Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Standing Up for Helen Thomas

By Robert Parry
June 8, 2010

Long-time White House correspondent Helen Thomas was right to apologize for a stupid remark she made about Israeli Jews leaving Palestine, but another ugly part of this incident was how her “mainstream” colleagues quickly turned on this 89-year-old icon.

Read on.


Anonymous said...

Our guilty conscience about the holocaust; our sentimental religious mythology about the promised land, and our fear of being called anti-Semitic if we question anything Israel does have paralyzed our common sense. Thank goodness for Helen Thomas. May we somehow continue to hear from her.

Annette Saint John Lawrence said...

Helen Thomas and people like her,those not restrained by "the pack" consciousness of false beliefs, are people who advance
society for the better. If a scientist did not question, were would we be? It is the media that
has lost it's way. They are to afraid to stand up in support of
educating the public. Rather they
contribute to a dumbed down society
when it comes to anything that would add to a world of Peace,
harmony and connectedness. Heaven
forbid we should have an opportunity to think!

Jack said...

None of Thomas's critics seem to feel that the expulsion, over the years, of so many of the Palestinians from their homes merits their attention. Thanks for your actirlc on Thomas, we will miss her.

jmaria said...

Does not she has a point?. After all many Jews in Israel regard themselves as part of the enlightened west. That could be one of the reasons why the MSM feel so sympathetic toward them.

Dean Taylor said...

In today's CounterPunch, Gary Leupp sheds some objective light on the incident involving a supposed off-the-cuff inquiry of DC passersby:

"A journalist is suddenly approached on the sidewalk by two high school students who say they’re asking everybody today if they have comments about Israel. (Might I ask: Why did this happen in the first place? Was this for a school project? Are there other filmed interviews young Adam would like to share, to prove that he and his friend were really fact 'asking everybody' and not just Helen?)

“'Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine.' This was obviously a totally spontaneous statement, and could mean simply, 'Tell them to withdraw from the occupied territories, as demanded by the entire world.'

"The interviewer responds with apparent humor, asking for more comments. So the veteran journalist says, 'Remember these people are occupied, and it’s their land.' It is of course absolutely true that Zionists occupy Palestinian land. This fact, not the comment, is outrageous. Most people on the planet understand this.

“'Where should they go?' asks the youth rhetorically, perhaps psyched for his gotcha moment. In this elliptical conversation, the 'they' could have been interpreted by Helen, who has just mentioned 'occupied' land, as referring to settlers on the West Bank or on the Golan Heights. The topic under discussion is Palestine, which in U.S. journalistic useage is more likely to refer to a future Palestinian state than to the state of Israel in its 1967 borders. But the video is skewed to make it seem as though Thomas said all Jews in Israel and the occupied territories should leave, and go back to places where mass murder occurred.

"To those who care about fairness, I suggest that’s unfair. That’s not what Helen Thomas said. She said Israel should leave Palestine."

The argument might be made that Helen's decision to resign was as damning as the deceptive "interviewer" inquiry steering her along the Zionist garden path. But, for goodness sake, the woman is eight-nine years old! How much fight do we expect her to have at this point. And, given the EXTREME bias of DC favoring the Zionist racist agenda she would have needed A LOT of endurance to counteract the faux wounded--hyper-sensitive/hyper-vigilant--Israel "supporters," i.e., the AIPAC campaign fund access supporters.

As Chomsky as pointed out many times--having been the recipient of the ubiquitous term--you really cannot do much at the moment when you are labeled an "anti-Semite," i.e., the more you struggle and protest against the false, inaccurate claim, the more you seem to be attempting disingenuous, self-serving revisionism.

Leupp argues the point that Thomas was an easy target by the good Rabbi's dutiful Zionist son. Which is to argue further that she was "handled" by Nesenoff fils knowing that her age would not be up to the task of fighting off the stomach-turning DC wolves baying for her career blood.

Naturally, the Shoah weapon of choice was drawn and found its mark. The video includes this casual, non-malicious observation:

“'Six million Jews were killed in Germany and Poland. Does Helen know that Jews have lived in Israel way before the Holocaust. How can Helen report unbiased?'

And there you have it: guilt by association--word association, i.e., emotional blackmail. They now have Thomas painted (all done quite innocently, you understand, so as not to appear the vicious racist, apartheid apologist) as something akin to an invidious camp overseer at Dachau. Again--and paraphrasing Chomsky: how do you "un-paint" that?

Leupp manages to conclude on a more sanguine note:

"I hope Helen Thomas keeps talking and writing. She’s understood and exposed the brutal realities of recent history, and is much too young to shut up now."


Anonymous said...

Americans should be ashamed of themselves.

It takes a 98 year old woman to question truth to power.

Do all Americans have a "Goyishe kop"?

American Taxpayers, their children & their children's grandchildren will be paying for the $3 Trillion already given to Israel & the further $3 Trillion for the "Wars" against 25 % of the World's population that is Islamic on Israel's behalf.

Last week Obama allocated an extra $200,000 Million for Israel & America & our President were once again slapped in the face by Israel.

Since the USS Liberty was covered up Israel has just about disgraced America time & time again.

We recently appointed an ex major in the Israeli Military to a very senior post in the USAF ,Rahm Emanuel & many others high up in the US Administration are Israeli citizens.

America's interests are NOT the same as those of Israel but Jewish American neocons have been able to orchestrate a US war on Islam while Americans are kept uniformed by a traitorous MSM.

AIPAC Staffer Explains AIPAC's Tactics

America is what we call "circulating the drain",

It took Helen Thomas a true American Hero to awake the Sleeping Giant.

Shame on America & shame on Americans.

Anonymous said...

This article is a non sequiter. It's become popular belief that when someone takes a non popular and controversial view and is criticized for it, that must mean they are fighting for the side of truth. However this article does nothing to support what Thomas said and meant. She did not criticize Israel's behavior. She criticized Israel's very existence. That's a completely separate issue, and has nothing to do with Israel's treatment or mistreatment of the Arabs. By no stretch of the imagination is this a legitimate form criticism

Florence Chan said...

This is in today's AP story:

"A daughter of Lebanese immigrants, she did little to hide her pro-Arab views. During George W. Bush's presidency, her questions to both the president and his press secretaries were almost exclusively about the war in Iraq."

So, it seems that the AP writer no longer considered asking questions about huge man-made tragedies a journalist's responsibility. Those questions were just a result of her being pro-Arab.

Shouldn't any sane, pro-human person ask as many questions as possible about war and peace?

Anonymous said...

What hypocrisy on your part. If Helen had said that black people should go home to Africa, you'd be screaming for her head and you damned well know it.

Socialist Jew said...

Thanks for a good column, and thanks especially for leading with the fact that Thomas did make a stupid remark and that she was right to apologize for it.

And shame on Dean Taylor commenting below, and the writer he quotes from Counterpunch, who seem determined to twist logic in whatever way they can to justify what is an unjustifiable statement.

And a big kick in the nuts to the anonymous writer below who wrote, "Rahm Emanuel & many others high up in the US Administration are Israeli citizens. " Is that right? Name them please (and I hate to have to state this, but be aware that being Jewish is not the same as being Israeli).

The progressive left needs to school itself on the fact that you can't fight a racist policy (Isreal's occupation) with racism (Jewish scape-goating). Prejudice needs to be CRUSHED, no matter who it is coming from.

Kevin Ryan said...

Many of the criticisms I've seen of Thomas suggest that she is anti-Israel because she comes from Lebanese heritage.

What about the "mad Arab", John Abizaid? Is he anti-Israel for the same reason?

Not even Douglas Feith would say so.

Dean Taylor said...

Thomas betrayed no evil...

To put this into a broader context:

If Chomsky had settled into the DC press corps his "remarks" would have cost him his job DECADES ago.

Chomsky has been "lapsing" since he wrote The New Mandarins--and even earlier than that.

Thomas betrayed no evil. DC and its dutiful corporate-owned media machine are so imbued with evil that the slightest jostle can be calamitous.

What Thomas "loosed" was that town's own corruption--which is not done.

Therefore, instead of calling it a "lapse" on her part--consider it a decision not to play the game any longer, a farewell gesture of contempt for everything DC stands for.

As Leupp argues--and I quite agree--she said something which was taken out of context and rushed to Zionist press.

No Zionist conspiracy, you say?

America itself--Empire--is IN BED with Israeli Zionists and their apologists. But "conspiracy" is an unfortunate term, i.e., fraught with baggage. Instead, let's say there is this abiding unhealthy "relationship," which affiliation needs careful, focused tending to--i.e., to be sustained.

Nesenoff fils: "We’re asking everybody today..."--translation: SPEAK WITHOUT CONCERN FOR QUALIFYING YOUR REMARKS (we'll do that for you later on, he he...). AND, your spontaneous remarks will be lost in the comment avalanche of this utterly casual inquiry...

Yes--we noticed your benign intent. Sometimes, the runner stumbles--but Zionist America gives no quarter...

or, said another way: victims are predisposed to become victimizers


Joy said...

Yes,what Helen Thomas said was a little too much but I'm sure her heart was in the right place. Jon Stewart raised a good point last night when he said the reporters reported on the important topic of the day on who will get to sit in her coveted seat in the press briefing room instead of the lack of reporting on why Helen might have said her raw comment about Israel.

Ethan Allen said...

The serial sacrificing and exagerated denigration of Helen Thomas by corporate media propagandists and their uninformed witless followers is a sad and disappointing event in the history of United States journalism. Her remarks, along with her almost immediate apology/explanation of them, were nothing more than the informal expression of a personal opinion, born out of over 60 years of experience and knowledge of the subject of discussion. As "Dean Taylor" commented herein, her remarks were made in context with the immediate aftermath of the military assault and killing of unarmed civilians, attempting to deliver humanitarian aid to the people of the Gaza Strip.
Like Mr. "Taylor", I suspect her anger was directed specifically at the Zionist/colonialist faction of the Israeli population, not at all Jewish people. One of the most hyperbolic lies the Zionist propagandists, and their media sycophants, have promulgated is that Zionism is synonymous with Jewishness and Israeli citizenship. Nothing could be further from the truth, the Zionists are a distinct minority not only within Israel, but amongst the Jewish people of the entire world. They are a fanatical, ideological faction that has deconstructed and bastardized the very history and religion of the people they pretend to represent. They have subjected the indigenous peoples of several continents to wanton violent aggression and crimes against humanity behind the veil of freedom and liberty in the name of the entire Israeli population.
These miscreants, and their counterparts in all modern nations, including our own, have been the targets of Helen Thomas' writing for decades. She is not the racist or bigoted charlatan that has been "outed" in this episode of "drive by" journalism, it is those who promote this form of jingoistic oppression and tyranny of freedom and liberty.
We must learn to differentiate between reliable fact based information and serial propaganda designed to misinform us. Sacrificing the few reliable messengers we have on the bloody alter of deceit and corruption only benefits those whose purpose is to defile freedom and liberty, and the sanctity of life.

Anonymous said...

I hope you lovers of despotic islamic regimes remember that the taliban executed a 7 year old boy for "spying" today. Maybe if Thomas's dictum was followed, there wouldn't be any Jews or Israel to bash....