Well, in her case, Helen Thomas, White House reporter for years, put her foot in her mouth.

Ok. While we might not agree with her words, there is something bothering me about the hue and cry over her remarks. For starters, she offered an opinion. She said she felt that Palestine was occupied by Israel. I never heard her utter the word ‘Jews.’ There are an awful lot of people in the world who believe that. Why is Helen Thomas, daughter of Lebanese immigrants, not allowed her opinion? Additionally, she said that those occupying needed to go home. Good grief, that is said every day towards Latinos here in this county.

Helen Thomas is almost 90 years old. She apologized. Many news agencies have said her apologies were not good enough because she didn’t really mean it. This is where the thought police come into play. There is just something about that kind of mind control that bothers me a great deal. Who are we to tell others how to think? While we can be held accountable for what comes out of our mouths, how can anyone hold us accountable for what they think we should think.

On June 4, Helen Thomas issued the following apology:

“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.” (June 4, 2010)

To her credit, Ellen Ratner of Fox News issued the following:

Helen Thomas has apologized. What more do people want?

If I had a dollar for every American who has said something in private about a racial, ethnic, or sexual minority in this county I would be a multimillionaire many times over.

Let’s face it we all have said things — or thought things — about “other” groups of people, things that we would not want to see in print or on video. Anyone who denies it is a liar.

Helen is three months short of ninety and her brain’s filters might not work as well as a forty year old’s. Give her a break.

Ellen Ratner is Washington bureau chief for Talk Radio News Service and a Fox News contributor.

Helen Thomas has resigned. Her resignation was announced around noon. I think the greater tragedy is that a 90 year old woman can’t be allowed to retract her statements, especially a lady of her stature.

She is a very remarkable woman. I can’t image being her age and doing the job she is still doing. Many of us who grew up with Helen Thomas will miss her. The good news is, now she is a free agent, she can also speak freely. I expect she will, knowing Helen Thomas and I wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of that acerbic tongue.

[disclaimer: This post does not imply agreement with Helen Thomas]

39 Thoughts to “Helen Thomas and the Thought Police”

  1. Rick Bentley

    It’s not that she offended Big Brother or the thought police. It’s that by sticking her foot into this particular hornet’s nest she engages in something her employer wanted no part of.

  2. Rick Bentley

    The White House’s use of “reprehensible” is a typically overblown response. In this White house’s world view, as with the previous one, everything is either “good” or “bad”.

  3. I think Rick might be on to something.

    Mr. Howler says she was a diva and it was probably a good chance to divest themselves of that ‘interest.’

  4. At almost 90 years old, Thomas probably deserves a pass on this one. I’m not saying that older people should not be held responsible, but I do think at a certain age, if their record is clean, most folks deserve to have an “oops” overlooked. Besides, what real damage has she done?

  5. Wolverine

    These remarks by Helen Thomas did not come out of the blue from a person beset with old age. She has long been an adamant foe of Israel. Just recently in a White House briefing she called the blockade incident a “deliberate massacre” and Israel a country which “deliberately kills people.” That is bad enough, but to suggest that Israelis throw in the proverbial towel and go back to Germany and Poland, to the sites of the most horrible genocide in human history, is so far beyond the pale as to leave me incredulous. Israel certainly has made its share of mistakes, and I am among the first to be pissed off when they do. But I have watched those people for over sixty years as they fought against almost overwhelming odds to keep from being figuratively driven into the sea for the second time in less than a century, to avoid a second diaspora from their holiest of holies. I even worked with them some years ago to prevent the killing of Jews by terrorists in another country, and I saw first hand how quickly and efficiently they responded to any threat to the Israeli people no matter where they were. You can ask what damage has been done in this latest incident. Under ordinary circumstances none. But we are at a critical juncture in our own relationship with Israel, and it does not help matters to suggest that the Jews give up and go “home” to the lands of Auschwitz and Treblinka. Helen has retired “immediately” in the aftermath of this. I really didn’t care whether she stayed or did not stay. But I’ll be damned if those stupid statements from her draw a pass from me. Helen has been sitting comfortably in the White House briefing room and press corps office. The Israelis, on the other hand, have their very lives at stake almost every moment of the day. As one commentator remarked recently: “If the Palestinians put down their arms, we get peace. If the Israelis put down their arms, they will be destroyed.”

  6. Wolverine

    Let me add that I have another thought for Helen Thomas. Her parents were immigrants from Tripoli, Lebanon. They were Christian — Greek Orthodox, to be specific. Lebanon is 75% Muslim and 25% Christian, with the latter including Maronites, Greek Orthodox, Greek Catholic, Armenian Catholic, Roman Catholic, and others. That country has a real problem with Hezbollah, which is strongly supported by Iran. If we ever see the Jews driven once again from Israel and Palestine turned wholly into an Islamic state, just who do you think might be next to be driven figuratively into the sea in order to make the Levant pure of infidels? You guessed it.

  7. However….Poland and Germany are no longer killing places. Equating Poland, that was overrun by Nazis and Germany of 65 years ago to the countries that exist today is hardly fair, to the countries or Thomas.

    Thomas is 3 months shy of being 90. She was one of the few female journalists out there when I was growing up. I am willing to allow her to apologize for remarks that should not have been made.

    I honestly don’t care how she feels personally. I am not the thought police. I do know that people in that age bracket often blurt out things that are often an exaggeration of how they really feel. I just feel that at 90, you should be allowed to apologize. Those of us who have dealt with 80 something and 90 something older people know that the filters don’t always work as well as we would like.

  8. We are never going to be free of diverse opinions on Palestine/Israel issues. Those wheels were set in motion long before our time. They were further exacerbated by the bungled job of parcellling land ofter WWII, mainly by the UK but also in part by the United States.

    I do not want to see opinion on this issue become the property of the political police.

    Is there a right way to feel about Israel and Palestine? If there is, who dictates how we feel?

    How about Americans telling Latinos to go home? There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t see that in print or hear it. That’s currently politically correct.

  9. Emma

    Thomas’s antisemitism has been obvious for years. She deserves no pass.

  10. marinm

    Obama didn’t revoke her press pass so I’m not sure how the ‘thought police’ has anything to do with this as the govt took no action. She tendered her resignation. She had a private contract with her employer and her employer may have been pressured to terminate that relationship in much the same way LA and other groupings are attacking Arizona and pushing a boycott.

    So, if it’s good enough for Arizona…why not with Ms. Thomas?

    I personally don’t have any skin in this game as I’m ok with her being as moonbat as she wants to be. But, I also support employees, customers, and business partners of her employers laying pressure on her employer to terminate or force a resignation.

    Afterall, she has no right to a livlihood but she does have the 1st Amendment. 🙂

  11. Emma

    I always thought journalists were supposed to report news, not be the news.

  12. If you oppose certain actions by the state of Israel, does that make you anti-semitic? Not necessarily.

    Marin, the thought police came in when some of the news stations were saying she didn’t mean it. I would be the first person in the world to say she should not have said what she said, in the position she is in. However, i don’t think the news folks are in the position of saying someone should be punished for what they think.

  13. Israel has been a state for 62 years. Helen Thomas was 28 years old when the nation was born. Things did not necessarily happen as our history books tell us–on either side. Check out Israel: Birth of a Nation. That films gives a very pro Israeli side. It is an excellent film and shows the determination of those who would become known as Israelis.

    As for the Palestinian side (and the rest of the Arab world it seems) I have talked to people alive at the time. Very eye opening. I wish there was a film showing that other point of view. If anyone knows of one, let me know.

    Know that there was a great deal of buck passing–buck passing that created huge gaping wound that are still festering today. Just as many people in Asian countries still hate the Japanese and the nation of Japan, many arabs still hold a grudge against Israel and how the lands were aquired.

    I don’t agree with Helen Thomas. Most of the people living now in Israel are home. Like the WWII veterans, very few people are still alive who came in as the original immigrants. However, Helen Thomas is 90. Perhaps in that regard, time means something different to her. I do believe in her right to have her own opinion and I don’t necessarily think she is anti-semetic.

  14. Wolverine

    Moon, this kind of statement is not unique for Thomas. Her feelings about Israel are well known and have been around for a long time. There are ways to express diagreement on the Palestine question and ways not to express disagreement. Helen seems not to have learned the difference. Agreed obviously that Germany and Poland today are not the Germany and Poland of that previous time; but there has to be some bad psychological karma to be told that you should submit to another diaspora and return to the places where your kith and kin were murdered in the millions just 70 years ago. Helen does have a right to her own opinion, and I have the right to slam her for that opinion. I’m not the “thought police.” I am just strongly pro-Israeli, and I have been getting rather pissed about this whole issue on the American poitical scene over the past year or so. And I don’t have even a drop of Jewish blood. You just do not throw your friends under the bus.

  15. Starryflights

    I agree with Helen Thomas. Israel’s actions recently are inexcusable. In 1969 Israel sank a US Navy ship, the Liberty for which it received no consequences. I am disappointed with the Obama Administration’s continued support. We give billions in aid to Israel and for that we get the world’s enmity. The time has come for this country to re-examine its special relationship .

  16. Wolverine

    BS, Starryflights.

  17. Wolverine

    When the IDF naval team made first contact with this so-called “humanitarian fleet”, the intial response which they got back was this:

    “Shut up. Go back to Auschwitz!”

    An ensuing response was:

    “We are here to help the Arabs against the U.S. Don’t forget 9/11, guys.”

    Nice, that.

  18. Wolverine

    And now the blowhards in Iran are talking about sending their Revolutionary Guard to escort the “humanitarian ” ships to Gaza. Uh huh.

  19. Helen Thomas was outspoken over MANY things. In fact, I am trying to come up with something she wasn’t outspoken about. Her existence wasn’t politically correct. She took a sledgehammer to the glass ceiling.

    There is some right on both sides and some wrong. However, after 62 years, questioning Israel’s right to exist cannot continue. Israel exists.

    In 1948, perhaps that was a more legitimate question. Today, not so much. I am not so sure this is the thread to argue that one. I think this thread is about how much slack the American people are going to cut an old woman who was a trailblazer in her field and how politically correct we must be, as a nation.

    As she spoke, and I cringed, I also caught myself asking if ‘going home to Poland, Germany, and the United States’ was really all that awful. Yes and no. Helen Thomas, at 90, also forgets that most people in Israeli are native born in 2010.

  20. What was Helen Thomas supposed to be good at? Journalism? In the years I’ve watched this woman spout off from the front seat of the press room, I’ve never read anything original or insightful from her. Why was she so revered? It was time for her to go long ago, just to get a better reporter in there. The press always states that its “objective.” Well, she lost hers long ago.

    I’ve very glad she lived to be 90 and may she continue to add years to her life. But age alone isn’t enough for her to be given a pass. She may be 90, but, if she can’t continue to play in those leagues, then she should retire.

  21. PWC Taxpayer

    This thread has shocked me more than the comment itself – which while shocking to be said out loud was well known as her viewpoint. She is and always has been a bigoted voice – hidden in many of her “questions.” No pass. But here on this thread, it starts with equating the charge for Israelies to “Go Home” with the charge for Latinos to go home. My mouth just dropped on that one — as if illegal immigration was to be equated first to the Holocaust or secondarilly to racism. It has nothing in common historically, politically or any other way with the issue of Israel.

    Wolverine has, typically, got it right and I felt a little better, but then geesh, the history of Poland and Russia and almost everywhere – including Germany – well into modern times from the murders commited to prevent going home after the war to the return of property and the refusal to even try to return bank assets into the 1990s. This is about an opinion – it is about racism and it is about our racism that would forgive Thomas and about Arab racism in general. If anyone had said “Black Americans to “Go Home” or Chinese Americans or Japanese Americans – you would be all over them – but to tell Isrealis to “Go Home – is ok. No it is not ok – and from Helen unstated perspective the sea is far enough.

  22. PWC Taxpayer

    I have come to agree with those that have suggested that liberals have a DNA encoded requirement to support the underdog — regardless of what that means in terms of policy, real life issues or good or bad. The Palistinians have been portrayed as the underdogs for years and the fruits are in the reaction to Thomas’ outrageuous statement. It is found in support for illegal immigration, support for interogated terrorists, afirmative action, big government who will take care of us, support for wealth redistribution, health care, a knee-jerk reaction to anyone who earns America’s wrath (Iraq and Afganistan). How can you explain supporting the Turks flotilla – after Isreal offerred to let the ships dock and be inspected – watch the video – except to react to the under-dog. How do you otherwise explain liberal opposition to rugged indvidualism. How do you explain the animosity over a little country that turned a desert into a garden, fought off sneak attacks, and the relentless killing of civilians. Compare Gaza with Isreal – its not from a lack of financail resources that Gaza is a mess- yet they get the liberal pass.

  23. TP, Try reading a little middle east history to try to understand that Palestine saw the formation of Israel as illegal immigration. They still feel that they are an occupied country. Ancestoral homes were seized after WWII.

    And remember those wars? Arab people were united. So any beef one had with the new Israel nation they pretty much all had.

    The above is pretty much fact. Talk to some older people who were alive during that time. They are very bitter. People form an opinion. The point I am making about Helen Thomas is that she is entitled to her opinion. Expressing it probably isn’t such a good idea in todays political climate because her opinion is not considered politically correct. Maybe she wanted to go out in a blaze of glory, which she did.

    The one thing you can take away from this about how I feel: Opposing some or all actions made by Israel as a state does not make a person an anti-semite.

  24. Cargo, Helen Thomas broke through the glass ceiling of Washington Journalism. She also asked challenging and confrontational questions of the presidents going back to JFK.

    To those of us who have been around a while, she is a real trailblazer in her field. We might not even like her but we do respect her for her accomplishments.

  25. TP, you certainly shock easily and also misread easily. Toughen up there. You aren’t going to get your usual party line here on this blog.

  26. Elena

    I see the points that M-H is making in relation to Helen Thomas’s world view and her personal experiences. I don’t always agree with the actions of Israel, but Hammas had a unique opportunity when they won the election in Gaza, and they blew it.

    The Arabs believed there was no way the Jews would ever defeat them, so when the Brits left and said “have at it, whoever wins, get this little sliver of land”, the Arabs figured it was a no brainer. Israel wanted a two state solution, the Arabs did not. So here we are, 65 years later, and still, no peace. Poor Yitzak Rabin, assisinated by his own people in hopes of gaining peace. Israel, no they aren’t perfect, but they WANT to live in peace. I agree with the quote that Woverine shared, “if the Palestinians puts down there weapons there is peace, if Israel puts down her weapons there is another holocaust.”

    It is a shame that Helen Thomas will be remembered for these stupid words. She was a trailblazer for women in the Press club and that accomplishment should not be forgotten.

  27. Starryflights

    Wolverine :BS, Starryflights.

    uss liberty veterans association

    ON JUNE 8, 1967, while patrolling in international waters in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, USS Liberty (AGTR-5) was savagely attacked without warning or justification by air and naval forces of the state of Israel. Of a crew of 294 officers and men (including three civilians), the ship suffered thirty four (34) killed in action and one hundred seventy three (173) wounded in action. The ship itself, a Forty Million ($40,000,000) Dollar state of the art signals intelligence (SIGINT) platform, was so badly damaged that it never sailed on an operational mission again and was sold in 1970 for $101,666.66 as scrap.

    At 1400 hours, while approximately about 17 nautical miles off the northern Sinai coast and about 25 nautical miles northwest of El Arish, USS Liberty’s crew observed three surface radar contacts closing with their position at high speed. A few moments later, the bridge radar crew observed high speed aircraft passing over the surface returns on the same heading. Within a few short moments, and without any warning, Israeli fighter aircraft launched a rocket attack on USS Liberty. The aircraft made repeated firing passes, attacking USS Liberty with rockets and their internal cannons. After the first flight of fighter aircraft had exhausted their ordnance, subsequent flights of Israeli fighter aircraft continued to prosecute the attack with rockets, cannon fire, and napalm.


    It’s not BS. Israel deliberately attacked our ship and suffered no ramifications.

  28. Starryflights


    The following is a partial list of individuals and groups
    supporting the position that the attack was deliberate

    This is the group that Israeli supporter Ahron Jay Cristol calls “conspiracy theorists”

    “I was never satisfied with the Israeli explanation. . . . Through diplomatic channels we refused to accept their explanations. I didn’t believe them then, and I don’t believe them to this day. The attack was outrageous.”
    — US Secretary of State Dean Rusk

    “Accidents don’t occur through repeated attacks by surface vessels and aircraft. It obviously was a decision made pretty high up on the Israeli side, because it involved combined forces. The ship was flying an American flag. My judgment was that somewhere along the line some fairly senior official gave the go ahead. I personally did not accept the Israeli explanation.”
    — US Secretary of State Dean Rusk, Recorded interview, http://www.ussliberty.org

    “…the board of inquiry (concluded) that the Israelis knew exactly what they were doing in attacking the Liberty.”
    — CIA Director Richard Helms in his book A Look Over my Shoulder

    “It was no accident.”
    — CIA Director Richard Helms in interview for Navy Times, 6/26/2002. Asked to say more, Helms remarked that he did not want to spend the rest of his life testifying in court about the attack.


  29. Why did they attack the USS Liberty? Was it a case of mistaken identity?

  30. Wolverine

    Starryflights — The BS was for the rest of your post, not the bit about the USS Liberty. If you go back to some of my previous posts on D-Day and other military subjects, you might be surprised to find that I was a US Navy officer on active service on the very day that the Liberty was attacked. Within eleven months of the attack I was in a position of access to every classified document pertaining to naval air operations in the Atlantic Fleet, including the Med. So you don’t have to try to educate me on the Liberty affair. I know how much of a mess it was and how unresolved it remains to this day. But it was one most unfortunate incident in what has been a long history of close alliance and cooperation between the U.S. and Israel. It was a bad tree in a very large and good forest — sad, regretable, understandably still a source of anger for those Navy veterans and families directly involved, a terrible anomaly — but still only one bad tree. You do not burn down the forest because of one tree which went bad in the midst of a confusing and desperate war in which a beleaguered Israel was fighting determined enemies on three fronts at once.

    You will find that I come from two different directions on this issue of Israel. I don’t know how old you are; but the worst part of the Holocaust in Europe actually took place within my lifetime. I was alive when the WWII veterans came home. I was alive when the real horrors of the Holocaust first began to be revealed to the American people. Many Holocaust survivors came to live among us. I remember even as a young student being astounded and dismayed that people of my own ancestral blood could do such a thing to others. For me it was not ancient history. It was both a contemporary revulsion and a contemporary shame. I am, therefore, and always will be a firm believer in “Never Again!”

    I also don’t know your background and education or what you do for a living. What I do know from my own circumstances is that the US and Israel have long been wrapped up together in a mutually beneficial alliance which surpasses most alliances in history. This includes military strategy and planning, the exchange of military techniques and ideas, intelligence gathering, and counterterrorism. That is exactly what you do not throw lightly under the bus. Israel has been and still is a valuable ally. Granted that there are times when the Israelis test our patience; but let us remember two things: (1) they are an independent country in alliance with us but not subject to our every whim when our interests may separate a bit temporarily on specific issues or in specific situations; and (2) the first responsibility of the Israeli government is to protect the people who live in Israel and to guarantee their continued existence and their freedom, all the while having the terrible ghostly reminders of the diaspora and the Holocaust hovering over them.

    I can understand sympathy for the Palestinians who were displaced and who are still in a sad state of affairs in many cases. I happen to think that the Palestinians, given peace, could prove as adept as the Israelis at building a thriving and productive state in the Middle East. But I also believe that a big part of the lack of peace in the region is the attitude of the “poverty pimps” in many Arab nations who would prefer for their own politico-religious purposes to see the Palestinians poor and in distress and therefore constantly angry at the Israelis. They are, in my opinion, using the Palestinians as a political weapon; and the only way they can do that is to keep those Palestinians down and out and angry at Israel. Many Palestinians have lived for decades in refugee camps. Where, I ask you, is the Arab will and the Arab oil money to lift these people out of their misery without interjecting politics into the equation? Where is the Arab will to seek a genuine peace so that a functioning Palestinian state can be built? There is none. Hatred of Israel and the Jewish ‘infidels” trumps everything, including the well being of the Palestinian people themselves.

  31. Wolverine, you have brought up some excellent points. I can’t speak to the USS Liberty but I can to some of the other issues.

    Perhaps this is the time to bring up the fact that even once the Holocaust was discovered and V-E Day was passed, the concentration camp victims were still displaced and had no place to go. All were sick and many died. One of the real sad parts of all this is that they were still disparaged and looked down upon. No one wanted them. (See Israel-Birth of a Nation) The go home to Poland and Germany really is a meaningless statement. There is no home and there was no home then. The survivors were displaced people in ever sense of the word.

    The Palestinian plight could have been lessened and could still be lessened by those with means helping those less fortunate. The Palestinian leadership has waved the bloody shirt and encouraged anger and hatred. Some of that anger is understood. Hell, I am a southerner. We know what resentment is. But at what point does one look forward instead of backward?

    How many generations will it take for the people of that land to get over their difference? Israel can never weaken its resolve of Never Again. They simply do not have that option. Palestine needs to stop giving them a reason to kick their ass. After 65 years, part of the learning process has got to sink in.

    Wolverine is right about the poverty whores also, or whatever he called them. There is much political capital made and generated off keeping the Palestinians down and out.

  32. e

    the islamists are fighting with their neighbors all over the globe, from chechnya to kashmir to the phillipines. once and if the jews are annihilated, the jihad will simply continue to march on, into europe and eventually the usa. israel is the canary in the mineshaft, you can delude yourself into thinking that abandoning her will grant you good will from your enemy. you also delude yourself if you think this embargo breaking flotilla was about providing humanitarian relief.
    i get very suspicious about anyone who brings up the tragic uss liberty incident, unless that person lost a family member or friend. i wasnt even born then, and i aint no spring chicken

  33. Rick Bentley

    On the core issue, I agree with Moon-Howler’s take there, as I frequently do.

  34. If you were born after the USS Liberty episode, then you are still a spring chicken. bok bok

  35. e, I would bet on Israel each and every time. They will never be annihilated. Woe be unto the person who tries.

  36. e

    well a spring rooster then

  37. Elena

    e :the islamists are fighting with their neighbors all over the globe, from chechnya to kashmir to the phillipines. once and if the jews are annihilated, the jihad will simply continue to march on, into europe and eventually the usa. israel is the canary in the mineshaft, you can delude yourself into thinking that abandoning her will grant you good will from your enemy. you also delude yourself if you think this embargo breaking flotilla was about providing humanitarian relief.i get very suspicious about anyone who brings up the tragic uss liberty incident, unless that person lost a family member or friend. i wasnt even born then, and i aint no spring chicken

    Right on Cuz!!!!!!

  38. Spring rooster it will be!

  39. TP,

    Let’s re-explore that illegal immigration issue as it pertains to the establishment of the state of Israel. The British White Paper of 1939 goes in to the subject of Aliyah Bet – Illegal immigration (also called Ha’apalah) in detail.

    here is the link. You might be interested since you were so quick to jump on me for suggesting that illegal immigration had anything to do with Jews or the Holocaust.
    Let’s cut through all the crap. Telling people to go home is just plain old rude.


    Had countries been more willing to take immigrants, many more people would have lived through that terrible time in Europe. Oddly enough, the Dominican Republic was one country who gave refuge without blinking an eye as Jews who saw the handwriting on the wall attempted to emigrate to other lands, away from Nazism.

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