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June 04, 2010

Helen Thomas: Jews Back to Poland, Germany

White House Correspondent Helen Thomas makes herself perfectly clear. She thinks Israelis should "get the hell out of Palestine" and go back to Poland, Germany, America "and everywhere else."

H/t: Solomonia

UPDATE 2:38, June 4, 2010: Helen Thomas is a regular contributor to Liberal Opinion Week. According to the publication's website, she shares a masthead with a number of prominent journalists in the United States. These journalists include Maureen Dowd, Paul Krugman, Nicholas Kristof and Derrick Jackson. CAMERA has sent emails to these writers asking if it is appropriate for them to share a masthead with a journalist who makes such hostile comments. CAMERA has also left a message with the publication itself.

CAMERA will provide updates on any responses recieved.

Second Update 5:23 p.m., June 4, 2010: CAMERA has submitted a query to the White House Correspondents' Association about Helen Thomas' comments. The text of this query can be seen after the jump.

Third Update, 10:20 p.m., June 4, 2010: According to FoxNews, Helen Thomas has apologized for her comments.

Below is the text of CAMERA's email to WHCA.

To: Julia Whiston, Executive Director

From: Dexter Van Zile, Media Analyst, CAMERA

RE: A Query About Helen Thomas

As you may or may not know, Helen Thomas of the White House press corps has recently made some ra,er egregious remarks about Jews going back to Europe. She made them on camera and the video is available here:

Will the WHCA be issuing a statement in response to these comments?

Will the WHCA initiate proceedings to suspend her membership in the WHCA or to expel her from the organization?

To Snapshot readers: The White House Correspondents' Association's by-laws state include the following article:

Suspension of Members

The Executive Board shall have power to suspend or expel any member of this Association for due cause, as may be determined in the judgment of the Executive Board, provided that written notice of the consideration of such action, together with a statement of alleged causes, shall be given the member concerned thirty (30) days prior to the meeting of the Executive Board and further provided that a hearing shall be granted such member, if the member shall so desire; and further provided that the temporary suspension of a member may be ordered by a majority vote of all members of the Executive Board, but that expulsion shall not be ordered except upon the approval of two-thirds of the full Executive Board; and provided further that any member so expelled by the Executive Board shall have the right to appeal to the full body of membership at the next succeeding Annual Meeting of the Association, in which case a majority vote of regular members present and voting shall be recognized as the final decision of the Association.

Posted by dvz at June 4, 2010 01:23 PM


Well, you posted Helen Thomas' comment, which breaches your posting guidelines :(

Unbelievable. I hope she loses her accreditation.

When I tell people this is the 1930s all over again, they tell me I have lost it.

I don't think so.

Posted by: John at June 4, 2010 04:17 PM

Wow. This is pretty stunning.

I hope (but am not optimistic) that her bigoted comments do not reflect more widely held views.

Posted by: will spotts at June 4, 2010 06:40 PM

A disturbing thought: Upon hearing or reading some of the more outrageous statements uttered by people such as Helen Thomas, especially when pertaining to Israel, many people comment or ask "do they know what they are saying?", or something similar. After many years, and many more encounters with this type of person, I am now of the firm conclusion that not only do these people know what they are saying, but they really, really do hate the Jews and wish them dead.

Posted by: Conrad at June 4, 2010 08:34 PM

I'm not at all comfortable having a reporter covering the White House for the mainstream media who doesn't recognize the clearly well-established rights of the majority population of a U.N. member state. Ms. Thomas is obviously on the margins - of American society and rational discourse - with regard to the middle east conflict. A petition should be passed around.

Posted by: Jeff Feldstein at June 4, 2010 09:07 PM

Helen Thomas is a racist bigot. Using Helen's logic, she too should also get out of this country. Apparently people like her, and I believe there are many, do not believe in coexistence, even though they claim to do so. That makes her a hypocrite as well. When my parents grew up in communist Romania, they were taunted for being Jewish. They were threatened with violence and told to "go back home." When they were captured by the Nazis and imprisoned in labor camps they were beaten and told to "go back home." When they moved to Israel, Egyptian president Gamal Nasser would make daily radio broadcasts, threatening to "drive all the Jews into the sea." He too told them to "go back home." See the pattern? After the Six Day War, my parents took Nasser's advice and moved to Cleveland, Ohio. More recently, when Ahmadinejad hosted an anti-Holocaust conference in Teheran, he made a speech in which he told all the Jews of Israel to "go back home to Germany and Poland." Now, here we are, having lived in the US for 43 years, and we have to listen to this "respected journalist" tell us we are only allowed to live in certain countries, at the sufferance of people like her? Do I need Helen's permission to live in Detroit? Words can not express my disgust with all the racist cretins (no offense to cretins) that have infested our airwaves, print media, and internet. This has gone way too far.

Posted by: Roddy Frankel at June 4, 2010 11:13 PM

Unfortunately, Ms Thomas's remarks reflect a growing
but not unfamiliar tendency, towards a re-establishment ( has it ever disappeared?) of
antisemitism, especially in Europe and Great Britain. No nation attacked as Israel has been
would react differently if not with greater force.

The latest criticism, in say the NY Times editorial pages, is self contradictory, suggesting Israel was lured
into a trap and should have initiated a much more restrictive response.

Posted by: sidney kahana at June 5, 2010 12:12 AM

Well, she now feels free to express views that she has long had, under wraps. This doesn't surprise me given her background and the generation she comes from. In fact, the overflowing of truth from around the world should remind Jews that this is going to get worse, and may never get better if Israel goes as a consequence of world wide antisemitism which has carefully been built over the past 30 years by the liberal news things will get much much worse for Jews. What to do with Helen Thomas, now. She needs to lose her accreditation.

Posted by: Adam Bennett at June 5, 2010 02:52 AM

I’m all for civil discourse and free speech, but if it’s virulent, hateful and reprehensible, it must be ‘officially’ censured immediately. Otherwise, it very quickly becomes socially viral and a form of acceptable speech, then it's actionable speech with very untoward consequences.

I sense public discourse in America about Jews and Israel has crossed an ominous line. On May 20th, John Brennan, Assistant to the President, felt emboldened to refer to Jerusalem as "al Quds," then Helen Thomas suddenly feels secure enough to express her virulent hate speech at a celebration of "Jewish Heritage" at the White House! I say, if she's not strongly censured for her despicable remarks, we're in for some bad deja vu.

Posted by: Tommy at June 5, 2010 03:25 AM

Thomas' Mideast opinions, like Nader's, may have been slightly influenced by her Lebanese background.

Posted by: Christian Zionist at June 5, 2010 03:44 AM

Wow! A President that refuses to say anything about this shows us where he stands.

Posted by: New Yorker at June 5, 2010 04:47 AM

How do we write to Hearst to tell them to retire her?

Posted by: Margaret at June 5, 2010 07:34 AM

Dear Helen Thomas. Do you recommend any specific locations in Germany or Poland that Jews should go back ? What is your opinion about Dachau or Bergen Belsen in Germany, or perhaps you prefer Auschwitz or Treblinka ? By the way, I would like to recommend that those Jews will all get jobs to support themselves. After all, arbeit macht frei…

Posted by: Dori at June 5, 2010 02:48 PM

Well, being German, I would greatly appreciate having all these (,8.807838&spn=0,0.004128&t=h&z=19&lci=com.panoramio.all&layer=c&cbll=53.088354,8.807838&cbp=12,0,,0,5&photoid=po-272408) neighbours back.

Too bad they are all dead and just names on a bunker.

Instead, we now have a mosque not 400m from this bunker. (,+Bremen&daddr=Breitenweg+59,+28195+Bremen&hl=de&geocode=FZoQKgMdqGeGACkHlMNxayixRzGCT1WvmwhC9w;FYYGKgMdwFSGACF0x4TgyEl_4imp4f84FSixRzGGjglRWKMxQQ&mra=ls&sll=53.089305,8.802415&sspn=0.012281,0.033023&ie=UTF8&t=h&z=17).

Don't worry, as of last year they didn't have an Imam there. The old one was deported for being a hate preacher. The mosque is one of several mosques in Bremen under constant surveillance by the "Verfassungsschutz" (Office for the protection of the constitution - a CIA-like police).

I guess no, if I were a jew, I wouldn't want to go back to Germany ever. When was the last time someone put fire to a synagogue in Germany? Three weeks ago! (

This lady is insane. As if the Jewish People were any safer anywhere else in the world than in their own country.

Posted by: Kai at June 5, 2010 02:55 PM

I can imagine a group of smug Jewish intellectuals in a Berlin coffeehouse circa early 1930s having a similar conversation re their growing unease... Ten years later they're all gone.

Unless the hate speech of Helen Thomas is immediately denounced as intolerable in our public discourse, unless she is made to pay a heavy price for her shameless bigotry, it'll be open season once again on the Jews. 'Never Again' you say? History has proved its negative bias, repeating itself regularly - and everything is possible... So roll up your sleeves boys and girls and get to work on this big time or gas-up the Lear Jets for a hasty retreat!

Posted by: Tommy at June 5, 2010 03:44 PM

Let the americans go back to England, europe, or anywhere else they came from... and you mrs, go back to Lebanon... I realy do not know how you americans dared to kill all those Indians and take their country....

Posted by: hana at June 5, 2010 03:54 PM

For a respectable (in most people's eyes) journalist to tell the Jews to "get the hell out of Palestine" and "go home to Germany and Poland" is akin to telling all current residents of the United States, except those who have a Native American background, to "go back where your ancestors came from" or to saying, "give America back to the Indians" -- and meaning it. Thomas' comments are beyond the pale, but regrettably they appear to reflect the attitude, evident in their heavily biased reporting, of many mainstream journalists covering the Middle East and, increasingly, of thousands (perhaps millions) of others on the liberal-left side of the "civilized world's" political spectrum. The disease has spread much further in Europe than in the U.S., but I fear for my own country as well -- and for Jews around the world.

Posted by: Howard Daniel at June 5, 2010 08:12 PM

For Thomas to make such incendiary comments and then to "apologize," essentially, letting her off the hook is an outrage. I believe that CAMERA and people dedicated to the fair representation of Israel are required to advocate for the termination of Thomas' employment. If it is necessary to boycott Hearst publications, so be it. It is all too reminiscent of 1930's Germany for people to not do anything at all when a hate monger calls for the ethnic cleansing of Jews from their own land. Something must be done and it is all of our responsibilities to be active.

Posted by: Samantha at June 5, 2010 11:24 PM

i will get the hell out of israel the minute americans get the hell out of america and give it back to the indians and mexicans. not a second before.

Posted by: Israel at June 6, 2010 09:25 AM

If a prominent Republican report had said this they would have already been fired. No one can defend such racist statements and say that Ms. Thomas should not be fired!!

Posted by: Lee at June 6, 2010 11:17 AM

Please ask Ms. Thomas and all your readers to read Michael Cohen's column in the Friday issue of the New York Times. Unfortunately ignorance reigns supreme the world over.

Posted by: e.b. at June 6, 2010 11:36 AM

Home sick jewish guy whose paternal family seemed to have live in Israel since like forever, and whose maternal family has come from arab countries when the Arab expelled the Jews, is looking for the promised home Helen has so kindly proposed. If you happen to see her please ask her kindly to elborate on where exactly home is. For me and some other 3-4 million Jews.

Posted by: Joel at June 6, 2010 11:41 AM

This is a very serious comment Ms Thomas has made. It sounds as if she does not remember historical facts about Jews in Europe and in the Arab lands loosing their life and their lands!

Posted by: gloria abella ballen at June 6, 2010 03:22 PM

Ms. Thomas comments about the Jews returning to the sight where 6 million were murdered is as offensive as saying African- Americans should return to slavery where their needs were taken care of.

Posted by: stuart klamen at June 7, 2010 09:11 AM

Wow that is stunning that someone in the White House can say that about Jews. Our homeland is Israel and we have a right to live there. Why would Jews want to go back to Germany,Poland, or Russia or anywhere else she wants us to go. My family moved from Russia because of antisemitism to America so we could have a better life here. And now there is antisemitism in America and people in government are supporting this. This needs to stop now.

Posted by: Viola Stamm at June 7, 2010 02:53 PM

The issue that should be reported by Camera is that NPR & NY Times just reported the "Get the hell of Palestine" quote but did not report on the radio or the website that she said Israelis should go back to the places they were murdered by the millions. This significant "omission" makes the casual reader think it is not an anti semetic statement just a casual political point. That is what Camera needs to tell the world.

Posted by: Gerson at June 7, 2010 03:31 PM

In America,it is the land of Free Speech, UNTIL, you say anything Negative about Israel.

Posted by: Henry at June 8, 2010 07:52 AM

NICE. now if only somebody could catch JIMMY CARTER in an unguarded moment.

Posted by: ktchnsnk at June 8, 2010 12:58 PM

Some anti-Israel journalist, only a big deal in the US. The disgrace here is the attitude of many, the calls to fire a person over some interview, mob rule sickens me. Since so many are referring to WWII here, I'll throw the word POGROM into the discussion. Please leave this old lady alone, she is a non-problem, and at best she contributes to diversity of opinion, encouraging democratic debate, offering a new perspective. Relax people. ;)

Posted by: John Doe at June 10, 2010 11:34 AM

Jewishness is a state of mind so the uprooting is not possible and the final destination for "Jews" should be psychoanalyst's coach.

Posted by: Sigmund Freud at June 26, 2010 12:56 PM

As I said before - Jewishness is a state of mind so the uprooting is not possible and the final destination for "Jews" should be on the psychoanalyst's coach.

Posted by: Sigmund Freud at June 28, 2010 10:38 AM

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