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Isn't there some room for Helen Thomas?

Columnist Helen Thomas, a trailblazer for women journalists and one of the few in the White House press corps who courageously questioned President Bush and other officials in his administration on war, torture and U.S. policy toward Israel, announced her retirement Monday. It comes in the wake of a controversy triggered by offensive comments she made about Jews and Israel last week.

It is a sad ending to a legendary career. Thomas was the dean of the White House press corps and served for 57 67 years as a UPI correspondent and White House Bureau Chief, covering every president since John F. Kennedy. During the run-up to the Iraq war, Thomas was the only accredited White House correspondent with the guts to ask Bush the tough questions that define a free press.

In March 2006, Thomas wrote a piece for The Nation, "Lap Dogs of the Press" -- a scathing indictment of the country's leading print and broadcast media. She argued that the media could have saved lives if it had questioned the Bush administration's pronouncements. Instead, the media became, with a very few exceptions, an echo chamber for the White House. "Two of the nation's most prestigious newspapers," Thomas wrote, "The New York Times and The Washington Post, kept up a drumbeat for war with Iraq.... They accepted almost unquestioningly the bogus evidence of weapons of mass destruction, the dubious White House rationale that proved to be so costly on a human scale, not to mention a drain on the Treasury.... [And] both newspapers played into the hands of the administration."

Thomas opened many doors for women journalists; she was the first woman officer of the National Press Club after it opened its doors to women members, the first woman member and president of the White House Correspondents Association and the first woman member of the Gridiron club. In 1998, Thomas was honored by President Clinton as the first recipient of the Helen Thomas Lifetime Achievement Award. She will mark her 90th birthday on Aug. 4.

None of these prestigious firsts or awards protected Thomas from the firestorm that followed her remarks. Time columnist Joe Klein wrote that Thomas should be stripped of her privileged seat in the White House briefing room. Her remarks were offensive, but considering her journalistic moxie and courage over many decades -- in sharp contrast to the despicable deeds committed by so many littering the Washington political scene -- isn't there room for someone who made a mistake, apologized for it and wants to continue speaking truth to power and asking tough questions?

By Katrina vanden Heuvel  | June 7, 2010; 4:36 PM ET
Categories:  vanden Heuvel  | Tags:  Katrina vanden Heuvel  
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Comments

No Ms. Vanden Drivel. Ms. Thomas should have been fired 20 years ago. She is a bona-fide, blithering idiot, one of a generation of "newsmen," who came out of the Vietnam War generation, convinced that they must make themselves the story, not report the story.

And since we're talking about firing known cretins because they speak and/or write gibberish and/or are spokesmen for terrorists, You Ms. Vanden Drivel could well be next.

Posted by: wjc1va | June 7, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Q:...isn't there room for someone who made a mistake, apologized for it and wants to continue speaking truth to power and asking tough questions?

A: Not if she crossed AIPAC there isn't. Nor in congress, or the senate, or elected office in Washington, DC, or prestigious university positions (Columbia), or Hollywood, or anywhere one millimeter left of the Ku Klux Klan.

Posted by: HarpoDC | June 7, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

One comment made at the end of one's life shouldn't discredit a lifetime of trail blazing on behalf of women's rights. Ms. Thomas will always be a heroine for me. Thank you for opening the doors for other women journalist, Ms Thomas. May all your good work never be overlooked. Great piece, Ms. vanden Heuvel.

Posted by: MarylandJ | June 7, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Ms.Thomas spoke from heart and considering the oppressed nation who was given refuge by making residents of Palestine living for centuries REFUGEEES.
It is a political and journalistic career suicide to speak the truth when it comes to the state sponsored TERRORISM, APARTHIED,CONCENTRATION CAMPS,OPPRESSION and RUTHLESSNESS committed by the European immigrant Israelites.
Ms.Thomas has SPOKEN for many who are scared to tell the TRUTH.
Long live Ms.Thomas.

Posted by: iftakhar | June 7, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Helen Thomas was forced to retire after making anti-Zionist comments in an interview not anti-Jewish or anti-Semitic. Helen never even uttered the word "Jew" in that interview.

Only people who are ignorant equate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism.

Even Nathan Birnbaum, the man credited with coining the word Zionism turned against it in his later years. Together with my grandfather Henri B. van Leeuwen, an Orthodox Jew, they published a newspaper in the Netherlands the late 1930's called 'Der Ruf' which argued like Helen Thomas that European Jews had no right to move to Palestine and displace the Palestinian people who had been there for many generations.

This week I demonstrated with hundreds of other Jews in Los Angeles to protest Israel's attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla murdering 9 people. Does that make us all anti-Jewish or anti-Semitic?

I love and support Helen Thomas. She is my hero and absolutely right! Too bad that now there will be no one in the White House Press Corps to ask the hard questions. It's a real loss for the American people.

Posted by: krpomer | June 7, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

To wjc1va -- get your facts straight. Ms. Thomas has been a journalist for 57 years -- many many years before the Vietnam War.

Posted by: MarylandJ | June 7, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

This 'speaking truth to power' mantra is so banal that it borders on a basic lack of intelligence. Everybody likes the idea when the 'power' is something or someone else. Nobody likes the idea when they themselves are the 'power' being spoken against. The mantra is applied with the same inconsistency, rendering it a rather hypocritical tool used by folks who either have a stunning lack of self-awareness, or a stunning ability to rationalize hypocrisy. Ms. Thomas held the place she did for as long as she did because she was the 'power' that few of her colleagues would speak against.

Ms. Thomas didn't make one little slip of the tongue. Her anti-semitism has been known and whispered about for some time. Being a 'pioneer' doesn't get anybody off the hook for holding opinions that are woefully uninformed and unresearched, and using a prominent perch to proselytize such views.

There's a basic difference between forgiving someone for something bad, versus absolving them of all consequences, particularly when their level of repentance is questionable at best. Ms. Vanden Huevel would be wise to remember that human 'heroes' are still very human. To forget this is to risk allowing our allegiances to become blind and irresponsible, even in the face of something as repugnant as Thomas's antisemitism.

Posted by: mbcnewspaper | June 7, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Helen Thomas isn't even worth thinking about except that she is a growing example of Americans who either always were or are becoming anti-semetic. In that regard she is frightening.

She meant what she said and giving an apology doesn't seem appropriate or honest; her retirement doesn't make things better. Her opinion is a growing problem and spoken or unspoken it has become the elephant-in-the-room.

Posted by: smitten1 | June 7, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

To preempt the inevitable whining that Ms. Thomas's First Amendment rights are being violated, no, they're not. She will not be arrested, charged, prosecuted, convicted, or sentenced for voicing her odious opinion. She has freedom of speech here, unlike in any Arab country. But nobody is required to pay her for it.

Posted by: PhilThijou | June 7, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Katrina, you are hopeless. I have no idea why WaPo hired you. You are the least intelligent person I know. And that includes my dog.

Posted by: Skkye | June 7, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

"isn't there room for someone who made a mistake, apologized for it and wants to continue speaking truth to power and asking tough questions"

Is there room, for a Ku Klux Klan blogger in the White House Press? He would speak truth (as he believes it to be) to power. He would ask "tough" questions. If he suggested that abolition of slavery was a mistake and is the root of most American urban problems - would the Post accept his apology, and make excuses for him? Helen Thomas has not, for a very long time, been a newsperson. She has been a polemicist for the New Left.

Posted by: dante99654 | June 7, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Katrina, helen was your kind of gal...
lets hope when you reach 90, your hatred doesn't show...
and you start blinking...
btw, smile...

Posted by: DwightCollins | June 7, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

If she had prefaced her remarks by stating "as someone with a Lebanese background i feel..." her remarks would have been placed in a personal context that allows for emotional heat. Perhaps one problem is the pretense that this personal context has been considered inappropriate to discuss until a situation like this occurs - I suggest the personal both should not and really cannot be excluded.

Beyond this, the best outcome would be for Thomas to stand by her statement and stay in the game. I disagree with her but I'd rather she be 'out-front' and her opinions clear than to have her forced out for them. It seems to me this only plays into the hands of those who already believe the media is controlled...

Posted by: mike_dallas | June 7, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Heuvel you should be fired too for your support for that old racist Helen Thomas. Her colleagues call her the dean of the American press if that is true what a sad state of affairs our white house press corps is in.

Posted by: efdelaney | June 7, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

I find it AMAZING the LEFT Leaning Press can offer to "Give Helen Thomas a Break" with such utterly reasonable statements like "Let's face it we all have said things -- or thought things -- about "other" groups of people, things that we would not want to see in print or on video. Anyone who denies it is a liar. " yet at the same time reserve scathing and remarkable vitriol toward anyone on the political Right who may stumble or make a similar misstatement. The level of transparent hypocrisy is simply astounding and further detracts any credibility those leaning left have. There is no room for this type of stupid racist comments whether meant or not – this is the standard we have been made to apply to all situations so the LEFT should accept that it now applies to them too.

Posted by: JamesAttardo | June 7, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

thank you katrina for your thoughtful commentary on helen thomas' retirement. she was the only journalist who asked the obvious and demanded answers that did not insult her intelligence... its sad to her career end on this note. someone will carry the baton she left.

Posted by: waytogokatrina | June 7, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Good riddance.

Finally we don't have to put up with her any more.

.

Posted by: ZZim | June 7, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

I agree this is a tragic end to a long and distinguished career. But some mistakes cannot be corrected. We unfortunetly live in a time of jackels who lay in wait to pounce upon human mistakes. Others watch and cheer from the sidelines while the victim is torn limb from limb. Whilest other jackels seeth at the fate of one of their own watching and probing for weakness in the enemy pack for the moment when they can hand out a similiar fate to one of them.

and on and on it goes......

Posted by: kchses1 | June 7, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Frankly,
The only thing here sicker than Helen Thomas's comments is this article defending her.

This is not about her love for the people of Gaza, this is about her hatred for JEWS!!

Notice this has nothing to do with ISRAEL. Israel as a government makes mistakes...she wants the JEWS to leave!

So to Helen Thomas the problem is not with Israel, its with the Jews.
Do not see the fundamental issue with this and why a woman like this is the absolute reason why the something like the Holocaust was even a possibility?

And this is an article from a "prestigious" paper.
Disgraceful. Get it together humanity.

Posted by: Stark817 | June 7, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Are you insane, Ms. Vanden Kibble? If a Fox News reporter said that Mexican-Americans should "go home" to Mexico, he would be lynched. If Rush Limbaugh suggested that African-Americans should return to Africa, he would be decapitated. Helen Thomas is no different from Hamas and Hezbollah: She believes that the sovereign nation of Israel should be destroyed. R.I.P., Helen.

Posted by: rwe123 | June 7, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

It is interesting how even in the 21st century the Israeli Palestinian conflict comes down to ethnic background. Even most Arab or Islamic intellectuals (e.g. Edward Said, Rahid Khalidi) are swayed more by their emotional ethnic and tribal ties, rather than by the history of the conflict. We are indeed not all generic human beings, but remain members of ancient tribes, even while we build space telescopes and new nations.

Posted by: captn_ahab | June 7, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Did isrl apologize for the masacre of the nine peaceful aid workers including one American, for attacking and hjacking an aid ship on the high seas? No.

Helene words did murder any one:She spoke the Truth and nothing but the Truth.

Words don't break bones;jewish bullets do-and take lives evry day.

Posted by: asizk | June 7, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

She's almost 90; why was she working when the country has an unemployment issue! Let her enjoy her golden years! Perhaps it was her time to retire. This will make room for one unemployed journalist to get a job. As much as I disagree with her comments, she had the right to make them but at the same time she lost her right to be an "unbiased journalist"! Letting her go was the only option here.

Posted by: Mike-Klein | June 7, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

It is so convenient to drop the inclusion of the U.S. as one of the
countries the Israeli-immigrant-carpetbaggers should return to.
Helen Thomas dared to give a different view on issues that are
presented in a one-sided AIPAC approved editorializing form of
so-called "neutral journalism." "Neutered journalism" would be
more accurate. Where is it written than the inhabitants of Palestine
who happen also to be semitic (it refers to linguistics) have no
human rights? Hogwash is what sells in American media circles.
These semi-literate writers half her age and totally minus her
experience should apologize. She could write from Israel with
more press freedom than is allowed in the U.S. of Apathy.

Posted by: doloressandovalPhD | June 7, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

There is no room for Helen Thomas. None. Her apology fell far shy of addressing the content of her comments, which were not only stupid and grossly inappropriate, they were heartless, cruel and last but not least, wrong. I trust she will fade into obscurity as she deserves.

Shame on you for even suggesting that there is room for Ms. Thomas after her egregious remarks.

Posted by: amn624 | June 7, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

What happened to Free Speech in this country, as in "I may not agree with what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it"?
I am also a journalist and am entitled to voice my views--in print if I write editorials (and those would be approved by my publisher), but also in speech, in public, whenever I care to do so --and whatever I care to say--as a private citizen.
Being a journalist doesn't mean I don't have personal opinions. Ms. Thomas did not say, "Speaking for my employer Hearst, "Get out of Isreal'". She voiced that opinion as Helen Thomas, citizen. Agree or disagree with her views, but she shouldn't lose her job over it.
A storied career killed off by ambush journalism in this tabloid-hungry society. So a legend falls. What a shame to see such a pioneer go down over an personal opinion.
Thanks for a lifetime of work, Ms. Thomas, and helping women kick down the door.

Posted by: Kathlenw | June 7, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

jews are banking on this Helene bonanza:they hope it will distract from irsli masacre and piracy on the high seas-it won't.

Posted by: asizk | June 7, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

krpomer is exactly right. Israel has sought to conflate itself with Jewishness over the years, in large part as a way of securing support from the American Jewish community. Things like Birthright Israel trips for young Jewish Americans are intended to foster a sense of unity behind a particular political agenda.

But Zionism is not Judaism. I may be Jewish but I'm not Zionist, because my values are more important to me than my tribe.

Posted by: jeffwacker | June 7, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

It's OK for a pro Arab reporter to be in the White House Press Pool. Many reporters have different world views. We can all live with hers.

What's not ok is to have someone who is clearly way past her prime monopolize a spot that could be better filled by a reporter who is at the peak of his or her profession. There are limited spots and Ms. Thomas has been called on by Presidents because of her seniority much more than her insights have deserved this past decade or two.

If this was just a single incident by Ms. Thomas, she need not resign. However, Ms. Thomas has been embarassing herself with her diminished capacity for quite some time. She has literally been the gorilla in the room no one wanted to acknowledge.

Her employer, and readers who found her valuable at some point in her career, should thank her for her service without recrimination and be thankful she won't be exposing her diminished capactity in such a high profile way again.

I'm sure there's another reporter who has more to contribute than Ms. Thomas at this point in her life. Ms. Thomas seems to be in desperate need of privacy.

Posted by: jfv123 | June 7, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Short answer to the "forgive" question: Absolutely not! She's OUTTA-HERE! Hope she has a reservation in some Aryans-only militia sponsored nursing home somewhere in the wilds of Idaho, because clearly, she's not welcome anywhere here in D.C. anymore.

And, lady, you'd better get your morally ambiguous little fanny on the right side of history, or you'll be next!

P.S. Don't start in on me; I have almost 40 years of my hard-earned tax money invested in the state of Israel. I've read all of Leon Uris' books, saw the movie, and sang my little 12-year old heart out - "God gave this land, God gave this land to me."

Posted by: donmotaka@comcast.net | June 7, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

I am constantly bewildered at how the WaPo Comments attract such an array of haters. Although I agree with the sentiment that anti-Israel or anti-zionism does not, necessarily, make one an anti-semite, but, alas, the two oft-times go hand-in-hand.

In any case, I cannot understand this hatred for the Jewish race, as illustrated by Richard Cohen's recount of Patton's diaries and how holocaust victims were treated after the war. Putting the modern state of Israel aside, let's recount the wars of agression launched by the Jewish people in the name of their religion. Umm, can't think of any. Great crimes against humanity for religious purposes? Mass killings?

Then we have 1948. Thousands of people were expelled from their homes because of their religion--the Jews in Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Syria, etc. No one was expelled from Israel because of their religion--they voluntarily fled, many hoping to return after the slaughter of the Jews following the preemptive assault on the new Jewish state.

As for Helen Thomas, hopefully she will be judged fairly by history, with some ground given due to her age when she made these remarks, but at the same time she should not be adjudged a journalistic great merely because she was a beneficiary of the civil rights movement of the 60s and broke into journalism at a point when women were first being accepted. She was one of the first female White House reporters and one of the longest lasting, but was she fair and balanced (as a UPI reporter should be)? Was she "good" in her craft? I don't know, but I do get the sense that she has been cut a lot of slack because of her sex (yes, seriously) and her longevity. Again, she should also be cut some slack because her age and mental health may have played a part in her comments.

Finally, I am curious as to whether the people that are now taking Thomas to task and citing her past history have reported on this earlier.

Posted by: GOPDAD | June 7, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if everyone would have been freaking out if Ms. Thomas had wanted the Palestinians to get out of the West Bank?

Posted by: BrooklynDemocrat | June 7, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if everyone would have been freaking out if Ms. Thomas had wanted the Palestinians to get out of the West Bank?

Posted by: BrooklynDemocrat | June 7, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse

In a word, no. Thomas has always been an activist more than a journalist. It wasn't enough for her to report the news - she wanted to affect the news, even make the news. She willingly participated in the political games played here in Washington DC. And now, like any other political player who foolishly shoots his or her mouth off in front of a camera, she is paying the price.

Posted by: Bugs3 | June 7, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

She's a Leftie. Only other Lefties need
forgive her; but why would they? Would
it not be hypocritical for them to do so?
After all, their politics is her politics.
Obama and his minions are doing everything they can to undermine the safety of Israel.
The U.N. is also reeking of hypocrisy. They
hate Israel, but they created Israel.

Posted by: HHawks | June 7, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

The vitriolic stupidity of some of the comments here is alarming. They show no tolerance for the old and no sense of balance or nuance. I'm a Jew, not a Zionist, and I resented Thomas comments over the weekend, for which she quickly apologized.

But this wholesale condemnation of Thomas by commenters is just stupidity. She did ask tough questions of those in power and was and is a pioneer.

Eventually, when one of you is effected by the mistakes of those in power and there is no adversarial press to expose it, you will regret having condemned Thomas and her independence of mind.

What happened over the weekend was if anything a tragedy, because of Thomas' service to this country.

Posted by: michaelterra | June 7, 2010 6:00 PM | Report abuse

The columnist fails to point out that Thomas's racist spewing had followed decades of same. Periodically, Thomas would vomit up racist gunk, and the media establishment would turn a blind eye.

It had too end, and she did not get that. One cannot blame her because she had been given a free pass on racism on so many other occasions.

She had and has the right to her own views on Israel-Palestine, and no one objected to her airing them. No one.

HOwever, as is always the case with racism, one ultimately goes to far. That was the case with Trent Lott, and it is the case with Helen Thomas.

Posted by: farnaz_mansouri2 | June 7, 2010 6:00 PM | Report abuse

"Made a mistake"? She expressed outright bigotry and outrageous insensitivity, not to mention a total lack of understanding of history. She could be forgiven for her ignorance, but not for her hatred. She didn't even apologize for real--she said she regretted what she said and the words sounded pat, dry, and as if they'd been written by a press agent. It was a non-apology apology.

Posted by: LevRaphael | June 7, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

The short answer is no. Your article displays factual disconnect in its very premise:

First, she did not apologize or retract her statement, she "regretted" the statement. She did not apologize for the hurt feelings or the clear implication of anti-semitism it conveyed. Could she be forgiven? Perhaps. But first she should show some real remorse.

Second, during the run up to and conduct of the Iraq war, she did not speak "truth to power," she spoke OPINION to power. She did not present additional facts or figures to support her claims, she made wild and baseless comments that were as irrelevant and unsupported as they were outlandish.

Third, her past accomplishments (and there are many) have no bearing on her current situation. If she were accused of plagiarism or another sin of journalism, you could argue that her body of work mitigates her act, but her advocacy for ethnic cleansing ("tell the Jews to get the hell out of Palestine") is not an error of journalism.

She enjoyed a position of prominence in the WH briefing room because of her past acts. But just as it takes a bad accident to convince the kids it's time to take grandma's car keys away, it was made apparent that it was time to take her seat away and send her off to the retirement she should have taken years ago.

The fact that she was just factually wrong in her assertion is only a minor point. Did you know (since she doesn't) that nearly half of Jews living in ISRAEL are not voluntary emigres from Europe or the U.S., but those (and their offspring) expelled from ARAB countries?

A person who makes an honest mistake and repents should be forgiven, but that is not the case here.

Posted by: wiggidywack | June 7, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

The forgiving Ms. Vanden Clovenhoof...

I'm sure she would be defending Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh, etc. if they had used exactly the same words as Helen.

Helen should be forgiven for being a stone cold anti-semite because she's been such a staunch down the line Leftist all these years.

Posted by: drjcarlucci | June 7, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Send Ms Thomas to the nearest GLUE FACTORY. And you can accompany her for that matter Ms. Vanden Heuvel as you aren't much better.... 8-)

Posted by: moonchild64 | June 7, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Wow...wjc1va must be hex code for "Glenn Beck". It's a shame; Katrina made so many cogent, intelligent points but they just couldn't stand up to the crushing wit of "YOUR RETARDID!" Bravo, random internet neocon. Bravo.

Anyway, every time Ed Henry or O'Reilly or some other Pavlovian Lapdog gets to talk about Helen, they also get to avoid talking about the flotilla or drone attacks or whatever they SHOULD be talking about. In a funny way, they're vindicating her by trying to control the message and smear her. She isn't Mel Gibson and random comments aren't four bullets in the head of a teenage aid worker.

Posted by: rusty12 | June 7, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

My assumption is that Helen Thomas was talking about people with DUAL citizenship, and not every Israeli.

I don't think anyone --of any religious background-- should receive dual citizenship based on religion. Period.

So I just assumed Ms. Thomas was stating people, like, say Americans that go to Israel and claim ownership should go home.

If I'm right in this regards, then there's nothing wrong with her statement.

If she was stating that ALL Jewish people should leave Israel, then I disagree and think that's discriminatory. But, there's nothing from her comments that lead me to think she is talking about every single Jewish person.

Posted by: TruthPoster | June 7, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

No, no for a man, woman, old, young, legend, newbie, feminist, conservative, etc.
Tired of the free passes because someone is old. An ass is an ass.

Posted by: dcjayhawk2 | June 7, 2010 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Her departure was long over due.
Next will be Barry Boy.

Posted by: nychap44 | June 7, 2010 6:33 PM | Report abuse

An act of forgiveness to an 89 years old veteran journalist would be graceful. The hateful grudge and disrespectful comments about her only reinforce negative stereotypes. She is almost 90, give her the pride to fight it till the end! She would have retired by now if she wanted to retire. Even if you disagree with her views, she is an example of endurance and determination!

Posted by: voice02 | June 7, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse

I consider Helen Thomas's remarks nothing more than an emotional outburst fueled by a deep frustration. It's not like she makes policy for the United States.
I forgive her. Which means I did take offense and was shocked in the first place, else I would not be able to forgive her.
In no way should her long career and all her contributions to so many people be entirely tainted by this one display of her raw emotion.

Posted by: cms1 | June 7, 2010 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Clearly, no.

Posted by: Everyman2 | June 7, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

If I want to be forgiven, I need to do the same for others. Helen Thomas made a big gaff. So have I in my life, and so have you. I am not excusing what was said. But for all the work she has done for journalism, this country, and for advancing women in that field, I am willing to give her some grace on this one. Who am I not to. It could happen to anyone. At least she had enough class to apologize. And in Washington, admitting that one is wrong is a rare commodity.

Posted by: lincoder4 | June 7, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse


Most annoying in this thread are the agists who think that only people of a certain age should have positions to earn money.
First and foremost, Helen Thomas worked as a columnist for Hearst, a syndicated position. As such, she was not taking away work from someone of a more politically acceptable age (and I say that with a very strong degree of snark), she was continuing to do what she has always done: Write about presidential politics.
Why shouldn't she be able to do that at age 90? It's not a daily reporter's grind, it's a columnist's position, a perch that gathers followers, not occasional daily readers. Who can even name two or three current White House reporters? The vast majority of them are less than noteworthy. But, they're of 'acceptable age' and therefore deserve to be part of the gang.
Worse, this corps of reporters deciding to publicize its own political leanings, scrawls and signs a half-witted petition, a consensus statement of sorts, describing outrage over the Thomas remarks. Where were these same reporters last week when the ship was ambushed? Oh, silly me. I shouldn't even ask that question, Israelis are never terrorists.
Why are Americans supposed to love Israel --warts and all -- at all costs and villify anyone who utters opinions to the contrary?

Posted by: tallulahQ | June 7, 2010 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Helen Thomas doesn't need forgiveness and nor were her remarks offensive.

Those who disagree with her remarks owe Palestinian people the apology.

Why did the US condemn the Palestinian people anyway?

Posted by: MysteryMovesWashOut | June 7, 2010 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Truthposter, I got exactly the same impression from Ms. Thomas's comments. And anyone who has visited the Occupied Territories knows the impact of foreign-born Jews who take up the Israeli government's offer of citizenship and subsidized residency in settlements on Palestinian land.

Membership of a religious organisation as a criterion for citizenship is antithetical to the notions of equality upon which the US was founded, and there is no good reason for the US to endorse such policies when implemented by others.

Posted by: windswept | June 7, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

vanden Heuvel:

First of all, none of you should be journalists if you don’t have the guts to ask the tough questions - get out of this business and go do something with guts, somewhere else.
Secondly, Helen Thomas can also go the hell back to Libya where she belongs. Apologizing makes no difference; her likes and dislikes did not change. I’m sure she feels the same about all minorities living in America. What a stupid way to end a…thousand-year carrier! Who in his right mind would say what she said to RabbiLive.com??? And who in his right mind keep a 90 yrs old fossil at the White House Correspondents Association? Her brain fried up long time ago!

Posted by: eelectraa | June 7, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

vanden Heuvel:

First of all, none of you should be journalists if you don’t have the guts to ask the tough questions - get out of this business and go do something with guts, somewhere else.
Secondly, Helen Thomas can also go the hell back to Libya where she belongs. Apologizing makes no difference; her likes and dislikes did not change. I’m sure she feels the same about all minorities living in America. What a stupid way to end a…thousand-year carrier! Who in his right mind would say what she said to RabbiLive.com??? And who in his right mind keep a 90 yrs old fossil at the White House Correspondents Association? Her brain fried up long time ago!

Posted by: eelectraa | June 7, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

vanden Heuvel:

First of all, none of you should be journalists if you don’t have the guts to ask the tough questions - get out of this business and go do something with guts, somewhere else.
Secondly, Helen Thomas can also go the hell back to Libya where she belongs. Apologizing makes no difference; her likes and dislikes did not change. I’m sure she feels the same about all minorities living in America. What a stupid way to end a…thousand-year carrier! Who in his right mind would say what she said to RabbiLive.com??? And who in his right mind keep a 90 yrs old fossil at the White House Correspondents Association? Her brain fried up long time ago!

Posted by: eelectraa | June 7, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Q:...isn't there room for someone who made a mistake, apologized for it and wants to continue speaking truth to power and asking tough questions?

A: Sure, just like if she'd popped off sending all the Blacks back to Africa during the Black History Month ceremony at the White House... that would be ok too, right?

I mean clearing an area of a racial group to keep the area more racially pure; that's just a minor gaffe and not at all a problem, right?

Or is it only ok when she does it? Is it only ok to be that openly racist looking for racial cleansing when they're Jews?

Go ahead, clarify why this call for racial cleansing of the Middle East really isn't that bad.

"Send the all back where they came from!". Go ahead and explain why that comment - word for word - is ok for this circumstance, but wrong when the KKK says the same thing.

Or will we be defending the KKK's goal of racial purity as well?

Posted by: gekkobear1 | June 7, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

I wonder how she managed to walk around under the weight of that great nose.

I have seen comparable noses in the Middle East and parts of Germany, but nothing to equal that.

If we could add a bit of lighting material, we could save billions in electric bills, and Thomas could continue to serve her country.

Posted by: farnaz_mansouri2 | June 7, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Helen Thomas has always been the old batty lady in the attic. She is ignorant, prejudiced, and stupid. George Bush was the only President who was sensible enough to not pander to her and her stupidity.
Today, I bet he's got a big ole grin on his face, and he deserves that.
Helen Thomas is the face of the ignorant masses, and she is gone!
Hooray!!!!!

Posted by: johndoe21 | June 7, 2010 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Not surprising that a semi-Bolshevik like vandenHeuvel would defend Helen Thomas. The Nation magazine is ANTI ISRAEL BECAUSE FOR BOLSHEVIKS ZIONISM IS MERELY BOURGEOIS NATIONALISM. OF COUHRSE ARAB NATIONALISM IS OK.

Posted by: ravitchn | June 7, 2010 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I forgive Helen for being wrong. It is not Poland or Germany to which the Ashkenazi criminals should return. It is Russia.

Posted by: usnr02 | June 7, 2010 7:24 PM | Report abuse

To those calling Helen Thomas "anti-semitic": Strictly speaking Ms.Thomas, being of Lebanese stock, IS herself a member of a semitic group. In the vernacular, of course, "anti-semitic" is often used to refer exclusively to Jewish people.

Helen Thomas is a very old lady, and I don't blame her if something she no doubt heard her parents say thousands of times suddenly popped out of her mouth. I don't know whether she meant it. But I rather think that Ms.Thomas tends to agitate for those she believes are being abused, and yes, there is something to be said for the suffering Palestinians have endured and still endure at the hands of the Israelis.
And I think Ms.Thomas focused on that factor and made a slip of the tongue, as we all are wont to do now and again.

Posted by: martymar123 | June 7, 2010 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Helen Thomas manifests today's media.
The reporting on the blockade by Israel of Gaza to secure its own borders is a right, a right of survival in hostile surroundings, reports in the western media seem to be very biased to say the least.
The fact that the Israeli commando's came under attack was never reported, Israeli commando's boarded the vessels to secure them and take them to the Israeli port for inspection, it seems your press people reported verbatim what happened on the vessel from just one side.
Why have you not equated this with President John F. Kennedy's demand that the Russians remove all bases from Cuba and the blockade introduced at that time.
Similarly if Israel allows this it will be nothing more then inviting terrorism to your doorstep.
Today's press fails to see the other side of the coin, the Iranians are now using this as an excuse to ask the word to "punish" Israel, and everybody knows the Iranian views on Israel today.
The other party involved is Mahathir Mohammed of Malaysia, this is the man who just recently said, "the Jews should be periodically massacred," and that seems to have gone unnoticed in the western press, he may be a nobody, but this man exerts a lot of influence on Islamic radicals and that will explain the presence of terrorists planning activities in Malaysia as was witnessed prior to the bombing of the twin towers, and the fact that the masterminds of the Bali bombings were actually Malaysian his own ex-political secretary was one of those on board one of those vessels.
He has a lot to do with the Perdana foundation, the sponsor of the vessel that flew the Malaysian flag.
Helen Thomas is but one of you who are more apt to reporting just about anything without verifying its contents, just so that your sensational news hits the stands first and is reported, she also represents the ordinary American whose views are being slanted by your kind of reporting.
I hope you remember the picture of the blood stained Israeli, sitting beside an Israeli soldier who was reported to be a western journalist, one of the reasons for the start of the intifada.

Posted by: toffeesturn | June 7, 2010 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Wow. Helen Thomas is the new punching bag today. I hate to break it to you, but she's a fairly opinionated old woman, much like your grandparents. Far from politically correct, and an opinion columnist (please...let's not forget that). I think what she casually said, was 50 percent foolish. Every Jew magically returning to the lands that they were thrown out of is a naïve solution to Israel and Palestine's many issues. I would rather that she had opted for the one state solution. Both nations merged, and no religious agenda in politics. It's a tall order, but it really needs to happen. No Likud. No Hamas. People just living their lives the way they want to. Is that so rough? Is it...in 2010?

I can forgive Helen. She's been covering this Tom & Jerry nonsense, that we had a big helping hand in, for the better part of her life, and I'm sure it's pretty irritating to her, that it's still going on. I'm not giving her a pass on her ill chosen words. I just can recognize that she's sick of it, and really...we all should be. All of us. Right now.

Posted by: doctormario | June 7, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Interesting, V-H, that you fail to note UglyHelen's completely biased blathering. While you laud her for castigating the press re Bush II, you are utterly silent on HER silence on the press's adulation of Obozo. Goose and Gander mean anything to you?

Posted by: segeny | June 7, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse


For Israel-Firsters, a good Hellen Thomas is a Dead Helen Thomas.

For decades she was the beacon of journalism, feminism, a good watchful eye denouncing the abuse of power or the madness of politicians and their crazy wars, Iraq and Afghanistan being the latest examples.

But once she crosses the line: Criticize Israel (which is her right, folks, without going as far as referring to the first amendment), it's immediately a cry of outrage and a flak barrage of incendiary missiles.

They would have blown her to pieces had she been on board of one of the peaceful vessels trying to bring some relief to the people of Gaza.

The same outraged voices, starting by the Wa Po shills didn't utter a word of condemnation. Some even not only "ubderstood" Apartheid Israel crimes, but were glad to see blood being shed -be it american, and asking formore.

The moral of the story?

For some hacks, words are more lethal than dum dum bulets.

Posted by: bekabo | June 7, 2010 7:47 PM | Report abuse

In this case, Helen Thomas has simply passed the ideal age for retirement. Her remarks really were over the top and not justified. She could be forgiven personally, but professionally we need to hold her accountable. Her belated retirement is probably the best for all involved, especially for her successor.

Posted by: AgentG | June 7, 2010 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Helen Thomas was obviously referring to occupied Palestine (i.e. West Bank & Gaza) when saying that the Israelis should "get the hell out."
I concur 100%.
Of course, since AIPAC owns the president & the congress, not to mention their stranglehold on corporate media, there is a thousand times more outrage over Thomas' remark than there ever was over Israel's "Operation Cast Lead" massacre of 1000+ Palestinian civilians or the murder of several civilians (in international waters) on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla last week.

Posted by: pointy | June 7, 2010 7:50 PM | Report abuse

America owes Helen Thomas an unreserved apology.

She exercised her right to free speech. That was her crime.

The AIPAC bootlicker Robert "two chins" Gibbs must resign immediately!

Posted by: rasterfreeart | June 7, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

'You could well be next'. That apparently irony-free threat just about sums things up.

Posted by: galb | June 7, 2010 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and has the right to express it. However, even if you are 89 years old you still have to expect there will be consequences for what you do or say.

I too would like to see a better situation for the Palestinians. But given the climate and realities of the times I think her comments were not consistent with continuing employment in the news industry.

I don't think Ms. Thomas is the type who wanted to go gracefully.

Posted by: RedBird27 | June 7, 2010 8:01 PM | Report abuse

We as Americans have always supported Israel with billions of our tax dollars. I am tired of supporting the apartheid policies that have caused so much suffering to Palestinian people. They have the right to live and thrive as much as the Israelis. I'm sorry to see Helen Thomas retire because she simply made a truthful statement.

Posted by: fabricmaven1 | June 7, 2010 8:04 PM | Report abuse

NO need to forgive Helen and ABSOLUTELY no need for you to apologize for her.

In fact, she should be given the medal of freedom. For having the courage to speak the truth on an issue on which there is NOBODY, who has the guts to say what she said, but pretty much EVERYBODY with any common sense knows to be true.

No Katrina, if you dont have the courage to acknowledge the truth Helen laid out as she always does, you do a serious disservice to her and to yourself by apologizing for her.

Posted by: RandomGuy | June 7, 2010 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Katrina vanden Heuvel is as familiar with the definition of “mistake” as Helen Thomas is with the history of the Jewish people in Middle East and Europe.

For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The only “mistake” Helen Thomas made was to be caught on camera advocating a new solution to the Jewish problem. (The last one did not quite take, eh, Helen?)

Little wonder that American journalism is in the doldrums when the esteemed editor of Nation is more concerned about the remembrances of moxie than other things past, such as the horrific consequences of the ideas such as those voiced by Helen Thomas.

Posted by: Andrea5 | June 7, 2010 8:06 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, being in a job for 57 years is no excuse for not doing your job. Maybe she should have railed against her own incompetence. Or maybe, like some in congress, she just got too old for the job and too full of herself and her --status- to walk away with some dignity. Now it is too late. Other deans of news or opinions should learn something from her appropriate downfall.

Posted by: floridanco | June 7, 2010 8:13 PM | Report abuse

It takes a great deal more courage to buck this country's official line and policy on Israel which generally allows about as much open and honest discussion on Israel/Palestine as a gang of rapists allow in discussion of women's rights. For that alone, Helen Thomas deserves recognition for bravery. Yes, Helen Thomas allowed her anger to trump a more nuanced assessment of the issue. But as a member of Jewish holocaust family I am not offended nor do I see her remarks as "anti semetic". The defenders of the militaristic Zionist state and all their decades of brutal suppression of Palestinians (and slavish devotion to all the reactionary U.S. wars and interventions) will no doubt continue to scream anti semite any time anyone criticizes their bankrupt project, but their behavior is earning them mine and many other peoples' contempt for their anti-human policies and actions.

Posted by: bennoa | June 7, 2010 8:16 PM | Report abuse

I agree with almost everything you said Katrina, excpet that I don't think Thomas made a mistake.

I think she spoke the ugly truth in appropriately ugly terms.

She's 90 years old for fuch-sake. She doesn't need to be polite. There's nothing more refreshing than a lady with 90 years of wisdom derived in the highest eschelons of power, with all her wits about her, who doesn't owe anyone anything, and isn't angling for the next job.

This is a woman we should all listen to - however ugly her message.

Posted by: kurthunt | June 7, 2010 8:18 PM | Report abuse

In this era, your rights of free speech stop when you say the wrong thing about Israel.Gotta love the White House, HT's words were reprehensible; the execution of an American citizen in international waters with 4 bullets to the head was regrettable and needed to be investigated. By the Israeli's of course. Helen Thomas should be the one apologized to and given her front row seat back. If this administration or its press corps (hah!) had a spine, that's what would be happening. If only she'd been caught on camera bragging about having waterboarded an Arab she'd be receiving kudo's instead of condemnation.
Makes one proud to be a 'merican.

Posted by: mecormany | June 7, 2010 8:21 PM | Report abuse

In the cold light of day, Helen Thomas deserves recognition for her considerable accomplishments. And she also deserved to be fired for her remarks.

Posted by: zcezcest1 | June 7, 2010 8:21 PM | Report abuse

If Helen Thomas were not a hard-core left-winger, Ms. Vanden Heuvel wouldn't be so forgiving. Can you imagine how she would be frothing at the mouth if a Republican had been caught on video saying the exact same thing?

Evidently, to Ms. Vanden Heuvel, spouting left-wing orthodoxy insulates you from ever having to say you're sorry--no matter what you do. Call for ethnic cleansing of Jews, whatever. Doesn't matter.

That's how the Islamists are literally getting away with murder. They know exactly which buttons to push among the androids of the left.

Posted by: sinz52 | June 7, 2010 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Forgive? Forget? My sack is pent up and waiting for this troll van hateful to kiss me.

Posted by: carlbatey | June 7, 2010 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Thomas is an imbecile. The Palestian arabs where the ethnic group created in the 20'th century. Prior to that, they where a bunch of Jew hating Jordanian muslim arabs who merely want to take Israeli land and drive the Jews into the sea. That is their ethnic distinction. Thomas and and her fellow Jew haters here seem to think Jews are recent arrivals to the Mideast. Despite mass migrations to Europe, they have been there for thousands of years. Basic history. Oddly enough, they generally got along ok with the muslims some time ago. Commom enemy at Constantinople till 1453 probably helped.
History and politics aside, why would anyone take the side of these hamas etc scum anyways?

Posted by: jm125 | June 7, 2010 8:37 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Vanden Heuvel asks if there isn't room for someone who made a mistake and apologized for it. Was that her attitude toward Trent Lott? Of course not. Would that be her attitude toward someone who suggested American Latinos go back to Mexico or African-Americans go back to Africa? Don't be ridiculous. Helen Thomas gets a pass from Ms. Vanden Heuvel because being anti-Israel and even a tad anti-Semitic is an accepted view among the left-wing crowd Ms. Vanden Heuvel hangs out with. If Helen Thomas is the crazy old aunt at the White House, Ms. Vanden Heuvel could be her crazy middle-aged niece.

(Thank goodness for spell-check: the word is "aunt").

Posted by: Rob_ | June 7, 2010 8:37 PM | Report abuse

She exercised her free speech rights, to express her sincere, though unpopular opinion.

Every day on the radio and cable TV, the usual suspects say much more hateful things. I don't see Gibbs giving them a hard time.

They beat up on a 90 year old lady. Bunch of cowards.

Posted by: garrykanter | June 7, 2010 8:39 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for giving Helen the benefit of the doubt. There are many worse people striding the corridors of Washington who said worse than this. But everyone rushes to condemn her. Helen was right about a lot of things including the fact that the Isrealis should get out of Gaza and stay out.

Posted by: observator1000 | June 7, 2010 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Wow! So much hate towards an elderly lady who made a faux pas. I really thought people were better than that...

Posted by: voice02 | June 7, 2010 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Suggesting Israeli Jews go back their countries of origin, because you are dismayed by their oppressive militarism toward innocent Palestinian women and children, is an expression of conscience. It is not realistic, it is just like, "we're going to take our country back." Whether it bothers Jews should not come into play except that they might not bother to listen to Helen Thomas again.

So everyone, you must now tuck you conscience up high between your legs, along with your balls.

Posted by: AIPACiswar | June 7, 2010 9:02 PM | Report abuse

No. Those remarks were so offensive that even I who have been very sympathetic to the plight of the Palestinians was offended. A person who sits in the White House daily should know better. Clearly, she is a terrible bigot and she spoke from her heart. She deserves whatever she gets.

Posted by: WhatAWonderfulWorld | June 7, 2010 9:03 PM | Report abuse

I'm an Orthodox Jew (not Hasidic) and I completely agree with Helen.

It's really unfortunate that no one in the media, including this writer, Vanden Heuvel has the guts or courage to just respect Helen's opinion - instead they all have to put in their disagreement with her before saying anything else.

Helen's choice of mentioning Germany and Poland were obviously poor, but she clearly had no problem listing the US and everywhere else - obviously demonstrating she doesn't have a problem being with Jews, she just disagrees with the occupation. It's interesting how people that criticize her, keep referring only to Germany and Poland and completely ignore the fact that she said the US and everywhere else - pro-Zionists conveniently not characterizing things accurately - what a surprise.

The fact is that the State of Israel goes against fundamental Jewish beliefs, but the temptation to have ones own country, even though we are in exile and have been for the past 2000 years has clearly overtaken all sense of right and wrong. Hence Zionists/State of Israel does anything - murder, lie, cheat, steal - whatever it takes - to control the land - regardless of how much suffering it causes.

I also echo the many comments that it's disgusting that in a country where "Freedom of Speech" is claimed to be a cornerstone of the countries values - one cannot ever say anything against the State of Israel - and if they do - every politician better call that person anti-semitic, regardless of whether they are or aren't or they will themselves be called anti-semitic. And anyone with an opinion against the State of Israel and voices it, must apologize. Where's the Freedom of Speech?? Where's the right to have an opinion??

What Israel and Zionists do, does not, in any way, reflect Jewish beliefs - Judaism and the Torah do not support the murder, terrorizing and suffering that the Palestinians suffer on a daily basis - and in fact Jewish beliefs state the exact opposite - unfortunately it's very, very hard to know this given what the State of Israel does in the name of Judaism.

Posted by: MarkS55 | June 7, 2010 9:05 PM | Report abuse

I think the press and elected leaders have been excusing the remarks of this aging
has been for too long. Ms Thomas' tongue finally caught up to her and she reaped her just rewards. The old hag just needs to fade away.

Posted by: NewEra | June 7, 2010 9:05 PM | Report abuse

Wow! So much hate towards an elderly lady who made a faux pas. I really thought people were better than that…..

Posted by: voice02 | June 7, 2010 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Trust-Fund Euro-Socialist --


You forgot to attack Israel.

You feeling OK?

Cheer up -- attack small businesspeople. They have to work, and you (D) and OWE-bama (D) don't.

NOV. 2 -- FIX THIS MESS (D)

Posted by: russpoter | June 7, 2010 9:13 PM | Report abuse

The question is which Helen Thomas should we believe. The one who spewed mean spirited rage at Jews as occupiers of Palestine at a Rabbi and his children or the one who wants peace and understanding for all people of the middle east which she says is her true feelings deep within her heart?

Many commentataries here indicate that they believe the Helen who wants the Jews to get the hell out and go back to countries that exterminated millions of them. And that is why they love and respect her. They don't mention the peaceful desires that dwell in her heart.

The fact is, Helen Thomas is only retiring from one news outlet and she is not dead yet. She has plenty of time to rewrite her obituary and whether she is ultimately forgiven is up to her. She can actually become a true engine of peace. Apparantly many many people who say that Israel has the right to exist really in their heart of hearts do not believe that. They frequently list all of the to dos for Israel that would make its existence okay, but if Israel actually did those things it would quickly bring about the demise of Israel. So many people, like Helen want it both ways. Just as Ms. Vanden Heuval. I think it easier to deal with those who do not think Israel has the right to exist openly than those who profess the belief in Israel's right to exist but then relentlessly demand that they follow through on actions that would be tantamount to committing national suicide. Perhaps Helen can sort this all out now that she presents herself as a living example of this tortured duplicitous logic.

Posted by: maddymappo | June 7, 2010 9:15 PM | Report abuse

There's double standard here. If Americans of Jewish ancestry are allowed to regularly place Israeli interests above American's, then I don't see anything wrong with Miss Thomas expressing her frustration with atrocities happening in the ME on the heels of the high-sea incident. Afterall, she's of Lebanese ancestry. This case has such parallelism with Jimmy Carter's incident and, incidentally, in spite of his misadventure, Jimmy Carter is still a Nobel laureate.

Posted by: KT11 | June 7, 2010 9:17 PM | Report abuse

"Wow! So much hate towards an elderly lady who made a faux pas. I really thought people were better than that….."

Hmm. Why is she allowed to spew hate speech, yet those who criticize her should be "better than that". Helen Thomas is the one who should be better.

I love these cases when we get to see liberal hypocrisy in action. You clowns accuse anyone who disagrees with you of bigotry with no evidence, yet you give an avowed bigot a free pass. No wonder the country is so disgusted with liberals.

Posted by: bobmoses | June 7, 2010 9:31 PM | Report abuse

Shut up, Katrina, you communist hack. What a low life you lead when your heroes are people who attack George w. Bush

Posted by: chatard | June 7, 2010 9:35 PM | Report abuse

That was fast....noted leftists and antiSemitic liberals sure are circling the wagons around Helen Thomas fast.....must be that trust fund liberal socialist network at work....

Kinda like Bill "Weatherman" Ayers and the Gaza Peace Flotilla....the left never misses a chance to show their true antiSemitic colors.

If you support and endorse liberal Democrat antiSemitism....vote for a Democrat this Fall....

If this kind of thing disgusts you, then don't.

Posted by: georgedixon | June 7, 2010 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Don't shoot the messenger.

It's the message that offends. But the message is TRUE!

Posted by: kurthunt | June 7, 2010 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Clearly some of these commenters haven't advanced much past kindergarten - the last time silly name-calling left much of a mark.

Posted by: mattintx | June 7, 2010 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for this column, Katrina. Helen Thomas is a national resource. We can't afford to loose her because of one idiotic remark. She's wrong to think that Jews could just vacate Palestine. On the other hand, the Balfour Declaration was incredibly problematic and its provisions intended to protect the Arab populations of Palestine were ignored completely.

And I agree with an earlier comment: would there be this much of an uproar if she called for Palestinians to go to Jordan?

Posted by: rkokelly | June 7, 2010 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Heuval,
We have never met, though I have seen you once briefly, on a clip, defending Obama, in one situation. Then, I read, your editorial in The Nation, to what were the consequences to Obama, if Obama added more troops in Afghanistan. Now, I have skimmed this article. In my life, I have never read, heard or seen a "journalist" perform more acts of self righteous arrogance, by applying intellectual jiujitsu. Simply in order, to contort any issue into their beliefs, while not even realizing that gravity, does exists. In your mind, you must think you have achieved the zenith of your career. Though in reality, your statements are mere talking points to medicate your selfish, spoiled existence. You clearly can justify any act, action or position, by using your linguistic calculus, which you never had to actually show proof of. Aside from uttering your memorized algorithms, which are not actionable, or meant for social conversation or discussion, nor do they even produce an ounce of substance, to tempt one's mental appetite. So every morning you drag yourself out of your bed, so people can watch you perform, your decaying addiction, to yourself. What a sad and mechanical life!

Posted by: tsg31 | June 7, 2010 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Katrina -- sometimes an action is so reprehensible that no matter how glorious an individual's performance or contributions that preceded it [and I do NOT grant that to Ms. Thomas], all of that is washed away by the singularity of the offense. This is one of those cases. You sound like the old excuse for Mussolini "He made the trains run on time". Disgusting.

Posted by: CREEBOLD | June 7, 2010 10:00 PM | Report abuse

If Helen Thomas had said something hurtful about Palestinians instead she would still have her job. We already lost all of our real investigative reporters. Greg Palast had to cross an ocean to get a job. Now they have made the Washington Press Corps safe from disquieting questions so the government and the multinational corporations will tell us what to think and we won't be bothered by anybody in the press anymore.

Posted by: dan_underhill | June 7, 2010 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Israel is a state, which is not the same as a people. As such, it deserves to be criticized for its actions without counter-accusations of antisemitism (BTW Arabs are semites too).

We only hear one side of the story in the USA, and it's becoming blatantly obvious that any departure from the Israeli story of perpetual victimhood--even when it acts with great inhumanity--will be met with a swift firestorm.

Helen Thomas' comment may have been extreme, but her defense of Palestinians and their homeland made a point that people should at least be able to hear. She has a record of courage.

The argument that there is no Palestinian people or state is based on a distortion of history: true, it was just a province of the Ottoman Empire, but by that definition the Lebanese, the Syrians, etc.--and the Israelis--would be defined as "not a people or a state" either. Cruel.

Posted by: feridarbandi | June 7, 2010 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Yup, go ahead, forgive her and give Thomas your job. You are the typical liberal knucklehead who says up is down, inside is outside. I'm sure the Compost would hire a white dude who said, "All Blacks should leave the U.S. and go to Africa" or "All Hispanics should go back to latin America".

The truth is that the left has had a long and dark alliance with Islamofascists against the Jewish people. It started in Nazi Germany, continued with the Soviets, progressed back to Europe through the radical socialists (remember the Baader-Meinhof Gang, and others), and has become mainstream leftist mantra.

There's no room for bigoted and hateful people like Helen Thomas who advocate and promote the Nazi/leftist/Islamofascist viewpoint in a civil society. Let her go work for Al-Jazeera or the Taliban.

Posted by: freepost | June 7, 2010 10:12 PM | Report abuse

HEY Skkye - you blithering retarded pile of fecal matter, you obvioiusly wouldn't know intelligence if it was shoved up you sideways. Ms. Vanden Heuvel has more brains in a single lovely black hair than you have in your whole head you repulsive ignorant lowlife. Go find a tea-party rally and read New Busters or some other rag that caters to filth like you.

Posted by: CheneyinChains | June 7, 2010 10:16 PM | Report abuse

HELEN ... HOW CAN WE LITTLE PEOPLE THANK YOU FOR SO MANY YEARS OF SERVICE?

Posted by: BarukhObamawitz | June 7, 2010 10:18 PM | Report abuse

I think Helen Thomas has a posed a question that implies a solution to an issue that has cost the world immensely in terms of deaths, misery, trillions of dollars. And, in some circles, perhaps leading to the use of nuclear weapons and a religiously motivated apocalyptic war in the middle east. Perhaps a better alternative is to give the Palestinians some sense of dignity and a homeland themselves instead of suggesting that Israeli's leave Israel. Forcing her into retirement over this seems to overplay the hand of the AIPAC and the Israel Lobby.

Posted by: mickster1 | June 7, 2010 10:19 PM | Report abuse

Katrina asks "isn't there room for someone who made a mistake?" Nope. And if Helen Thomas is as sharp as Katrina contends (she's an "award-winning" journalist by god),Helen already knows the answer. WaPo will rue the day it signed up Katrina to play to the wack jobs on the left...absolute stupidity.

Posted by: boomer131 | June 7, 2010 10:21 PM | Report abuse

She's wrong to think that Jews could just vacate Palestine. On the other hand, the Balfour Declaration was incredibly problematic and its provisions intended to protect the Arab populations of Palestine were ignored completely.

And I agree with an earlier comment: would there be this much of an uproar if she called for Palestinians to go to Jordan?

Posted by: rkokelly
------------------------

rkokelly - how about spending some time with your nose in a book and reading up on history? Have you ever read the Balfour declaration? Do you know any of the historical context? The modern Middle East was a creation of western Imperialist powers, namely France and Britain in the aftermath of WWI. Apart from Israel, which had a historical basis, none of the other countries had any real sociological context with the exception of Egypt. If you happened to know anything then you'd be aware that the original mandate referred to the territory which encompasses both modern Israel and Jordan. The majority of the mandate (modern day Jordan) was divided by Britain and given to the Hashemite family of Hejaz (originally from Saudi Arabia) in reward for their rebellion against the Ottomans (Turks). The Hashemites were displaced after a rival clan, the house of Ibn Saud took over Saudi Arabia. Isn't it ironic that no one questions the legitimacy of Jordan?

Anyhow, that's just the beginning and before you spout out your nonsense, spend some time learning the real facts.

Posted by: freepost | June 7, 2010 10:30 PM | Report abuse

She's wrong to think that Jews could just vacate Palestine. On the other hand, the Balfour Declaration was incredibly problematic and its provisions intended to protect the Arab populations of Palestine were ignored completely.

And I agree with an earlier comment: would there be this much of an uproar if she called for Palestinians to go to Jordan?

Posted by: rkokelly
------------------------

rkokelly - how about spending some time with your nose in a book and reading up on history? Have you ever read the Balfour declaration? Do you know any of the historical context? The modern Middle East was a creation of western Imperialist powers, namely France and Britain in the aftermath of WWI. Apart from Israel, which had a historical basis, none of the other countries had any real sociological context with the exception of Egypt. If you happened to know anything then you'd be aware that the original mandate referred to the territory which encompasses both modern Israel and Jordan. The majority of the mandate (modern day Jordan) was divided by Britain and given to the Hashemite family of Hejaz (originally from Saudi Arabia) in reward for their rebellion against the Ottomans (Turks). The Hashemites were displaced after a rival clan, the house of Ibn Saud took over Saudi Arabia. Isn't it ironic that no one questions the legitimacy of Jordan?

Anyhow, that's just the beginning and before you spout out your nonsense, spend some time learning the real facts.

Posted by: freepost | June 7, 2010 10:33 PM | Report abuse

Forgiven? Sure, but her tired, rhetoric is pathetic. Since she has not been a news reporter for years, but rather a commentator - why was she in the front row anyway? Should Rush, Beck, Markos and Olberman be in the front row too?

Let the tired, inept lady get out and make room for new blood.

Good riddance!

Posted by: dricha8548 | June 7, 2010 10:37 PM | Report abuse

"...isn't there room for someone who made a mistake, apologized for it..."
===============================
As many a white man will tell you, "No, there isn't."

Surprising, Katrina, that you don't see that it is people like you that created the zero-tolerance politics that you now find unfair.

Posted by: spamwich | June 7, 2010 10:41 PM | Report abuse

Helen Thomas is senile and should have retired YEARS AGO! She is NOT respnsible for her brainlessness! Get a drift! She's so OLD she looks like the wicked witch of the west!

Posted by: Maerzie | June 7, 2010 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Helen Thomas is senile and should have retired YEARS AGO! She is NOT responsible for her brainlessness! Get a drift! She's so OLD she looks like the wicked witch of the west!

Posted by: Maerzie | June 7, 2010 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm, seems I left something out from my previous comment.

Ms. Thomas apologized, but White House spokesman Robert Gibbs denounced her comments as "offensive and reprehensible." Her press corps colleagues with the White House Correspondents Association issued a rare admonishment calling them "indefensible."

Offensive. Reprehensible. Indefensible.

Read up on the definitions, Ms. Vanden Heuvel. There is no room for Ms. Thomas no room at all.

Posted by: amn624 | June 7, 2010 10:56 PM | Report abuse

perhaps, ms. thomas cannot be forgiven because she is a convenient scapegoat for members of the washington press corp and many of our politicians . Richard Cohen, in his column in today's post titled "What Helen Thomas missed.
Her remarks revealed how little she knew about the Jews and Israel." reports that these same press corp members and politicians have known of ms thomas' pro-arab/anti-semitic/anti-zionist views for years and tolerated them.

so why now is she and are her views no long tolerated? can it be that the washington, and the world's, press corp and our politicians now have cover for their rush to judgement against israel? did they or at least some covertly share and once-again act on their pro-arab/anti-semitic/anti-zionist views in condemning israel. were they concerned that as the facts surrounding law week's events are examined and digested, not only will we all take to heart the YouTube hit "We Con the World", but we will realize that the press' and politicians' supposed secretly-held views and prior acts (or at least toleration of such acts by others) resulted in the deaths of those 9 members of the gaza flotilla? that, had hamas not known that the press corp and politicians shared their views, it would not even have attempted the sting?

yes, indeed, Mr. Thomas: "... another teachable moment!"

Posted by: snmir1 | June 7, 2010 11:04 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Van den Heuvel exemplifies the ironic saying "Justice for thee--mercy for me."

We all preach forgiveness to those who we see as fellow tribesmen (however you conceive your tribe to be), while thundering fire and brimstone for those in the enemy tribe, even if they're doing exactly the same thing.

I think Thomas needed to retire because saying what she said to who she said it to in such a public circumstance means that she's losing her marbles.

Especially since it was factually incorrect. As wiggidywack pointed out hours ago in this comment thread, nearly half the Jews in Israel are those expelled from Arab countries around 1948, along with their descendants.

There is no more "right of return" for the Palestinians to what is now Israel than there is for all those Jews who were driven from their homes and businesses at the same time, and in greater numbers, in fact.

When the Arab countries volunteer to return the lands and businesses and citizenship taken from all those Jews and their descendants, I will take seriously the Arab countries' demand that the Palestinians get their lands and businesses back.

As a side note, I'm honestly perplexed by the American left siding lockstep with the Islamic dictatorships of North Africa and the Middle East--countries that wouldn't tolerate the speech or lifestyle of American leftists for a millisecond if they were under the power of those whose rights they champion.

However, I'm not perplexed by all the right wing trolls who pepper every comment thread--regardless of topic--with crazed rants against the President and the Democratic Congress. It's just more tribalism.

America is lucky that a plurality of voters are neither "conservative" nor "liberal." Comment threads like this prove it.

www.blogzu.blogspot.com

Posted by: ehkzu | June 7, 2010 11:08 PM | Report abuse

For all the phony outrage about Helen Thomas's words here is the balance. Last year the IDF massacres Palestinian civilians in a raio of 100 for every one IDF person killed and when a Zionist Human Rights Judge correctly faults the IDF in a detailed report which he then defends to the US Congress, in writing, word for word, space for space, out pours phony out rage. The US Congress not to be seen as left behind all this bends over with joy to veto the report some thing like 300 to 1.
Then a week ago the IDF kills 9 unarmed civilians in International waters in an unarmed humanitarian aid ship and again its either silence, denials with phantasmagorical alternative versions or phony outrage.

And now Helen Thomas calls a spade a spade by both identifying the problem and giving the solution, merely as a reporter addressing the atrocities of the illegal and brutal Israeli settlements on Palestiian land in 2010. Again phony out rage.

Its not Ms. Tthomas who is in trouble, she has enjoyed a blazing career and exited the way she worked, blasting the facts. It is you the IDF/Right Wing Israeli administration supporters who are in trouble, we the onlookers dont believe your phony outrage anymore. We also know that it was not the Palestinians who were responsible for the terrible pogroms that you use freely to justify the bloody treatment of your neighbours whose land you occupy.

Posted by: Shoeflinger | June 7, 2010 11:15 PM | Report abuse

The Nation is 100% supportive of Israel being eliminated just like antisemite Katrina. Katrina, you couldn't be a bigger hypocrite and phony, along with the rest of the hate spewing left. How such undisguised bigots can write for so-called mainstream papers like the Post speaks volumes about where this country is going

Posted by: MrRealistic | June 7, 2010 11:17 PM | Report abuse

So for 57 years Ms. Thomas made no remark about Jews and/or Israel. But now she did and her detractors in the media have drummed her out. Well done. I'm sure you're all so proud of your work. Nixon tried to get rid of her years ago, but he failed. So you succeded where Nixon couldn't. Nice trick that. And she didn't kill nine protesters this week. Way-to-go men!

Posted by: farrellfam | June 7, 2010 11:28 PM | Report abuse

For the 100,000th time: anti-Zionism is not the same thing as antisemitism.

Posted by: crm1951 | June 7, 2010 11:41 PM | Report abuse

farrellfam: "So for 57 years Ms. Thomas made no remark about Jews and/or Israel. But now she did and her detractors in the media have drummed her out."

Please check the record. That's simply not true.

She hasn't been drummed out. She's retired in the wake of her shameful comments. It was the most honorable choice she could have made given the circumstances.

Posted by: edgydc | June 7, 2010 11:45 PM | Report abuse

Really. Just go to YouTube and search for "Helen Thomas" + "Israel." It's an education.

Posted by: edgydc | June 7, 2010 11:46 PM | Report abuse

I predict Helen Thomas masks will be all the rage this halloween. Makes me shiver just to think about it. AIIEEE!

Posted by: pyellman | June 7, 2010 11:47 PM | Report abuse

I have admired Helen Thomas for years. But making excuses for her is unacceptable. Anyone who says a group should go back to where they came from suffers consequences. Why should Helen escape consequences when she said Jews should go back to Poland and Germany, where they were killed?

Posted by: DWinFC | June 7, 2010 11:55 PM | Report abuse

Yes, there is room for old helen. It is padded. I hope she stays in it.

Posted by: davidka | June 7, 2010 11:57 PM | Report abuse

No. There is no space for KKK or for Antisemites...May she go into retirement in peace( if her bigotry lets her)

Posted by: huntyrella | June 8, 2010 12:05 AM | Report abuse

For the 100001st time, "anti-Zionism" is veiled antisemitism. These people don't just want the Jews out of Israel, they want them dead. If you don't know that, you're either disingenuous or not particularly bright. Useful idiots...

Posted by: CaveCanem1 | June 8, 2010 12:10 AM | Report abuse

She could use her nose to house the homeless.

Posted by: farnaz_mansouri2 | June 8, 2010 12:16 AM | Report abuse

Likewise anyone who preaches that Palestinians should be removed from the land of their birth and "shipped home" should be banished from public life for bigotry.

Posted by: politbureau | June 8, 2010 12:17 AM | Report abuse

More than any aspect of this affair, I'm shocked at the speed with which she got fired. This shows the immense power that the Israeli bloc has. It took about 24 hours to get her fired and only mere noodnik (Ari Fleischer). Fleischer carries water for the AIPAC; he has Israeli citizenship, raises funds for Israel, strongly supports the Iraqi War (which is favored by Israel) and has very close ties to important conservative groups. And the main stream media are petrified to raise its voice in support of Ms. Thomas.

Posted by: Paaa | June 8, 2010 12:18 AM | Report abuse

I believe that when President Nixon nominated a mediocrity not unlike Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court, he gave the excuse that even mediocre persons deserve a chance. Like you, Katrina, Thomas was a mediocrity of limited intellect. There is room for her among the cretins who inhabit the White House press corps. There is no place for anti-Semites with neo-Nazi tendencies so she had to go. The fact you are sympathetic shows you either agree with her racism and bigotry or realize you are about to become the biggest airhead left in a profession replete with them.

Posted by: isleofworld | June 8, 2010 12:48 AM | Report abuse

Wow, from the comments from the Lefties, you would think that the WaPo comments section was hosting an O.D.E.S.S.A. Convention or something!

"Die Fahne Hoch!"

Oh well, Helen did always sound better when she spoke in her native German....

Posted by: section9 | June 8, 2010 12:48 AM | Report abuse

Thomas is factually incorrect: at last 40% of Israelis came from Arab countries after being expelled en masse in 1948.

How is their "right of return" any less of a right than that of the Palestinians?

This isn't an Israel vs. Palestine issue. It's a Morocco+Libya+Tunisia+Egypt+Sudan+Saudi Arabia+Yemen+Hamas+Hizbollah+Iran+Syria vs. Israel
issue.

www.blogzu.blogspot.com

Posted by: ehkzu | June 8, 2010 12:49 AM | Report abuse

Oh, look: another disaster named Katrina.

Given that she's such a pioneering woman, isn't there some room for Helen Thomas? Sure; there'd have been a perfect space right next to pioneering female director Leni Riefenstahl had she not passed away a few years ago. It's a shame she did, as I'm sure they'd have found they had a lot in common. And, in case Ms. Riefenstahl's English wasn't so good, Thomas could have explained that all she said was "Juden raus!" which would have made Ms. Riefenstahl feel like it was the old days.

Ah, the friendship that could have been...

Posted by: scottcpan | June 8, 2010 1:14 AM | Report abuse

Sure there's room for Helen Thomas! She can have her very own blog. Just not a front row seat at the White House briefings. Don't you believe in rules against hate speech?


Posted by: athorpe | June 8, 2010 1:30 AM | Report abuse

OH KATRINA, KATRINA! THERE YOU GO AGAIN!

You are so far Left, that you fail to see the hypocracy of the views which you state today.

WHEN IMUS MIS-SPOKE ABOUT AFRICAN-AMERICANS, THE ONLY BREAK HE WAS GIVEN WAS TO BE FIRED, AND THE FIRESTORM WHICH THE LEFT WHIPPED UP WAS MEMORABLE.

TRENT LOTT, NEWT GINGRICH, SARA PALIN, JUST TO MENTION A FEW, HAVE EITHER BEEN FORCED TO RESIGN OR OSTRACIZED BY THE PROGRESSIVES ON THE LEFT.

BUT WHEN "POOR HELEN THOMAS" MAKES A REMARK ABOUT THE JEWS AND ISRAEL, WE
SHOULD ALL JUST BE NICE AND GIVE HER A PASS.

The hypocrasy of the LEFT is as usual drawing on the good old double standard. Well, that double standard will no longer be accepted, and now the LEFT must be called to stand up to the same scrutiny as the RIGHT has been called upon to do all these years.


With all that's going on in this country, enough has been said about HELEN THOMAS. She's appropriatly resigned, and now time to move on. TOO BAD THAT SHE TURNED OUT TO BE SUCH A BIGOT.


Posted by: barrysal | June 8, 2010 1:40 AM | Report abuse

Helen Thomas said what she thinks about Jews, only before Obama she feared to say it. Now she decided the time is ripe. Thomas is advocating the destruction of the Jewish state, but the "liberal" van den Heuvel thinks nothing of it. It's no biggy. That's saying much about what it means to be a "liberal" in America today.

Posted by: arik67 | June 8, 2010 3:28 AM | Report abuse

Would you say the same if she said any of the following:

All black people should go back to Africa
All Hispanics should go back to Mexico
All Asians should go back to China

Of course not, and note that not all hispanics come from Mexico and not all asians come from China. Just like lots of Jews are born in Israel or other Arab countries that they were kicked out of.

The only difference is the involvement of Jews, that somehow makes this comment less reprehensible.

Posted by: specialkaye33 | June 8, 2010 4:05 AM | Report abuse

I remember watching Helen during the President Kennedy press conferences, and I considered her an idiot who just wasted the President's time, although he handled her very graciously and often with a hilariously humorous reply.

As she aged, she never changed. Although there is truth in many things she has said; even recently.

I hope she writes her memoirs.

Posted by: musicwizard1 | June 8, 2010 4:09 AM | Report abuse

Maybe she should not have answered the Rabbi's question. Maybe he should not have published her answer. Or maybe, he should have considered her opinion and thought about why she had it.

Posted by: lodgekeepers | June 8, 2010 4:26 AM | Report abuse

Thomas should have been sent to the old folks home years ago. But, instead, they let the racist hang on until she had her Campanis and Jimmy The Greek moment.

Posted by: MrFriendly | June 8, 2010 4:51 AM | Report abuse

Don't cry for Thomas. Next year she will be receiving the Nobel Peace Prize for her remarks.

Posted by: manbearpig4 | June 8, 2010 6:04 AM | Report abuse

"Speaking truth to power" Well, that tells us where you stand. More like "speaking bigotry and prejudice to like minded fools".

Posted by: icheney | June 8, 2010 6:18 AM | Report abuse

Ms. Thomas is 89. It's time for her to retire. Her slip of the tongue is a sure indicator that her mind isn't as sharp as it should be if she didn't know better than to not say what she did.

Posted by: stephendclark | June 8, 2010 6:24 AM | Report abuse

No, Ms. Vanden Huevel, there is not room for Helen Thomas. And the reason there is not is because of political correctness. invented by and pushed on the world by liberals such as yourself. Helen Thomas was hoisted on her own liberal petard. There will be room for her comments when there is room for conservative reporters to make equally offensive statements that reflect their true thoughts.

Posted by: RedderThanEver | June 8, 2010 6:30 AM | Report abuse

No, there's no room for Thomas. Her remarks are remarkably ignorant and in the vein of "go back where you came from" that people of prejudiced and bigoted mindsets use. She's had her time, so let her retire.

Posted by: Puller58 | June 8, 2010 6:49 AM | Report abuse

Helen Thomas is "legendary" only in the sense of longevity. What stories did she break? What journalism did she do that remains? She was a hack who became an old hack.

Wait! She's legendary now, a legendary crackpot. Her crowning achievement.

Posted by: loop9004 | June 8, 2010 6:56 AM | Report abuse

No surprise that a leftist like Heuvel would support a like-minded liberal such as Thomas, even after showing the world her hateful anti-semitism. Thomas was a biased farce for decades and, like many in the senate and house, should have retired long ago.

Posted by: kirnosnorbin | June 8, 2010 7:28 AM | Report abuse

Why, oh why, do Jews like Vanden Heuvel continue to support anti-semites like Thomas? Why? What are they thinking?

Posted by: Jimeo722 | June 8, 2010 7:40 AM | Report abuse

Let's see: Israel commits piracy and murder in the high seas, and the outrage is directed at a journalist who said that Israel should withdraw from occupied lands.

Posted by: AMviennaVA | June 8, 2010 7:53 AM | Report abuse

This 'incident' proved her bias against Israel. It showed clearly that she spent her career biased and why she was Hezbollah's representative in the White House Press Corps. Plus she was factually incorrect. Jews have been in the middle east for millenia. Didn't the Roman's crucify Jews, including Jesus, in the Middle East, and not Germany, Poland, and America? How about that?

Posted by: thelaw1 | June 8, 2010 7:59 AM | Report abuse

Rasterfree, mccormany, garrykanter, and especially all you professional journalists grieving for Thomas's lost free speech rights:

Helen Thomas's right to free speech remains unscathed. She spoke freely. She will be able to speak her mind at anytime for the rest of her life, without fear of being forcibly silenced by violence or imprisonment. But to exercise freedom of speech rights without prudence and discretion is to leave oneself open to the criticism of others, who are exercising their own right to free speech.

Freedom of speech does not come free from consequences. The Constitution does not guarantee that anyone can say anything at any time and expect no repercussions. The company which employed Helen Thomas has a right to end her employment. The college from which she graduated has a right to distance itself from Thomas and her opinions. The rest of us have the right to agree or disagree with her and with each other.

We have free speech rights too.

Posted by: SaraLR | June 8, 2010 8:05 AM | Report abuse

Thomas committed the ultimate sin. She stayed too long. She served well and and made her contribution. Now it is someone else's turn. My guess is that she knows it, too.

Posted by: formerrepublician | June 8, 2010 8:11 AM | Report abuse

"one of the few in the White House press corps who courageously questioned President Bush and other officials in his administration on war, torture and U.S. policy toward Israel"
What courage? The woman was the toast of the cocktail circuit. Everytime she decided she wanted to attack someone who wasn't a raging Leninist, some lefty sent her a case of champagne. Real courageous there Helen. Suddenly we elect Obama and the war is no longer an issue? The troop surge in Afghanistan, the use of predator drones, the total lack of response and action in the aftermath of biblical scale floods in Tennessee (oh, nobody heard about it? No speaking truth to power there?). Courage would have been to ask Barack about his broken promises, to challenge people who her lefty friends didn't embrace. Helen never did anything courageous, and was just barely honest since her leanings colored every single word she wrote.
I am tickled pink that her legacy will be that she is an anti-semite. Funny how the Jews should get out of Israel (ever read the account of Moses Helen? Didn't exactly happen in your lifetime.) but the illegals shouldn't get out of Arizona. How about standing with the people on the US side of the border, Helen. Oh yeah, no political gain there. That would have taken true grit.

Posted by: GOPlady | June 8, 2010 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Just another example of the lefts tolerance of racists and bigots as long as the term liberal or progressive fits the person spitting their hateful comments. At least she was honest about her true feelings and refreshing she took her "I'm tolerant of everyone mask off. It blows my mind why Jews vote for these people when they have nothing but hate for Jews. Is this where all the old nazis went? The Democrat party? To defend this old Jew hating crone is lost on all of us except those who think like Helen.

Posted by: elcigaro1 | June 8, 2010 8:38 AM | Report abuse

It is one thing to criticize Israel's policies, and had Helen Thomas simply done that, she would be at the White House today. It is quite another thing to say, in so many words, that the state of Israel is illegitimate and all Israelis should be expelled to places like Germany and Poland where millions of Jews were murdered not so many years ago. The fact that so many people cannot see this clear and obvious distinction -- or, more likely, refuse to see it -- is telling.

Helen Thomas' hateful remarks, and the loud support she is receiving from the anti-Israel amen corner, are serving a useful purpose. They are showing us that the real objective of the anti-Israel crowd is the destruction of the Jewish state and the expulsion or obliteration of its 6 million Jews.

So, Ms. Vanden Heuvel, I really don't think there should be room for haters like Helen Thomas, just as there should be no room for the Ku Klux Klan.

Posted by: ccthomas1 | June 8, 2010 8:41 AM | Report abuse

What entertainment! Let's support bigotry and hypocrisy as long as it's one of our own. This certainly captures the essence of leftist journalists.

Posted by: greendayer | June 8, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Once again Helen Thomas spoke the truth for millions of Americans, including many American Jews (J-street) If you were following the news many Israel settlers did , in recent years,return to Russia and even Germany, stating they could live in peace there. They did not feel comfortable in a militant theocracy. Helen's statement will be the catalyst for many discussions about America's blind support for Israel's many war crimes.

Posted by: BearRub | June 8, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Yes, Helen Thomas was a trailblazer and admirable in many ways, but her vicious comment was WAY over the line. I am a lefty from way back when and this was ugly, inappropriate and no you do not get to come back to public life after saying something like this on camera.

That's the way the real world works. Helen Thomas, knows how the real world works and resigned immediately.

Our older selves are an exaggeration of our younger selves - time for Helen to step down.

Your admiration of this trailblazer blinds you to the venomous comments.

Posted by: fightforroses | June 8, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Once again Helen Thomas spoke the truth for millions of Americans, including many American Jews (J-street) If you were following the news at all, many Israel settlers did , in recent years,return to Russia and even Germany, stating they could live in peace there. They did not feel comfortable in a militant theocracy. Helen's statement will be the catalyst for many discussions about America's blind support for Israel's many war crimes.

Posted by: BearRub | June 8, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

No Katrina: In this case you are 100% WRONG!

Knee jerk liberalism that celebrates victimology or condones hate speech like Thomas's is sadly why the right wing is so successful on the PR side.

She should have retired a long time ago and she would have done so with honors and respect. This is a sad ending because for all the good she did do...she will be remembered for her hate and bias!

And you tarnish yourself as well.

Posted by: suec716 | June 8, 2010 8:52 AM | Report abuse

It's somewhat hilarious watching all the ersatz indignity and outrage over Ms. Thomas' remarks. In an age of Ann Coulters, Rush Limbaughs, Glenn Becks, Sarah Palins, Sean Hannitys, et al, her remarks hardly seem radical. The worst that could be said of them is that they were uncharacteristic for her. Up until now, she has handled herself supremely well in shark-infested waters.

But let's face it, the very thing that made her an icon also peed off a lot of people over the years. How long they have been waiting for the opportunity to pounce!

Posted by: CynicalC | June 8, 2010 8:52 AM | Report abuse

No, there is no place for her to spread that kind of hate filled misinformation.

Let's talk about what she said... she said, "THey should get out of Palestine and go back to Germany, Poland, America or wherever"

If she had meant that Israel should get out of the West Bank (it is not in Gaza), then should we have said that they should go home to Tel Aviv or Be'er Sheva. No, she said they should go home to Germany and Poland. She is saying Israel should not exist. She is falsely spreading the narrative that Israeli Jews are nothing but European colonialists despite the fact that Jews always lived in Isreal and that most of the Jews who came to Israel fled Arab and Muslim nations... about the same number as those who left Israel during its war of Independence.

Israel is not the only country occupying land another people claim yet it is the only one repeatedly abused in the press. (Turkey anyone?)

Israel is not the only country that was created in the wake of WWII (India and Pakistan) nor is it the only country that was partitioned by the UN yet Israel is the only nation whose existence is questioned again and again.

Israel is not the only nation fighting terror yet it is the only nation vilified for doing so though its tactics are gentler than most others.

Israel has been called again and again the world's biggest obstacle to peace ignoring such noble nations as Iran, Sudan, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and many many more.

The double standard is appalling but apparently is set because people like Thomas believe that Jews shouldn't have self determination.

Posted by: lisa96 | June 8, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

hmmm. . . .I have to wonder, Ms. Vander Heuvel, if you and the others in the media who are downplaying Helen Thomas' remarks as "unfortunate" and excusing the jaw-dropping bigotry because she apologized, were as understanding and forgiving when others who had "brilliant" careers made "unfortunate" comments, e.g., Howard Cosell or Jimmy the Greek? Why were their statements (which were more tactless and unthinking slurs than wishing for the annhilation of a whole people) so much worse than her?!

Posted by: rwrfan | June 8, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

To answer Katrina vanden Heuvel's question:
"Isn't there room for someone (Helen Thomas) who made a mistake, apologized for it and wants to continue speaking truth to power and asking tough questions?

Not if you're a woman in a position of power in this country.

Posted by: mpwynn | June 8, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse

I suggest, Ms. vanden Heuvel, you read carefully Richard Cohen's column in today's Washington Post [and also Krauthammer's column of June 4.] The facts of anti-semitism are there. My father, age 91 with a sharp mind still, says Helen Thomas was always a known anti-semite. I don't think fighting for women's rights trumps that.

Posted by: phyllkah | June 8, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

I don't know, Katrina. Personally, I wish that all the BLACKS would Get the H*ll out of America. I wish they'd go back where they came from. Africa. And they can drop all the Puerto Ricans off in Puerto Rico, where they belong."
Is there "Any Room" for ME, Katrina?
Idiot.

Posted by: GoomyGommy | June 8, 2010 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Q: ...isn't there room for someone who made a mistake, apologized for it and wants to continue speaking truth to power and asking tough questions?

A: Your premise is faulty. While Helen Thomas did make a mistake, she didn't apologize. Rather, she made the classic non-apology apology (In essence: "I'm sorry you're an SOB and I'm sorry I'm right and you're wrong.")

As for speaking truth to power, what truth are you talking about? What tough questions do you mean?

Does the truth involve shipping Israelis to Germany, whence they can take the trains to Poland? That's already been done, and it didn't end all too well. Helen Thomas' truth has a name, and it is the same truth "established" in the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion." That truth is simply rabid anti-Semitism under another name.

Are Thomas' tough questions along the lines "Bush is the worst president ever" and other objective, fact-based, rational speeches?

No, Helen Thomas is the crazy cat lady of reporters, and I think Hearst was way overdue in firing her.

Posted by: spamagnet987 | June 8, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

No, sorry Ms vanden Heuvel. While the charge "ani-semitic" is frequently abused today, in this case it is clearly warranted. Her statements are anti-Jew, anti-Israeli, and anti-Semitic. She sounds like an Iranian government spokesman - with this type of clear prejudice, it is now long since time for her to go away, quietly, into that good night.

Posted by: jim510 | June 8, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

You miss the point. She is a prominant columnist whose words are powerful. This was not a one time mistake, it was clarification of her long held positions. She has a right to them ,but her employer and the public also have a right to say enough.

Posted by: olddocjim | June 8, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Nope, no room for a lebanese jewhater at the table. Sorry.

But even more pathetic than Thomas and VanDumbHoople are self-hating jews like jeffwacker, who turn themselves into sniveling worms just to get in the pants of lefty girls they meet at "peace" rallies.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | June 8, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Hilarious! Now change to a counter factual, pretend it was a Fox reporter saying the same thing about Blacks. Now imagine a Vanden Heuvel writing the same opinion piece. Never happen.
Ms. VD , like most of the hard left, agrees with Ms Thomas.

Posted by: devluddite | June 8, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Another left loon gone thanks. We have thousands of them in the media van da hoodle can take her place.

Posted by: andersondaniel32 | June 8, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Uh, no there's no room girldfren' - you see Trett Lott apologized and wanted to continue in pubic life. No go. How about, let's see, Rush wanted to use his own money to invest in a football team and that was, well, no go - based of stuff he never said that "journalists" "bravely" made up. No one took Helen Thomas seriously, including her colleagues. She got a pass because she was old. She was not a trailblazer for women. Previous commenters are right on when they say she should have been let loose long ago. Do you understand that the first amendment means that you can say what you like - but that you also have to accept the consequences? It's amazing to me how many professional journalists have absolutely no understanding of what free speech is. Free speech is not forcing us to listen to something we do not like, publishing every jerk who writes a book, or broadcasting every person who has a controversial, insane opinion. Maybe you should go home.

Posted by: karenkelly2 | June 8, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Another commenter wrote:

"This is not about her love for the people of Gaza, this is about her hatred for JEWS!!
Notice this has nothing to do with ISRAEL. Israel as a government makes mistakes...she wants the JEWS to leave!
So to Helen Thomas the problem is not with Israel, its with the Jews."

Commenter, you either did not hear the interview or are a bald faced liar. The question asked of Ms. Thomas whether she had anything to say about ISRAEL, not Jews.

I do not who is more prevalent on this issue, commenters who are supportive of any atrocity by Israel and labels any disagreement antisemitism or the right wing thugs who hate Ms. Thomas because she dared to challenge that pathetic idiot who last occupied the presidency and support Israel to expedite armageddon.

Posted by: craigjjs | June 8, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Let me help you through this. Imagine if Ms. Thomas had suggested that illegal aliens should go back to Mexico. Sorry, that undocumented workers go back home. Okay, let me try again.
Helen Thomas' parents are from Lebanon. How about we pack her up and send her back where she came from. Glad to help.

Posted by: kurtmudgeon1 | June 8, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

P.S. As an addendum to my earlier comment, do you think Ms. Thomas furthered the image of women or women in the workplace when she made this vulgar and insidious comment?

Posted by: phyllkah | June 8, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Oh and another thing...it was a mistake? You mean she realized later it was a mistake to be honest so openly. Her answer was pretty quick and she was pretty well thought out...

Posted by: karenkelly2 | June 8, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Where is this same request - allow for people making mistakes now and again - for others. So because she has done some things we should allow her STUPID Racist comments? Are you always so forgiving - HELL NO you aren't - but, if it's someone you like or agree with - then we should allow bigoted comments?

Posted by: twhittlinger | June 8, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Helen Thomas actually expressed a prominent opinion among the Liberals in this country and their Muslim supporters. The facts do not matter. The Jews are a pain. There must be some mythical place for them. We gave them desert and they made it blossom. "How dare the UN take land from the Palestinians Arabs and give it to the Jews?" is the secret belief. We gave them land without any oil and they made it blossom. The fact that most of the Palestinains immigrated to Palestine for jobs created by Jews matter not to them. Don't bother with the facts. The fact that approximately 1/2 of the Israeli population were expelled from Arab countries leaving behind all of their assets (and absorbed into the Israel population) matters not. We created conditions that no sane person would believe could lead to a successful nation. Send them back to Germany and Poland and maybe the Europeans will finish the job this time.

Posted by: ilbert | June 8, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

The place for Helen is in the third circle of hell.

Posted by: mlemac | June 8, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Oh to be ninety and to be able to say things your friends can't.

Posted by: flyover22 | June 8, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

I like how liberals come up with nicknames for some of their most execrable "heroes."

Ted Kennedy, the completely morally bankrupt, corrupt and criminal Senator becomes "the Lion of the Senate."

Helen Thomas, the nigh senile, batty, irrelevant and racist columnist becomes "the Dean of the Press Corps."

I imagine liberals will be electing Robert Byrd the Provost of something sooner or later.

Do I support Helen Thomas being fired for being a racist idiot? No, I don't. Keith Olbermann is a racist idiot and he still has a job.

But it is completely laughable how many liberals are standing up for Thomas today. Say, I wonder if she thinks blacks should all "go back to Africa" too, or if all Hispanics should "go back to Mexico."

Katrina vanden Heuvel brings new shame upon herself, as she does with every column she writes.

Posted by: etpietro | June 8, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

There really aren't that many Jews on the planet -- maybe 16 million or so. And they have one homeland, a country the size of New Jersey.

The Muslim and Arab population numbers well over a billion people on this planet, with a large number of states that amount to an Arab/Muslim "continent" across the Middle East and into Asia.

Why is it that the Jews, even after being robbed, herded, and exterminated, cannot get a state of their own? Even though they have fought long and hard for it?

As Howard Stern has suggested, perhaps we should consider putting the Jews on the moon........

Posted by: RickyL1 | June 8, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

If Helen Thomas was indoctrinated into hatred of the blacks because of her upbringing, and for years shouted barbs and anti-black sentiment from the White House press room, and then when 89 said Blacks should all become slaves again and go back to Africa, she would not have lasted for all these years. And upon her being forced to retire there would be no sympathy or excuses for her.
But because Anti-Semitism seems to be so intrenched and tolerated it is OK for someone like her to sit in the front seat in the White House press room.
It is a free for all Anti-
Semites , and it is frightening.
It is even worse that it is so tolerated in the USA.

Posted by: joanz3 | June 8, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

As an Israel critic, I must agree that Ms. Thomas's comments that the Jews get out of Palestine were over the top.

Yet the fundamental problem of US slavish subservience to Zionism remains the fundamental problem we have with the whole Islamic world. They will continue to back the Palestinian cause which remains the central irritant and cassus belli of al-Qaeda with the US.

The two state solution, except as an excuse for meaningless talks about talks, is dead, the result of forty years of colonization and annexations in the West Bank.

The one state solution, unitary democratic and non-sectarian, is a non-starter because it grants equal political rights to all inhabitants of an Israel/Palestine.

An enduring Apartheid Israel is unsustainable. Everyone knows this. It must steadily tighten the grip on the enslaved Palestinians as any Apartheid system must. But the Palestinians will soon be an actual majority of the total population. So what does this leave us with?

Zionism is racism and unending war.

This is slow motion suicide, and I want the US out of that trap.

If Helen Thomas comments serve to draw attention to this, then some good will come out of it.

Posted by: tarquinis1 | June 8, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Sure there's room for Ms. Thomas - why don't you hire her over at your magazine The Nation? She'd fit right in.

Posted by: HalifaxCB | June 8, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Weep not for Helen Thomas, Ms. Vanden Heuvel. The views she was caught expressing openly are held by enough people in this world who, for various reasons (most but not all of them anti-Semitic ones) would like to see the nation of Israel eliminated.

Israel makes some people furious enough to blow themselves up if it means taking enough Zionists with them in the blast. It makes others angry enough that they'll wrap themselves in a kaffiyeh and cast their lot in with any other whack-job or would-be terrorist of like mind and march (or sail) in protest, oblivious to the fact that the Hamas flag-waving guy to their right would probably kill them as an infidel if it was up to him. And it makes lots of other enlightened westerners in Europe and the US . . . uncomfortable. Something about seeing a Jew with a gun, I guess. Two thousand years of cultural conditioning to see Jews as " the other" just can't disappear in a generation or two.

So weep not. Someone will hire the nasty piece of work that is (and always has been) Helen Thomas. She's too radioactive now, especially for more mainstream audiences in the U.S. (like those of Hearst, the White House Correspondents Association, and the graduating class of Whitman High School). But give it a few months and I guarantee you that some outlet ("The Nation"? "Mother Jones"? Zionism=Racism.com"?) will be happy to sell/rent/lend her a soapbox.

How about you, Ms. Vanden Heuvel? Why don't you hire her? And show some courage by doing it today, at the height of the controversy? If Thomas is such a trailblazer for speaking truth to power, follow that trail she blazed and speak up yourself.

Solidarity, right?

Posted by: dcpost1 | June 8, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Very well said Ms. Heuvel, thank you for this. So many journalists have made far more insidious and deleterious misjudgments (and Im being kind with that word), especially in the lead up to the Iraq invasion.

Posted by: helthe | June 8, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

What Helen Thomas said was wrong, in every way.

However, I am offended that the people most outraged say exactly the same things. Palestinians should all go to Jordan, or Sinai. These things are said even by members of government. Even those who don't say this attack Thomas without ever having said anything about the uncountable times Jews in both the US and Israel have said the exact same thing, which is every bit as outrageous.

I am much more offended by the outrage of those who hate Palestinians than I am by Helen Thomas giving them a tiny one time shot of their own medicine.

Posted by: MarkThomason | June 8, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

What a silly question. Of course there is no room for anyone who insists on speaking truth to power. Power does not want truth spoken to it, and the Correspondents' Association too highly values its privileges (access foremost among them) to risk defending her.

Posted by: Ralphinjersey | June 8, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

I wonder if you would have this attitude if Helen had said that all the blacks should go back to Africa? Or if someone had told Thomas to go back home to Lebanon? Her remarks were not anti-Zionist, they were anti-Semitic, For centruries Anti-Semites told Jews to go "home" to Palestine, now they tell us to go "Home" back to Europe and the Arab nations (as half of us are Middle Eastern not European). Helen would turn Jews back into a stateless people, perpetual refugess.

Posted by: aadlersberg | June 8, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

This is an incredibly simple question. If she had commented about blacks or mexicans, she would have been run out of town on a rail. The fact that she is being allowed to resign instead of being fired is a reflection of all of the hard work she has put in over the years. In my opinion, she should have been fired, not just for the Israeli comments, but for her general lack of education on a central issue in the world of geopolitics.

Posted by: skycaptain123 | June 8, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

It seems like liberals are desperately trying to spin the Helen Thomas episode as an example of a person who is anti-Israel, but don't let anyone dare suggest she is also an anti-Semite.

So here is a challenge gentle readers. Can anyone produce a single article written by this vile woman in the past forty years that has either defended or referred in a positive light the religion we call Judaism?

And so it goes...

Posted by: pgould1 | June 8, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

some idiot wrote: "Commenter, you either did not hear the interview or are a bald faced liar. The question asked of Ms. Thomas whether she had anything to say about ISRAEL, not Jews."

Come on, moron, we're not as stupid as you are. "Israel" couldn't move back to Germany or Poland, but individual Jews certainly could.

Sorry, but you lose. Badly. Epic fail.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | June 8, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

There is a strong link between Helen's opposition to the War in Iraq and her hatred of Jews.

Katrina speaks of Thomas's courage, intelligence and journalistic principle. All that couldn't be more untrue. Helen's view was that a War in Iraq would be advantageous for Israel, involve occupation of Arab lands, and that it would result in more Western influence in her beloved Lebanon.

Funny that for Katrina all this heroism that she idolizes can be the result of actions taken from such deep rooted bigotry.

How do I know this? The Lebanese have suffered much at the hand of Israel. Their feelings are easy to predict.

Posted by: scott3 | June 8, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Her achievements do not offset the underlying anti-semantism that exists in her heart. It is wrong to praise people of this deep seeded bias.

Posted by: staterighter | June 8, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

To answer your question: No, there isn't room. Her achievements do not offset the underlying anti-semantism that exists in her heart. It is wrong to praise people of this deep seeded bias.

Posted by: staterighter | June 8, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Let's change the situation a bit. A white reporter says black people should go back to Africa. Firestorm? Or how about this - illegals in Arizona should go back to Mexico! Just as anyone who expressed such sentiments might be branded a racist, Helen Thomas is an anti-semite.

Posted by: Irishmike1 | June 8, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Are you offering Thomas a job?

Posted by: szielinski1 | June 8, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

George Bush must be the liberal's God. ... Everything ... that's EVERY THING ... comes back to him.

Posted by: couwnt | June 8, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

"Thomas was the only accredited White House correspondent with the guts to ask Bush the tough questions that define a free press."
No, she was one of the few supposed "journalists" who specialized in making speeches instead of asking questions; sadly, she set the ugly tone for what used to be a dignified profession. And, I'm sure there's room for her; not, mind you, in any serious journalistic enterprise, but there are fewer and fewer of those. Perhaps Hezbollah's media wing, or Al Jazeera, or the NY Times would hire her...?

Posted by: morganfrost | June 8, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Helen Thomas's remarks were deep seated hatred and animosity towards Israel and the Jewish people. Contrary to some who claim this would be comparable to saying blacks should go back to Africa it is not. It is comparable to saying she was angry that slavery was abolished. She should have been removed from her position as her comments were sickening. Perhaps Ms. Thomas needs to visit Yad Vashem, the Memorial to the six million Jews who were slaughtered.

Criticism against positions of the Israeli government are fine but when you cross the line to delegimitizing the State or ethnic hatred you deserve to lose your job, irregardless of whatever contributions she made for women in journalism. She grew up in an area where Jewish history was denied and perhaps she needs to read the Old Testament where Jerusalem is mentioned six hundred times whereas it is not mentioned once in Ms. Thomas Koran. Israel and the Jewish people did not, as some anti semites prefer to believe, suddenly appear out of nowhere in 1948.

Posted by: mjkoch* | June 8, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Granted, we have much for which to thank Ms. Thomas. Which makes her words just that much worse: Of all people, she should know better. The Latin phrase Corruptio optimi pessima says it all: The corruption of the best is the worst.

Posted by: fionalowther | June 8, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

[[No Ms. Vanden Drivel. Ms. Thomas should have been fired 20 years ago. She is a bona-fide, blithering idiot, one of a generation of "newsmen," who came out of the Vietnam War generation, convinced that they must make themselves the story, not report the story.

And since we're talking about firing known cretins because they speak and/or write gibberish and/or are spokesmen for terrorists, You Ms. Vanden Drivel could well be next.

Posted by: wjc1va ]]
+++++++
Isn't possible to discuss an issue anymore without the name calling? Calling Katrina, "Vanden Drivel," is childish. She is not a spokeperson for terrorist and frankly that type of gibberish is getting old. She is not going to get fired from The Nation. Part of what Thomas said was the truth -- Israelis are occupiers and Netenyahu is a reactionary who won't negotiate and has embarrassed our government. Israel is not always right

Posted by: creatia52 | June 8, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

I'm highly amused by the people here who talk about what a great career Helen Thomas had.

I wonder, how do they figure? She worked for United Press International, which was always running last among the major newswires (AP, Reuters and UPI). She held a very prominent position within that company, so it's difficult for me to not associate her with the overall failure of UPI. Of course, it might be different if she was in high demand after the demise of UPI, but that wasn't the case. She ended up writing a column for Hearst Newspapers that was not widely read, if it was read at all. I wonder how many of today's teary-eyed feminists could cite a single thing she wrote. Yes, there were her train-crash verbal assaults in the White House pressers, but let's not confuse agit-prop with journalism.

Ironically, the Hearst web site crashed due to high traffic volumes after the company posted her resignation announcement. Funny how high volume was never a problem when she was putting her insipid ideas onto paper and the web.

No, it appears that Helen Thomas, in the end, is just another mile marker on the road to Affirmative Action Failure. I will giver her pass, though, in that she's not nearly the problem that the Affirmative-Action-Failure-in-Chief is and will be.

But it's the same song, same jarring melody.

Posted by: VideoSavant | June 8, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

No, Ms. vanden Heuvel, there should be no room for her. If she had said that African-Americans should go back to Africa, she would have been crucified. Suggesting that Jews go back to Germany and Poland, where they were exterminated by the millions and where anti-Semitism prevails today, shows us who she really is, and the fact that she may have asked tough questions (or, more accurately, expressed her own opinions even though she was supposedly a journalist), does not excuse this at all. She is despicable, anti-Semitic, and racist, and she should have been fired immediately by Hearst, not allowed to resign. Shame on you for suggesting otherwise simply because she "took on" Bush in her questioning.

Posted by: agoldberg1 | June 8, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Helen Thomas exposed herself as a typical leftwing Jew Hater and is paying for it. What is really amazing is the country of her heratige has been decimated by the Palestinian animals yet she supports them!

You as a typical left wing shrill are using her "record" as an excuse for this. But this is typical of the left. Just look at the much honored Teddy Kennedy, a coward who left a girl to die, a drunk, a sexual abuser of woman but it was all okay because Teddy voted the way the left wanted. Pure hypocrisy but nothing less to be expected from you.

Posted by: Pilot1 | June 8, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Terrible article. Not sure why many are calling what Helen Thomas said a "mistake". That's how she feels. So be it. Does she deserve a place in high society and the honor of first chair at WH press conferences when she is revealed for who she is? Answer: no. No mistakes were made. Instead, truth prevailed.

Syonara Helen Thomas. You will not be missed. I'm frankly glad to see your career go down in flames--and not just because of your inspid views on Israel and its persecuted people, but also for your consistent and annoying liberal progressive secularism. America is not to blame for everything. Presidents are not evil. Bush was not stupid (and he looks like something of a genius in retrospect).

And Vanden Whatever-Your-Name-Is why don't you tell the truth? Don't you feel Palestine is occupied? Shouldn't the Jews go back to, well, wherever? This article is mere cover for Vanden Whatever's real intention--protect those who are sympathetic with the Muslims on the theory that tolerance of everything and everyone (except convervatives) is a good thing. What a crock.

Posted by: ktp70 | June 8, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Pilot1 writes:
Helen Thomas exposed herself as a typical leftwing Jew Hater and is paying for it. What is really amazing is the country of her heratige has been decimated by the Palestinian animals yet she supports them!
+++++++
Does the right wing ever get tired of spewing nonsense? You guys shout terrorist at the drop of a hat. If the left wing are such "Jew Haters" why do the majority of Jews in this country vote for Democrats? You folks never quit spewing unfounded lies. The left are "baby killers," "terrorist sympathizers," "traitors," and now "Jew Haters." Criticizing Israel's policies does not make one anti-semetic. The dividers in this country are really hurting America. Israel gets an extreme right winger as their prime minister and the right in this country estatic. Figures.

Posted by: creatia52 | June 8, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

[[Secondly, Helen Thomas can also go the hell back to Libya where she belongs.]]
+++++++
Helen's folks were from Lebanon. If you are attempting to insult someone at least get your facts straight. Libya is in Africa, not the ME. Did you know that?

Posted by: creatia52 | June 8, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

isn't there room for someone who made a mistake, apologized for it and wants to continue speaking truth to power and asking tough questions?

========================================

For Katrina and too many others in the far left being an antisemite is speaking truth to power.

Posted by: bbface21 | June 8, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

For the 100,000th time: anti-Zionism is not the same thing as antisemitism.

Posted by: crm1951 | June 7, 2010 11:41 PM

===========================================

That's true, but Helen didn't object to settlement building or a government policy, she objected to Israel's very existence. That's antisemitism, and that decaying fossil should have been put out to pasture a long time ago.

Posted by: bbface21 | June 8, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Most reporters are liberal and most frequently challenged Bush. That Thomas, who is ignorant of history, should be considered the spokesperson for liberalism is pathetic.

Antisemitism and antizionism don't have to be the same, but they often can be.

Posted by: Beatrix1 | June 8, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

It is true that Jews have always lived in the area that is now Israel, however their numbers were very small up until the Zionist movement began about a hundred years ago. There were a few waves of Jewish immigration prior to the formation of Israel in 1948, but the vast majority of Jews came after WW2 from Europe or the Americas, so in that assumption Helen Thomas was fairly accurate. Ashkenazi or European Jews make up more than half of the Jews living in Israel today, 2.8 million of the 5.7 million. At least 1 million of these Ashkenazi Jews only migrated from the former Soviet Union since 1991.

It must be made clear that Zionists within Israel have actively encouraged Jewish migration to the country in order to swell their numbers and create a larger and more powerful Jewish state, Operation Soloman in the 70's is an example, where thousands of Ethiopian Jews were airlifted to Israel. The Israeli government could halt immigration into the country until the situation has calmed down a bit, but they continue to allow and actively promote immigration of Jews from every corner of the planet. It is a fact that a significant number of American Jews have migrated to Israel, but as far as I know American Jews are not persecuted in their homeland. I can somewhat understand the reasoning that Israel is a safe haven for persecuted Jews but when it also becomes home to a large number of Jews who were perfectly safe in the countries they migrated from, then this changes things a bit.

I agree with Helen Thomas. Why didn't the allies carve out the best piece of Germany and make that a Jewish homeland? The ancestral homeland of the Ashkenazi Jews that's centred around the German towns of Speyer, Mainz and Worms would have been a better place for those persecuted in the Holocaust. Germany was defeated by the allies in WW2 and then subsequently divided into occupied zones, one of which could theoretically have become the new Jewish state. What did the Palestinians do to the Jews to deserve having their land taken away? Absolutely nothing, but it got taken away anyway because Zionist Jews believe they have a god given right to the Holy Land. Prior to the creation of Isreal, Muslims and Jews pretty much got along, but it was this European colonization that has caused all the problems.

Posted by: markts | June 8, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Historians and archeologists agree Jerusalem was the Jewish capitol as far back as 1000BCE - 1600 years before Islam became a religion.
The Jews rebelled against the Romans in 70AD/CE, because they would not worship Caesar as a god. Most Jews were enslaved and/or otherwise forced to leave Judea (which included present Jordan and Lebanon), though small Jewish settlements continued. The Romans re-named Judea "Philistia" in commemoration of the Philistines from Greece who set up a sea trade station in Gaza. This was the Roman Empire's attempt to "remove Israel from the map". Philistia became Anglacized into "Palestine". So, Palestine is NOT a term that in any way legitimizes residency of Muslim Arabs who migrated from East of the Jordan River to ANY land West of the Jordan, including Gaza - the capitol of Greek-founded Philistia.
Helen Thomas was quoting Hezbollah propaganda, which is wrong-wrong-wrong.

Posted by: sampjack | June 8, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

This isn't the first incident with Thomas, it's only the most blatent one that highlights her bias and ineptitude. She should have been gone a long time ago, as she stopped being a "reporter" at least 10 years ago when she parted company with UPI.

The White House Press room isn't the place for someone pursuing their own agenda. It should be reserved for reporters questioning the administration about their policies.

Posted by: charlie13 | June 8, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

To amend my above post, obviously I'm not very good at math, 2.8 million out of 5.7 million is actually less than half. So, actually a little under half of all Israeli Jews are from Europe or the Americas or are descended from European or American Jews.

Posted by: markts | June 8, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

What would Katrina vanden Heuvel have said if Thomas had said "all African Americans should go back to Africa"?

Is there a special exemption for anti-Semites in vanden Heuvel's universe? Would vanden Heuvel retain an open racist on The Nation's staff? How did vanden Heuvel and The Nation react to CBS firing Don Imus? Thomas was given the courtesy of resigning - going out standing up.

Anti-Semites apparently have a home at The Nation with vanden Heuvel who it seems has no problem warming up to anti-Semites.

Posted by: abash40 | June 8, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

[[Are you insane, Ms. Vanden Kibble? If a Fox News reporter said that Mexican-Americans should "go home" to Mexico, he would be lynched. If Rush Limbaugh suggested that African-Americans should return to Africa, he would be decapitated.]]
+++++++++
Bull. Rush and some commentators on Fox News spew crap ALL the time and nothing happens to them. Rush is a racist and a homophobe and gets rewared with better and better contracts. Glenn is a weird, creepy man who says stupid, outrageous things and he is Fox's lastest darling. O'Reilly said that Nancy Pelosi should be waterboarded and nothing happened to him. The right wing have playing the victim to an exact science and scream with fake outrage all the time. Sarah Palin took the word "retard" out of context uttered in a private meeting months prior and acted like a wounded moose protecting her offspring. But this happens all the time with the right -- playing the victim card for all it is worth and they are good at it.

Posted by: creatia52 | June 8, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

"Palestine is NOT a term that in any way legitimizes residency of Muslim Arabs who migrated from East of the Jordan River to ANY land West of the Jordan, including Gaza - the capitol of Greek-founded Philistia."

Exactly when did these Muslim Arabs migrate to the West of the Jordan. Was it prior to or after the creation of Israel in 1948? If it was prior to, and even if only a few years prior to, then I think they kind of win in respect of who owns the land, because they technically were there first. Yes, there is no doubting that 2000 years ago there was a very significant Jewish presence in the region, but from that point until 1948 it was very minimal. The European Crusaders 1000 years ago reported only a few thousand Jewish families in the region. It is absolutely ridiculous to think that someone who might have some very distant ancestor that came from Israel 2000 years ago can really have any signficant claim to that land. Some of my ancestors migrated from the United Kingdom 100 years ago, but I have absolutely no right to return to that country and become a citizen.

Posted by: markts | June 8, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

"Respected" commentators routinely deny their existence as a people and call for Palestinians to "return" to Saudi Arabia or other Arab countries. Helen Thomas made a foolish comment perhaps in anger over repeated invasions and bombing of her ancestral country by Israel and frustration over the banishment and collective punishment of Palestinians. Whatever the case there is clearly a double standard at work here.

Posted by: markpastern | June 8, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

@krpomer; You are my hero/heroin. Someone who actually understands the difference between policy and the people who are governed by it. Too many today are incapable of seperating a hatred of policy and a hatred of a people. This applies to those who called dissenters during Bush administration, un-American and those who despise the Israeli policies but not the people. One must wonder if these misunderstandings are deliberate?!

Posted by: oldpol | June 8, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

The problem with your whine is that you premise it upon the belief that what she said was simply a "mistake." She made no "mistake." She said exactly what she meant to say and exactly what she thought then, and still thinks now. She is a rabid anti-Jewish person (note that I did not say "anti-semite" because Arabs are semites, too, and she is not anti-Arab). She doesn't get a free pass simply because she has done a good deed or two in the past. It is folks like her that makes monsters like Hitler possible in this world. She has a right to say whatever it is she thinks. But, the rest of us also have the right to cause her grief for doing so, too. Free speech works both ways.

Posted by: weedtort | June 8, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

The disgusting over-the-top attacks on Helen Thomas only serve one more to point out the rank hypocrisy of the Israel-First crowd and the cowardice of the press.

There hasn't been a week gone by in the last 40 years without Israelis and their minions here at home calling for the Palestinians "to go back where they came from" - mostly to Jordan. Jewish calls for the additional displacement of Palestinians has been a regular feature of the debate for decades.

Nowhere has Foxman and the rest of his ilk ever criticized those identical pro-Israel remarks in the same manner.

The only lynching in the past week has been that of Helen Thomas.

Posted by: grifross | June 8, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

I am a great admirer of Katherine Vanden Heuvel and have also greatly admired Helen Thomas for her guts and honesty over the years. But I can't agree with letting her off the hook for this one. Her Lebanese heritage is irrelevant. She is not a stupid women, but these remarks were incredibly ignorant in addition to being stunningly offensive.

I am a Jewish woman who does not happen to support the Israeli government nor Zionism, but I also think that this isn't about Israel or Zionism. It's about Ms. Thomas' shocking lack of historical knowledge and her hugely erroneous grasp of the current situation. Not in misunderstanding the plight of the Palestinians, but in suggesting a "solution" which is so completely offensive. Go back to Germany? To Poland? Where do comments like that even come from?

I support her right to be outspoken and to say whatever she wants, but that doesn't exempt her from the consequences that accompany her choice to do so. Frankly I don't know whether or not her apology is sincere; given the substance of her comments it's not clear for what she is apologizing - for the sentiments, or how she expressed those sentiments? If this experience leads her to reevaluate her views, that would be perhaps the only good thing to come out of this.

I am left of liberal, in fact, but I can't see why she should be held to a lower standard than she herself would hold others, and to which she has held others over her long and honorable career. Or to a lower standard than others on all sides of the political spectrum have been held when they have inadvertently expressed their true views.

I find this a sad and depressing situation all around, I hate to see all the good of her career overshadowed by this event, and I will continue to have deep respect for all the work she has done in the past, and the importance that her career is and has been to women of all ages, but the reality is that her remarks were not trivial, not insignificant, and not some minor gaffe for which we should cut her some slack, which is what Ms. Vanden Huevel suggests. And I'm equally disappointed in her for doing so.

Posted by: lchary | June 8, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Asizk--
True enough -- Words do not break bones, and bullets may. But .. . . we all know that Hamas rockets never hurt a fly, right?

Posted by: weedtort | June 8, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

"Go back to Germany? To Poland? Where do comments like that even come from?"

Well to be completely honestly, I think that comment actually makes a lot of sense. It would probably be much safer for any Israeli Jew with Polish or German ancestry to return to those countries than to stay in Israel at present. As far as I know there is practically no risk of being killed in a Hamas rocket attack or being blown up by a suicide bomber in Berlin or Krakow. And just think, with German or Polish citizenship you get an EU passport which allows to live anywhere in the EU, a place which is a lot bigger than that tiny nation of Israel . . .

Sure, maybe in 1948 Israel was a better option for Jews but I wouldn't think so nowadays. And besides there are particularly beautiful and impressive synagogues in both Berlin and Krakow. They're both wonderful cities, sure the weathers lot worse than in Israel, but once again, they certainly are a hell of a lot safer !!!

Posted by: markts | June 8, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

A mistake!? This just shows that for all these years she was able to "hide" the fact that she was and is a rabid anti-Semite. This was not an anti-Israel statement; it was anti-Jew. Good riddance to her.

Posted by: marfern1 | June 8, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

KR POMER
STILL PITIFUL!

Posted by: kokingaye | June 8, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

KRPOMER
STILL PITIFUL!

Posted by: kokingaye | June 8, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

"That's true, but Helen didn't object to settlement building or a government policy, she objected to Israel's very existence. That's antisemitism..."

Bunkum. It's anti-Zionism, and you'd better learn to recognize it, there's going to be plenty coming your way. The Jewish state either needs to take itself elsewhere, or else open its doors. Anything else is massive injustice, perpetrated on the back of a massive injustice.

Posted by: fzdybel | June 8, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

I didn't realize that speaking truth to power included a call for ethnic cleansing.

Posted by: StephanDEsq | June 8, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Bunkum, bunkum. As Zionism is the fundamental right of self-determination of Jewish people to sovereignty in their historic homeland, a right that is accorded to all other peoples of the world, to deny it for Jews is racist. As long as Israel's critics and detractors continue to downplay if not ignore the culpability of its adversaries and enemies in the Gaza conflict and disproportionately single out Israel for opprobrium, Israel is justified in downplaying if not ignoring its critics and detractors. Just as blacklists were employed in the past to discredit an opponent, the anti-Zionist hysteria which now has permeated the current discourse is intended not only to discredit the Jewish state but to subvert and undermine the inalienable right of self-determination and nationhood for Jews, a right which Israel's critics and detractors advocate for Palestinians. The anti-Zionists can spew their anti-Israel hatred but Israel is here to stay. Get used to it!

Posted by: marx1 | June 8, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Wow. Just wow. Ms VanDen Whatsis is soo off the grid, she MUST be highly educated.

Posted by: MinnesotaWild | June 8, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Had Thomas said, "Settlers are making peace more difficult, they should go back to Brooklyn", I would have argued with her simplistic, one-sided castigation (because surely, those Arab leaders whose own livelihood is dependent upon war and struggle are not in the peace business and are equally to blame for the wretched circumstances in Gaza and the West Bank). But those comments would directly be about the state of affairs in the Middle East today and the increasing conservatism of Israel. But that's not what she said.

Thomas specifically referred to those Holocaust survivors who came to the region from Germany and Poland to establish Israel along the pre-1967 borders. Not all of the original founders of Israel came from Europe - many were already there. Their numbers were soon increased because the surrounding Arab nations expelled their own Jewish citizens. But Thomas suggested that Jews should have stayed in Europe, presumably to perish alongside six million of their brethren. These not-so-subtle distinctions make Thomas' remarks not political, but RACIST.

When someone whom we expect to be morally and professionally objective lets loose with racist remarks, as Thomas did, what is the appropriate response? There is no satisfaction in her tepid acknowledgement that her comments were offensive and her retirement. It would have been far better for her to honestly and clearly apologize for racist remarks. Now what should have been her legacy will forever be connected to the slipping of the mask and the uncloaking of a racist. Had Thomas said, "African Americans should go back to Africa", I doubt that Ms. Vandenheuvel et al would so strenuously defend her.

Posted by: THINKER18 | June 8, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

"Zionism is the fundamental right of self-determination of Jewish people to sovereignty in their historic homeland, a right that is accorded to all other peoples of the world, to deny it for Jews is racist"

Really, is that so? A right that is accorded to all other people of the world? Must I remind you of that other ethnicity that was systematically executed by the Nazis in WW2 alongside the Jews. Where exactly is the homeland for the Gypsies or Roma? There doesn't seem to be one does there.

What makes the Jews so much more important than the Gypsies? Why were the Jews given their own homeland after all the atrocities that they experienced in WW2 but the Gypsies were not?

And please give me one other example in history where a people returned to their supposed homeland en masse after being away for almost 2000 years.

The whole premise of Israeli is racist to begin with. Imagine if any Western democratic society, which Israel claims to be by the way, only allowed Christians or white people to migrate to their country and not Muslims, Jews, Hindus, anyone from any other religion or anyone who is non-white . There would be absolute uproar. But somehow Israel can have these ridiculously racist immigration policies where they only allow Jews to migrate and yet they still garner the support of nations such as the the United Kingom and the United States, who themselves could never implement such an inherently racist policy.

Posted by: markts | June 8, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

KvnH: As a political progressive, I've long admired you, but with this post you cross a line. How DARE you behave as though Israel is just any old country rather than the sole refuge for Jews, a besieged population that faced an unprecedented--and still unmatched--slaughter not so long ago. How DARE you behave as though Israel, surrounded by nations sworn to destroy it, doesn't occupy a uniquely difficult place in this world.

Israel isn't always above reproach, but no one should forget that it faces obstacles that no other nation faces. You and every other apologist for Helen Thomas need to take a long, hard look at the fundamental anti-semitism within yourself, because regardless of how you try to dress up you pro-Palestinian sentiments, the core is always anti-Semitism.

Shame on you. Shame.

Posted by: haven7728 | June 8, 2010 6:41 PM | Report abuse

WHERE WAS THE APOLOGY? Since Helen Thomas was scheduled to speak at my child's graduation next week, I followed the story closely and hoped for one. The statement of "regret" on her website apologized for nothing, explained nothing, and absolved nothing. If it had, I might have cut Helen Thomas a break.

Posted by: MandyKatz | June 8, 2010 6:51 PM | Report abuse

What would be the reactions to Helen Thomas' comment about how Israelis should go back to where they came from if she was speaking of African-Americans or Latinos? I find the defense of Helen Thomas in this column and in the following comments to be both sad and despicable. None of these people would be offering the same defense of such racist comments if any other ethnic, national, or religious group was involved.
Of course the Palestinians are a people and should have a country, - in the West Bank and Gaza, including East Jerusalem - but so are the Israeli Jews.
Old hatreds never seem to die.

Posted by: micejazz | June 8, 2010 7:01 PM | Report abuse

@krpomer; You are my hero/heroin. Someone who actually understands the difference between policy and the people who are governed by it. Too many today are incapable of seperating a hatred of policy and a hatred of a people. This applies to those who called dissenters during Bush administration, un-American and those who despise the Israeli policies but not the people. One must wonder if these misunderstandings are deliberate?!

Posted by: oldpol | June 8, 2010 3:10 PM |

=======================================

It's not a misunderstanding as much as it's difficult to tell the difference.

During anti-war protests a few years ago (and I saw this), the people and groups who truly hated America took over and drowned out those voices who simply hated the Iraq War. In any article the Post writes about Israel the real bigots take center stage and tarnishes those voices who simply dislike the Israeli government and its policies.

Personally I think Thomas is a jerk and an antisemite, but that doesn't mean that anyone who criticizes Israel is one as well.

Posted by: bbface21 | June 8, 2010 7:13 PM | Report abuse

"How DARE you behave as though Israel is just any old country rather than the sole refuge for Jews" - haven7728

WHAT !!! Geez, the last time I checked, there are plenty of countries where Jews live very happy lives, most noteably the most powerful county in the world, none other than the United States of America. So NO, Israel is certainly NOT the sole refuge for Jews in the world. There are in fact many Jews who oppose even the idea of Israel and are more than happy to take "refuge" in the country that they presently reside in. Why do the Jews have to have a country ALL to themselves? It certainly seems a bit selfish to me. There are many ethnicities that do not have their own nations, try the Basque, Catalans, Flemish, Walloons, Kurds, Gypsies, Welsh, Scottish etc etc, oh and don't forget the Palestinians. What makes the Jews so much better than any of these other ethnicities that they so undoubtedly deserve their own nation?

Posted by: markts | June 8, 2010 7:15 PM | Report abuse

I am an 80 year-old life long Yellow- Dog Democrat. I have cheered, admired and supported Helen since I first saw her at the Kennedy press conferences. Kennedy loved her, Nixon hated her and George W. Bush was terrified of her, so terrified, in fact, that he moved her from her traditional place in the front row to the very back of the room and never called on her for another question.
I spent much of yesterday coming to her support on the web in spite of the really "offensive and reprehensible" remarks she had made. I put it off to just spending all those years watching all the meaningless crap called peace talks, being old and fed up and just saying she was sick of the whole charade.
Today, on the Jon Stewart Show I first saw her remarks that Israeli Jews should go back to wherever they came from. Asked to be specific, she said Poland, Germany, America, wherever they came from. Katherine, she was 20 when Hitler murdered 5-7 million Jews, in Germany and Poland.
Now I think we may just want to see her as a very old woman with a glorious history who has passed into the less glorious time of mental decline, not to be held responsible for her comments, public or private. Somebody needs to say this out loud. It's not disloyal to say that it is not a sin or disgrace to decline mentally as well as physically as one grows older but it is a fact. It's just what happens. Let this one go.

Posted by: m_richert | June 8, 2010 8:09 PM | Report abuse

"And please give me one other example in history where a people returned to their supposed homeland en masse after being away for almost 2000 years."

Jews have had a continuous presence in what is now present-day Israel since the second millenium B.C.E.and for more than 1600 years formed the main population and their numbers only dwindled as a result of being conquered and ethnically cleansed by Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Egyptians and Romans. Jews were a substantial majority in those areas of Palestine partitioned for a Jewish state.

"The whole premise of Israeli is racist to begin with. Imagine if any Western democratic society, which Israel claims to be by the way, only allowed Christians or white people to migrate to their country and not Muslims, Jews, Hindus, anyone from any other religion or anyone who is non-white . There would be absolute uproar. But somehow Israel can have these ridiculously racist immigration policies where they only allow Jews to migrate and yet they still garner the support of nations such as the the United Kingom and the United States, who themselves could never implement such an inherently racist policy."

Just as in other democracies, non-Jews can become citizens by naturalization, residence, or marrying an Israeli citizen.
As far as the plight of gypsies are concerned, that is a problem for the International Community to resolve. Suffice it to say that just because another group has been deprived of a homeland, that other ethnic or racial groups should as well. It is ignorant to describe immigrants to Israel as white only. Just check out the Ethiopian and Sudanese populations that have immigrated to Israel as well as Nepalese, East Indians, Filipinos, Sri Lankans among others.

Posted by: marx1 | June 8, 2010 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Yes there should be room for a Helen Thomas. Helen Thomas' point was that Israel should get out of Palestine, which is valid. UN resolutions have said so, and the US should clearly say so. Why is everyone avoiding this and instead focusing on how she said it? When I'm her age I won't say things well either, and neither will her critics. What about all the "Israel right or wrong" journalists? Shouldn't they have to resign too? Her crime wasn't being an opinion journalist, rather it was having such an unforgivable opinion - in this country. Not because it's the majority view of Jewish Americans (it's not), but because it's the view of some very effective pro-Israel lobbies and of the crazy American religious right which reads the Book of Revelations too much and awaits the rapture.

Posted by: rgreen1 | June 8, 2010 8:36 PM | Report abuse

The Grahams had a long term lease on a padded cell. They could sublet it to Helen.

Posted by: albee703 | June 8, 2010 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Something just hit me, Katrina.

You appeared on MSNBC to give well-financed but dimwitted opinions several years back. You rightly decried the hate speech of Michael Savage and asked that he be taken off the network. This was before MSNBC was ideologically cleansed.

Yet what Michael Savage did to extricate himself from that Black Hole pales beside the hate speech of one Helen Thomas.

You have exposed yourself as not only a complete idiot but a hypocrite. If the WaPo chooses to keep you after this ignorant rant, I look forward to defecating in your face on a regular basis.

Oh, and Sieg Heil, Katrina. I knew the two of you eventually would make up.

Posted by: isleofworld | June 8, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse

"Jews have had a continuous presence in what is now present-day Israel since the second millenium B.C.E." - marx1

Yes, but for the vast majority of the past 2000 years their presence has been minimal.

"for more than 1600 years formed the main population and their numbers only dwindled as a result of being conquered and ethnically cleansed by Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Egyptians and Romans" - marx1

Ok, so that is what the historians say, or maybe this is what is stated in the old testament, but what you are basically saying is that someone who is Jewish and who MIGHT just have a distant ancestor who migrated from what is present day Israel 2000 years ago has a right to the land because Jews MIGHT just have formed the main population there for 1600 years well over 2000 years ago. No one really can say for sure what happened back then, especially not what the demographics of the region were, it's all speculation. Speculation is a very weak argument to justify the existence of a modern day nation.

"Jews were a substantial majority in those areas of Palestine partitioned for a Jewish state"

Only because of significant Jewish migration to the region after the advent of zionism in the late 1800's and also because of the much more recent holocaust refugees. Most of that substantial majority were definitely new arrivals.

"Just as in other democracies, non-Jews can become citizens by naturalization, residence, or marrying an Israeli citizen." - marx1

I suppose so, in fact I hope so, but I guarantee you that it is MUCH easier to become an Israeli citizen if you are Jewish or are of Jewish ancestry.

"As far as the plight of gypsies are concerned, that is a problem for the International Community to resolve" - marx1

You mean the same international commuity that solved the Jewish Problem by the creation of Israel, why have the Jews been so lucky and been so looked after, but not the Gypsies? Once again I ask, what exactly makes the Jews so special and so much more deserving of attention from the interntional community? And you can't use the Holocaust as an excuse because the Gypsies got it just as bad.

"It is ignorant to describe immigrants to Israel as white only. Just check out the Ethiopian and Sudanese populations that have immigrated to Israel as well as Nepalese, East Indians, Filipinos, Sri Lankans among others. " - marx1

NO, NO, NO !!! That is NOT what I meant at all, I was referring to the fact that it is much easier for people who are religiouly or ethnically Jewish to migrate to Israel. That would be like the US making it much easier for white people to migrate there as opposed to other ethicities such as African or Asian.

Posted by: markts | June 8, 2010 9:32 PM | Report abuse

marx1 and everyone else for that matter please read this article written by King Abdullah of Jordan in 1947, it explains a lot !!!

http://www.kinghussein.gov.jo/kabd_eng.html

Posted by: markts | June 8, 2010 9:59 PM | Report abuse

"The anti-Zionists can spew their anti-Israel hatred but Israel is here to stay. Get used to it!"

Hate Israel? It's not worth it. We're just fed up. As for being there to stay, the demographics say otherwise. Get used to it.

Posted by: fzdybel | June 8, 2010 11:12 PM | Report abuse

Helen Thomas is hot!


And, Obama is a great President!


And, Katrina makes sense!

Posted by: nypaul61 | June 9, 2010 1:29 AM | Report abuse

perhaps the good rabbi who recorded helen's comments should work on his own racism first, before attacking others (as shown by this video of him mocking mexicans)

http://www.mediaite.com/online/rabbi-who-recorded-helen-thomas-comments-is-now-suffering-from-his-own-viral-video-past

Posted by: maritb333 | June 9, 2010 7:54 AM | Report abuse

http://www.mediaite.com/online/rabbi-who-recorded-helen-thomas-comments-is-now-suffering-from-his-own-viral-video-past

Posted by: maritb333 | June 9, 2010 7:58 AM | Report abuse

If a journalist tells a nation founded by Jews escaping Nazism to go back to Poland Germany,it is not thinly veiled,it is not oblique.
This is not about Zionism. It is about Ms. Thomas and this and other statements,such as applauding Hezbollah.
I wonder what the author's feelings would be if a man wrote that women should get the hell out of journalism and return to the kitchen?
I wonder what the author's feelings would be if a writer opined that Blacks should go back to Africa?
Mel Gibson had a distinguished and lengthy career before his anti-Semitism became public. Should we forgive him too?

Posted by: SAMMYSHOW | June 9, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

"Speaking truth to power." Yeah, uh-huh. Tell it to the editorial boards of virtually every major metro daily in the country from the L.A. Times to, yes, the Washington Post at your next oh-so-exclusive wine and cheese fest at Ariana Huffington's.

"Asking tough questions." You mean like the hard-ball, tough street reporter treatment you and your limp cohorts gave Obama during the run up to the 2008 election? If the media had done its job then and "asked tough questions" of Obama rather than fawning and drooling all over him like a pack of 12 year-old schoolgirls, we wouldn't be in the massive mess we're in today. (Oh, wow. Sorry, it's all Bush's fault...I forgot).

Do us fly-over-country Neanderthals a favor and cut the sanctimonious "we hold the moral high-ground" crap. It's simply insulting.

At least, have the common decency to admit that it's all about politics, not women's rights or the "poor Palestinians" or latent racism or the haves-vs-the have nots.

Like Helen Thomas and Chris Mathews and Bill Maher and Maureen Dowd and Dan Rather and Keith Olbermann, you are a liberal hack with significantly diminished credibility...a garden variety limo-lib; an uber-feminist, left-wing "progressive" tortured by subliminal old-money guilt spewing the same Great Leap Forward to a Brighter Future garbage you have since your days at Princeton and The Nation. Sad.

Moving on...to answer your question, yes there is room for Helen Thomas...it's called the basement. You're more than welcome to join her.

Posted by: Bummer64 | June 9, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Am not into the politics,just would like to wish a soon to be 90 year old person a Happy Birthday.

Posted by: whiz10 | June 11, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

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