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We made too many excuses for Helen Thomas

As someone who has benefited from the trails blazed by Helen Thomas, I am told I should cut her some slack regarding her ignorant remarks about Jews. After all, her successful career -- overcoming now unimaginable sexism -- helped make my career, and those of countless other women journalists, possible. Besides that, she is 89, apologized for her hateful words and, no doubt pressured, announced her immediate retirement. That should be the end of the matter. But I still find myself seething over the incident, and much of my anger comes from being part of a profession that was too willing to give a break to someone who -- no matter how storied a career -- dishonors our work.

Thomas’s comments -- Jews should “get the hell out of Palestine” and return to Poland and Germany, lands that tried to exterminate persecuted them -- went largely unnoticed in the mainstream media until it was picked up by the Drudge Report and Montgomery County’s Walt Whitman High School asked her to bow out as this week’s commencement speaker. Various rationalizations were offered up for the lack of coverage: she doesn’t hold public office; the press shouldn’t be policing First Amendment rights of opinion writers; her views on Israel were long known; and, finally, no one really takes her seriously any more.

What is far more likely is that the news media, with rare exceptions, are loath to subject their own to the scrutiny we routinely apply to others. Imagine, if you can, if those same comments had been made by a sitting governor, head of Fortune 500 company or even some Hollywood star.

Helen Thomas was held out as the dean of the White House press corps and accorded special privileges. Like it or not, she was part of our public face. Many thought it cute that the president honored her with cupcakes. And they cheered her brazen questions at White House press conferences. I, for one, cringed at what I considered her increasingly inappropriate behavior. It is one thing to ask a hard-hitting question to elicit real information and an entirely separate matter to grandstand for attention. Thomas long ago crossed a line and she finally ended up paying the price. It’s a sad end to her life’s work, but even sadder is how the rest of the media were willing to go along for the ride.

By Jo-Ann Armao  | June 7, 2010; 1:14 PM ET
Categories:  Armao  | Tags:  Jo-Ann Armao  
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Comments

Well said. She was cut slack because her wildeyed liberal views were shared by her colleagues. She was among friends, not just some crazy aunt in the attic. I think they silently cheered her on when she was rude and acerbic with former President Bush. And maybe they excused the bigoted, hateful remarks about those Jews - getting the Hxll out of Palestine. This just shows again how far out of touch the MSM is with the public they are supposed to enlighten from their front row seats to daily news. You hit the nail on the head.

Posted by: randomsandythoughts | June 7, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

I like Helen Thomas.

So what if she made a frank statement.

She's made lots of frank statements before, and I love her for it.


Posted by: lindalovejones | June 7, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Bingo, right on the money. Thanks.

29 or 89 it makes no difference, bigoted is bigoted.

nw

Posted by: nwhipkey | June 7, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

If you cringed at Thomas' "...considered her increasingly inappropriate behavior. It is one thing to ask a hard-hitting question to elicit real information and an entirely separate matter to grandstand for attention." Then you must cringe often because a lot of the journalist now are grandstanders as evidenced by their "look at me I'm going to be on all the channels because of my "gotch" questions". Helen i

Posted by: rlj1 | June 7, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Before we vilify her too much, let us not forget that she is 89 and in older individuals talk like this can be a sign of a small stroke or other health issue. I don't know if she has a history of making these kinds of offensive statements, but if not, it would lead me to believe it is health related.

Posted by: JPDupre | June 7, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Ignorance is not a frank statement. Blatant bigotry is not a frank statement. Get an education. If you are lucky, you will have a well-educated Jewish person teaching you, caring about your learning, and listening to alternative viewpoints.

Posted by: justaguy43 | June 7, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

...If you are lucky, you will have a well-educated Jewish person teaching you, caring about your learning, and listening to alternative viewpoints....

Posted by: justaguy43

Um...would it also be OK to have a well-educated Christian, Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist teaching one, or should I exclusively seek out a Jewish one?

Posted by: ellinwoods | June 7, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Apparently this was just the last straw in a long line of comments that went under-reported. That she was said to represent the "Hezbollah view" by Tony Snow, and no one bothered to be offended, suggests that she did, indeed, represent the Hezbollah view.

Posted by: ryoung122 | June 7, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Jo-Ann:

In 2001, columnist Cal Thomas (whose work sometimes runs in the Post) called for Israel to ethnically cleans Palestinians from the West Bank (http://bit.ly/9Tr3cA). Did you call for him to resign then? Do you call for him to resign now?

Posted by: markkawar | June 7, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

There is no balm in Gilead for the wounded of these terrible conflicts who speak as if from a fixed point in time in ways which are inimicable to less affected and more modern sensiblity. I hope my own perception of her is correct and that there is no racism here but just an older person raising the banner of a lost cause who doesnt realize so many years later that it no longer signifies anything to anyone who is not racist.

Posted by: almorganiv | June 7, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

It seems to me that mean-mouthing Helen Thomas today is akin to people mean-mouthing some 90 year old Sioux Indian woman in 1870 because she said that all of you White People should go back to Europe.

No chance that that was a valid individual perspective then? No chance that Thomas’ perspective is valid now?

Posted by: Provincial | June 7, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Jo-Ann:

In 2001, columnist Cal Thomas (whose work sometimes runs in the Post) called for Israel to ethnically cleans Palestinians from the West Bank (http://bit.ly/9Tr3cA). Did you call for him to resign then? Do you call for him to resign now?

Posted by: markkawar | June 7, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Please spare me the sanctimony of yet another self-righteous journalist. Since according to Ms. Armao, Ms. Thomas has had a history of "increasingly inappropriate behavior," my question is why hasn't Ms. Armao ever addressed the issue of Ms. Thomas, instead of waiting until now to find herself "seething over the incident." It looks like she's simply jumping on the journalistic self-righteousness bandwagon and kicking an 89 year old lady when she's down. It was an idiotic comment, certainly, but an isolated one compared to the hateful crap that spews out of the Fox Network every day uncontested by mainstream journalists such as herself. I find it ironic that Ms. Armao is unwittingly attacking herself when she writes of her "anger from being part of a profession that was too willing to give a break to someone who...dishonors our work." Dishonorable work is what "journalists" do all the time - they grovel, abandon objectivity, and follow whoever has the highest ratings while simultaneously waxing self- righteously like Ms. Armao is in this posting. How about you leave the 89 year old lady alone and instead go actually report on something important?

Posted by: rrmorris1 | June 7, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Well done column!

Posted by: VA_momof3 | June 7, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Over the years I have watched Helen Thomas give the powers that be a good roasting by asking hard hitting questions that others wouldn't ask. I adored her bravery.
Interesting to me that one little commit and the entire media industry is shaking there finger at her and condemning her without even letting her clarify her statement.
For some reason the US media is terrified of criticizing Israel our so called friend and allie.
I have nothing against Jews or the people of Israel. That said here is my opinion on the subject.
Barbed wire fences, ghettos, curfews, secret police, any of this sound familiar? Maybe Nazi Germany 1932ish? No its Israel today. They have boxed in or out the Palestinians with barbed wire fences, secret police round up people and torture them, and they are held without lawyers for days. There is something really wrong with Israel. But nobody wants to criticizes the Jews. Poor people they were tormented, and maligned throughout the world for centuries. So what?
That was yesterday and today the state of Israel is that of the block bully. Pushing, and brow beating there neighbors into conforming to there beliefs. Denying the Palestinians there basic human rights.
It is wrong. I say it again, there is something wrong with Israel that it feels abusing human beings is acceptable behavior.
The world is getting smaller and smaller. It is time the Middle East learns to live together in peace. Tear down the fences, open your doors and just talk to each other.
For the sake of the world's future-just talk.

Posted by: Susan691 | June 7, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Career death by spew-icide.

Posted by: bgreen2224 | June 7, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

The Holocaust was a disgusting example of the ills that society and any human can unleash on others, but what of the unnamed holocaust unleashed on the Palestinians since the end of WWII? Does the suffering of one group of people justify the suffering of another group (not related to the suffering of the first group) at the hands of the formerly oppressed? Stop hiding behind the holocaust. It does not give Israelis the right to oppress the Palestinians, nor does it give Israeli sympathizers the right to blackball or muzzle those who speak out against their atrocities.

Posted by: smarkwith | June 7, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Joann, you're implying there's more to the story. Had Thomas made bizarre statements before? Was there evidence she was anti-Semitic?

If the worst that had happened was that her "opening questions" were mostly a waste of time, I think the press corps leadership can be excused for not wanting to be the bad guy.

Kicking her out of the front row simply because she was old and cranky would have appeared to be in bad form -- and in fact might have brought protests from AARP/activists for aging people.

I never liked her questions, and she was terribly overrated as a journalist, but I did like that everybody including presidents of both parties showed her respect -- it was one nice visible symbol of respect for the elderly, which we don't see enough of in this country (trying to make this into a liberal-media-conspiracy story is missing that point)

Of course if she was virulently anti-Israel or otherwise biased or wacko, that can't be excused. She shouldn't have been in that prominent a spot all those years and the White House Press Association should have made the tough decision.

Posted by: tboyer33 | June 7, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Well, I guess poor Helen needs to take a little break instead of a retirement.

Posted by: jnlg | June 7, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

It's remarkable to me that some people are offended that an open anti-Semite has been pressured into retiring. The Cal Thomas comment, and I don't even know if it's valid because the hyperlink is to Wikapedia rather than the article, is besides the point. Anyone who has the degree of prominence that Thomas had deserves pressure to get out of her post if she utters bigotry against an identifiable group, especially against one that has historically been persecuted.

In the United States, in some places--Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, Palestinian Territories, and Lebanon--anti-Semitic journalists are lauded. With the virulent rise of anti-Jewish scapegoatism around the world we must guard against it, especially with influential, public figures like Thomas. I very much appreciate the Obama Administration being outspoken against her bigotry.

Posted by: JusticeJusticeShaltThouPursue | June 7, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

A more politically correct way to express what Helen Thomas apparently believes would be to say one thought the Palestinians' land had been stolen from them.

One could make the same point about Native Americans.

Are such viewpoints also not permissible nowadays?

Posted by: Itzajob | June 7, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

I've been waiting for a long time for someone to have the courage to say what Helen Thomas said, for the Jews to get the Hell out of Palestine. The last time I looked, this country still had freedom of speech, or does that apply to everything except the subject of Israel/Jews? I'm sick and tired of our support of Israel. Israel is arrogant and they shove their religion down everyone's throat. Just because their Bible says the land is theirs does not justify moving in and taking over someone else's land, i.e., the Palestinians. I've got the guts to say what needs to be said -- Israel, get the Hell out of Palestine.

Posted by: rockqueen | June 7, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

This piece ALMOST nails it. Thomas was cut so much slack because she was/is a liberal GW Bush hater.

Good riddance to old rubbish.

Posted by: moonchild64 | June 7, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Helen Thomas didn't put nine innocent men in caskets last week. Israel did.

It's pretty obvious that your commitment to freedom of speech is nothing more than lip service. Someone who made your career possible says something that you find offensive and you're howling for her censure. You ought to be ashamed of yourself.

Posted by: larkinvonalt | June 7, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

The hypocrisy of the media and way too many liberals is now in full view. Rand Paul makes a general statement that as a Libertarian he has problems with one piece of the Civil Rights Act that infringes on the private sector and he is blasted all over. Helen Thomas is very specific regarding the placement of the Jewish people who went through hell and we make apologies for her. If we are to show slack because of her age, then put an age limit on reporters and columnists and don't make a peep about discrimination!! You can't have it both ways--even if you have been allowed such for all these years!

Posted by: terencekahn | June 7, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

I think most Americans would love to have Helen Thomas hosting Saturday Night Live.

You guys are way to serious.

Posted by: WillSeattle | June 7, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

One comment made at the end of one's life cannot undermine an entire lifetime of trail-blazing on behalf of women's rights worldwide. I and all other woman of the world owe Helen Thomas our respect and admiration for her life-long career exposing the lies and spin of presidents (both liberal and conservative). Ms. Thomas will continue to be one of my heroines, despite one regretful remark.

Posted by: MarylandJ | June 7, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

rockqueen,
Your comment is virulently anti-Semitic, "Jews to get the Hell out of Palestine," Shame! I wonder whether you would have the same thing to say about Jews in the United States.

Posted by: JusticeJusticeShaltThouPursue | June 7, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

this was not new. Helen Thomas was boorish in her behaviour and openly hostile to conservative views years ago. Anyone who spent time in the White House Press Room, from the days of the Red Sofas knew this.

I applaud Ms. Aramo's remarks. Now where are those who are now major journalists national public figures that spent years sitting near her and fawning over her as the "Dean" of their tribe? .

Posted by: mewcomm | June 7, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

How dare you Helen. Your comments on Israel are disgusting and shameful. Israel is the beacon of hope in the Middle East. It’s the rightful occupier of the land and the Palestinian people should, off course, submit to the master. Why Helen? Why? Its all written in the Bible! Also, I find very suspicious having that woman sit in the front seat of the briefing room at the White House. Isn’t she from Lebanon or Laos? Its all very disturbing to me...

Posted by: jcmrepublik | June 7, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

To Rockqueen and those that sympathize. Have you read Richard Cohen's comment today? I do not like Cohen (for reasons that have nothing to do with his ethnicity or religion). We can all learn from those with whom we disagree. Cohen tells a lesson in history about which I knew nothing. So, if you expect Jews to get out of Palesine, where do you want them to go?

Anti-semitic remarks, even if made in ignorance, will not help Jews and Arabs alike find a way to coexist in peace in the place each call home.

Posted by: kermit5 | June 7, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Poster smarkwith brought up the mythical "Palestinian holocaust" that Israeli Jews have supposedly perpetrated. LOL!! Hey buddy, have you checked the Palestinian population figures?? If the Jews had had that kind of "holocaust," they'd be the majority ethnic group in Europe by now.

Posted by: dmm1 | June 7, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Armao is quick to call Helen Thomas "ignorant", and then goes on to say that Poland and Germany are "lands that tried to exterminate (the Jews)". Is this the old "Polish Concentration Camps" canard again?

Posted by: LeszX | June 7, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Finally, this is the end to a grossly incompetent reporter, remember was she asked are there "alleged" terrorist in Pakistan? Another liberal icon dies.

Posted by: mark26 | June 7, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Well, in my opinion, despite her off-the-cuff unfortunate words, she honored humanity and journalism by saying them.

Rush and Republicans say this sort of trash every day and the Wash Post gives them space every day. You have Israeli apologists like Krauthammer and Cohen writing weekly, and above all you have the enormous vote-buying apparatus of the Jewish organizations in America. Who speaks for the Palestinians???

So give your indignation a break. Helen, a very old gal, should have long retired.

But the five Gulf states that are suffering from the oil spill are the most Red of all Red States, the most conservative, and they are in fact suffering from not God's vengence but life's vengence for having voted Republican under the "no gov't" "private enterprise" can do it better themes so popular since Reagan. They are paying for voting against their interests for 30 years. Does it take a tissy fit from Helen Thomas to break through the group think of the MSM? America will pay if it does not put the Israelis back in their bottle. Helen was right in spirit even if she spoke the harsh words that a Mitch McConnell or John Boehner use every day to trash the Democrats.

Posted by: walden1 | June 7, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Why make this into a liberal vs. conservative debate? Thomas was as rude to Clinton as to Bush, Jr. and deserved to have no place in the White House because she used her journalistic post as a private opportunity to spout personal, political opinion.

Posted by: JusticeJusticeShaltThouPursue | June 7, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

No one can doubt that Helen Thomas comments were inappropriate. But, I think they reflect the frustration of many many Americans with the double standards this county's political leadership has historically shown when it comes to Isreal's policies and actions towards the people of Palestine. Condemn Thomas if you must, but where is America's condemation of Isreal's inhuman policies towards the people of Palestine?

Posted by: ThomasV | June 7, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Helen! 95% of the country agrees with what you said. Unfortunately, the other 5% have 90% of the $$$$$

Posted by: joeshabadoo2391 | June 7, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Wow people are so stupid when did Israel fly a plane into a bldg send a suicide bomber etc. when was the last time a muslim and arab made a significant contribution to the world besides oil (that we found for them )............ thought so ,they are dangerous, intolerant, and hate us the muslim and arab worlds are not ones to trust or negotiate with period they are useless

Posted by: lildg54 | June 7, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

I find myself comparing the journalistic ethics of Helen Thomas with those of the late Walter Cronkite. There is no comparison.

Posted by: altdoc | June 7, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

I'm surprised that all the pompous and pius conservatives haven't blamed President Obama for her remarks. Okay, you can start now. I guess she got away with things but President Obama did give her cupcakes. She must be liked by him.

Posted by: ejpilarz | June 7, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Armao writes:

"Imagine, if you can, if those same comments had been made by a sitting governor, head of Fortune 500 company or even some Hollywood star."

Let me add, Imagine if someone other than a darling of liberals and the liberal media had made them. It would have taken the oil spill off the front pages for at least a week!

Posted by: Roytex | June 7, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

I don't think her comments were bigoted. I disagree with her asertion that Jews should "get out of Palestine" and go back to where they came from, but it is 100% true that Israel treats Palestinians in the Gaza Strip like second class citizens, to put it mildly. Whether its politcially correct to say or not is a different story. But tellng the truth about the mistreatment of a group of people can hardly be described as ignorant or bigoted.

Posted by: PepperDr | June 7, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

The USA permits Israel to do however it pleases. If any other country treated millions of its neighbors like Israel does Palestine - we would be at the UN making a resolution. It boils down to money and self-interest in Washington. Billions of dollars flow. Israel stops food, medical supplies from getting into Palestine. The Palestinians can't move about freely or have an economy or be at peace. Israel is unreasonable to be squatting on someone else's land. Since they can't be fair and perpetuate such violence on others, they should leave. Helen Thomas could have been more diplomatic - I believe the 1st people to vilify her were former/current Presidential Press Secretaries Ari Fleisher and Robert Gibbs - attack an 89 year old who speaks the truth - about modern Israel - not what happened in the past.

Posted by: commentorZ | June 7, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

As a Journalist, she should ask questions to find facts....not deliver her opinions. Her inappropriate behavior isn't tolerated in other Journalists, or anyone else for that matter... why is it OK for her?

Posted by: cherylzone | June 7, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Dear Jo-Ann,

Thanks for the confession that you "cringed" at her comments...where was your courage before, especially if it was so obvious?

Posted by: AlexandriaJim | June 7, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

EXCUSES? How about making excuses for Israel? When will that stop?

The Post routinely makes excuses for Israel. Israel is under attack from Hamas rockets. No Israeli has died from them. No one at the Post asks why the Gazans caged up in Gaza fired those rockets in the first place. No one at the Post asks if Israel provoked the relatively harmless rockets. Just excuses for Israel.

The Post is biased against Palestinians. This bias is so severe as to beg the question of whether it is motivated by racial or religious bigotry. Just as Thomas had to resign, so should everyone at the Post who makes excuses for Israel.

In its editorial on the Gazan relief flotilla, the Post questioned the motives of the organizers. Did the Post question the motives of Israel in caging 1 million Palestinians in Gaza? Will the Post questions the motives of the next relief flotilla--this one organized by German Jews?

Thomas' remarks are no less offensive than the common refrain that "of course, Israel has the right to defend itself." The "defense" is nothing but a continuation of the ethnic cleansing Israel started in 1948.

Do the Palestinians whose land is being stolen in the West Bank have the right to defend themselves? Does the Post, when covering suicide bombers, say, yes, so sorry about the deaths, but Palestine has the right to defend itself?

Posted by: Garak | June 7, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Cut her some slack if only that she is 89 and her frontal lobe functioning can be brought into question, though I realize this is likely "age discrimination". I have personally watched this happen to both of my parents as they approached and entered their nineties. I am not surprised.

Posted by: kkish | June 7, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Thomas has always labeled herself a liberal. I thought liberals preached tolerance? Ms. Thomas should right her next book about hypocrisy or knowing when to quit your job.

Posted by: bobbo2 | June 7, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Why single out Helen Thomas when there are many other so called "journalists" who are equally insensitive as well as hateful:
Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck to same two.

On the other hand, when our constitution guarantees the right to free speech - why should she quit at all!

Posted by: mraine | June 7, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Truly well said. Good for you, Ms. Armao, for saying out loud what many have observed for years and years and years and years. Better late than never.

Posted by: cwejohnson | June 7, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Helen Thomas is like many people who get more and more outrageous as they age, but no one calls them on it until their comments become sufficiently outrageous. By the adulation she has received from her peers, she has come to over-value herself and to be unaware of her (I believe age-related) shortcomings. Finally it has become too much to ignore.

I think John McCain is suffering a similar age-related decline, accelerated in his case by his suffering as a prisoner of war.

Posted by: dnfree | June 7, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Itzajob you say that

"A more politically correct way to express what Helen Thomas apparently believes would be to say one thought the Palestinians' land had been stolen from them.

One could make the same point about Native Americans.

Are such viewpoints also not permissible nowadays?"

But you are falling into the same trap, you assume that Jews come from Europe. In fact over half of all the Jews, and nearly 70% of all Israelis are native to the Middle East, as native as the Palestinians themselves. So why is it that if Jews like myself were born Muslim, I would be considered a native, but since I was born in Palestine as a Jew I am considered a forigner?

Posted by: aadlersberg | June 7, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Cheap and cowardly shots, Ms. Armeo. You pay lip service to a woman whose stature you will never equal, while standing off to the side "cringing at her increasingly inappropriate behavior" and waiting for her to "cross a line" so you can excoriate her publicly for a lapse in judgement (however heinous). She's 89 years old, for God's sake. It's sad that those among you who were in a position to do so didn't ease her off the stage gently when it became obviously that she needed to retire. Instead, you pounce before she's even out the door. Who's grandstanding now?

Posted by: ndygrl | June 7, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Wow. Apparently, many WaPO posters feel perfectly at ease with their own anti-Semitism, not to mention expressing it where everyone can see. This episode has even brought out the Holocaust deniers. Too bad many of you don't seem to be more familiar with the history of the 20th century and, in particular, the history of the Jewish people during that century. Jewish peoples have more much right to "Palestine" because of historical occupation prior to the Diaspora than the so-called Palestinians do. Do any of you know anything about how and why the State of Israel was created? The hundreds of thousands of displaced Jews in Europe that were not welcome back in Germany or Poland or.... anywhere. This after millions were killed in the gas chambers. All I can say to the Helen Thomas' apologists is shame on you!

Posted by: sherryds | June 7, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Piling on to Helen Thomas, running over her with a bulldozer, where is the sport in that? Funny I've never heard of you and I've sure heard of her. What was the last courageous thing you did as a journalist? Ask the President about his golf game or the first lady about her garden? Say what you want to about her, at least she never tortured anybody or shot them in the head because they were transporting wheelchairs and water bottles.

Posted by: SarahBB | June 7, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

There's been a lack of focus on the media being responsible in general - what is the author's history of condemnation of journalism's lack of responsibility in recent years?

Posted by: mgreg | June 7, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

95% of Americans agree that the Israelis are bad? I think not. Speak for yourself and don't rely on bogus stats to make your point. Palestinian holocaust since WWII? Try not to lie to make your point. It seems anti-Semetism is alive and well in anonymous posters. It's no wonder racism seems an incurable disease.

Posted by: sanity1 | June 7, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

She didn't out of the blue make the statement she was asked, and she answered it in a way many people would like to, but are not old enough to.

Posted by: nowickedwitch | June 7, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Dear Jo-Ann,
I've got some news for you honey: your "work" was never honorable.

Posted by: jakeyrotten | June 7, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Okay , it was stupid and silly to say go back to Europe . But , for Palestinians , it was/is pretty bad to have their country taken away by Europeans trying to cover their asses for not stopping the holocaust .
Perhaps Thomas was indelicately protesting the horrid treatment given Palestinians by Israel . Collective punishments and an attitude from the Israeli government that Arabs are sub-human is as indefensible as the arab attitude that jews are subhuman .
BUT , the biggest issue to me, as an American who is neither Jewish nor Arab , is that the United States is being dragged down by Israel . Lots of money we send there and lots of enemies we make by defending Israel's bad behavior . What is the strategic value of all that we pay for and to Israel ? What does it have to do with America's self-interest ? Very Little ! That point is not allowed in everyday American media .

Posted by: gidtanner | June 7, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

"So what if she made a frank statement.

She's made lots of frank statements before, and I love her for it."

Well, it helps to be right.

Wew could have peace in the Middle East if the Arabs would cooperate.

They still want to win.

So does Helen.

But she got to be right first. Then the rest works.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | June 7, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

We support them because they (Israel) have a right to exist. They are surrounded by packs of wolves that aim to exterminate them. Their "bad behavior"? What would that be? Doing their best to survive? The Palestinians have no interest in peace. Israel is not the bully, they are the scrappy underdog that refuses to give in to pressure and threats.

Posted by: sanity1 | June 7, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Wow, didn't realize how alive and virulent anti-Semitism was until reading this WaPo blog. My gosh, thought we lived in more enlightened times, I'm a little embarassed for the WaPo readership. Ms Thomas' use of the word "Palestine" for where we might otherwise hear "Israel" (remember, she said "get out of PALESTINE") reveals her whole position as being largely that of Hezbollah and other such hate groups, that though Jews have ancestral origins on that land going back thousands of years, they don't 'belong' there. So this wasn't a 'senior moment' as some want to imply, her statements were gut-felt, thought-out positions that she had long championed, just not as publicly. For those of you on here who are ok with what she said, imagine if someone had said that blacks should go back to Africa, what would be your response then? Would you be ok with that and say it's a free country and a public figure has a right to state that ridiculous position without any reprisal? Of course not, we'd all collectively cringe at the racist stupidity, as any conscientious person would do with what Ms Thomas said.

Some things are just too hateful and incendiary to utter, and she totally crossed the line. Let's face it, we all have to reture sometime and if not now, when for Ms Thomas. Not saying anything about her career, just saying you can't be in the public role she was in and lob statements of racist hate and expect that to be ok.

Posted by: ChangeIsNotAStrategy | June 7, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

This column shows the politically rightward movement of the Post in recent years, and the corresponding 'compassion' in verbally kicking an elderly person who has already apologized for her remarks. It is a sad thing to see the Post vilify one of its own reporters.

Posted by: ailie | June 7, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

It's funny that a journalist like you said about Helen, that she crossed the line. Well I've seen worse than Helen, but they did not step on Israel, so they could do with the line, whatever they pleased, even run naked and stoned in front of everybody.The political correctness in WP and the rest of so called media is simply disgusting, you even bit communist in that game. Ever heard about free speech, guess not. Anything goes only to the rest of subjects, but Israel is a taboo, most of can not touch.

Posted by: mumik17 | June 7, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

We are veteran journalists of 30-plus years, have known Helen for a long time and consider her a dear friend. Helen has spoken out about her support for a Palestinian homeland for many years, she is by heritage Lebanese, and she has been critical of Israeli government action in the Gaza Strip. We have never heard her disparage the Jewish people at events where we were present, during private conversations at dinners at our home or just out for an evening with friends. In her remarks she basically told the Israeli government to stop occupying Palestine and when asked where these people should go, she said "anywhere" but the occupied territory and listed Germany, Poland and the U.S. Some seem to think this was a reference to the Holocaust but it was not. Historically many Jews came from these countries after World War II. In watching the video of her comments, we saw no ill intent toward Jewish people, just a call for an end to actions that prevent Palestinians from living as free people. Have we become so PC no one can express an opinion on controversial issues, even a columnist whose job it is to do just that? Isn't that your job and are you not doing it by castigating Helen freely? Over the many years Helen was the White House correspondent for UPI those of us who worked with her, edited her copy and sought her advice and counsel found her to be the epitome of a journalist and a wire service reporter in every sense of the word, always truthful, fair, accurate and objective. In 2000, she chose to become a columnist and made no secret that she would write from a liberal perspective. She has always kept in her heart how events affect people, and holding governments accountable. Does she support terrorism? Absolutely not, she has spoken against it. Is she anti-semetic? Absolutely not. But she is passionate about the plight of the Palestinian people. There are no words adequate to express all of the wonderful things she has done for the profession and for women in journalism over her storied career. It is because of Helen that the National Press Club admitted women as full members. She is a trailblazer in every sense of the word and it is because of her women were accepted as equals in the White House press corps. So before you are so quick to say she has dishonored the profession, take a closer look at what she's done and remember that she is a big part of the reason you are writing from your desk today.
Tobin & Ellen Beck

Posted by: ebeck77 | June 7, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Rush Limbaugh says much uglier, racist things on the radio everyday and I never heard Ms. Armao or any other "journalist" "cringe."

Posted by: PepperDr | June 7, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

I have heard many a white American complain that African Americans expect special treatment because of slavery, and that they should get over it and move on, or go back where they came from (though in most cases they were born here). And yet, Israelis not only expect, but get, special treatment because of the holocaust. Perhaps they too should get over it and move on. Helen Thomas said nothing more about Israelis than white Americans say, on a daily basis, about African Americans. Doesn't make any of them right or wrong, its just an opinion.

Posted by: Itsasadday | June 7, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

This is an obvious case of senility that doesn't require picking apart as if it was some sort of cogent or meaningful statement. What's next? Beating up on children in cancer wards?

Posted by: alarico | June 7, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

I had heard years ago that no one took her seriously. I guess that was misinformation.

Posted by: RHouck | June 7, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

What work, Ms. Armao? Exactly what work?
What tough questions were asked in the 8 years of the Bush administration? Who asked questions about having a state run television network in America during that time? Journalism is dead and has been because you will not take on the loud, wealthy, violent voices on the right; and you won't question the equally biased voices on the left. You are afraid to challenge anyone except an elderly woman at the end of her career and are doing so only now because she has lost her vehicle to fight back.

Posted by: mawheelz | June 7, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

What is amazing is the total lack of coverage by the Post and NY Times. If Walt Whitman's graduating class had not canceled her speech her remarks would have remained buried by the "hard hitting reporters" of the Post and Times. Let us not forget the famous words of Pastor Niemoller.."In Germany they first came for the communists and i didn't speak up..."
Thomas was a public figure and her bigotry regards of age deserved coverage in the Post. Kathrine Graham would not have ducked the issue.

Posted by: nhfine | June 7, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

There are two parts to what Helen Thomas said.

The Jews should get out of Palestine. I agree with that one. The US has been too supportive of Israel's occupation and annexation of the West Bank and Gaza.

The Jews should go back to Germany and Poland. This crosses the line. If she said they should go back to Israel, no harm no foul. Back to Germany and Poland, without mentioning Israel, is really insensitive.

But let's not let the unjustifiable statement allow anyone to pretend that the justifiable statement isn't true. The occupation needs to end.

Posted by: gordle | June 7, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

The press is loathe to criticize one of their own?

Imagine if Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, etc. said that.

The Liberal press is loathe to criticize another member of the Liberal press, you mean.

Posted by: drjcarlucci | June 7, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

If a people on our border were constantly blowing themselves up in the middle of our civilian population, wouldn't we restrict their movements? Of course! So this whining about how the Israelis torment the Palestinians is ridiculous. It is simply a matter of survival for them to be so careful about whom they allow to move about their country. We would do the same, unless the bleeding heart liberals cried enough about our unfair treatment of the poor terrorists blowing up our citizens. Then maybe it wouldn't be so simple.

Posted by: hawkeye114 | June 7, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Helen is of Lebanese descent. That she has strong feelings against a regime oppressive to her people is no surprise to me. Her views are not racist. She is entitled to those views and the Israeli Gov'ts over time have earned them.

No sane individual disputes the suffering Jews have endured over the ages and most specifically during the Holocaust. That does not however give Israel carte blanch to do the same to Palestinians. Enough apologizing for Helen sure. When are we going to stop apologizing for the Israeli Government's oppressive policies?

Posted by: mas92102 | June 7, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Please for all those that believe that humanitarian flotilla crap, get a life. This attempt to run the blockade was purely provocative. The people that died were sacrificed by the perpetrators much like those that wear a bomb and commit suicide. These efforts to help the people of Gaza have been going on for a while without incident. Israel has every right to protect their people with this blockade. Thank you Jo-Ann, because you are stepping out there telling it like it is. Helen Thomases time was up long ago.

Posted by: davispope | June 7, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

The ignorance of WaPo commentators is breath-taking at times. It was the 500 million Arabs in 48 who attacked Israel, which was quite prepared to accept the odd slivers given it by the UN and taken from the British Mandate. Today its 1.5 billion Arabs and the rest of the Muslim world v 12 million Jews. Since 48 the Arabs have refused to integrate any "refugees" into their societies while Israel spends its time rescuing quasi-Jews from Ethiopia. Israel wanted Jordan to take over the West Bank in 67 and Jordan said No. It was Egypt which blocked the Israeli ports in 67 and said war is coming; well, it came. meanwhile, China has owned Tibet for 60 years; Russia still holds Japanese islands since 1945; and more people are killed each week in Iraq and Iran and Pakistan than in 2 years near Israel. Its not Jews who are trying to blow up the plane you fly on or the hotel you sleep in or the school you daughter attends; its a bunch of Muslims who want to hang all the gays, wrap all the women in black rags and get those daugthers out of school forever. Its the 11th century v the 21st century, and thats why America and Israel are allies.

Posted by: pioneer1 | June 7, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

As an Ojibwe, I find this all somewhat amusing.

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

Well, one thing you can say about us Americans. Being uninformed, ignorant, and uneducated never kept any of us from forming an opinion and expressing the hell out of it. This board is an excellent example of the shortcomings of the American educational system.

Posted by: sherryds | June 7, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Easy to be cleaver now after the fact....but it is still wrong.
I guess people sometimes loose the cool when so many injustices pile up.
The situation in Gaza is so appalling that when help is denied at any cost, it just difficult to stay calm. Men normally just swear in those situations.
Everybody forgets what is really happening and why.
We invaded Iraq to spread democracy, but when the results of that democracy was not according to our and Israel's liking, there was a series of steps we and Israel made, the list is too long to list it here, but it was among others to create a civil war between Palestinian fractions, where Hamas ended up with Gaza and Fatah with West Bank. Israel wants to punish the people of Gaza for electing Hamas, and want to make their life so miserable that they rebel against Hamas. But this policy is unsustainable and hamas is stronger then ever.
What is needed is a dialog. Israel started with terror and ended up negotiating.
So Helen Thomas just lost her cool and said things what she actually does not think.

Posted by: jolandakp | June 7, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

In reading the comments, there seem to be two issues - Thomas' comments & the blockade. Regarding Helen Thomas, I fully agree with Jo-Ann and thank you for standing up and speaking about what is right. I wish more professionals and organizations like the AMA and ABA would do this to its members.

Regarding the Hamas loving blockade busters, I fully believe that a small group of radical protesters planned for this, and are happy that deaths occured. It was a well executed move on behalf of Hamas, and most countries including the US fell victom to lie. Wake up world!

Posted by: mabellz5 | June 7, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

I live next door to a man who has sworn to harm me and my family. He regularly comes onto my property to hurt my children. He unleashes vicious dogs onto my land. He has thrown rocks through my windows. By deeds and words, he is determined to throw me out of my home.

Yet so many people are angry with ME for building a fence to protect my family and land. They vilify ME for defending myself. They make excuses for the behavior of my neighbor. They blame ME for his refusal to better his own life. They are angry with any law enforcement officer who agrees that I have the right - and obligation - to protect myself.

Where is the justice?

You who live in safe neighborhoods with neighbors who respect your land and family should not be so quick to judge my actions.

Posted by: dwoolfe | June 7, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Is there a reason why you chose to write of your outrage over one person's comments, and not about the flotilla activists shot to death needlessly by the Israeli military, or the young US student who lost an eye when Israeli troops aimed three tear gas canisters at her face? Where is your outrage of the *actual* genocide, prejudice and ethnic cleansing being practiced today?

It's too late to do anything about the Holocaust and ethnic cleansing in Nazi Germany, but it's not too late to speak up about the holocaust and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians by Israel happening today, as Helen Thomas did. It is not right to broadly treat an entire population captive as if they are all potential terrorists.

Had Helen Thomas added "... or back to Israel," there would have been no problem. If you watch the original video, her statement was ambiguous. I believe her intent was to speak more of the Israeli government retreating, rather than its citizens.

Posted by: jamescagney90210 | June 7, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

See Howard Kurz's online discussion today for a prime example of MSM circling the wagon and protecting their own. Kurz' lame defense: "What burying of the story? I reported it today and Fox had a story on it."
So...NBC/CBS/ABC/NYT/WP/PBS etc etc are silent, but that doesn't mean a MSM burial?

Posted by: silencedogoodreturns | June 7, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

"Israel has a right to protect itself..." What, by starving innocent citizens? Consider if the US held all of Quebec's citizens hostage in this manner, to "protect itself." And provoked uprisings by driving tanks and armies through the region.

Posted by: jamescagney90210 | June 7, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

The press is loathe to criticize one of their own?
Imagine if Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, etc. said that.
The Liberal press is loathe to criticize another member of the Liberal press, you mean.
Posted by: drjcarlucci
------------------------------
No, that would be legitimate press as opposed to current event "entertainers" like O'Reilly, Limbaugh, and Hannity.

Posted by: streff | June 7, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

"What is far more likely is that the news media, with rare exceptions, are loath to subject their own to the scrutiny we routinely apply to others. Imagine, if you can, if those same comments had been made by a sitting governor, head of Fortune 500 company or even some Hollywood star."

Or any Republican.

Posted by: MikeH0714 | June 7, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

As a onetime newspaperman, magazine editor and reporter let me tell you a dirty little secret everyone in journalism knows: the Washington Press Corps is the biggest bunch of layabouts in American journalism. All day they wait for handouts like puppies waiting for their kibble and then retire to their favorite bars or home to their suburban hideouts. I've known more than a few. The general consensus: what a great racket. Ego boosting prestige (a mystery; perhaps they're the priests in the temple fabricating oracles), a lot of waiting around (a lot; perhaps it contributes to their deadened sensibilities) during which the clubby supine bonding forms and then fifteen minutes cranking out some vaporous speculative drivel mostly made up of the distilled liberal consensus --- the approved Pravda line --- manufactured in the biggest echo chamber in the US. Not a bona fide brain in the whole bunch. Real journalists, that is those that are not decayed by the dreariness of White House "briefings," really can't wait to get out. Stories that are under their noses are ignored if they don't "conform" to the official line. Since Obama's coronation they have been so dazzled by themselves, reflex self-righteousness, all of the heroes of the Civil Rights struggle and guardians of the disenfranchised, that they have sunk lower than I though was possible. Back to the puppy cages. Helen Thomas revealed their ignorant posturing as completely phony. She had to walk the plank.

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

So your point is that it doesn't matter that Helen Thomas was right. She "blazed a trail" for gutless folks like you who get so caught up in political correctness that you can't say s**t when your mouth is full of it.

Imagine for a moment if the world knew in 1948 what it does now: that the formation of Israel on Palestinian land would bring about 60 years of conflict, that it would bring nuclear weapons to the middle east, that it would bring Israeli atrocities against a virtually defenseless people, that it would bring on endless theft of additional Palestinian land. Knowing all that, there would not have been a UN mandate and there would be no Israel today. Because no country, nor nations united, would have wished the curse on the world that Israel has become.

So, Ms Thomas was simply uttering the truth. She just said it far too many years too late.

Posted by: joachim1 | June 7, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Helen Thomas has probably held her view about the Jews inside herself for a long time, but out of the diplomatic protocol for her "Dean of the White House corps" respected position, she just kept mute. But the bloody Israeli attack on the Food for Gaza flotilla definitely drove her over the edge, and she couldn't hold it anymore. And at this time, there care probably billions around the globe that would agree with her.

That is not unusual, and there are probably
many people out there who feel like Helen, but for various reasons suffocate their desire to open up. Turkey's Prime Minister
Tayyip Erdogan had also similar feelings against Israel, but kept them inside for so long, and he finally exploded - like Helen did. And Russia's Vladimir Putin let
his simmering anti-Bush feelings explode during the 2008 European Conference when he likened the U.S. to "A Mad Man going around with a straight razor in his hands and trying to solve his problems," on quote! And Senator John Kerry, (D-Mass) hated the war in Vietnam, but he fought it, and then exploded upon return to the U.S. and called it a crime against humanity. Well, it happen all the time.

Helen Thomas is a legend, and as things stands today that the whole world is outraged against Israel, her view probably represent how the majority of the people in the international community feel about Israel at this time. Nikos Retsos, retired professor

Posted by: Nikos_Retsos | June 7, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Good riddance.

I've been tired of her for years.

.

Posted by: ZZim | June 7, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

The truth is whoever has the loudest voice has always dictated the acceptance or rejection of comments today not majority opinion. It really doesn't matter what is said only how popular you are. Does the main stream media get to share in the credit for this? Yes. Consider Jimmy the Greek, Trent Lott, and other's fate. I'm sure Ms Thomas has condemned others in her day - without regard to age or a resume of talent and accomplishments. It's only fair really . . . live by the sword, die by the sword.

Posted by: MSMStewart | June 7, 2010 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Helen Thomas is NOT THE PROBLEM. She is just the latest "victim" of a media that is way to PC for its own good and she is a not so silent observer of all the shenigans that have been taking place over the course of the last 70 years.

Israel and its feuding neighbors are sucking all the air off of this planet and it is just a matter of time before the old big bang takes place in the middle east; then maybe with that part of the world busy digging through the rubble, the rest of the world can breathe and move on.
Israel is like a beloved child who has been allowed to indulge in bad, bullying, destructive behavior for far too long a period of time. I am sure that Ms. Thomas, like so many others, is sick and tired of "all the drama" from these not so adorable queens of the middle east. Her comments are probably made out of frustration.

As far as "dishonoring" the profession; Ms. Thomas has done nothing of the sort. Your inability to see the problems and open your eyes to the issues and the players is what is sad and dishonorable.
Professionally, Ms. Thomas has made far more contributions to her profession than most of you will ever make and she hasn't had to sell-out to get where she went.

With her retirement, comes the freedom to really speak her mind and say what she has so diligently observed and investigated over the years. Maybe the writer of this dribble should take note and open her mind to other possibilities. Saying a not so PC thing about Israel is note hateful or dishonorable or even destructive; refusing to see what is going on, failure to take positive action to bring about change is the real hateful actions. Afterall, commenting on a longstanding feud is just part of the first amendment rights guaranteed to us by the Constitution or did you not know this? NO ONE, including Israel has the right to not be offended.

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

So much for the centuries old freedom of speech in USA.

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

Now she can go home and yell at the Jews to get off her lawn.

Posted by: motogp46 | June 7, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

To smarkwith | June 7, 2010 2:24 PM and joachim1, who says Israelis are bringing "atrocities against a virtually defenseless people"...wow, ignore reality much? Palestinians had their country in 1948 at the Partition. In the blink of an eye the Arab world attacked...many Palestinians ran from the oncoming armies after being assured by their Arab brothers that the war would be short and sweet. Well, oops, it didn't end like that. It didn't end at all as all those countries and the terrorist groups kept up attacks, including 1000's of rocket attacks coming from the Gaza Strip after Israel cleared out. "Virtually defenseless people" don't blow up school's, hotels, markets, they don't attack people driving on roads or launch 1000's of rocket attacks on residential housing.

Posted by: lostein | June 7, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Did the jews apologize for their piracy on the high seas,for the massacre of nine peaceful aid voulnteers and the hijacking of their ships? No.jews don't apologize.They literally get away with murder and have been for six decades.

But this courageous old lady is attacked by jewish venom for speaking the TRUTH and nothing but the Truth. Ask Shimon perez and his thugish foreign minister:where did they come from and how?

Posted by: asizk | June 7, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

@terencekhan: Rand Paul is running for the United States Senate. Helen Thomas is a White House correspondent. If you don't understand why one of these people has the power to affect your life and the other is an old lady whose big mouth got her in deserved hot water, then you are not paying attention. You bet what Rand Paul thinks and says counts for more than Helen Thomas. That's not "having it both ways", it's recognizing the pecking order of political power.

Posted by: greyK | June 7, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Helene's truthful words have not murdered any one; jewish piracy on the high seas have-the other day.

Posted by: asizk | June 7, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

It's refreshing to read a comment that approaches Thomas's comments with sensible disgust but I have one observation......The media crucifies anyone who disagrees with their basic liberal outlook (Palin? They go after her family!) and defends those who have like views (Obama gets a free pass). Helen Thomas is a known liberal so she is excused. That follows the everyday playbook. Take a look around and be objective if you can. Maybe this incident will open some eyes and give equal justice to both liberal and conservative views. I sure hope so.

Posted by: etshoney | June 7, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Wonder if Keith Olbermann - King Clown of Current Event Entertainers - will name Helen the "Worst Person in The World"?

Posted by: drjcarlucci | June 7, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

"Thomas’s comments -- Jews should “get the hell out of Palestine” and return to Poland and Germany, lands that tried to exterminate persecuted them -- went largely unnoticed in the mainstream media until it was picked up by the Drudge Report and Montgomery County’s Walt Whitman High School asked her to bow out as this week’s commencement speaker. Various rationalizations were offered up for the lack of coverage: she doesn’t hold public office; the press shouldn’t be policing First Amendment rights of opinion writers; her views on Israel were long known; and, finally, no one really takes her seriously any more."
---------------------------------
OUtright, self-serving fiction.

Thomas immediately contacted the Washington Post once the fall out from her videotaped racist spewing began and that preceded the Walt Whitman High School mess.

WaPo declined to publish Thomas's statement and remained silent while the HUFFINGTON POST, the DAILY NEWS, the EXAMINER, etc., did not.

They, unlike WaPo, reported on Thomas's remarks, on her having been dropped by her Speakers agency, on the Hearst Papers apology.

SHAME on WAPO. Shame on WaPo for protecting Thomas at the expense of its readers' right to know.

SHAME on WAPO for Armao's adding insult to the injury it has done its readers.

Posted by: farnaz_mansouri2 | June 7, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Ms Thomas stated she "deeply regrets" her comments. She did NOT apologize. She meant what she said.

There is no excuse - age, health, or any other. The elderly at times are less likely to censor themselves as they might have in earlier years, so this statement reveals the truly misinformed bigot that she is. True she paved the way for women in the journalism profession, but she ends her tenure as dean of the White House press corps in disgrace. Not every person who breaks new ground is a hero/ine.

Posted by: Ziggy22 | June 7, 2010 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Suppose, just suppose Helen Thomas had commented..."all Blacks back to Africa". Would Mrs Vanden Heuvel still opine that "there should be room for her to continue?". Racism = Racism

Posted by: RichFromTampa | June 7, 2010 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Just proves the old saying liberials are stupid they just know so little about what they are talking about.

Posted by: samuellenn | June 7, 2010 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Those who defend Thomas due to "age" or "possible health issues" obviously have no idea about this "opinion" reporter who had unfettered access to the White House for years. This was not age or health, this was an unguarded moment in which her "real" bigotry was exposed. The gradual shift from real reporting in any news venue to "opinion" reporting allowed the woman to feel too comfortable that her feelings were shared by the majority of not only Americans but by her colleagues in the press.

Also evident is that many of the commentators here have been bathed in the opinions of the liberal press and by an educational system that tells part of any story in order to elicit a certain response...i.e. leaving out the part about how Israel has been attacked since the establishment of Israel and how the "gained" land was almost always won in a response to an attack on them....If you're not old enough to remember history, at least have the self respect to seek out the real truth rather than listen to those whose sole purpose is to sway you to their interpretation of the truth.....

Good Riddance to Helen Thomas.

Posted by: LMW6 | June 7, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse

To me her statement sounded like she has forgotten 70 years of history. It was something someone may have uttered in the very early thirties, before the persecution of Jews in Germany, before the war and the gas chambers.

There is no way someone who remembers the holocaust can ask the Jews of Israel to "go home" - especially those generations born there. I think at least some of the content of her statement was related to bad health.

Posted by: asoders22 | June 7, 2010 6:55 PM | Report abuse

It is beginning to bother me that people are piling on an 89 year old woman. Have none of you ever KNOWN someone that age? She had an emotional outburst fueled, I believe, by her deep frustration.
Her age DOES make a difference here. And, what all this reveals, mostly, is that she actually IS 89 years old and the rest of who are piling on have utterly and completely lost all compassion and respect and tolerance for 89 year old people who make big mistakes.
This says more about us than it does about her. We are a mean spirited people and we love jumping on the vulnerable.

Posted by: cms1 | June 7, 2010 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Helen Thomas didn't tell the Jews to go back to Poland, Germany, and America. She said very clearly in answer to the question posed: "Any comments about Israel", "Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine". She then, in answer to the question "where should they go", that they should go home, Poland, Germany, and America, and everywhere else. In fact, the people she was most probably were referring to were the people who have come to Israel through their very aggressive immigration policy that allows people of Jewish heritage from all over the world to come to Israel, and get funded there to set up a home. Israel, through this policy, is in the position of looking to accommodate these newcomers, who were not born in Israel, and does this by building settlements for Israeli's and in some cases for the immigrants. Helen said these people (read immigrants) should go back home rather than have Israel trying to displace Palestinians. How is this wrong? What right does the Israeli government have to invite people to come to Israel then grab the land of their neighbors to give them a place to live. These immigrants are not going to be put in gas chambers if they go back to Poland or Germany. There is a history of that, but that particular history was over 60 years ago, and things have changed in the world for the better.

Congratulations to Helen for stating the truth of the matter when it comes to the situation in Palestine, and also congratulations to her for seeing that most people won't understand what in the world she was talking about, and not wasting her precious remaining years in an attempt to educate people about how things will actually unfold if Israel continues on its present course.

Posted by: JQA47 | June 7, 2010 7:16 PM | Report abuse

First we attacked the Arabs/Muslims after 9/11, and we overwhelmingly agreed, later threatening to nuke Iran; now Arizona is trying to cleanse "illegal" Mexicans/Latinos, and law and logic and national opinion are on the majority's side. Who is next?

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

The civilized world has made too many excuses for the Israeli killers. These criminals lie as easily as normal people breathe. Oren has proved to be a totally unbelievable and arrogant fool.

Posted by: usnr02 | June 7, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse

news media going along for the ride, Jo0Ann? Then why did you not speak out against her, say, a year ago? Your column is very faux. Thomas stopped being a serious journalist--serious enough to be listened to, say, 5-10 years ago.

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


Long live decent and TRUE journalists who state the facts as they are and not what the Wa Po coterie tries, unrelentlessly, to make us swallow.

It's OK for Isral-firsters, the like of Liz Cheney, Kagan, Krauthmmer, Armao, et all (they are so numerous, I use to count them when I can't sleep); but when this excellent and talented Lady u
tters a few truths it's an immediate outburst of eprobation and insults from so-called American patriots, ready to die for the Israeli agenda. They hurt so bad.

Many thanks for that Helen Thomas, and may you live long long years, to see a peaceful World and not only the Middle East.

Regards.

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

In the America I was raised to love, civil discourse was based on the philosophy of, "Although I heartily disagree with what you have to say, I will defend to the death your right to say it." It was more a matter of the generosity of spirit in the give and take to remain, if not cordial, at least civil.

But what America has lost by it's current flaccid love affair with politically correct views is the intellectual vigor and fitness that can only come from honest open exposition of all views. We are less for it and it has made us weaker as a people.

Ideas come into and pass out of popular fashion. It is for each generation to discuss and decide the course they will set. But where the charts are muddied by closed off discussions and a studied lack of consideration regarding other views only the storms of resentful conflict await.

I heartily disagree with Ms. Thomas' statement, no matter if they were views held the better part of her lifetime or the result of advancing age and perhaps let loose by the medications that are part of the daily realities in our later years. Are we all so self assured in our youthful, robust health of what awaits us that we lose our human compassion to win a Pyrrhic political point?

If so, then we are more despicable than any words uttered by an old woman.

Posted by: DVL1 | June 7, 2010 7:42 PM | Report abuse

If Helen Thomas doesn't support Israel there is something wrong with her? If Helen Thomas criticizes Israeli actions and behaviors she is somehow senile or acting inappropriately? Give me a break.

Do you understand why the Middle East wars have continued for the last 50-60 years? Israel has the right to own it all or take whatever land it likes? Israel can justify its actions because it is a Jewish state? Israel can claim it is the victim regardless of its power and military force or what it does to its neighbors? Israel can create enemies and them blame them for being its enemies, or as justification for whatever it wants to do?

Posted by: PJW5552 | June 7, 2010 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Armao--

Your comment is nothing but fair and common sensical. But read the comments. Hatred of Israel and of Zionism is back with an ugly vengeance.

Personally, this terrifies me. Because when they go after Israel and Zionists, the people viewed as their enablers--primarily Jews the world over--are not far behind. We have learned this lesson--that the Jew is a favorite and easy target--so many times.

Does no one read history anymore? Apparently, Helen Thomas does not.

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

I question why any reporter should be cut "slack"? The fourth estate is the public's window into the politics that run this nation, there is no room for slack regardless of age or reputation.

To quote:Edmund Burke (1729 - 1797), a British politician.

"Burke said that there were three Estates in Parliament, but in the Reporters Gallery yonder, there sat a fourth Estate more important far than they all."

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

Dear JoAnn,
You are as Helen said before...You are "A Lap Dog of the Press". I doubt that anyone will be reading you at 90...most people find your writing poor at best...now! You are not qualified to edit Helen's copy, let alone write THIS opinion column. Many at the Post actually thought you would have been let go on the last round of cuts. The tap on the shoulder is coming JoAnn...quit now and save your boss the hassle.

Posted by: sfclay | June 7, 2010 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Most of these people do not know what they are talking about, the Brittish developed the state of Isreal after much debate during the war, the claim the jewish people lay claim to is that of history of settlement and statements of Biblical terms say the Jewish lands declared to them by Biblicale provicy. The skins heads can proclaim heresay and death to people but we tend to take the easy route and beat up on a 90 year old women.

Posted by: kclose1 | June 7, 2010 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Well said. Its encouraging to find a person who wants to be held to a high standard.

Posted by: zcezcest1 | June 7, 2010 8:02 PM | Report abuse

I am not Jewish, but I lost 95% of my family in Hitler's regime.

What this woman said is BEYOND offensive and she should have been publicly FIRED, not allowed to retire. That is aside from the history that she obviously doesn't know or willfully chooses to ignore!

Posted by: mwise09 | June 7, 2010 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Another case of someone who held on too long in DC, thought s/he was above the normal standards that apply to others, and now only disgrace the memories of what they accomplished in their earlier days. See also: Robert Byrd, John McCain,

Posted by: bpai_99 | June 7, 2010 8:05 PM | Report abuse

moonchild64 wrote:

This piece ALMOST nails it. Thomas was cut so much slack because she was/is a liberal GW Bush hater.

=====

Does this post mean that you WERE NOT a GW Bush hater? Are you of such low intelligence that you think that Bush 2 was a good president, that spending a trillion dollars and thousands of lives on an arrogant and needless invasion of Iraq was acceptable? Bush was the worst president in US history. GOT IT YET? I didn't hate him but he was certainly deserving of hate and contempt. I loved the fact that among all journalists she did not let Bush off the hook, that she actually asked the tough questions. As far as I am concerned the woman should be cannonized.

Posted by: nyrunner101 | June 7, 2010 8:05 PM | Report abuse

nyrunner, your choice for president has spent more money in one year than Bush II spent in 8! Stick that stupidity in your sock!

Posted by: mwise09 | June 7, 2010 8:08 PM | Report abuse

None of us, Ms. Armao included, could pass scrutiny if judged solely on our worst action or statement. We all deserve to be judged on the entirety of character that is made up of the many good and not so good deeds. On balance, Helen Thomas deserves to be honored for her life and work. This is a very unfortunate end to a distinguished career.

Posted by: BarryG1 | June 7, 2010 8:11 PM | Report abuse

BarryG1, she has made comments like these for years. This time, she just made them to someone who was willing to call her on them.

Posted by: mwise09 | June 7, 2010 8:12 PM | Report abuse

At what point do the occupiers of a nation become the nation? It is a question that has appeared more than once in history. We learned governance here over teh bodies of native peoples.

Helen did not yell "Fire!" in a crowded auditorium, she expressed a thought. Many people in this land of free speech died expressing thoughts. Eventually we changed our thoughts. I am 73, I watched far too many die.

Her thought is not "popular," silence her. Off with her head! Back to the Looking Glass World of Alice.

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

KHMALO...put the bottle DOWN!

Posted by: mwise09 | June 7, 2010 8:17 PM | Report abuse

How dare Helen Thomas .a newspaper woman. express her views in a free country ? She should know that nobody has the right to speak anything derogatory against (God Forbid) Israel! Especially in it's Capital.

Posted by: jsparilli | June 7, 2010 8:41 PM | Report abuse

Again, the issue is the double standard. Liberals allow their fellow Liberals to make the most bigoted and outrageous statements...because their "hearts" are in the right place. Conservatives are allowed no such latitude.

Posted by: JohnR22 | June 7, 2010 8:43 PM | Report abuse

I cannot get over the number of commenters comparing the views of Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, etc. to Helen Thomas' opinion of the Jews. There is no comparison.

For one thing, the career of any conservative commentator who would dare to say anything that offensive would be over a lot faster than Helen Thomas' was. For another, there are more liberals on Fox News than there are conservatives in the so-called "mainstream media." Since when did anyone call Geraldo Rivera, Shephard Smith, or Greta Van Sustern a conservative?

Posted by: austinrl | June 7, 2010 9:04 PM | Report abuse

Don't care who she is, or what she has done. This was inexcusable. At least she retired from public life - I hope!

Posted by: therev1 | June 7, 2010 9:17 PM | Report abuse

The unwritten rule is that in the US you can express any opinion on whatever subject you desire as long as it, in no way ,does it criticize Israel.

Posted by: jsparilli | June 7, 2010 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Thomas was way gone a long time ago. The Bush White House appropriately put her in the peanut gallery. In a predictable political move, the Obama team restored her position.

Helen Thomas is what you get when you practice political correctness.

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

It is really amusing that the New York Times will, in many cases, take thousands of comments from its readers, but in this case of Helen Thomas, they cut the comments off at a very early stage when they saw more support for her views than they expected.

Posted by: jsparilli | June 7, 2010 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Excuse me, is not the self-righteous Jo-Ann Armao a member of The Post's editorial board, which usually defends or rationalizes just about any Israeli action--no matter how senseless? In fact, The Post editorial board would easily qualify as a member of the Israeli Lobby. I have never known Ms. Armao to criticize the dozens of American journalists who, over the decades, have gone overboard in defending or under-reporting disreputable Israeli government foreign and domestic policies. None of the above is meant to excuse Helen Thomas' way-off-base opinions on Jews being deported from Israel/Palestine. She is a very old lady of Lebanese descent.

Posted by: jackson92135 | June 7, 2010 9:35 PM | Report abuse

She said that Jews should go home from occupied Palestine back to Germany, Poland AND the United States. Please be accurate. It is well known that many of the settlers in the illegal settlements in the West Bank (land that is supposed to be part of a Palestinian State) are immigrants from countries other than Israel.

Posted by: jbowen431 | June 7, 2010 9:36 PM | Report abuse

It is well-known that many of the most hardened Zionists who want to deprive Palestinians of their land, and who want to deprive Muslims in Israel of citizenship are immigrants from Russia, Germany, the US and other countries. Thomas was not suggesting that residents of Israel go back to those countries, but instead, suggesting that those who steal land from Palesntine who are predominantly those recent immigrants go back to their countries---or to Israel. That the Political Correct crowd, scared to death of being labeled antisemitic, can't at least understand the element of truth in her statement, attests to the bigotry on the other side---the bigotry and hatred against the Palestinians.

Posted by: billaldridge | June 7, 2010 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Not as bad as "The Nation-Low Cal" version nearby.........where noted leftists and antiSemitic liberals are circling the wagons around Helen Thomas.....must be that trust fund liberal socialist network at work....

Like Obama Ghostwriter (Dreams of My father) 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 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Helen has been making an ass of herself for years. Someone should have told her to go long ago

Posted by: Steve851 | June 7, 2010 9:43 PM | Report abuse

This was said far better than I tried to say it:


Helen Thomas didn't tell the Jews to go back to Poland, Germany, and America. She said very clearly in answer to the question posed: "Any comments about Israel", "Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine". She then, in answer to the question "where should they go", that they should go home, Poland, Germany, and America, and everywhere else. In fact, the people she was most probably were referring to were the people who have come to Israel through their very aggressive immigration policy that allows people of Jewish heritage from all over the world to come to Israel, and get funded there to set up a home. Israel, through this policy, is in the position of looking to accommodate these newcomers, who were not born in Israel, and does this by building settlements for Israeli's and in some cases for the immigrants. Helen said these people (read immigrants) should go back home rather than have Israel trying to displace Palestinians. How is this wrong? What right does the Israeli government have to invite people to come to Israel then grab the land of their neighbors to give them a place to live. These immigrants are not going to be put in gas chambers if they go back to Poland or Germany. There is a history of that, but that particular history was over 60 years ago, and things have changed in the world for the better.

Congratulations to Helen for stating the truth of the matter when it comes to the situation in Palestine, and also congratulations to her for seeing that most people won't understand what in the world she was talking about, and not wasting her precious remaining years in an attempt to educate people about how things will actually unfold if Israel continues on its present course.

Posted by: JQA47 | June 7, 2010 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: billaldridge | June 7, 2010 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Sadly, Helen needed to go a long time ago. She may have been a pioneering journalist at the start and through the 70's but as time when on, her questions and follow-ups stopped being journalistic (looking for information) and started being personal.

A journalist's job is go elicit information and tell a story in an non-partisan manner. Ms. Thomas decided to stop that years ago and started to just hit questions in a partisan manner, many of them attack questions to get a viewpoint across instead of trying to gather info. Once she started doing that, she should have been retired. By letting her keep on, we only let things get worse until we get the last few weeks of questions/comments from her culminating in this (the "question" to Pres. Obama should have been the final straw 2 weeks ago).

Sad to see a storied career end this way but it does illustrate that a journalist's job is to report the new without personnal partisanship. When you can't do that anymore, it's time to leave the game.

Posted by: MadiganT | June 7, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Sadly, Helen needed to go a long time ago. She may have been a pioneering journalist at the start and through the 70's but as time when on, her questions and follow-ups stopped being journalistic (looking for information) and started being personal.

A journalist's job is go elicit information and tell a story in an non-partisan manner. Ms. Thomas decided to stop that years ago and started to just hit questions in a partisan manner, many of them attack questions to get a viewpoint across instead of trying to gather info. Once she started doing that, she should have been retired. By letting her keep on, we only let things get worse until we get the last few weeks of questions/comments from her culminating in this (the "question" to Pres. Obama should have been the final straw 2 weeks ago).

Sad to see a storied career end this way but it does illustrate that a journalist's job is to report the new without personnal partisanship. When you can't do that anymore, it's time to leave the game.

Posted by: MadiganT | June 7, 2010 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Funny - I thought there was something in this country called 'Freedom of Speech', I guess it is only for those things found acceptable by the mainstream. As for me I welcome many opinions and divergent comments on every important issue - I call this learning, many of you should try it. As for Israel and what provoked her comments - here's something to think about: If any other country killed defenseless humanitarian's in international waters trying to get through an illegal blockade what do you think the response would be? It is time for this country to wake up! Israel is not above international law. Remember the apartheid government of South Africa - tell me how Israel is different from this? Israel can no longer use the excuse as victims - it is not 1944! They have the 4th strongest military in the world with between 200-300 nuclear weapons - who are they afraid of?

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

Its always so refreshing to see the Jewish hate coming from the history illerates coming from this site. I wish you wouldn't pretend to hate Israel and would just have the courage to say what is in your heart - You hate Jews!! Because if you were really just critical of Israel, you would be much more critical of the killings and treatment in countries such as Sudan, N. Korea and Iran. But you could care less about those countries, nor did does it bother you in the least when Hamas sent 6,000 rockets into Israel, praying they would hit schools or other civilian areas. Let's face it, you're furious because the Jews are fighting back and you want all dead. Be honest for once in your worthless lives.

Posted by: MrRealistic | June 7, 2010 10:20 PM | Report abuse

To: lostein | June 7, 2010 5:35 PM

Who's ignoring reality. Palestinians hurl "rockets" into a virtually unpopulated section of Israel - at most the rockets could target 25,000 Israelis. In the last 5 years, less Israelis have been killed by Palestinian rockets than Arabs the IDF killed on the Turkish ship last week.

In operation "cast lead" (such a nice sentiment), Israel used fighter jets, bombers, drones, tanks and a full bore, well trained army against 1.5 million Palestinians, killing over 1200 men, women and children that truly had no defense against these weapons.

The same people that whine about what Hitler did, and how he did it, use the very same tactics now against the Palestinians. If they were atrocities when Hitler committed them, they are atrocities when Netanyahu and his thugs commit them.

Posted by: joachim1 | June 7, 2010 10:20 PM | Report abuse

The Israelis are practicing tactics similar but not as extreme as their historical oppressors. This tactic will result in the elimination of their state if they continue in such a belligerent an inflexible manner. The sad thing is how right George Marshall was in assessing the United States' recognition of Israel - he stated: "why make one billion people mad in order to please 12 million people?"

Posted by: hmeagher | June 7, 2010 10:32 PM | Report abuse

God willing, I will be as perceptive as Helen when I am 89.

Is there free speech in the US?

Posted by: janhrbek | June 7, 2010 11:12 PM | Report abuse

Thomas should have retired years ago.

What sort of anti-Palestinian remark would merit a forced retirement?

In Ireland, it's hard for journalists to be pro-Israel; over here, it's the other way round and those on the career
fast track know what their bosses want to hear.

Posted by: galb | June 7, 2010 11:38 PM | Report abuse

To Joachim1:
You mention "In the last 5 years, less Israelis have been killed by Palestinian rockets than Arabs the IDF killed on the Turkish ship last week." It's been five years since Israel built a wall around their country to prevent Palestinian suicide bombers easy access to buses, restaurants, super markets, and resort areas.
What were the figures before Israel began protecting themselves from these delusional murderers? In a Passover attack in 2002 suicide bombers killed thirty Israelis and wounded 150 others. That is but one example of the horrific results of the constant bombings.

Posted by: lscheue464 | June 8, 2010 12:20 AM | Report abuse

Helen is a bigot and an antisemite. I wish her gone and she is. Good riddance.
Old people have no right to express their hatred of others...hers is not protected speech. It is actually hatred speech and should not be allowed. As a black person I stand for those who are hit by racism whether they are blacks, Jewish or Latinos....may Ms. Thomas live well in retirement if her bigoted mind allows her...

Posted by: huntyrella | June 8, 2010 12:27 AM | Report abuse

Irony upon irony that Helen Thomas should be denied the opportunity to address a graduation at Walt Whitman High School. Whitman Principal Alan S. Goodwin would have served his school better by reading Whitman, than condemning free speech. Shame on you for you have lost your moral compass.

"The real war will never get in the books."
Walt Whitman

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

well now, Ms. Armao, some day you may enjoy the reputation that Helen Thomas does today.

Then presumably you will understand that comments such as those you have made here are irrelevant beyond being an expression of your desire to minimize the success of someone who has been far more successful than you.

If you're able to remember them, of course.

Posted by: ashley31415 | June 8, 2010 1:57 AM | Report abuse

I've long admired Helen Thomas, having started out my career in Journalism and crossing paths with her at the L.A. Society of Professional Journalists. I guess her pro-palestinian views have been known for a long time. I didn't have a clue, though, and I'm disappointed beyond words. She is a female leader in a male-dominated industry that is barely hanging on to the ethics on which it was built. In that leadership role, she has a precious public responsibility--and she knows it. Of all people, Helen Thomas knows her responsibilities in the profession. She also knows the value of Free Speech, which is why she has every right to express her opionion openly. On a bright note, this is the most sane response I've seen from "America." I only wish the outrage over Helen Thomas' blatant remarks were expressed as fervently toward suicide bombers, or the the flotilla incident, or the mosque that's being erected one block from Ground Zero. Free Speech is a gift we share in this country, and Caveat Emptor is a powerful response.

Posted by: ARTZworks | June 8, 2010 3:07 AM | Report abuse

Mraine said:

. . . when our constitution guarantees the right to free speech - why should she quit at all!

The Constitution guarantees free speech but it does not guarantee that you must be paid for it.

Posted by: lurking247 | June 8, 2010 4:14 AM | Report abuse

Everyone is entitled to shove their foot into their gob every now and then, but to show one's total ignorance is quite another. Thomas' comment totally dismissed that the place for Jews is where they WANT to be. I want to be in the United States of America; others wish to be in our ancestral homeland. Palestine is the name given to the Jewish homeland as a slap in the face because it honored Israel's enemy, the Philistines.

The Arabs never called themselves Palestinians until the founding of the PLO in the '60s. The Jerusalem Post was known as the Palestinian Post; Jews who were born in what today is Israel carried Palestinian passports while the Arabs carried passports from whatever country they came from.

Jews have lived for over 3,000 years in what today is the State of Israel. They are not occupying powers; they OWN THE LAND and there has never been so much as a second when there was no Jewish presence in Israel.

It is sad to see a woman end her career by shoving her feet into her mouth. She can be a Jew-hater, that's fine by me. But to claim that the Jewish homeland is Germany or Poland shows her total lack of historical knowledge.

I would like to hate her for her comments but Judaism prohibits celebrating the downfall of one's enemy. As a nation, we needed her methods of questioning presidents; I, for one will miss her. But she cut her throat with her own tongue.

As much as I loath what she said, I wish her a long life as Jews are commanded to love one's neighbor as themselves; I hope someday she will visit the State of Israel and see how badly she screwed up.

Posted by: beverly3 | June 8, 2010 4:22 AM | Report abuse

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Posted by: frankedwin08 | June 8, 2010 6:50 AM | Report abuse

I am so sick of people making excuses for Helen Thomas's blatant anti-semitism. It's nothing more than hate speech. I'd like to see the reaction if during Black History Month, some reporter/columnist suggested that African Americans should "get the hell out of the U.S., and go home, to Africa." There would be zero tolerance, and no excuses, and there shouldn't be. The double standard is always applicable when it comes to Jews, whether it's about Zionism or anything else. Time to face up and acknowledge what's real out there. And it's not pretty.

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

And what major contributions to American journalism have you made, Ms. Armao? Where are the journalists/commentators challenging the Israeli version of the Gaza blockade or asking Nobel Peace Prize winner Obama to explain his less than noble response to those actions. Face it, there is no criticism of Israel in American journalism; there is no criticism of anything the media powers that be do not want challenged. Keep up your writing, dear. No one is paying the least attention to anything you say.

Posted by: rgcarlson8643 | June 8, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

"No one takes her seriously, anymore"? Speak for yourself. Who the hell are you, Armao, and how many Presidents have you spoken to? If we didn't take Helen Thomas seriously, then why is there such a flap being made over remarks she'd made last month to another nonentity?

American Zen's Mike Flannigan weighs in on the Redoubtable Thomas and the rank hypocrisy it's unleashed in the MSM. And he ain't too kind toward his colleagues.

Posted by: crawman2 | June 8, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

http://welcomebacktopottersville.blogspot.com/2010/06/redoubting-thomas.html

Posted by: crawman2 | June 8, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

I am curious why the words "tried to exterminate" are crossed out and replaced with the words "persecuted" in this article. (Here: Thomas’s comments -- Jews should “get the hell out of Palestine” and return to Poland and Germany, lands that tried to exterminate persecuted them --). Interesting "backing off" from the actual to a euphamism. More interesting that the old word choice was accidentally left visible.

Posted by: kcsandy | June 8, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

QUOTE:
"What is far more likely is that the news media, with rare exceptions, are loath to subject their own to the scrutiny we routinely apply to others."
ENDQUOTE.

You're close. I would alter this to say that LIBERALS, with rare exceptions, are loath to subject their own to the scrutiny they routinely apply to others.

Posted by: iyutepo | June 8, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Helen Thomas is pathetic. The drooling leftwingnuts who are defending her disgusting remarks are far more so.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | June 8, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

I've never taken Thomas seriously, so I'm pleased to see her disgusting visage removed from the public eye forever.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | June 8, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Ironically, Thomas' remarks are the perfect argument for the Jewish people to have re-established their homeland. Countless millions of Jews have been slaughtered wholesale throughout Europe, the Middle East and elsewhere since the Diaspora precisely because of this kind of ignorance and intolerance. In tiny Israel (one thousandth the size of the Arab enemies who surround them) at least they have their nation once again -- a dream much-delayed and now fulfilled with hopes for a better future.

Posted by: honest_news | June 8, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Markawar said:

In 2001, columnist Cal Thomas (whose work sometimes runs in the Post) called for Israel to ethnically cleans Palestinians from the West Bank (http://bit.ly/9Tr3cA). Did you call for him to resign then? Do you call for him to resign now?


Ok, first it is cleanse. Learn to spell. Secondly, did you even bother to read the link you posted? Here is what it says:

"In response to the Dolphinarium disco bombing in Tel-Aviv that killed 21 people, mostly high school students, Thomas authored a June 6, 2001, article in the Jewish World Review expressing support for expelling Palestinians to surrounding Arab countries."

This is not ethnic cleansing you moron. This is expelling people from the country. Big difference there. Oh, and let's not forget that the Palestinians fellow Arabs/Muslims in the region refuse to give them shelter or allow their immigration. And to the uninformed that agree with Ms. Thomas, maybe you should do some research into the pogroms of post WWII in Europe. The Jews have no home in Europe. Their ancestral home, on the other hand, is in the middle East. So they are 'home' in Israel.

Posted by: gatordad1 | June 8, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

There is really no Palestine. The land is Israel, given to the Jews by God in Genesis, the first book in the Bible. The gift of the land is specifically spelled out and delineated. The gift is forever. Palestinians are trespassers. Let them "get the hell out," rather than the Jews! Shame that Helen Thomas is so ignorant of history concerning her part of the world since she is Lebanese. Time for her to get the hell out of the White House Press Room. Good riddance to bad rubbish!

Posted by: Garland26 | June 8, 2010 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Poland did not try to exterminate the Jews. It was a violently occupied country in which Nazi Germany set up concentration camps, many of whose occupants were also non-Jewish Poles. No country lost more of its population to World War II than Poland -- 16%. Of the more than 5 million Poles who died, 3 million were Jews, but more than 2 million were not. A whole family could be shot if one member gave a cup of water to a Jew on the run; still, hundreds of thousand of non-Jewish Poles harbored and helped their Jewish compatriots. Poland was the only country in occupied Europe to set up a secret organization, the Zegota, with the sole purpose of helping Jews. Polish Home Army operative Captain Witold Pilecki, author of the first report documenting the Holocaust, is the only person known to have volunteered to have himself arrested in order to be sent to Auschwitz and one of few to have escaped. Ironically, after the war he was executed at the hand of a Polish Communist secret policeman of Jewish background who later emigrated to Israel. Israel honors more Poles as Righteous Gentiles, 6135, than persons of any other country. Get your facts straight.


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

Poland did not try to exterminate the Jews. It was a violently occupied country in which Nazi Germany set up concentration camps. No country lost more of its population to World War II than Poland -- 16% Of the more than 5 million Poles who died, 3 million were Jews, but more than 2 million were not. A whole family could be shot if one member gave a cup of water to a Jew on the run; still, hundreds of thousand of non-Jewish Poles harbored and helped their Jewish compatriots. Poland was the only country in occupied Europe to set up a secret organization, the Zegota, with the sole purpose of helping Jews. Polish Home Army operative Captain Witold Pilecki, author of the first report documenting the Holocaust after escaping Auschwitz, had volunteered to have himself arrested in order to be sent there. Ironically, after the war, he was executed at the hand of a Polish Communist secret policemen who later emigrated to Israel. Israel honors more Poles as Righteous Gentiles, 6135, than persons of any other country. Get your facts straight.

Posted by: MaoWen | June 8, 2010 9:01 PM | Report abuse

We made too many excuses for the Israelis. Free the Palestinians from the Zionist concentration camp that is Gaza!

Posted by: michele3d | June 8, 2010 11:30 PM | Report abuse


re Blockade of Gaza
Why do the Egyptians, their brothers!!, not open their borders for the people of Gaza???

Posted by: cosi1 | June 9, 2010 7:42 AM | Report abuse

You make incredible excuses for Michelle Rhee and get away with it. You can't criticize Helen Thomas when you yourself do the same thing - only you never apologize.

Posted by: jlp19 | June 9, 2010 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Down with free speech. How dare she suggest what many Palestinians wonder in there homes away from home.Tk

Posted by: trooperkeeton | June 9, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Yet another brazen attack on Helen Thomas by the post.

Posted by: lampost | June 14, 2010 1:17 AM | Report abuse

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