June 6, 2010 at 9:45 pm #102293
This week the Federal Government observes Holocaust remembrance:
Yet “Dean” of White House press corps Helen Thomas says Jews should “get out of Palestine” and “go back to Poland and Germany,” site of extermination of 6 million, just a few decades ago.
I have seen no response from govt. as of yet.
What is your opinion about the need for a response?
Let me just say that I would be equally offended for any group that was victimized by such remarks.
June 7, 2010 at 2:53 pm #102305
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.
June 7, 2010 at 4:44 pm #102303
Thanks for your thoughts. I hear you, but the issue is not one of free speech or intellectual disagreement. The video clearly shows that Ms Thomas hates Israel and the Jewish people and is speaking from hate. My question is, should someone who is a Jew hater (or bigot of any kind) be front and center in the White House press corps. If you look at her Facebook page her photo has the White House seal in the background as well. For better or worse she is aligned with the US brand.
I sincerely believe that such comments would never be tolerated if they were directed against any other group.
June 7, 2010 at 4:59 pm #102301
We’re strongly discouraged from wasting bandwidth on youtube or other streamed media here at work, so I only snuck in a snippet of 1-2 minutes where she was asked the question and responded. There may be a broader conversation to compel the view, which I did not see, but as someone with family that live in Israel and fought in the 6-day and Yom Kippur Wars, and as someone with children named after relatives who perished in the camps, I honestly didn’t hear anything in what she said that I would unambiguously call “Jew-hating”.
Will it give me pause for thought the next time she has anything to write? Sure. Do the specific phrases she used make one immediately think of “Send them back to…” proclamations directed at African Americans or immigrant groups? Absolutely. But when I look more closely, is she in the same league with Holocaust deniers and similar ilk? Not by a long shot. If she was, she would not have included the United States in her listing of places where Jews could go to, other than Israel/Palestine. Usually, when people wish to express antipathy towards any ethnic group, they do not extend an invitation for them to live in the same place as they do themselves.
Ms. Thomas has a LOT of explaining to do, but doesn’t deserve censure.
June 7, 2010 at 5:01 pm #102299
Helen Thomas has resigned after WH called her comments “offensive and reprehensible.”
June 7, 2010 at 6:06 pm #102297
Helen Thomas will be 90 years old this August. When one of my uncles hit his 80’s he started saying all sorts of odd stuff. I saw the clip. Not even close to a “Mel Gibson Moment.” I would cut the old lady some slack. She was a good reporter for a long time.
June 7, 2010 at 6:06 pm #102295
Her remarks were just basically stupid. She is 89 and way past retirement age. She is someone who feels her value as a person is because of her job, so she couldn’t bare to let go.
Sometimes these types of people need to be forced out, and so she has.
As for her remarks;
Over 60% of the Israeli’s who were in Israel when the country was founded already lived there or were from the surrounding Arab states. It’s a myth to think Israel was totally or even mostly founded by Europeans. Although there were some from Europe, most living there were of middle eastern descent.
Infact, more Jews were displaced from Arab countries at the start of the Arab-Israeli war then Arabs were displaced from Israel. The difference is, the Israeli’s settled the Jews. The Arabs have kept the displaced Arabs as refugee’s and poltical pawns.
The country of Jordan (also created by the British when they withdrew) is 80% Palistinian origin.
Rather then send millions of Jews back to their ancestoral homelands in Arab countries, maybe its time the Arab countries take some responsiblity for their Arab brothers and settle them and end the conflict once and forever.
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