Helen Thomas: Israelis "Go Back to Poland"

At nearly 90 years old, veteran White House correspondent Helen Thomas is something of a national institution. But criticism of Israel spilled over into outright anti-Semitism as Thomas was interviewed outside, of all places, a White House celebration of American Jewish life that took place before recent events surrounding the Gaza flotilla.

According to Thomas, Israel “should get the hell out of Palestine” and  the land is Palestinian, “not German, it’s not Polish.” Asked where then the Jews should go, Thomas says they should “Go home…. To Poland, Germany…and America and everywhere else.”

Thomas issued a very weak “apology” which was not enough to prevent her agent from dumping her and to incur the wrath of Bill Clinton’s former White House advisor Lanny Davis who issued a statement, saying:

Helen Thomas, who I used to consider a close friend and who I used to respect, has showed herself to be an anti-Semitic bigot.

She has a right to criticize Israel…. However, 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.

If she had asked all blacks to go back to Africa, what would the White House Correspondents Association’s position be as to whether she deserved White House press room credentials – much less a privileged honorary seat?

Hear the views of Yarden Frankl and Pesach Benson on this story by listening to HonestReporting’s latest podcast on YouTube.

Update: 7 June

Within hours of the release of this communique, Helen Thomas has announced her retirement, effective immediately. HonestReporting has therefore removed the call to action to e-mail the president of Hearst Newspapers. Thank you to those of you who took the time to respond.