In an exchange with Joey Kurtzman at jewcy.com, Be Nice, or We’ll Crush You, subtitled “Criticizing Jews is professional suicide”, John Derbyshire writes:
Almost the first thing you hear from old hands when you go into opinion journalism in the U.S. is, to put it in the precise form I first heard it: “Don’t f*ck with the Jews.”
Joe Sobran expressed it with his usual hyperbole: “You must only ever write of us as a passive, powerless, historically oppressed minority, struggling to maintain our ancient identity in a world where all the odds are against us, poor helpless us, poor persecuted and beleaguered us! Otherwise we will smash you to pieces.”
Helen Thomas has been a fixture in the White House press corps since JFK was president. She must have understood Derbyshire’s little bit of journo wisdom. What little I know of her involves her supporting role in the left-right kabuki that passes for US politics. Based on opinion from the right, or “conservative” side of the theatre, all I could ever really be sure of was that Thomas was some kind of immortal wicked witch of the left. She was “a nasty piece of work” who could be impertinent and insolent, even to presidents, and yet she never had to fear for her job.
Now that portion of the kabuki lies in tatters.
The response from “the jews” of all stripes to Thomas’ heresy has been swift and merciless. For “liberal” jews, Thomas’ “anti-semitism” towers above personal friendships, her decades of reliable “liberal” service, and her being the first woman journalist to do this or that. For “conservative” jews, her “anti-semitism” totally eclipses her “liberalism”. Everyone could live with Thomas’ “liberalism”, but now she has vexed “the jews”, and this cannot be tolerated. With the flotilla flap making Israelis look like bullies there couldn’t be a better time to remind everyone that they had better not say as much out loud.
There are some people who believe that any criticism of Israel is Anti-Semitism. That belief is as ignorant as Anti-Semitism itself. There is however, a great deal of crossover between hatred of Israel and Hatred of the Jews. To find out what people really mean you need to examine the words they use.
Helen Thomas’ comparing of the IDF to Nazi Germany is nothing but an attempt to water-down the horror of the Holocaust, and to dehumanize Israel. And her advice to the Jews to get the hell out of Palestine, and go back to Poland and Germany is nothing short of anti-Semitism. If Thomas’ comments were directed toward any other group but the Jews, she would have been out of work a very long time ago. Maybe it’s time for Helen’s bosses to retire her to the “The Home For Old Crazy Anti-Semites.
VIDEO: Frau Helen Thomas wants to join Pat Buchanan’s Army, Too, Debbie Schlussel:
Helen Thomas–who is a Christian Arab, not Muslim (plenty of Christian Arabs hate Israel and the Jews)–continues in her neo-Nazi ways. In this video, she preaches Judenrein, which is in line with her previous support for Hezbollah.
So, Helen, I’ll go “back” to Poland (even though I, myself, am not from there), if I can get back all of my family’s land, my maternal great-grandfather’s thriving hardware store, my great-grandfather’s spot as Mayor of his town, my great-grandmother’s diamonds, my paternal great-grandparents’ farm, etc., etc., etc. (But since I’m an American, just as many other Jews are Israeli, I love my country and will only stay a week.)
Schlussel’s title alludes to her similarly motivated ethnic animus aimed at Pat Buchanan, most recently expressed in Pat HAMAS Buchanan: Qaeda Attacks on US Justified b/c of Israel – TownHall, Human Events, WND Run Column. These two columns of Schlussel’s contain one over-the-top, hysterical statement after another.
Obama’s White House Correspondent: Jews Should Go Back to the Ovens, Pamela Geller, at Atlas Shrugs:
Look, this would never stand under any other administration. The fact that Palestinian Jews were in Israel (Transjordan, Palestine) thousands of years before and during and after the Palestinian Muslims began their Islamic anti-semitic genocidal massacres is ignored by the morally depraved Thomas and her ilk.
Has The White House thrown her out on her ugly Jew-hating keyster? Not a chance.
Helen Thomas, Jew Hatred And Acceptance, by JoshuaPundit:
Helen Thomas is valuable because she provides a picture perfect example of the double standard most Left- leaning journos ( and believe me, the majority are Left- leaning) have when it comes to Jew hatred. While they might not personally endorse it, they’re prepared to accept it, just like Joe Lockhart, as a legitimate point of view that is subject to debate. That’s something virtually none of them would do if that hatred was directed anywhere else but at Jews.
So I think it’s better that Helen Thomas remains an honored part of the White House press corps, especially since few if any of them seem uncomfortable with her in their midst. It tells us a great deal about a large part of the membership of that august body. And who knows? It may actually serve as a wake up call about how commonplace and acceptable in public discourse this kind of obscene anti-Semitism has become.
“She should lose her job over this,” Fleischer said in an email. “As someone who is Jewish, and as someone who worked with her and used to like her, I find this appalling.”
“She is advocating religious cleansing. How can Hearst stand by her? If a journalist, or a columnist, said the same thing about blacks or Hispanics, they would already have lost their jobs.”
Lanny Davis, the former White House Counsel for President Bill Clinton, weighed in on the Helen Thomas controversy today, calling her an “an anti-Semitic bigot.”
“Helen Thomas, who I used to consider a close friend and who I used to respect, has showed herself to be an anti-Semitic bigot. This is not about her disagreement about her criticisms of Israel. She has a right to criticize Israel and that is not the same as being an anti-Semite,” Davis said in a statement.
In a written statement issued Friday, Thomas apologized for the comment to Rabbi David Nessenoff, saying, she deeply regretted her comments and they “do not reflect” her “heartfelt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance.”
But Thomas’ apology did not go far enough, Davis said.
“In my opinion, her apology was not direct and didn’t address the merits of her belief in the stereotype that Jews are aliens in Israel and don’t belong there. She should be at the least suspended from all privileges in the White House press room since bigots don’t merit such privileges. And I believe Hearst should consider a similar suspension of her position as a nationally-syndicated columnist until she owns up to her bigotry and aplogizes (sic) for it,” he said.
Helen Thomas Should Go, Says Lanny Davis, by Jennifer Rubin at Commentary:
Helen Thomas, who I used to consider a close friend and who I used to respect, has showed herself to be an anti-Semitic bigot. This not about her disagreement about her criticisms of Israel. She has a right to criticize Israel and that is not the same as being an anti-Semite.
However, her statement that Jews in Israel should leave Israel and go back to Poland or Germany is an ancient and well-known anti-Semitic stereotype of the Alien Jew not belonging in the “land of Israel” — one that began 2,600 years with the first tragic and violent diaspora of the Jews at the hands of the Romans.
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?
Privileged bipartisan icon Abraham Lincoln wanted free Africans to be sent back to Africa. We know this particular viewpoint of Lincoln’s has become unspeakable because nobody ever speaks of it.
Rubin adds that she has already used her hotline to the White House:
See, that wasn’t so hard. Where is the rest of the media, the White House Correspondents Association, and the White House? As to the latter, no response to my inquiry has been forthcoming.
The Helen Thomas ‘Scandal’, by Jonah Goldberg at The Corner:
For starters, this is a classic gaffe because Helen Thomas accidentally told the truth. She’s wrong on the substance, obviously. But of course she believes the Israelis should go away. I sincerely doubt there is anyone familiar with Thomas who really doubts for a moment that she was being less than honest when she made her “back to Poland” comments or that she is lying now when she says she didn’t mean it.
But beyond that, can we do away with all of the shock and dismay at Thomas’ statement? Spare me Lanny Davis’s wounded outrage. Everyone knows she is a nasty piece of work and has been a nasty piece of work for decades.
And when I say a nasty piece of work, I don’t simply mean her opinions on Israel. She’s been full-spectrum awful. I’ve known a few people who knew her 40 years ago, and she was slimy then too.
Organized jewry had some monotonously repetitive and hate-filled things to say about ignorance.
Helen Thomas Apology ‘Does Not Go Far Enough’, by Abe Foxman of the ADL:
Helen Thomas’s statement of regret does not go far enough. Her remarks were outrageous, offensive and inappropriate, especially since she uttered them on a day the White House had set aside to celebrate the extraordinary accomplishments of American Jews during Jewish American Heritage Month.
The B’nai B’rith International organization says that the YouTube video showing long-time White House correspondent Helen Thomas saying that “Jews should go back to Poland…back to Germany…and America, and everywhere else” demonstrates an outrageous and complete lack of understanding of history.
“Thomas’ comments are contemptible,” said B’nai B’rith International President Dennis W. Glick. “Her distortion of historical reality is astonishing. Her call for Jews to return to Poland and Germany—site of the Nazi genocide, the worst genocide in modern history—is beyond offensive.”
“These vile comments, unfortunately, are the culmination of Thomas’ ongoing anti-Israel sentiments that she kept thinly veiled over the years,” said B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin. “There should be no place for her in a news organization. Her comments go beyond commentary and land well in the camp that will stop at nothing to delegitimize Israel.”
B’nai B’rith called on the Hearst Corporation to dismiss Thomas, its current columnist, immediately.
AJC Outraged by Journalist Helen Thomas’s Remarks on Israel, by the American Jewish Committee:
“Her comment revealed unbridled hostility to Israel’s very existence, if not to the Jewish people,” said Harris. “It also showed profound ignorance, as half of Israel’s Jews come not from Germany or Poland but from the Arab world, itself a telling point.
Ms. Thomas’s statement is astonishing both in its ignorance and insensitivity. It ignores entirely the enduring historical link of more than 2,000 years between the Jewish people and the land. It ignores the painful history of the Jewish people in Germany and Poland. And, it ignores the fact that half of Israel’s Jewish population today has roots in Arab countries, from which they were expelled or driven out by persecution.
While Ms. Thomas has issued an apology, it is unconvincing. It seemed designed to do nothing more than attempt to put out a fire of her own making. She has demonstrated blatant antipathy for Israel, and for the Jewish people.
This Haaretz article isn’t as emotionally charged as any of the items quoted and linked above, but its headline accurately sums up the consequences of saying something “the jews” don’t like: Top U.S. journalist loses agent, friends after saying ‘Jews should get the hell out of Palestine’.
Despite the impotence and fears of partisanship feigned by “conservative” jews, Thomas has indeed lost her job, or as the Drudge headline put it: “Helen Sent to Poland”. In the fullness of time we’ll see if her career-ending statement has made her notorious enough to join the bipartisan pantheon of infamous “jew-haters”, like Harry Truman and Richard Nixon, or if she will simply be flushed down the memory hole.
The irony is that Helen Thomas could have said something quite the opposite and she would just as likely have ended up vilified and fired. She could have suggested that all the zionist diaspora jews advocating so diligently for Israeli interests from afar should get the hell out and move to Israel. With only slight modifications to the portions of rhetoric about “unbridled hostility to Israel’s very existence” the jewish denouncements would be much the same and from the same people. The crime is the “insensitivity” to jewish sensibilities.
The strange thing about jewish sensibilities is that so many of them have such a preference for insensitively bossing people around, telling us what is or isn’t moral, dictating what we can or can’t say, judging whether our grovelling is good enough or not. And yet, it doesn’t really matter what you command them to do, the reaction is best characterized as unbridled hostility to your very existence.
Jewish moralizing about expulsion is as ignorant of history as it is brazenly hypocritical. Current events, such as the flotilla flap, provide constant reminders that many zionists would like the Palestinians to get the hell out. The Israelis have actually killed people to encourage as much. The Israeli government has a long history of ethnically cleansing Palestinians:
Benny Morris is a leftist Israeli historian who attained notoriety some years ago by uncovering Israel Defense Forces documents showing Israel’s deliberate policy of expelling Arabs from Israel during the 1948-49 War of Independence. Morris then startled the world by turning around and declaring that such expulsions were essential for Israel’s survival against enemies seeking to destroy it, and were therefore moral. He then went further and said that Ben Gurion’s great error was that he got cold feet and did not expel all the Arabs from Israel in 1948. He then went further and said that Israel in the near future will face an existential crisis in which it will, as a matter of necessity, complete the job that Ben Gurion failed to complete.
For a more recent critique see The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment, by Peter Beinart at The New York Review of Books:
[Effi] Eitam, a charismatic ex–cabinet minister and war hero, has proposed ethnically cleansing Palestinians from the West Bank. “We’ll have to expel the overwhelming majority of West Bank Arabs from here and remove Israeli Arabs from [the] political system,” he declared in 2006. In 2008, Eitam merged his small Ahi Party into Netanyahu’s Likud. And for the 2009–2010 academic year, he is Netanyahu’s special emissary for overseas “campus engagement.” In that capacity, he visited a dozen American high schools and colleges last fall on the Israeli government’s behalf. The group that organized his tour was called “Caravan for Democracy.”
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman once shared Eitam’s views. In his youth, he briefly joined Meir Kahane’s now banned Kach Party, which also advocated the expulsion of Arabs from Israeli soil. Now Lieberman’s position might be called “pre-expulsion.” He wants to revoke the citizenship of Israeli Arabs who won’t swear a loyalty oath to the Jewish state. He tried to prevent two Arab parties that opposed Israel’s 2008–2009 Gaza war from running candidates for the Knesset. He said Arab Knesset members who met with representatives of Hamas should be executed. He wants to jail Arabs who publicly mourn on Israeli Independence Day, and he hopes to permanently deny citizenship to Arabs from other countries who marry Arab citizens of Israel.
In 2009, a poll by the Israel Democracy Institute found that 53 percent of Jewish Israelis (and 77 percent of recent immigrants from the former USSR) support encouraging Arabs to leave the country. Attitudes are worst among Israel’s young. When Israeli high schools held mock elections last year, Lieberman won. This March, a poll found that 56 percent of Jewish Israeli high school students—and more than 80 percent of religious Jewish high school students—would deny Israeli Arabs the right to be elected to the Knesset.
Has anybody of any consequence tried to defend Thomas? Why would they? They’d lose their job too. Whatever their political differences, jews agree: one set of rules for “the jews”, another for everyone else. If you have a problem with this then they will work to make sure you will indeed have a problem.