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Ear to the Ground

Helen Thomas Hangs It Up

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Posted on Jun 7, 2010
Thomas and Obama
White House / Pete Souza

White House press mainstay Helen Thomas is seen here with President Barack Obama last year on their shared birthday, Aug. 4.

White House press corps veteran Helen Thomas, 89, has faced off with nine different presidents—starting with Eisenhower—and their supporting players over the course of her career, but ultimately her own words got her in trouble and marred her hard-won reputation.

Thomas was on the receiving end of an interview with RabbiLive.com on May 27, as the Jewish Heritage Celebration went on at the White House, when she made the comments about Israeli Jews that caused an uproar last week and ultimately led to her retirement announcement on Monday. Thomas said Jews in Israel should “get the hell out of Palestine” and “go back home to Poland, Germany, America and everywhere else.”—KA

The Hill:

The longtime White House reporter is stepping down after her controversial comments on Israel. Helen Thomas announced Monday that “she is retiring, effective immediately,” according to a statement from Hearst newspapers.

Her decision comes after her controversial remarks about Israel hit the blogosphere. She later apologized for her comments.

White House Correspondents Association (WHCA) President Ed Chen criticized her remarks in a statement Monday.

“Helen Thomas’ comments were indefensible and the White House Correspondents Association board firmly dissociates itself from them.

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By reubendevries, June 7, 2010 at 11:23 am Link to this comment

@EdHarges… first of all not Jewish, but thanks for trying that one out. Secondly not even American. Thirdly I’m proudly liberal, probably even more so then yourself. I just don’t jump on every liberal bandwagon without thinking about it first. I agree with 95 percent of the liberal agenda, and because I disagree with this single issue that makes me a selfish, pathetic pig… basically when you decide to grow up and stop the playground bully tactics (ie name calling) and want to have an adult discussion you can…

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By Ed Harges, June 7, 2010 at 11:15 am Link to this comment

re:By reubendevries, June 7 at 2:57 pm:

It should be obvious by now to everyone that the “leftism” of fake Jewish American
liberals like you never meant anything but, “We’re not the dominant
ethnic/religious group in America, so we’re against ethnic/religious discrimination
here, in America,... but in Israel, we have the upper hand: so in Israel, brutal
state ethnocentrism is just fine.”

You are a totally unprincipled coward, Reuben, cravenly professing liberalism
when it suits your selfish interests, and brazenly siding with bullies when it suits
those same interests. Principled American liberals - of all religions - need to
recognize people like you for what you are: selfish, pathetic pigs.

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By Mike, June 7, 2010 at 11:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chuck Todd was piling on Helen Thomas about her not being a “real” journalist anymore and how other WH correspondents resented it. I resent a biatch like Chuck Todd judging anyone about journalism. Todd and his lackeys have helped ruin this country by not asking the tough questions that needed to be asked, like Helen did.

The fact that Todd waited until Thomas was out the door to “man up” shows what a complete biatch he is.

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By felicity, June 7, 2010 at 11:04 am Link to this comment

I empathize with old Helen.  Although I’m ten years her junior, I too am given to blurting out stuff that years ago I would have thought but never said. 
And afterall, Helen and I have had this Israeli/Palestinian/problem as foreground noise for 62 years.  It’s really getting very old - like Helen and I.

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By garth, June 7, 2010 at 10:58 am Link to this comment

Well, it’s about time they ganged up and landed on that 89-year old woman of Lebanese descent and cancelled her check.  At 89, what’s she supposed to do with the rest of her life? 

I remember in the 90s the old Jewish ladies from Russia sitting on Fisherman’s Beach in Swampscott, MA crying out in loud voices that could be heard from about 100 feet away, “It’s our country.  Why don’t those Palestinians just leave?”

Should we take away the rights of those ladies to speak? 

I think the Israelis are getting close to an attempt to blatantly exterminate the Palestinians.  Then, with all the balls necessary to disfigure any peace and claim justification, they can live in whatever peace they can find.

If I were an Arab, I’d die saying Palestine forever.

But then again, imagine an Islamic State?  Wait a minute, Israel is a Jewish State.  The religious right are trying to turn this country into a Christian State. 

The news media’s slanted coverage of this crime on the high seas just shows one thing.  It doesn’t matter what you think, the media will gradually get you around to thinking the murder is good, mass murder is better and genocide is best. 

Good, better, best.  Never let it rest.  Until you good is better and your better is your best.

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By reubendevries, June 7, 2010 at 10:57 am Link to this comment

How anybody could defend the indefensible remarks made by Ms. Thomas is what is truly wrong with the leaning left. I am a proud left liberal, but come on, I was told when I mess up I admit to it and try to make it right. In fact isn’t that the biggest bone we have to pick with the NeoCons and there devoted right. I’ve actually been to Israel, so I actually know what I’m talking about and I can say that Israel is not innocent in this struggle for peace in the Middle East. But let’s face facts Israel has a right to be a nation, and they have to right to defend themselves from a reasonable threat like Hamas, who has vowed to not stop attacking Israel until every Jew living there has died. What we do if we were in the same situation, thank God we are not.

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By RdV, June 7, 2010 at 10:51 am Link to this comment

This administration is no different than the previous ones and couldn’t afford to have Helen bringing up uncomfortable issues, or challenge the talking points, or demand accountibility or punch holes in the official version and expose inconvenient truths. She made not only Gibbs, but Obama look like fools and I am sure they are relieved.
Obama, as president elect, claimed that “we only had one president at a time” and wouldn’t comment on Israel’s attack on Gaza, meanwhile he spoke out on other issues. Andlately his “concern” over the flotilla events are indicative of who makes him dance.
  When Helen said Israel out of Palestine, did she mean Israel stop confiscating Palestinian land to build settlements for European Jews?
  Sounds right to me but hard to hear with all the typical Zionist noise.

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By Tony Rodriguez, June 7, 2010 at 10:23 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Nothing wrong with saying what is clear. Get out of Palestine is a fair comment and is going to be the new American message to Israel.

Thanks Helen!

Israelies insist on unrestrained abuse of Palestinians, whilst hiding behind the American shield.  Americans have suffered enought. 3000 dead in 9/11 the biggest price.

Israel has been a friend but its over. Friends don’t treat friends like this. Pull the plug, stop the money.

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By Basoflakes, June 7, 2010 at 10:17 am Link to this comment

A part of me died when Howard Zinn died.  Another part of me died today when the sole White House correspondent with enough courage to speak truth to power resigned today.

I heard what she said and she told the Jews to go home, wherever that may be, including Germany, Poland and the United States.  Funny, how the ‘press’ now leave out the reference to the United States in her remarks.

There was no hatred or anti-Semitism in her remarks.  But, it is easy to interpret her comments that way and her resignation was, unfortunately, innevitable.

Helen is Lebanese, like Ralph Nader, so there is virtually no chance that a person of Arab background could make her statement without attack from mainstream America, especially the White House, the biggest supporter of Israeli terrorism.

I pray to my God for America without the forthrightedness of a Helen Thomas.  I see less hope for America now.

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By zema, June 7, 2010 at 10:12 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

what a brave woman, I hope a lot of people go out & say it out Loud, Israel is a terrorist state & the U.S.A. should dissociates itself from Isreal
thank you

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By Ed Harges, June 7, 2010 at 9:59 am Link to this comment

She finally could not swallow any more vomit and decided to say what needed to
be said. Israel’s core ideology, Zionism, is the problem.

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