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Helen Thomas: Comments and the Roar of the Crowd
Before we close the chapter on Helen Thomas, I want to address a lingering point.
Helen Thomas' comments were anti-Semitic, not just anti-Israel.
Everybody has national aspirations of living in its own national homeland. Thomas singled out the Jewish people to essentially say Jewish national aspirations are illegitimate. Read carefully:
David Nesenoff: Where should they go? What should they do?
Helen Thomas: They should go home.
DN: Where's home?
HT: Poland. Germany.
DN: You're saying the Jews should go back to Poland and Germany.
HT: And America. And everywhere else.
Thomas didn't endorse a two-state solution recognizing Jewish and Palestinian aspirations. She didn't even plug a one-state solution that -- on paper at least -- would give Jews and Palestinians shared rights in the Holy Land. (More on that point here.)
Unstated but implicit: the future of the Jewish people is anywhere but Israel.
Doesn't sound like she has any room in her world for a Jewish state.
So why single out Israel? After all, as David Bernstein pointed out in a brilliant piece, nobody questions Japan, Greece or Ireland's rights to exist as a distinctly Japanese, Greek and Irish states.
If you've followed my blogging long enough, you may have noticed that I rarely accuse journalists of being anti-Semitic. It's a loaded charge that makes people less receptive to other important points. So I'm not going to call Thomas an anti-Semite. She already announced her retirement. She's history.
However, the view she expressed -- quietly shared by many others -- that the Jews are somehow singled out as unworthy of having legitimate national aspirations isn't just anti-Israel. That is indeed anti-Semitic.
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Helen Thomas should set an example to reinforce her statement by going back to Lebanon where she might wish to bring along some rockets for Hezbollah. This would show she is person of her convictions. She would not only be getting the hell out of America but would be going to hell.
Interesting work there. I think this would really be a good idea if I share it with others.