Veteran White House correspondent Helen Thomas is coming under enormous fire now for her comments saying that Israel’s Jews should “go home” to Poland, the U.S. and to Germany. Some seem to imply she was saying go home to the old Germany of the Nazis and some feel she has revealed herself to be an anti semite.
But if you GO HERE and can watch the video of her you can see she was answering a question put to her and pressed by the interviewer.
Thomas apparently realized her choice of words were quite poor and possibly could be a career ender since she has apologized on her website:
“I deeply regret my comments I made last week regarding the Israelis and the Palestinians. They do not reflect my heart-felt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance. May that day come soon.”
I need to give my reaction here as someone who was a fulltime journalist for many years, and is old enough to remember the young Helen Thomas asking JFK questions. I’ve defended her at times in recent years. With a name like “Gandelman” I’m clearly Jewish but have never been said to be “militant” (and some years ago came under very angry fire here at TMV from some TMV writers when I would not ban a commenter who many felt was anti-semitic until he virtually worked to get himself to where he had to be banned) nor has anyone ever accused me of being someone who throws around the word “anti-semite” at the drop of a hat.
But with this clip Helen Thomas totally lost me. She loses her credibility. Why? Just saying “Go back to where you come from” is the same as the misguided, empty-headed Americans who shout “Go back to Africa” to blacks or “Go back to Mexico” to American born Latinos when they know they are American born Latinos.
It shows her so hopelessly biased and lacking realistic perspective that stories written by her beg to be skipped over. YES, she can write op-eds or do opinion bits on TV. But on the middle-east story, how can anyone think that when she asks questions she is seeking information to flesh out a story (unless it was a special on airfares so Jews can fly out of Israel)?
This isn’t just showing a preference. Her response suggests reading her in these busy times to find out what’s happening and get serious perspective would be as useful as reading a can of Chef Boyardee ravioli ingredients to find out the latest news about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
It’s very sad since even in her most peppery times she seems like a truly nice lady (and not because of her age), plus she has had a long career asking the toughest questions of politicians of both parties (even though partisans hate her when they ask a question to THEIR side and cheer her when she asks a tough question to the other).
She was a role model for women who dreamed of being hard-nosed reporters long before many women were hard-nosed reporters.