I concur with the following response from my agent to Helen Thomas’ lamentable remarks about Israel, and will no longer be working with Helen on our book projects. — Craig Crawford
“It is with a heavy heart that Nine Speakers, Inc. announces its resignation as the agent for Helen Thomas, Dean of the White House Press Corps. Ms. Thomas has had an esteemed career as a journalist, and she has been a trailblazer for women, helping others in her profession, and beyond. However, 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. Nine Speakers will continue to enthusiastically represent all of our other current and future clients.” — Diane Nine
Meanwhile, Jennifer Rubin writes that “Lanny Davis, Clinton adviser and stalwart Democrat, joins Ari Fleischer in calling for Helen Thomas to be booted.” Davis’s statement notes:
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. This not about her disagreement about her criticisms of Israel. She has a right to criticize Israel and that is not the same as being an anti-Semite.
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” — one that began 2,600 years with the first tragic and violent diaspora of the Jews at the hands of the Romans.
If she had asked all Blacks to go back to Africa, what would White House Correspondents Association position be as to whether she deserved White House press room credentials — much less a privileged honorary seat?
Does anyone doubt that my friends Ann Compton, head of the WHCA, and Joe Lockhart, who believe in the First Amendment right of free expression as much as I do, would be as tolerant and protective of Helen’s privileges and honors in the White House press room as they appear to be if she had been asking Blacks to return to Africa? Or Native Americans to Asia and South America, from which they came 8,000 or more years ago? I doubt it.
Of course Helen has the right as a private citizen under the First Amendment to speak her mind, even as an anti-Jewish bigot — but not as a member, much less privileged member with a reserved seat, in the WH press corps.
As Jennifer adds, “See, that wasn’t so hard. Where is the rest of the media, the White House Correspondents Association, and the White House? As to the latter, no response to my inquiry has been forthcoming. Perhaps, the White House is hoping — you know, like with the BP spill — that it can dodge responsibility for this one. But it is their credentials Helen Thomas uses and their briefing room in which she sits. What say you, Mr. President?”
And Jim Treacher wryly observes, “Remember: You’re a Nazi for saying we should enforce our own immigration laws… But not for telling the Jews to beat it.”
Update: Neo-Neocon parses Thomas’ non-apology apology.
Update: Joe Klein, Time magazine’s archliberal, calls Helen, one way or another to “Go to the Back of the Room:”
Helen Thomas’s front-row presence in the White House press room is an honor bestowed by her colleagues, in recognition of her long-time service. She retired as a reporter about a decade ago–and now, at the age of 89, she writes a column for Hearst Newspapers. She is the daughter of Lebanese immigrants and her general views on the Middle East have long been known. Her specific views about Jews became a bit better known last week, when she told them to leave Israel and go back to Europe. This is odious, obviously.
Update: At Gateway Pundit, over and out?
Politico’s Mike Allen via Twitter: Hearst Newspapers: “Helen Thomas announced Monday that she is retiring, effective immediately. ‘I deeply regret my comments’”
A commenter at Gateway Pundit quips:
I bet John Podesta offered her a job with Van Jones on Sunday.
I just love how brave these folks are with Obama in the White House, speaking out what is in their hearts. It is actually one of the silver linings having Obama as our President. All the assumptions and unspoken knowledge of the liberal elite are being clearly and loudly laid out in speech, laws and actions for all to see.
All of it Anti-American and Anti-Constitution.
If Podesta doesn’t come calling, perhaps, like equally objective centrist journalist Dan Rather, who famously saw no media bias, fundraisers for the Nation magazine could be in Helen’s future.