreal and their acting like babies over and over and over and over again.

Bring the troops home from our wars of foreign adventure and end all the subsidies with our tax dollars.
I agree with her and #1 - You would think the U.S. would have learned this after what they did to the indigenous people of this country - Hey give the Palestines Casinos!! - That should go over well...NOT!!
i think the real story here is a groundbreaking woman with a brilliant career has stepped down NOT because she made a shocking mistake, but because she has an actual educated opinion...one that many people agree with, and she made the mistake of assuming we live in a country of civilized discourse. and she's being used as a lightening rod. I think she's just all..."I'm getting too old for this shit".
Since she's so in favor of sending people "back where they came from," I'm sure she'd have no problem with being on the next boat to Lebanon.
It's amusing to watch everyone falling over themselves to say how terrible and horrible the interview was. Because god forbid anyone criticize Israel, ever. And god forbid that we actually talk about the brutal cost of the occupation. No, only the loony socialists and protesters can talk about that. We can't let an opinion held by millions of Americans actually enter the mainstream discourse. No, that would be anti-semitic.
@1 put it perfectly, hit job. She was at about 2/10 on the offensiveness scale with these remarks.
Uh oh, the Olympia keffiyeh brigade will be pissed.
She has a point. Palestine is occupied by Israel. Where she was wrong was her suggestion that they all be sent back to wherever they came from....that doesn't really work 60 years later. What they need to do is learn to live with each other.
Her comment was tactless, and inappropriate, and she probably could have made her point better.
but its not a reason to quit.
"Because god forbid anyone criticize Israel, ever"

Errrrr, denying its right to exist and saying the Jews should all go back to Germany and Poland is a little beyond 'criticism'.
Prince (later King) Faisal of Saudi Arabia had an interesting take on Jewish settlement in Palestine. He said "If you want to give them a country of their own, why not give them Germany, since the Germans persecuted them. Why give them the lands of the Arabs, who never did a thing to them?"
@9 My point is, people like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck say way more offensive shit on a daily basis, but no one forces them into retirement for it, do they? Like @8 says, it was tactless and inappropriate, but since when has that been grounds to end a career? Tactless and inappropriate is the current mode of operation in American politics. Hell, just look at the teabaggers.

So why do her remarks in particular get her forced into retirement? Because they were about Israel. You can be tactless, inappropriate and offensive about any other subject, but if you're talking about Israel you get instantly shunned. It's the American equivalent of drawing Mohammed cartoons.
Let's all chip in $5 to buy that boat trip for Rush Limbaugh to go to Costa Rica ... hey, how come he's not there yet, the lying SOB?
@9 - nobody is even suggesting that the US stop providing military security to Isreal to exist. We have nukes and we'll use em if need be.

But that doesn't make what's going on in Palestine ok.

They're all a bunch of jerks - if this was Savage Love we'd be saying to all the bfs and gfs of Israel, Egypt, and Palestine to DTMFA.
"What they need to do is learn to live with each other."

Seriously 8?

Yes, they should learn but it's a little one-sided on the learning curve, ya think?
So, why DOES Israel have a right to exist again? Note this is a completely different question than the rights of individual Israelis, who absolutely have a right to live, be happy, etc., but no more than anyone else. Since most of the Israeli Jews who live there now are basically colonialists occupying someone else's land, I think it's a fair question. Since the US is so into Israel, why not pick up the Israelis and let them take over, I don't know, Florida, or Arizona, or California instead? Why does it have to be THAT piece of land of all places?
Helen Thomas is dead on about Palestine being occupied.
#8 pretty much nailed it. She worded her remarks poorly, but when you read them in context, the underlying point makes sense. And she's 90 goddamn years old, can't we cut her some slack? We've got people running around calling the President a raghead and getting away with it, and we want to roast an old lady for being tactless? Please.
I have read (or tried to read) several histories of modern (20th-century) Israel and not one has been written in a straightforward manner. Not one has suggested a narrative that justifies and truly explains the right of Israel to exist in its post-1947 configuration. The trauma of the Holocaust, understandable though it may be as motivation, doesn't count as real justification.

And suggesting Germany and Poland as emigration destinations for Jews? Insensitive? It's been 65 YEARS! There is no more discredited political movement in the WORLD than Naziism. In germany, it's ILLEGAL to say the Holocaust never took place. Believe me, it's safe to move back. Not saying they should have to, just saying it IS an option.

Anti-Zionism != Anti-Semitism. Helen Thomas sounded Anti-Zionist in those remarks. I am too.
@10 & @15

Per Wikipedia: "The Land of Israel (Hebrew: אֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל‎ Eretz Yisrael) refers to the land in the southern Levant which the Jewish people have since Biblical times regarded as their God-given homeland. Over 3,500 years ago, according to the Bible, the land was promised by God to the descendants of Abraham through his son Isaac and to the Israelites, descendants of Jacob, Abraham's grandson. This land forms part of the Biblical covenant between God and the Jewish people. Other names used to refer to this land have changed over time, with the term Palestine being used by some in reference to approximately the same geographic region."

More recenlty, you can blame that liberal sacred cow the UN...

"On 29 November 1947, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution calling for the establishment of a Jewish State in Eretz-Israel; the General Assembly required the inhabitants of Eretz-Israel to take such steps as were necessary on their part for the implementation of that resolution. This recognition by the United Nations of the right of the Jewish people to establish their State is irrevocable."
Criticize Isreal all you want, I do.....but when you say essentially that Isreal doesn't have a right to exist, should be dissolved and Jews should go back to Poland (yeah, cause that worked out so well) - come on, admit that isn't an informed and educatied opinion that many thinking people would agree with. Please admit at least that much folks!
Sorry in advance about the spelling guys...my bad.
"... terrible, horrible, no good, very bad (and career-ending) interview."

I bet she wishes she was in Australia.
@ 8
Helen Thomas wasn't dropped on the US, nor has she dropped white phosphorus on civilians.

I had a Jewish friend who talked about how the Palestinians were the invaders, because they had showed up after the Jews had been displaced. My thought was: And how did the Hebrews come to be there in the first place? According to their own book they fought, conquered, slaughtered and committed genocide to get there.

Honestly, fuck military support.
@19 - Yeah, that much is clear - ancestral homeland and all of that, which European Jews haven't inhabited for 1800 years. After WWII, the Allies needed to put the Jews somewhere that wasn't Germany or Poland (see also @18), hence the UN legal proclamation. Why any of that establishes a moral right for Israel to take the Palestinians' land away and make it a homeland for displaced Jews (instead of, say, giving them part of the US or another willing country) is still not explained, nor why Thomas' views on Israel are particularly offensive.
An 86 year old Lebanese woman doesn't like the Israeli presence in the region?

I'm sorry, but why is this news again?

The Canaanites would like THEIR land back.

Oh, sorry, I forgot - the same religious texts that so many use to assert perpetual land rights also brags about the genocide that Israel successfully committed against the peaceful Canaanite farmers who offered to share their land with Israel.

Oh, well, no surviving Canaanites, no possible land disputes in 3,000 years.

Hey, Palestinians, if Britain and America weren't so addicted to oil, do you think any one would have stopped Israel from committing genocide again for this land? ...just a thought.

Deja fucking vu.
I love Helen Thomas. She's always been good. I have friends -- American Jews -- agree with her totally. Truth is truth.
It's not just insensitive, it's stupidly wrong to suggest that Israelis "go back" to Poland or Germany. Very few Israelis ever lived in Germany or Poland, or even have parents or grandparents who did. Some German refugees made it there, but the Polish Jews pretty much all died. The Israeli Jews come from all around the world, the Soviet Disunion, The US, and from Palestine (where Jews have had a continuous presence since biblical times) and other middle-eastern countries (where they were driven out in more recent times.) Aren't the Sephardim, who are mostly of middle-eastern origin, about 40% of the population now?

The Palestinians got a bad rap, and it may have been a bad idea to create Israel, but it was done, and two generations have been born there. There is no good solution, but the "two states putting up with each other" is probably the least bad.

Anyhow, I'm guessing she was "forced" into retirement because she's 89, and was ready to retire anyway.
Thomas's remarks are ill informed partly because the majority of Israeli Jews are/were originally refugees from the Arab lands around Israel, from which they were forcibly evacuated at the time of the establishment of the state. Something like four and a half million of them, in fact, who were dispossessed of homes and businesses that had been in their families for generations, and sent to Israel with the clothes on their backs. America and Europe look to the European Jews as the settlers of Israel, but the reality is much more complex and she of all people should know that, having lived through the frikkin' Second World War.
Maybe, finally, Helen will be able to have a bowel movement.
Her opinion is incredibly ignorant. My father was born in Baghdad. In the early 1940s his family was among the near one million Jews whose property was confiscated and were forcibly expelled from their homelands in Middle Eastern countries. 38,000 square miles of Jewish land was confiscated by Arab governments in that decade. Providing these nationless people a sliver of land (less than 8,000 sq. miles) in their anscestral homeland as Great Britain carved up its former empire was a rational and moral decision made by the United Nations.
Isn't it expected of old people to say racist things?
Looking at this situation from another angle, Helen Thomas was a respected journalist with a distinguished career that spanned 50 years. As a journalist, she must be held to a much higher standard (much like clergy or politicians...yeah, right) than the average person. As a professional journalist she's entitled to her own private opinions, whether right or wrong, but in order to maintain her journalistic objectivity and impartiality, she needed to keep those opinions OUT of the public forum. For that reason, and that reason ONLY, her decision to retire was the correct one. Hopefully her experience will be an example to other "professed" journalists (are you listening Limbaugh and Beck?).
Oh, and @32... you hit that one on the head! My aged parents drive me crazy with their remarks. After repeated swats on the nose with a rolled-up newspaper, however, they're beginning to learn that I won't tolerate it.
And why not send you on the same boat, she is American born of Lebanese descent and you are American of......descent ?
So in other words, you condone, the Gaza embargo, and the construction of the wall separating the West Bank and of course that your tax dollars instead of being invested in improving your well being is given to a country which has a less than stellar human right record.... BTW I have the dual nationality Greek and Lebanese and your tax dollars has driven me out of my country. by forcing me to emigrate..and frankly I do not know who is worse you or Helen Thomas....
her comments was inappropriate and tactless and sets the question on where the right of free speech begins / ends. I am truly sorry for her and for the Jewish community.
The only place in the Middle East where the Jewish community thrived was in Lebanon, Beirut had up 18000 jews up to 1967 and their school " l'alliance israelite" was one of the most famous one in the Lebanese capital.
FYI, the Maghen Abraham synagogue has been rebuilt (pls check the profile on Facebook) and one of the greatest Lebanese Bank "The Societe bancaire du Liban" was in the hand of the Lawi family ( from Iraq). From Lord Balfour's declaration
His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country".
I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation."


Your honor I rest my case.
"Providing these nationless people a sliver of land (less than 8,000 sq. miles) in their anscestral homeland as Great Britain carved up its former empire was a rational and moral decision made by the United Nations."

The only problem was that there were people living there at the time, who were forcibly displaced. It would have been akin to setting aside 8,000 sq. miles in the western US. It was not "A land without people for a people without land," it was populated already. That said, this is the story of the world: Telling Israelis to "go home" would make as much sense as telling New Yorkers to go back to Holland, or Ireland, or wherever. While it's easy to condemn more recent occupations (Israel/Palestine, Tibet), we tend to forget our own occupation here in north America, which had pretty tragic consequences for the native population. I wonder if everyone who supports Palestine, or has a Free Tibet bumper sticker would be willing to go back to *their* ancestral homeland?
Aside from a few commenters, the historical ignorance on display here is mind-boggling. The opinions sound like they've been crafted specifically to mirror equally ignorant rightwing drooling about Israel's right to exist.

Helen Thomas was forced to retire in disgrace, which she richly deserved. Not because of antisemitism, because anyone with a brain can distinguish between antisemitism and anti-Zionism, but because the ludicrousness of her suggestion shows how ignorant she is of the political situation in the Middle East and in Europe. She's a JOURNALIST for chrissakes. Her job is to know how stupid even the idea of sending all the Jews back to Poland and Germany would be.

Also, to the commenter who said that Germany and Poland are awesome places for Jews today: sure, now that they're essentially empty of Jews there's very little antisemitism. But guess what. Jewish cemeteries are regularly vandalized. Poles are still some of the most antisemitic people on the planet (hardcore followers of Catholic doctrine are required to be antisemites, like Richard Williamson). Only a leftwing nut could believe that you can legislate antisemitism away.
@39 Thank you for expressing what I was too shocked to explain when I posted yesterday.
What if people just stopped being Jews and Muslims and Christians and Buddhists and Deists and Atheists and Liberals and Rednecks and Puritans and Mormons and Quakers and Teabaggers and - well, the list of poor choices goes on?

Helen is sacrificed on the bonfire of the vanities and yet all of the other shameless,pontificating media assholes continue untouched. Please assign proper outrage in the future to those who continue to poison the minds of their susceptible, mindless audiences.
@41 quit posting high, dude
If theres one thing history has taught us, its that sometimes its right for people to take back land that belonged to people that the land once belonged to, many generations removed. And then sometimes its wrong. It has not yet taught us to differentiate between the two.
HT was, what, probably in her twenties when Israel was created BY TAKING LAND FROM PEOPLE WHO LIVED THERE. She's not dumb and she's not racist or antisemitic. She's spent many decades looking into what's going on for her work. She just knows more than most of us. Sounds to me like most of us (you) have drunk the Kool-aid and then took a Kool-aid enema for good measure. Read some effen history.
@37 you're wrong. that is probably the most unintelligent thing written here, and there are a whole lot of unintelligent things written here.
my family, like hundreds of others, is from syria. we had been there since before the spanish inquisition, since late biblical times (if anyone's keeping score, that's longer than the palestinians were in israel). the reason that we are in the united states is because, when the syrian government finally ALLOWED its oppressed jews to emigrate, we were not allowed to move to israel. and we were lucky ones - as another commenter said, things weren't as easy for iraqi, persian, or moroccan jews. there WERE large jewish communities there, but they were forcibly removed.
and you know what? as horrible as that is, i would never tell the people living on what used to be jewish land to "go home." because it's their home now - and it has been for two generations. i would expect comments like Thomas's from white supremacists, neo-nazis, or other right-wing extremists, but not from an educated and respected journalist.
@39 - You were talking partly about me, I presume. Hey - maybe you're right about Poland. I don't claim any first-hand knowledge of the country. I do have some familiarity with Germany, however, and I'll stand my ground on that one: it's safe for Jews to move back. And Thomas mentioned America, too, and "everywhere else."

I think her (and my) larger point still has some merit; any Jews from Europe or America who moved to Israel when they didn't have to (this obviously excludes displaced just-post-Holocaust Jewry, though their children and grandchildren are now in a different category), anyone who helped in the creation and maintenance of the Palestinian West Bank or Gaza Strip concentration (sorry, "refugee") camps, anyone who worked or is working to expand the borders of Israel beyond the minimum necessary - they are in the wrong. Not evil, not plotting the takeover of the world, just wrong. Any people in Israel, Jewish or otherwise, who have the means to leave and have a reasonably hospitable destination available to them should explore that option.

I don't advocate driving anyone out of anywhere - I'm just giving a fairly abstract opinion of what I think is right. I totally admit I could be wrong; I just need to read or hear an argument that will show me that I am. I haven't yet.
"who have the means to leave and have a reasonably hospitable destination available to them should explore that option."

That's you. Go back to you Europe. You and your ancestors killed the indigenous population here in the US and continue to illegally occupy the land, creating horrendous living conditions of the remaining Native Americans. You have the means and a reasonably hospitable destination.

Go now. Do it. When you've moved to wherever in Europe, you can post about how easy it was, and your arguments will have the force of actual experience behind them. Until then, however, telling the Jews to leave Israel while benefiting from the rape, plunder, pillage, genocide, and mass displacement of the indigenous population in this country by *your* forebears is hypocritical, to put it mildly.
Well hi there, Luke (#47). Not to get into a thread-ignoring personal battle or anything, but I feel compelled to respond at least once more. Your point about Native Americans is well taken, actually. But the devil's in the details, isn't it? I mean, the pretty-much-total destruction of most Native American tribes' territories and way of life has been a fait accompli for well over a hundred years. And the size and entrenchment of of the U.S. as a population and economic entity make it a basically immovable object, whatever we think of the injustices done to the indigenous population. My leaving - or even 5 million people just like me leaving (and it sounds like you'd think that was a good idea!) - would be a drop in the bucket and a purely symbolic act. The same cannot quite be said of Israel. If even 2 million - say, the richest 30% - left, it would make a difference.

But really, I don't spend much time entertaining such an idea of immediate withdrawal - it's equally a fantasy. It's more realistic to picture a slow, generational emigration from Israel, with no new Jewish settlers coming in. This can only be accomplished if the dream of Israel starts to die. I'm of the mind that it should; but again, I could be wrong.

Please note my attempts at a civil tone. Less spitty bitter, please - if you want to rail at racists, go to StormFront.
Can we all just agree it would have been much better if after WW II (which is well after the beginning of Zionism) the uprooted Jewish population had resettled in the USA rather than forming an ethnic/religion based nation.on land which the previous colonial masters had managed to promise to the local Jews and the local Muslims?
I don't know. Go to any one of the many reservations which still exist and ask them if they wouldn't want their land back. Two generations or ten, it doesn't really matter. There are people born in Israel who have seen their grandchildren get married there. They are just as firmly settled as you are.
Isn't Helen Thomas the daughter of Lebanese immigrants? Why doesn't she take her own advise, go back to Lebannon, and give her land back to the Natives?
I wasn't impressed by the so-called "different take." He is claiming that liberals got played. That liberals said that Ms. Thomas wanted to send jews to death camps, etc. What horse manure. She is 89 and spoke rashly about a topic she feels deeply about. The blogger is just using this incident, which was decried by folks of all political persuasions, to bash all "liberals" as if liberals all speak with one voice and think one thing. How boring and immature.
@38: If they "forcefully" moved me back to Scotland or France (my "ancesteral homes") I would have no problem. Europe kicks ass and I would totally live there again. (The Native Americans can totes have my small apartment on the hill). But I digress.

I totally agree with Hernandez. It seems that any time you speak against Israel, you are condemned to be an anti-semite. Where is the resignation of ALL OF FOX NEWS for making false, racists, sexist, homophobic comments? Why the hell is an opinion about Israel something that brings down a journalist? I don't agree that we can "send them back to Poland/Germany", but there needs to be a 2 state solution. PALESTINE IS OCCUPIED BY ISRAEL and Israel keeps being an asshole and attacking/provoking Palestine. The amount of money that Israel has vs. Palestine is tragic. Yet they keep bulldozing neighborhoods, and "settling" areas where Palestinians live. WTF? Why can't we critize that?!

I am so sick of hearing about that region, I want it firebombed or nuked (from space, just to be sure). Does this make me an anti-semite? Cause I really hope it is destroyed. All of it. Maybe that is the only way to end the fighting? A nuke from Iran? Or Egypt perhaps?
#29 and #31 Thank you! And while I don't think Thomas should quit, regardless of her stupid opinion on the issue, if she really believes what she says...tell it to someone on a desolate reservation in the mid-west. I'm sure they would have an opinion on where she should go. Oh, and by the way, when I saw the interview the first thing I thought of is why is she not saying they should return to the middle eastern lands of their ancestors orgins and should the people occupying the lands that Jews got pushed out of leave.
I support Helen Thomas's right to exist.