After making controversial statements about Israel, longtime White House correspondent Helen Thomas, who is of Lebanese descent, is coming under fire from colleagues and former White House officials alike. In a May 27 exchange with Rabbi David Nesenoff, which was captured on video and posted last week on the website www.rabbilive.com, Thomas said Israelis should “get the hell out of Palestine” and “go home” to “Poland, Germany . . . and America and everywhere else.” May 27 marked the first ever White House reception in honor of Jewish American Heritage Month, which was created by former president George W. Bush in 2006.
Although Thomas issued an apology shortly after, the columnist is paying for her remarks. Yesterday, Thomas’ speaking agency, Nine Speakers, announced they could no longer represent her “in light of recent events.” Journalist Craig Crawford, who co-authored a book with Thomas, also announced he will no longer be working with the columnist on projects after her “lamentable remarks about Israel.” Former Bush Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said Friday that Hearst news service, for which Thomas works, should fire her. In addition, former Clinton White House counsel Lanny Davis released a statement on Sunday calling Thomas an “anti-Semitic bigot.” “Her statement that Jews in Israel should leave Israel and go back to Poland or Germany is an ancient and well-known anti-Semitic stereotype of the Alien Jew not belonging in the ‘land of Israel’ — one that began 2,600 years with the first tragic and violent diaspora of the Jews at the hands of the Romans,” Davis said.
There have also been calls for the White House to revoke her press credentials. “If she had asked all blacks to go back to Africa, what would White House Correspondents Association position be as to whether she deserved White House press room credentials — much less a privileged honorary seat?” Davis asked.
Nevertheless, Thomas’ comments have gained her new allies. The Hamas terrorist organization praised her for her remarks on it’s website yesterday. “No doubt that Thomas Helen [sic] has told the truth that everybody in the world knows,” Hamas’ website read. “Moreover, her statement serves [the] peace process in [the] -Middle East- as they like to call it, to a very great extent. [The] Peace process will be successful, only when Israel get[s] out of Arab Areas, Golan and occupied Palestine, then we can say that peace is happily achieved, other wise, and as long [as] Israel occupies Palestine and some Arab lands, peace will never be achieved and more headache will be brought to the world by state of terror-Israel.”
In addition, Thomas’ statements are eerily similar to those made by “activists” aboard the Turkish Mavi Mamara flotilla when approached by Israeli soldiers one week ago. After the soldiers warned the flotilla that its vessels are nearing an area under naval blockade, passengers on the ship shouted, “Go back to Auschwitz.”
Helen Thomas’ deplorable remarks are beyond the pale of what should be considered acceptable either in or outside the beltway. The JPC calls on Hearst Newspapers to fire her from her post as a columnist and asks that she give up her special seat in the White House press room.