Helen Thomas Is At It Again

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Helen Thomas Is At It Again

So when Helen Thomas made her now-infamous remarks about wanting all the Jews to “get the hell out of Palestine” earlier this year, and ended up losing her job over it, I kinda sorta saw both sides of the issue. Israel is complicated, we can all agree at least on that. But last Thursday, Thomas made a fresh remark that is blatantly, old-school anti-Semitic. According to the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News, she said, "Congress, the White House and Hollywood, Wall Street are owned by the Zionists. No question."

What do you think, bois & grrlz? Should we “just give her a break” again, because she’s old and “probably didn’t really mean it?” I’m more inclined to agree with Frank Sesno at CNN, who said that, though it is very sad to see her long and auspicious career tarnished at this late stage over something that she “probably didn’t really mean,” at the end of the day journalists must be accountable for the things they say. Period.



Comments [12]

Robin Rigby's picture

Jenny, I've never known so

Jenny, I've never known so maybe you can clarify for myself and anyone else who is wondering- What exactly is a Zionist? What is the background of that word? Because certainly I hear it used as nearly a synonym for Jew. 

geek4grammar's picture

good question

Robin, you ask a good question and I'm sorry I didn't clarify this in my original post. The technical definition of a zionist is not simply a Jew; but a Jewish nationalist (i.e., a supporter of Israel). It does not only refer to Israeli citizens; any Jewish person anywhere in the world who supports Israel's basic sovereignty is a zionist, and that, in turn, represents most (though not all) of the world's Jewish population. But as I mentioned in toodlin's post below, I do also think that most Americans think of "Zionist" as simply an old-fashioned, antiquated word for Jew (like an old white lady calling a black person "colored"). Either way, it's a klan-style conspiracy theory to say that the Jews, or Jewish supporters of Israel, control all the major US social and political institutions. 

We're all born naked. The rest is drag.
--RuPaul (appropriating Judith Butler for the masses...)

Meffle's picture

I don't know about Congress and the White House

But Hollywood and Wall Street, along with rock music and Broadway are heavily ladened with a Jewish influence.  Why is that a bad thing?  Why is that an insult? 

I think it's more observation than anything else.  Like most of the players in the NBA are black.  Most baseball players are white. DUH!

More PC.  MORE P.C.!!

Reminds me of sitting in meetings where the word "black" was whispered for fear of offending the black folks in the room, but the usage would be like "black car," or "black coat."

As for her age, yeah, maybe she's at the "What are they going to do, take away my birthday?" stage, but I think the real point is, there's nothing wrong with what she said...this time around anyway.

There's a thin line...still...

geek4grammar's picture

um...no, it's not okay.

saying that the world's most powerful institutions are owned by the zionists is not the same as saying there are a lot of black basketball players. it's the same as saying that the government is secretly run by the gay mafia (which I know sounds hilarious to us; but there are people who say it and are dead serious about it, and make pamphlets trying to prove it). she didn't say "there are a lot of Jews in powerful social institutions;" she said we own them. people who say this, like, oh, the klan, are saying that Jews-- who represent less that one quarter of one percent of the world's population-- are the secret puppetmasters behind all world affairs. it's an old-school, straight-up conspiracy theory. I think to call this a question of being PC or not is being way, way too lenient.

We're all born naked. The rest is drag.
--RuPaul (appropriating Judith Butler for the masses...)

Meffle's picture

I don't think I quite agree...

Not to say I don't see your point.  Her statement could be taken that way and perhaps if I were Jewish I would feel differently.  But...

Jews built Vegas and Hollywood and Broadway and the rock industry.  We would have none of that without them.  Her phrasology might have been unfortunate, but I think the observation is on point.

There's a thin line...still...

toodlin's picture

Just to be correct, she

Just to be correct, she didn't say Jews, she said Zionists.  That's a really specific point of view.  

geek4grammar's picture

fair point...

Yes, that is true toodlin-- you make a good point. However, I think that A) most Americans think of "Zionist" as simply an old-fashioned, antiquated word for Jew (like an old white lady calling a black person "colored"), and B) most American Jews are in fact pro-Israel when you come down to it. Still, it's a distinction worth making.

We're all born naked. The rest is drag.
--RuPaul (appropriating Judith Butler for the masses...)

Not2Taem's picture

The cycle of life

When people get old, they go back to their roots. They return to their native language, and often old habits and social perceptions. It seems to me that Helen may be starting to revert to the language and ideas that she experienced as a youngster, before she began to question those ideas on her own. It happens. I don't think she belongs on TV or in the news at this point in her life. I also don't think that she has been an undercover asshat all her life.

Conlite's picture

So I take it she thinks Obama

So I take it she thinks Obama is a Jew/Jewish sympathiser, rather than a Muslim/Muslim sympathiser?  That makes for some variety at least!

Grace Moon's picture

well

I think if you are 91 and you're still alive  -- you can damn well say whatever the fuck you want. Given that, any institution who wants to hire her for a speaking gig better be ready to face the consequences.

tweet tweet @gracemoon

Grace Moon's picture

let me

clairfy before I piss anyone off.

I'm taking no stand on the politics - I just think she's old and probably should retire from public life. Considdering Thomas hasn't been this blantantly "anti-semeitc" in her remarks earlier in her career - i'm just chalking it up to old-age-who-gives-a-fuck.

tweet tweet @gracemoon

Tex's picture

"old-age-who-gives-a-fuck"

I'm with you on this one. After being on a train for 72 hrs with my 82 yr old mom, and after her starting to light into a tea-bagger after one of his fanatic remarks about Obama, I've got more respect for the octenogrians +. They may not know how to say it with the tack they once used, but they say it. Things don't come out exactly like they are thinking it. I know that for a fact. It's actually been amazing watching the process. My mom remembers exactly what she says, and later wants to discuss how she really wanted to say it...and talk about what she meant. Have I told you, I've got this "feeling" about this trip with her....I'm doing everything I can to enjoy every minute of it, and make sure she does too...

People really should know when to retire, and if they don't, have a support group around them that makes sure they do.

Twitter Time @kdhales