Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Poor Little Helen Thomas

I am amazed that in the comments section in the NYT on the Helen Thomas Affair, in one of the posts, 1222 people agree with her statement that Israel should get the hell out of "Palestine" and that what she was saying is true but no one dares to call it out. This is alarming.
The "get the hell out of Palestine" is pretty bad. The place has not been Palestine since 1948. The place is Israel. And I don't think she was talking about just the occupied territories, but it's hard to tell.
“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.’’
What is really appalling is her answer that Jews should go "home" back to Poland and Germany or the US, or anywhere that will have them, except Israel. Which in essence means that she does not believe that the Jews should have a state in Israel.
I thought that except for those shining beacons of tolerance and democracy like Hamas and Hezbollah and Iran and most Arab states except Egypt and Jordan, we were long past the stage of not recognizing the right of Israel to exist. For an American journalist of her stature, this is shocking. To say the least.
But then buried in the article I find a possible reason for Thomas' outburst. She is of Lebanese origin. I hope that this is not what explains it, but it looks like it might. That the animosity travels generations and borders like this makes my heart sink.
Poland and Germany are really not the best places to send Israeli Jews packing, I would think. That's where they were running from when Israel was founded.
But the anger against Israel is so huge right now, that people see past the enormous implications of this comment and agree with her and feel sorry for her wrinkled ass because poor Helen, now she has been forced to retire.
You know what? If she really believes what she said, and if she really is as feisty as she has been for the past 90 years, then she should not apologize. Stand by her principles. Show her true colors.
Because the problem, which is what I feared the minute I heard about her resignation and her canceled speaking appointments, and the tearing of garments and wringing of hands, is that then she becomes a martyr to tyrannical Israel and the all powerful Jewish lobby (which I wish would pipe down once in a while. They should be pleased that they have now created a victim in Helen Thomas) and we are in deep doodoo.
This is still a free country. If that's what she thinks, too bad.

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