In Defense of Helen Thomas

I've been very upset about the whole Helen Thomas "scandal," but didn't have a moment to blog about it until now. I should probably start with a disclaimer:

1. I am not antisemitic. I don't have a problem with Jewish people. I think they have a very interesting, wonderful history and are generally fun, educated, tolerant people. Yay Jews!

2. I am anit-Israel. I don't think it's ok for outside governments to tell a country "we're taking this chunk of your land away because god said that the Jews could have it.

3. The whole concept of a holy land is ridiculous. First of all, if god was going to give his "chosen people" something like that, why would he choose a dirt strip where nothing grows and your worst enemies have been for thousands of years? Poor planning.

Now, on to Helen Thomas.On May 27, 2010, outside the Jewish Heritage Celebration Day event at the White House, the following exchange took place between Thomas and Rabbi David Nesenoff:
Nesenoff: Any comments on Israel? We're asking everybody today, any comments on Israel? Thomas: Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine.
Nesenoff: Oooh. Any better comments on Israel?
Thomas: Remember, these people are occupied and it's their land. It's not German, it's not Poland ...
Nesenoff: So where should they go, what should they do?
Thomas: They go home.
Nesenoff: Where's the home?
Thomas: Poland. Germany.
Nesenoff: So you're saying the Jews go back to Poland and Germany?
Thomas: And America and everywhere else. (emphasis mine) Why push people out of there who have lived there for centuries? See?
 There was a big stink following this interaction, and Helen Thomas was forced to resign in shame. For saying something that isn't only TRUE, it's not scandalous at all!! Palestine -is- occupied! The people doing the occupation -are- largely from Poland and Germany and the US! The allegations are that by saying Germany and Poland, Thomas implied something about concentration camps. That just leaves a big fat question mark over my head. She didn't say anything wrong. And yeah, her retirement was probably well overdue, but her long career shouldn't be marked by something like this. Particularly because she was right.

Saying that Israel is a valid country is like saying that if Mexico showed up, took over the Texas panhandle and said "this is Mexico now" we'd say that's perfectly acceptable. There was a huge war over this. "Remember the Alamo" anyone? I'm angry that nobody took a second to think about her comments logically, and mad that saying that if you don't support Israel in this country is a death sentence politically and socially and the whole thing just makes me sick.


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