Mark Hammer

While I do not support her views, at the same time, I find nothing particularly anti-semitic about them. Lacking in historical perspective, maybe, and even more in presentation, but not hateful. At 89, she has watched the entire struggle from the beginning, and I think has every right to ponder if the creation of Israel was ultimately as successful a resolution to the need for safe haven for Jews as it was intended to be, or is merely some sort of temporary or transitional solution. Again, I don’t agree with her, but countries come and go, and she has seen more of that than most of us here. There is nothing teleological or necessary or eternal about any nation, no matter how big or how small, or how much we might like it to be. The places that have offered safety for Jews have varied across history, and some places (e.g., England) have flipped from safe to unsafe, and back again. Is it irrational or bigoted to wonder if the Ashkenaz could thrive again and have another golden era, or if Jews and Judaism might now be safer there than in the shadow of a Hamas and Hezbollah that refuses to disappear?

There doesn’t really need to be an official response to her remarks. They have been publicized enough that anyone reading what else she may have to say with respect to the Middle East or Israel will most certainly take those remarks into account in digesting her columns/articles. She has blemished her own respectability enough among many. Anything added to it is simply posturing by officials who wish to make a show of their disagreement with her. If those officials can’t stand on their record with respect to support for Israel, then folks have bigger concerns than what Helen Thomas says in an offhand remark.