Saturday, June 05, 2010

Why the "Helen Thomas Issue" Matters

It has long been accepted that Helen Thomas, the so-called Dean of the White House press corps, is no longer relevant as a journalist. Most of the time, she is simply ignored, with perhaps a roll of the eyes. You can almost hear most of her fellow journalists saying "oh, that's just Helen being Helen." Sort of like the crazy aunt with the 15 cats.

However, while she is mostly cast aside as a serious journalist now, she still holds court at the most senior White House correspondent. Often, especially when a Democrat is in the White House, hers is the first question allowed during Presidential press conferences.

For many years, Thomas has been quite vocal about her disdain for the State of Israel. Although born in Kentucky, her parents were Lebanese immigrants who settled in Detroit soon after her birth. Her pro-Palestinian views were never more exposed than when her false claims of one-sided Israeli aggression was answered by then-White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, thanking her for "the Hezbollah view."

So was it that much of a surprise that Thomas was caught on camera saying this?

"Tell them (Israelis) to get the hell out of Palestine. Remember, these people are occupied and it's their land. Not Germany. Not Poland."

When the questioner, who knew he's caught a live one, asked what Jews should so, Thomas didn't miss a beat, saying "They go home. Poland. Germany. And America and everywhere else."

So, why should it matter what this old, most certainly senile old biddy says?

It matters precisely because who she is and who, as a member of the White House Press Corps, is. Because of her lofty place of honor, she is someone who is supposedly a person of virtue and honor. Journalists are to recognized for their devotion to the truth. And yet, everything Thomas said here is ignorant and false, not to mention deeply anti-Semitic.

The fact is, had she said this and instead of talking about the Jews, said that the Blacks should go back to Africa, or that the Hispanics should go back to Mexico, what would the media do? Aside from an enormous uproar to have her fired, I could see President Obama criticizing her for her racist views. Every network on TV would attack her the same way they attacked Jimmy the Greek, or Rush Limbaugh, when he said Donovan McNabb was overrated. Even Slate Magazine, a true bastion of liberalism, came out and agreed with Limbaugh's assessment.

But Rush was torn apart in the media, fired from hos job on ESPN and it directly affected his attempt to purchase the St. Louis Rams a few years later.

But of course, when it comes to Israel and the Jews, nary a peep is heard. Certainly, conservative blogs are all over this. What's remarkable is how the Right is constantly slurred as racists, and the like, while the majority of Jews vote overwhelmingly Democrat. Yet, once again, it is only the Right that is standing up for the State of Israel.

By taking the stance that this is just Helen being Helen, the media (as well as the President, by not commenting) is being complicit in the frightening rise of acceptance of Jew-hatred. But, of course, this is nothing new from the Obama White House. Since taking office, the President has cast Israel as the reason for the Middle East troubles. His slobbering over the Iranians and Syrians, his outrageous condemnation of Israel building in its' capitol and she shameful treatment of Prime Minister Netanyahu have given anti-Semites reason to increase their vilification of Israel and the Jews. There is a reason why only 6% of the Israelis approve of the American President. They remember when he said "“I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.”

The point is, 75 years after the Holocaust, anti-Semitism is becoming the norm again. As Islam infiltrates more and more countries, they bring with them a revisionist history of the world. When you add this to the dark anti-Semitism of old Europe, you end up with the seeds for another genocide. IF we allow crazy old Helen a continued platform to spread her vile falsehoods and anti-Semitic rants, we are equally as guilty as if we said them ourselves.

Thomas did attempt an apology of sorts. But if taken at her word, she has to be lying. You can not say "I believe such and such" one day and then say "that isn't what I believe" the next. One of those comments must be a lie. As a member of the free press, that alone should disqualify her from her job.

But the blatant racism of her comments, along with her long history of hostility and ignorant statements about Israel, should immediately cause her dismissal. She is an embarrassment to her employers, her industry and to her country. It's time she be treated as such.

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