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Helen Thomas Retires Effective Immediately
#1
http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/06/07-6

Published on Monday, June 7, 2010 by CommonDreams.org Helen Thomas Retires Effective Immediately


In a press release on Hearst's website, Helen Thomas, the 89-year-old veteran White House correspondent, announced she will retire effective immediately in the wake of her comments on Israel.

[Image: helenthomas_0.jpg]Helen Thomas
"Her decision came after her controversial comments about Israel and the Palestinians were captured on videotape and widely disseminated on the Internet."
Thomas told a rabbi at a White House event last week that Jews should "get the hell out of Palestine" and go back to Germany and Poland or the United States.
Thomas apologized for the comments, saying:
"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."
At his daily briefing, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs on Monday condemned the comments, calling them "offensive and reprehensible." "She should and has apologized," Gibbs said. "Obviously, those remarks do not reflect, certainly, the opinion of most of the people here and certainly not of the administration."
"Helen Thomas' comments were indefensible and the White House Correspondents Association board firmly dissociates itself from them," the WHCA said in a statement. "Many in our profession who have known Helen for years were saddened by the comments, which were especially unfortunate in light of her role as a trail blazer on the White House beat."
The WHCA statement added that the incident "does revive the issue of whether it is appropriate for an opinion columnist to have a front row seat in the WH briefing room."

Working for United Press International, Thomas covered every president since the end of the Eisenhower years and was known for her tough questioning. She was the first woman to be an officer of the National Press Club, the first female member and president of the White House Correspondents' Assn.

Thomas will turn 90 in August.
"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
Buckminster Fuller
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#2
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/06/07-6

Published on Monday, June 7, 2010 by Canada.com In Defense of Helen Thomas - On Apologizing to Apologists

by Paul Jay

Helen Thomas is the dean of the White House Press corp. She has a fifty-year history of tough-minded journalism and is one of the very, very few journalists in the mainstream press who has had the guts to question US policy towards Israel.

On Friday she was asked by a guy who stuck a video camera in her face, for any comments on Israel and she said, "Tell them to get the get the hell out of Palestine. Remember, these people [the Palestinians] are occupied and it's their land. It's not Germany, it's not Poland." She was asked where they should go and she answered, "They should go home, to Poland, Germany and America". The video has been making its way around the Internet.

This was said days after the Israeli attack on the aid flotilla that killed at least nine activists as their boat sailed in international waters.

She later apologized in a short statement 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."

Her apology was not enough to stop calls for her head from those who have wanted to shut Thomas up for years.

Ari Fleischer, President George W. Bush's press secretary, led the call in an e-mail Friday to the Huffington Post saying Thomas' comments amount to "religious cleansing."

"She should lose her job over this," Fleischer wrote. "As someone who is Jewish, and as someone who worked with her and used to like her, I find this appalling."

Perhaps Fleishcher should also add that he is someone who knows something about apologies . . . being the leading apologist for the Bush administration as their war led to the deaths of at least one million Iraqis.
But Lanny Davis, former special counsel to and White House spokesman for President Bill Clinton, went even further than Fleischer. He issued a statement on Sunday saying Thomas, "has showed herself to be an anti-Semitic bigot."

Now, Davis should know something about apologies and apologists as well. TheHill.com reported that Davis led a lobbying effort against deposed Honduran President Manuel Zelaya on behalf of Honduran business leaders. This is in defense of a regime that came to power in an illegal coup and is killing journalists and activists. Hmmm . . . defending those that kill activists . . .

Davis went on "Her [Thomas] statement that Jews in Israel should leave Israel and go back to Poland or Germany is an ancient and well-known anti-Semitic stereotype of the Alien Jew not belonging in the 'land of Israel' -- one that began 2,600 years with the first tragic and violent diaspora of the Jews at the hands of the Romans," said Davis.

Thomas was not talking about Jews that lived in the region from Roman times. If she had been given more of a chance to explain herself, rather than the 30-second sound bite traveling around the web, she might have made it clear that she also wasn't referring to the thousands of Jews who lived in Palestine prior to 1948.

What Thomas clearly did say she was talking about was Jews that had come from Germany, Poland and America. Now it's likely that most of the Jewish refugees that came to Palestine from Europe just after the War, did so not because they "belong to the land of Israel", but due to fact that the American, Canadian and British governments wouldn't drop their anti-Jewish quotas even after the horrors of the genocide were fully exposed (let's talk about some real anti-Semites).

I don't know of any opinion polls taken at the time, but if those refugees had a real choice to go to some impoverished potentially war filled land in the Middle East or join the Jewish community in New York, I know what I would have chosen.

The American Zionist organizations at the time did not fight for a more open immigration policy to allow Jews into America; they lobbied furiously for the Jewish refugees to go to Palestine as part of a move towards the founding of a Jewish state.

As is well known, this state was created in the process of expelling thousands of Palestinians from their lands, people who had nothing to do with the European genocide against the Jews. You cannot say the same about the Anglo-American countries that for much of the '30s were quite happy to equip Hitler with cars and machinery. Quite content to shut their mouths as Hitler began an ethnic cleansing that would end in barbaric genocide.

As far as the American Jews that went to live in Israel after 1948, it's difficult to believe they went to escape persecution, as many of the Jews from other places that went to Israel, in fact did. So, one can understand a certain specific resentment against American Jews who decided that it was ok, at someone else's expense, to work out their identity crisis and pick up some free airline tickets to boot.

Lanny Davis statement continued, "If she had asked all blacks to go back to Africa, what would White House Correspondents Association position be as to whether she deserved White House press room credentials -- much less a privileged honorary seat?"

Our defender of illegal coups knows very well this is not analogous. The obvious comparison is asking all European Americans to "get the hell out", and leave the land to its rightful owners, Native Americans. One could argue Mexican Americans might have an argument to stay in certain parts of the country.

The European migration to America isn't such a stretch if one thinks about it. Colonialism makes use of people fleeing religious persecution to populate their new possession . . .

At any rate, we all know what's going on here. The hyper-pro-Israel lobby, in both parties, hasn't much liked the fact that Helen Thomas dares to speak up and question that most sacred of topics, and right from the front row of the White House Press Gallery. Heck, she had the gall to ask President Obama about Israel's "secret" nuclear weapons. She even asked the current White House spokesman why the US had not condemned the Israeli attacks on the aid flotilla. No wonder they want her the hell out.
Do I think all Jews (that came after 1948) should get out of Palestine? Well, no more or less than Europeans should get out of North America, or the Portuguese should get out of Brazil, or the British should get the hell out of Australia. There does come a point where such things are simply not possible.

There's really no need anyway, there's plenty of land and resources. The only issue is, are the rights of the people who owned the land before colonization going to be respected now; is there proper compensation; do they have the right to self-determination and so on.

In the case of the Palestinians, what Israel needs to do has been made very clear in UN resolutions and in the demands of the Palestinians. In spite of the illegal blockade of Gaza, almost no one, including the Hamas representative I interviewed a few weeks ago, says the Jews have to get out. Ok there are some that say it, people get very angry after 62 years in a refugee camp, but what most Palestinians want is to live as equals with Jews in a truly democratic state.

It's way past time that we can discuss Israel and Palestine without the McCarthyite witch hunt atmosphere that has ruled for sixty years.
I said in my last blog, not all criticism of Israel is anti-Semitism -- but some is.
Helen Thomas' isn't.

© 2009 - 2010 Canwest Publishing Inc.

Paul Jay is the CEO and Senior Editor of The Real News Network. He is an award-winning filmmaker, founder of Hot Docs! International Film Festival and was for ten years the Executive Producer of the CBC Newsworld show counterSpin.
"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
Buckminster Fuller
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#3
Keith Millea Wrote:http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/06/07-6

Published on Monday, June 7, 2010 by CommonDreams.org Helen Thomas Retires Effective Immediately


In a press release on Hearst's website, Helen Thomas, the 89-year-old veteran White House correspondent, announced she will retire effective immediately in the wake of her comments on Israel.

[Image: helenthomas_0.jpg]Helen Thomas
"Her decision came after her controversial comments about Israel and the Palestinians were captured on videotape and widely disseminated on the Internet."
Thomas told a rabbi at a White House event last week that Jews should "get the hell out of Palestine" and go back to Germany and Poland or the United States.
Thomas apologized for the comments, saying:
"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."
At his daily briefing, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs on Monday condemned the comments, calling them "offensive and reprehensible." "She should and has apologized," Gibbs said. "Obviously, those remarks do not reflect, certainly, the opinion of most of the people here and certainly not of the administration."
"Helen Thomas' comments were indefensible and the White House Correspondents Association board firmly dissociates itself from them," the WHCA said in a statement. "Many in our profession who have known Helen for years were saddened by the comments, which were especially unfortunate in light of her role as a trail blazer on the White House beat."
The WHCA statement added that the incident "does revive the issue of whether it is appropriate for an opinion columnist to have a front row seat in the WH briefing room."

Working for United Press International, Thomas covered every president since the end of the Eisenhower years and was known for her tough questioning. She was the first woman to be an officer of the National Press Club, the first female member and president of the White House Correspondents' Assn.

Thomas will turn 90 in August.

Very sad news.....canned for speaking truth to Power....ever was thus!....please re-consider Ms. Thomas!!!!!

Israel [or the Zionist intellience military beast hidden inside it] claims yet one more innocent victim...who dared to challenge it....
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass
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#4
http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_...index.html

Quote:UPDATE: As for the Helen Thomas condemnation fest and subsequent resignation today, the central issue -- as both my Salon colleague Gabriel Winant and The American Prospect's Adam Serwer adeptly document -- is not the perception that she's guilty of bigotry, but the wrong kind of bigotry. Anyone who doubts that should compare the cheap, easy and self-righteous outrage orgy against the powerless, 89-year-old columnist to the total non-reaction in the face of the incessant and ongoing anti-Arab bigotry of The New Republic's Marty Peretz, or to the demands of then-House Majority Leader Dick Armey that the Palestinians leave the West Bank and go back to where they came from, and similar statements from Mike Huckabee (still gainfully employed at Fox News).

That's because, as I wrote the last time Peretz had one of his vicious anti-Arab rants, severe punishment is meted out to those who engage in the wrong kind of prejudice while those who spout the right kind do so with total impunity. That, and the fact that there are consequences for the actions only of the powerless in Washington, but never the powerful. Then again, look at the bright side: with Thomas banished, White House press briefings and presidential news conferences will be much friendlier and more harmonious with the amiable, star-struck Ed Henrys remaining in place.
"There are three sorts of conspiracy: by the people who complain, by the people who write, by the people who take action. There is nothing to fear from the first group, the two others are more dangerous; but the police have to be part of all three,"

Joseph Fouche
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#5
This is disgusting. Every recent administration has been panting to get rid of Helen Thomas because she's the real deal--a genuine reporter who has a moral compass and asks tough questions. She's had a bulls eye on her for years. Any excuse would suffice to get rid of her and that's all this is.

Maybe there will be a bright side and she can now be much more outspoken. I hope so.
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#6
Poor woman. I can't blame her. At her age I'm sure she is way too old to have to put up with this bull shit. A pity though because we need people like her.
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
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#7
I don't see her keeping quiet, I really don't. It's not in her nature. I think, hope, she's free to speak now.
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#8
Magda Hassan Wrote:Poor woman. I can't blame her. At her age I'm sure she is way too old to have to put up with this bull shit. A pity though because we need people like her.

Well, she did bring up an interesting point.
We are all immigrants. We all came here from some other country. Humans were not indigenous to the Americas.
I myself can only trace my family lineage back to the second ship to reach my state, the Fortune, not the Mayflower. So here is my Modest Proposal. Every single person should be deported back to their original country.
So I'd be lucky to land back in the middle of England. Native Americans would be sent back to Asia. That's one way to reverse the diaspora.
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#9
Anthony Marsh Wrote:
Magda Hassan Wrote:Poor woman. I can't blame her. At her age I'm sure she is way too old to have to put up with this bull shit. A pity though because we need people like her.

Well, she did bring up an interesting point.
We are all immigrants. We all came here from some other country. Humans were not indigenous to the Americas.
I myself can only trace my family lineage back to the second ship to reach my state, the Fortune, not the Mayflower. So here is my Modest Proposal. Every single person should be deported back to their original country.
So I'd be lucky to land back in the middle of England. Native Americans would be sent back to Asia. That's one way to reverse the diaspora.

Really? "Humans were not indigenous to the Americas" eh?

Gosh, that'll be such a blow to the many indigenous Americans. And they find out like this?! Oh the ignominy.

Whatever.

I guess the Helen Thomas episode is like a rorschach test...
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#10
Anthony Marsh Wrote:
Magda Hassan Wrote:Poor woman. I can't blame her. At her age I'm sure she is way too old to have to put up with this bull shit. A pity though because we need people like her.

Well, she did bring up an interesting point.
We are all immigrants. We all came here from some other country. Humans were not indigenous to the Americas.
I myself can only trace my family lineage back to the second ship to reach my state, the Fortune, not the Mayflower. So here is my Modest Proposal. Every single person should be deported back to their original country.
So I'd be lucky to land back in the middle of England. Native Americans would be sent back to Asia. That's one way to reverse the diaspora.

You have to follow that to its logical conclusion Anthony. We all came from the bacterial primeval swamp stew type place. In other words we come from the one source and are all one and we live on this one earth and we must live in peace together or die together.
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
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