By: Morton A. Klein
June 7, 2010
ZOA: Fire Helen Thomas From White House Press Corps & Hearst News For Anti-Semitic Statements
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Thomas: “All Jews must leave Israel”
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has called for Helen Thomas to be fired from the White House press corps and by her employer, Hearst News, following her public and horrific anti-Semitic statements in an interview. Asked on-air to comment on Israel in the wake of the Gaza flotilla clash, Thomas, said:
“Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine. Remember, these people are occupied and it’s their land …”
Interviewer: “So, where should they go?”
Helen Thomas: “Go home. Poland, Germany.”
Interviewer: “So, you think the Jews should go back to Poland and Germany?”
Helen Thomas: “And America and everywhere else” (‘Helen Thomas: Jews “get the hell out of Palestine” go back to “Germany and America,”’ YouTube, June 5, 2010).
Several prominent figures have called for Thomas to be fired. Ari Fleischer, press secretary to President George W. Bush, called for Thomas’ sacking, saying, “She should lose her job over this … She is advocating religious cleansing. How can Hearst stand by her? If a journalist, or a columnist, said the same thing about blacks or Hispanics, they would already have lost their jobs … [Thomas] has showed herself to be an anti-Semitic bigot” (‘Ari Fleischer: Fire Helen Thomas,’ Huffington Post, June 4, 2010).
Lanny Davis, former White House counsel to President Bill Clinton, said that Helen Thomas should be stripped of her privileged, honorary seat in the middle of the front row at the White House briefing room and said that she did not deserve White House press room credentials. “Helen Thomas … has showed herself to be an anti-Semitic bigot … her statement that Jews in Israel should leave Israel and go back to Poland or Germany is an ancient and well-known anti-Semitic stereotype of the alien Jew not belonging in the land of Israel that began 2,600 years with the first tragic and violent Diaspora caused by the Romans.”
Also, Helen Thomas’ agent, Nine Speaker Inc., announced that it would no longer represent her, saying that “in light of recent events, Nine Speakers is no longer able to represent Ms. Thomas, nor can we condone her comments on the Middle East” (Natasha Mozgovaya, ‘Former White House Press Secretary: Revoke Thomas’ credentials; ex-White House Counsel: She has shown herself as bigot,’ Haaretz, June 6, 2010).
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “Helen Thomas’ despicable anti-Semitic statements must not be tolerated. She should be fired by Hearst News and barred from the White House press corps. There is no way such vicious denial of Jewish nationhood and connection to the Jewish homeland would be tolerated if such statements were uttered in respect of any other people.
“Helen Thomas’ long record of hostile questioning and grandstanding speeches in the guise of questions regarding Israel at White House press conferences over many years indicates only too clearly that Thomas has long harbored deep hostility towards Israel which she has now revealed to go even further – denying Jewish nationhood and the Jewish right to a sovereign state. She is clearly an anti-Semitic bigot. This is not a matter of mere criticism of Israel, which people are free to exercise, but of fostering hatred against Jews. Helen Thomas should be fired, not only for her unvarnished bigotry, but because she has made it unequivocally clear that she is deeply biased and unable to report with any semblance of objectivity. Helen Thomas would certainly condemn and reject anyone who would have tried to tell her parents, who were Lebanese, that they should go back to Lebanon. She would not tolerate it if someone told her that, since she is of Lebanese ethnicity, she should go back to Lebanon.”