Helen Thomas retires.

Veteran journalist and public irritant Helen Thomas just announced her retirement, effective immediately. I wonder what might have prompted that?

Her decision comes after her controversial remarks about Israel hit the blogosphere. She later apologized for her comments, saying she “deeply regretted” making them….

The reaction of most reporters, friends and former White House officials was that while the end to Thomas’s career is sad, it is hardly surprising.

“It really is sadness. She should have retired years ago,” one longtime friend said. “But I don’t think anyone is surprised at the anti-Israeli remarks. She has never made any secret of her animus toward Israel. I just hate to see her remembered for this instead of the pioneering work she did.

“

Former White House press secretary Dana Perino said: “It’s a sad but appropriate end.”

I wish her a peaceful and quiet retirement. Emphasis on quiet

 

Brian Saint-Paul

By

Brian Saint-Paul is the editor and publisher of Crisis Magazine. He has a BA in Philosophy and an MA in Religious Studies from the Catholic University of America, in Washington. D.C. In addition to various positions in journalism and publishing, he has served as the associate director of a health research institute, a missionary, and a private school teacher. He lives with his wife in a historic Baltimore neighborhood, where he obsesses over Late Antiquity.

  • RK

    She committed what is apparently the greatest sin: She criticized Israel. Maybe that’s the only sin anymore.

    Sure, she’s long in the tooth and maybe a little senile and what she said was inappropriate, but give me a break! Tell me AIPAC didn’t have a hand in this. Pat Buchanan is right when he says Capitol Hill/DC is Israeli occupied territory.

  • Pammie

    The cultural commies are pleased I’m sure. Less and less free speech. More and more tightening of the noose of agenda and ideology. We all have to speak a certain way about Israel and soon we all have to publically speak a certain way about the Church or risk punishment. Guess who will come out ahead on that?

    If Helen Thomas’ ethnicity played a role in her reporting on Israel what does that say about every reporter of jewish descent’s reporting on Israel? Oh, but that’s different and not the same thing at all.

  • Dave K

    Helen Thomas finally says something I agree with and she is forced into retirement?

  • BILL RUSSELL

    An open letter to Helen Thomas
    By YORAM DORI

    In light of your recent remarks that Jews must “get the hell out of Palestine” and “go home,” I think I should tell you about my parents’ families.

    Dear Ms. Thomas, I read on numerous Web sites the remarks attributed to you (and I did not see any denial) that we, the Jews must

  • Pammie

    Yoram Dori’s nice story failed to mention the guns, violence, bombs and terrorism his parents’ fellow European immigrants brought to palestine. Thank God his parents survived the Nazis. Millions of Polish Catholics and Russians et al did not and were also victims of the Nazi regime. But their sufferings and deaths are not an important part of the narrative.

    Thousands of Palestinians also did not survive the massive immigration of zionists who did not want to be equal with the “peasants” they found in Palestine, but their masters. The new immigrants wanted to experiment with socialism , cohabitation of the sexes without marriage, children raised away from their parents and other ideas fashionable with zionists in Europe at the time but unheard of in old Palestine. The natives were scandalised.

    Mr Dori’s narrative also failed to mention the attacks by his fellow zionists on the third parties that were trying to maintain order in mid century Palestine, such as the English and the Red Cross. I guess he forgot that bit. He also failed to mention how the English had previously tried to take all guns away from the native palestinians and make it a felony punishable by death (no trial needed) to own any. Maybe that had a little something to do with how a few of the battles turned out.

    All in all Mr. Dori’s history of Israel sound suspiciously like a Leon Uris narrative on the subject, not exactly an unbiased and neutral account, but interesting never-the-less.

  • Brian English

    You read that letter and that is your response? Disgusting.

  • Pammie

    Brian, I too find it disgusting that you can read that uncritically and not be cognizant that lots of important detail was left out. Why is it so difficult for you to figure out that Mr. Dori’s parents et al were fleeing a bad European situation and resettling (in many cases) on other people’s property? That’s a small and apparently insignificant detail to you. Not so for the person who must leave his family home. Not to you either I suspect, if you were called to do the same.

    I wouldn’t expect Mr.Dori to tell it all. I expect partisan, it’s natural under his circumstances. But you and the likeminded gulp it all down as if it’s the WHOLE story, because it suits you to do so and because it re-enforces stereotypes that you are comfortable with. I can feel pity for BOTH sides. Why can’t you?

  • georgie-ann

    self-righteous pity is weird stuff,…

  • Mark

    “She committed what is apparently the greatest sin: She criticized Israel.”

    Tell that to Jimmy the Greek… oh, and telling the “Jews” to go back to Poland is not a “criticism of Israel”

    Hatred is not an argument folks.

  • Brian English

    “Why is it so difficult for you to figure out that Mr. Dori’s parents et al were fleeing a bad European situation and resettling (in many cases) on other people’s property?”

    You consider the Holocaust a “bad European situation?”

    And where does he say his parents took anybody’s land? You assume every Jew in Israel took their home from a Palestinian, which is absurd.

    “But you and the likeminded gulp it all down as if it’s the WHOLE story, because it suits you to do so and because it re-enforces stereotypes that you are comfortable with. I can feel pity for BOTH sides. Why can’t you?”

    Nothing in any of your comments indicates you have the least bit of pity for the Jews in Israel. I am sure it is very difficult being a Palestinian in the West Bank of Gaza (although the claim that there is a humanitarian crisis there is nonsense).

    However, they are the ones who voted for Hamas; they are the ones that allowed terrorist attacks to be launched from the West Bank; and they are the ones who tolerated rocket attacks being launched from their territories.

    If they renounced violence and acknowledged Israel’s right to exist, there could be peace. They continue to choose war because the existence of Israel is really the problem, not the occupation of the West Bank.

  • RK

    … oh, and telling the “Jews” to go back to Poland is not a “criticism of Israel”

    Hatred is not an argument folks.

    I’m confused. Are you saying she wants the Jews to go back to Poland, but she wants Israel to continue to exist? This is absurd and I don’t think you’ve thought it through. Everyone knows that she was criticizing Israel even though it may have been an indirect critique. Everyone knows she’s always had a dog in the fight when it comes to the Middle East. Everyone knows she was forced to retire because she said something that was politically incorrect.

    Drawing attention to the obvious is not hatred folks.

  • R.C.

    Thomas’s statement was no shock, since I’d long been aware of her hatred of Jews.

    But the public airing of it was a surprise; normally one doesn’t hear the Jew-hatred declared so publicly. I suppose the left will need to be more careful to retire their senior citizens a little earlier, before they start losing their ability to censor themselves.

    For myself, I would not wish to see the Promised Land purged of Jews, after all these thousands of years. The lands of Judah and Israel are no longer the Canaanites’, nor the Assyrians’, nor the Babylonians’, nor the Persians’, nor the Romans. The British relinquished their claim. And I’m utterly uninterested in seeing it part of a new Caliphate.

    That was Crazy Aunt Helen’s dream, perhaps, and certainly Iran’s. All the jihadists insist that they have every right to regain all territories ever previously held under sharia. So naturally, their first priority is eliminating the Jews from the Jordan to the Sea, excluding those who’ll willingly bend the knee and feel the boot of their jihadist overlords on their necks. Dhimmis have their uses. And of course their second priority is “the lost paradise of Al Andalus,” so referenced in jihadi literature for generations. The first stop is the Temple Mount; the next stop is somewhere a bit south of Madrid.

    Anyway, there are now six million Jews in Israel, and Thomas says: Send them back to Poland and Germany.

    Well, most weren’t from Poland and Germany, to start with. Many weren’t from anywhere, unless one says, in reference to the Exodus, that they were from Egypt. Or perhaps we should point out that they’re all, a little farther back, from Ur? Perhaps they should go there.

    But any time someone says, “Let’s take six million Jews and ship ‘em off to Poland/leave ‘em to the Germans,” you know you’re dealing either with a historical na

  • RK

    RC,

    You’ve always struck me as quite intellectually honest. In that light I would like to urge you to research (I hate to presume upon your time) the origin of modern Israel. You could start by reading Blood Brothers, written by the Bishop of Jerusalem. At the suggestion of Zoe Romanowski and Tim Shipe I read this eye opening little book a few months ago. Among other fascinating information you will read that there is a significant difference between the Jews who have lived in the region peacefully for thousands of years and those who arrived in the last century. There are critical distinctions to be made here.

    Thanks, RK

  • Mark

    “Everyone knows that she was criticizing Israel even though it may have been an indirect critique” – RK

    Yes, and if Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh said “blacks should go back to Africa” reasonable people would infer that as an “indirect and legitimate critique” of America and in no way racist.

  • RK

    Yes, and if Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh said “blacks should go back to Africa” reasonable people would infer that as an “indirect and legitimate critique” of America and in no way racist.

    Mark,

    Do you believe there a difference between anti-semitism and criticism of the state of Israel?

  • Brian English

    “Among other fascinating information you will read that there is a significant difference between the Jews who have lived in the region peacefully for thousands of years and those who arrived in the last century. There are critical distinctions to be made here.”

    What possible relevance could any of that have to the current situation? Because some of those involved in the founding of Israel were terrorist thugs, that means everyone living there now is fair game for Hamas and friends?

    How do the Jews fleeing for their lives from Europe and the Jews kicked out of Muslim countries since 1948 fit into your distinctions?

  • R.C.

    RK,

    Thanks for the recommendation; I haven’t read that particular book, so I’ll try to find the time to check it out.

    I have in fact spent some time reading on the subject, from various sides, already. (As someone living in Georgia, I found Jimmy Carter’s contributions, uh, disappointing. But I struggled through, albeit with some skimming.)

    I suppose I should say: I am in favor of a two-state solution. I also wish very much that the two sides could be prevented from doing any harm to each other for long enough for the memory of injury to fade a bit — though they go in for long memories in that part of the world.

    Still, an observation I once made in another thread stands: Were the Palestinian Arabs to forswear violence; to become MLK and Ghandi rather than would-be Saladin and Suleiman, and maintain it for five years, they’d have a state in ten, and most of the extra five would be the effort of overcoming their own infighting and outside influences from jihadists trying to derail the whole thing.

  • Mark

    “Do you believe there a difference between anti-semitism and criticism of the state of Israel?”

    Yes, one can be critical of Israel without being an anti-semite.

    Anti-semites are hypercritical of Israel and Israel alone (with the exception of the blame America first crowd, who are often both anti-American and anti-semitic) while hiding behind your very philosophy– like a pornographer hiding behind the concept of “art”

    I like and respect both you and Pammie. I know that you are both sincere Catholics (probably better than me.. seriously) but we just view Israel from different perspectives.

  • Pammie

    “And where does he say his parents took anybody’s land? You assume every Jew in Israel took their home from a Palestinian, which is absurd.”

    Where did I say his parents did? Quote me.I have never made such a statement regarding jewish land ownership. Again I ask you to quote me . There were Jews in Palestine long before the 1930′s and ’40′s. They knew how to live peaceably with their neighbours. Imagine!

    “You consider the Holocaust a “bad European situation?””

    Yes I do. Sorry if that’s not hyperbolic or descriptive enough for your taste. I’m from the old school English tradition. We’re understated…or used to be.

    “Yes, and if Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh said “blacks should go back to Africa…..”

    No Mark that wouldn’t be possible but they COULD say for all the illegal Mexicans to go back to Mexico and be able to keep their jobs. Do you consider that racist as well, like Helen’s remark? It’s kind of funny how all the PC stuff works isn’t it? I’m not seeing how the example given is analogous to Ms. Thomas’s statement though. Are illegal African immigrants here in the US in conflict with other Americans over land ownership? Is the government allowing them to acquire private property without permission of the owners? Maybe Rush and Sean could get away with it in that case, but it would be iffy at best.If the perps were Swiss though–no problem. And if they were Arabs even better!! PC is like that.

    “Well, most weren’t from Poland and Germany, to start with. Many weren’t from anywhere, unless one says, in reference to the Exodus, that they were from Egypt. Or perhaps we should point out that they’re all, a little farther back, from Ur? Perhaps they should go there.”

    Decidely Odd. Are you using the royal “we” when you say “…we should point out…”?

    By the way, has anyone else noticed how this incident has taken the illegal boarding of the humanitarian boat in international waters right off the front page? The Israelis’ ought to give the old lady a pension now or at least a big bunch of flowers.

  • pammie

    And I repect you Mark and Brian, in fact all those who don’t agree with me on this or any other subject. And I assume others’ opinions are as heart-felt and considered as my own. But I find debate interesting and worthwhile. I don’t think it changes anyone’s mind, but it doesn’t hurt either. I ask pardon for any I have offended as I can tease too much some times. As for me, I’m just another Bad Catholic, trying to do better.

  • RK

    Still, an observation I once made in another thread stands: Were the Palestinian Arabs to forswear violence; to become MLK and Ghandi rather than would-be Saladin and Suleiman, and maintain it for five years, they’d have a state in ten, and most of the extra five would be the effort of overcoming their own infighting and outside influences from jihadists trying to derail the whole thing.

    Peace does seem more remote now than ever. While it would be interesting if the Palestinians just decided to stop the violence I just don’t think they trust the Israelis. The Israelis, of course, feel the same about the Palestinians. Here in the states we appear to be reflexively conditioned to believe that the Israelis don’t initiate or provoke violence. This is I believe what prevents us from offering any real solutions. The Arab world thinks the US has been bought and paid for.

  • Mark

    “No Mark that wouldn’t be possible but they COULD say for all the illegal Mexicans to go back to Mexico and be able to keep their jobs. Do you consider that racist as well, like Helen’s remark?”

    If anyone made the claim that..

    - Illegal aliens from countries other than Mexico are welcome
    or
    - All Mexicans, legal or illegal, must return to Mexico

    ..then we would definitely have a case for racism– but since nobody has made that claim, we do not. It baffles me how the word “illegal” can become so confusing to so many otherwise intelligent people.

    I also saw a list recently of the dozens and dozens of people who have been caught sneaking into the U.S. via the Mexican border who were citizens of countries like Libya, Syria and Somalia. It’s not just about controlling illegal immigration, it’s also about our national security.

  • JC

    What I find *fascinating* about this whole discussion is the various layers of terminology involved here.
    First, we have the question of identify for what we shall call “The People of Israel”:
    1. People who are racially “Jewish,” descended from Judah or at least from those who lived in the Kingdom of Judea (including the tribes of Levi & Benjamin). Most people don’t realize that this *includes* the Palestinians–many Palestinian Christians can trace their ancestry back to the first Jewish converts to Christianity. In some ways, the native Palestinian Christians and Jews have more right to the racial identity than those who’ve come from Europe and Africa. Quite ironically, those we consider “Jews” today would be considered Samaritans by the first century Jews, since they’ve descended from Diaspora Jews who intermarried.
    2. The people who are racially “Iraelites,” which also includes the Palestinians and anyone descended from first-century Samaritans.
    3. The people who practice the religion known as Judaism.
    4. The legal citizens of Israel, who may or may not be ethnically Jewish and may or may not be religiously observant Jews.

    Then we have another term, “anti-Semitism.” And, technically, a “Semite” means someone descended from Shem: anyone from Asia, particularly the Middle East. Is it really proper to label an Arab Muslim or Christian an anti-Semite for hating Jews, when he or she is racially a “Semite”?

    Lastly, there’s the question of pro/anti Semitism and pro/anti Zionism. I find the “GO back to Africa” or “Go back to Mexico” analogies interesting in that, 100 years ago, anti-Semites were some of the people in the *forefront* of the Zionist movement. 100 years ago, it was anti-Semitic to say “Go back to Israel.”

    Gets back to one of my all-time favorite political cartoons.
    Guy #1: “African American, Native American, Asian American, Latin American, Jewish American. . . . I’m glad I’m just a White Anglo Saxon Protestant.”
    Guy #2: “You look more like a Jute to me.”

  • Brian English

    ” Quite ironically, those we consider “Jews” today would be considered Samaritans by the first century Jews, since they’ve descended from Diaspora Jews who intermarried.”

    There was very little intermarriage in Europe. Both Christian and Jewish laws prohibited it.

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