Tuesday, June 08, 2010

The NYT, Antizionism and Bigotry 

The flap over Helen Thomas's anti-Jewish remarks and obvious bigotry, about which I commented yesterday, has resulted in her unceremonious retirement. Good, and good riddance.

I was not particularly surprised to note that the New York Times buried the story on page A14 of today's front section. Let's just say that when a progressive, liberal lefthander of the first order engages in crass bigotry, they get the protection of a pile of pages ahead of them and rationalizations for their commentary.

What I was more than a little surprised about, however, was the nature of the article. Read it carefully.

First, the title - "Reporter Retires After Words About Israel."

Actually, Helen Thomas Retired After Words About Jews. She made no reference to Israel. She said "they should get the Hell out of Palestine." She said "they should go back to Poland and Germany..."

Whether the writer realizes or not, this article thoroughly strips the mask off the increasingly faux distinction for many between Anti-Zionism and Anti-Jewish bigotry (or what most call anti-Semitism). I read someplace yesterday (it might have been the Corner) a quote about "scratching an Anti-zionist and before too long finding the antisemite within." That's a little unfair - the nation of Israel, like any nation can be subject to criticism without the critic necessarily being accused of bigotry against the nation's people. Having said that, I think bigots have latched on to the distinction quite happily because of the sudden political acceptability of anti-zionism.

I must admit, I am shocked to see that, even in the New York Times. William Safire and A. M. Rosenthal must be spinning. I would have thought that even the maroons now in charge of editing that paper would be conscious and literate enough to keep that mask on. I stand corrected. They're bigots. The fellow who wrote the article - Jeremy Peters - could be 3 things: 1) a fellow lefty progressive protecting Helen Thomas who nonetheless recognizes her bigotry; 2) a moron who doesn't immediately see the important nuance here; or 3) a bigot.

Can you imagine if Rush Limbaugh had made the exact same comments Helen Thomas made? A14? Without making a single reference to bigotry, anti-semitism or anti-Jewish bias? Are you kidding me? One last quote from Helen Thomas - "I am a liberal, always will be a liberal, and will die a liberal."

As my friend TH would say, release the hounds...


By Blogger John Foster, at Tue Jun 08, 09:04:00 AM:


Although in fairness, I should note that the NYT (at least in the Long Island edition) mentioned the story on the bottom of the front page, where it highlights noteworthy stories inside.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Jun 08, 09:07:00 AM:

I was not particularly surprised to note that the New York Times buried the story on page A14 of today's front section

Professional courtesy. And by profession I don't mean journalism.

Perhaps it's projection. At 90, she must surely realize that she will soon return to the place she came from. Perhaps the sulfur and brimstone weigh on her mind.  

By Anonymous Ignoramus, at Tue Jun 08, 09:38:00 AM:

"That's a little unfair - the nation of Israel, like any nation can be subject to criticism without the critic necessarily being accused of bigotry against the nation's people."

Just like I can make a joke about blacks without being called a rascist. Chris Chambers will confirm this.

Helen Thomas is a dingbat. Her comments crossed a line when she said "Germany and ..."

But it's difficult for US public figures -- politicians especially -- to criticize Israel without paying a cost. I don't think this serves Israel's long-term interests.

That said, Israel needs our support right now, but she isn't getting it. Expect another infitada soon. Putin wants a shooting war, I fear. That's the story, not Helen Thomas.  

By Blogger Simon Kenton, at Tue Jun 08, 09:57:00 AM:

To be fair, it is the headline which says it was her remarks about Israel; the story says remarks about Jews. Typically the same person doesn't write both story and headline. If you want to make a point about the NYT climate of opinion being displayed by a mere writer of headlines, I wouldn't disagree, but I don't think you can hang this on Peters.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Jun 08, 11:14:00 AM:

CP: you're too sensitive. What's odd is that you can't acknowledge it's because of your ethinicity. But that's common when a reaction is emotionally based.

There's no bigotry in what she said. Not a lick.  

By Blogger Cardinalpark, at Tue Jun 08, 11:36:00 AM:

Anon - what's odd is that you'd make such a stupid comment, drawing 2 foolish conclusions in the space of what, 3 lines?

Of course I view her comment as bigotted because of my ethnicity. Her bias is aimed at me or people like me. Your "objective" observation (I suppose because you're not Jewish) is asinine.

Come back and make a couple more comments; maybe I'll wind up calling you a bigot.

Let me spell it out. Just like a black person perceives racism much more quickly than a white person, so too a Jew intantly perceives the slight. If I had to guess, I would bet money that you were in agreement with Professor Gates and President Obama in the Boston "incident." But not so here.  

By Blogger Progressively Defensive, at Tue Jun 08, 11:54:00 AM:

Thought experiment:

Can you imagine how a long lived Palestinian Arab Muslim would feel if they read Herzl's book in 1896 that hatched the plan for mass immigration to Palestine for the purpose of establishing a Jewish state? Then to see over the next 114 years that plan executed before their very eyes.

Here's how you do it. Joe living in Montana reads a book about how Muslims wants to establish a Sharia-based Islamic State in Montana. Then millions of Muslims immigrate to Montana and declare it to be the State of Sharia. Resistance is met with violence and persecution whereby many of Joe's neighbors are driven from what was Montana and is now the State of Sharia in fear. Joe resides in the State of Sharia, his way of life ruined, his neighbors and extended family killed or driven off.

Also, what is the story? Even if she said the Jews should go back to Germany and Poland that is not anti-semetic or the basis for identifying some faux distinction. The Jews there are the Zionist invaders.

Does anyone in their right mind think liberal Helen Thomas hates the Jews who occupy the liberal anti-chambers of the USA's Democratic and Socialist world. [Relax: Jews have all sorts of political viewpoints as we all do; but Helen Thomas certainly has uncountable Jewish like-minded colleagues and co-networkers]? Or that she hates the Hasidic Jews in Williamsburg? Of course not. She's no anti-semite.

You're the one whose prejudice is conflating Zionism and Judaism. You are so pro-Israel you are slandering those opposed. It's no different then calling welfare reform advocates racist.  

By Anonymous Goy Boy, at Tue Jun 08, 12:03:00 PM:

There's no bigotry in what she said. Not a lick.

No bigotry in telling Jewish people to go back to the places where they were gassed? No bigotry? (Moreover the Jewish people remaining in Poland after WW2 were subjected to an anti-Semitic/anti-Zionist campaign after the Six Day War, in which they were “encouraged” to go to Israel. And it is not bigoted to tell them to go back where they were in effect booted out?)

And it is not bigoted to tell them to “go back to Germany and Poland” when about half of Israeli Jews have roots in Arab countries, where in many instances they were “encouraged” to leave, just like Gomulka did with Jews in Poland? Go back to Arab countries where Muslim clerics refer to Jews as pigs and apes?

As the saying goes, "you don't have to be Jewish.." As a card-carrying member of the goyim, my opinion is that anyone who is unable to see Helen Thomas’s remark as bigoted is either 1) an anti-Semite and most likely an anti-Semite in denial or 2) dumb as a post. Take your choice.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Jun 08, 12:18:00 PM:

Thought experiment:

Imagine you are an Arab living in, oh, North Africa, Yemen, Iraq, any of those, in 1896 and you have just learned that the Jewish people, those pig-apes you have oppressed all your life, might be assisted by their European brethren in acquiring a small fraction of the middle east to be a free and independent homeland for them.

Wouldn't fighting it with hatred and violence be the logical thing to do? How dare they contest muslim control!

Wouldn't it make sense to act as if they didn't even exist, and ALL the filthy jews came from Europe?  

By Blogger Cardinalpark, at Tue Jun 08, 12:41:00 PM:

PD - I love thought experiments. They're great fun.

Especially when they're proferred by bigotted, ignorant poeple. They expose magnificently. Let me conflate for a moment - bigottry and ignorance of your type - they are siblings.

Ok, now enough conflation.

Let me see, where to begin. That Palestinian Muslim Arab you mentioned would have been sitting where exactly? Was it Egypt? Or Jordan? Or was it some part of the Turkish Ottoman Empire?

Right. And the Jew who dreamed of returning there? True, it may have been like Hertzl, a European. Alternatively, it could have been a Jew who's origins were, dare I say it, Middle Eastern? did you know this? 40% of Israeli Jews and their descendants relocated from another Middle Eastern Country. Where they were deprived of life, liberty, tolerance, you name it.

Ok, let's continue. For fun. The US is a sovereign nation state, with a constitution, a social contract of sorts, etc.

Sharia, well, maybe you know this, maybe not, runs pretty much counter to it. That's why Jews pretty much had to leave all those Muslim countried in the first place.

Hey PD, let me change the topic for a second and tell you the single most powerful piece of evidence to embrace and acknowledge Israel's exceptionalism, its greatness.

Do you know that 20% of its population, over 1.5 million people, are free Arabs of Muslim, Christian and Druze background? Isn't it extraordinary how peacefully and happily they choose to be? No revolt, no crazy crime; no en masse emigration to Egypt or Jordan?

Think about that genius. Maybe that was the guy who did your thought experiment and decided it beat the Ottoman Sultan. Putz.

Now, back to Helen. She's a bigotted, biased antisemite. So are you. Ignorance and bigotry - incestuous siblings.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Jun 08, 12:47:00 PM:

It says in the Book of Deuteronomy that the "Blessing AND THE CURSE" shall fall upon Israel. The Curse is to wander and be hounded throughout time. I wish all here would read Deuteronomy Chapter 28!

Helen Thomas is right. The Jews are to wander; they can NOT have a state! This is their punishment. This has been traditional orthodox Christian teaching that lasted from the era of the Church Fathers to the Age of Socialism and Communism, the 19th century.

The curses of Deuteronomy Chapter 28th have come to pass. Every single thing. Kind of proves the veracity of the Bible. They committed deicide; they are to wander. God told them to "hearken to every word of the voice of God". It is obvious that they didn't. They are cursed.

This is not anti-semitism. It is the Will of God.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Jun 08, 01:15:00 PM:

The American Indians ran a terrorist operations against the overpowering Europeans for OVER 200 YEARS in order to preserve their lands and to drive the white man out. I don't begrudge them that. They used all sorts of things from scalpings, kidnappings, raping, and massacreing in order to accomplish this. Ever watch a "Cowboy 'n Indian" movie?

Are Americans being duplicitous and hypocritical? The American Indian ran terrorist operations for 200 years and yet we call the Palestinians "terrorists" and Helen Thomas and others "anti-semitic"! Do not the Palestinians have just as much right as the American Indian? Why the double standards Americans?

The Jews just want the Palestinians to roll over for them? and if they don't, their evil? Who took the land? Did not the Jews use terrorism also to foment fear in order to drive the original inhabitants off the land?

Are the Jews supposed to be there? I thought they are to wander? If the American Indian can use two hundred years to fight occupation, the Palestinian has just as much right to fight back and use two hundred years to do the same!

Do not use a double standard. We now celebrate the American Indian for his gutso. Moreso for the displaced Palestinians.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Jun 08, 01:52:00 PM:

Anon 12:47

I heard that Muhammad was a pervert and a homosexual. Do you think that could be true?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Jun 08, 02:08:00 PM:

CP: The probability of false positives increases when you are emotionally invested. It's apparent to me that you lack objectivity on this issue. That's how I deduced you are Jewish. I did not have a priori knowledge.

"Asinine." I think it's asinine and moronic to jump to conclusions without knowing to whom you are talking. You have no knowledge about my background, or my sensitivities.

You just got carried away. You confused "insensitive" with "bigoted." There is a huge difference. I won't say more because it's apparent that if I explain the reasoning, you will reject it simply because I have outlined it. You will have to discover it for yourself.

I hope you do. For your own peace of mind.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Jun 08, 02:10:00 PM:

Goy Boy: You, like CP, are confusing an insensitive comment, with a bigoted one.

It indicates a certain lack of intelligence, or, equally plausibly, an extremely involved emotional state.

I hope you too can see it more clearly. I'm clearly not going to help you do so. As they say, you're both "seeing red" on this one. Reason left your mind long ago. Therefore, since I'm not your therapist, or a friend, there's no point in discussing your emotions.  

By Blogger MTF, at Tue Jun 08, 03:21:00 PM:

This is nothing short of unbelievable: crazy people are here. Of course suggesting Jews should move from Israel to the lands responsible for the holocaust is anti-semitic. How insane are you people?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Jun 08, 03:28:00 PM:

@MTF: Poland and America were responsible for the holocaust?

I think this is an example of the degree to which Thomas' comments were "interpreted" into something she clearly was not saying.

@MTF: You are either crazy or stupid. I'm guessing that is more a lack of the ability to discern than florid psychopathology.  

By Anonymous Goy Boy, at Tue Jun 08, 03:41:00 PM:

Goy Boy: You, like CP, are confusing an insensitive comment, with a bigoted one.

Merriam Webster Online Dictionary: bigot: a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance.
— big•ot•ed \-gə-təd\ adjective

IMHO, to tell a Jewish person to go live in a countries where Jews were gassed is an expression of hatred. By suggesting that Jews return to the countries where their ancestors suffered through the Holocaust, it definitely revives “old racial prejudices and national hatreds.” It therefore qualifies as an expression of hatred and thus of bigotry. IMHO, it is also an expression of intolerance, because the rights of Jewish people were grossly violated in those countries.
I stand by my previous statement about Helen Thomas's comment.

Also from Merriam-ebster online: (intolerant: a : unwilling to grant equal freedom of expression especially in religious matters b : unwilling to grant or share social, political, or professional right)
(hatred: prejudiced hostility or animosity <old racial prejudices and national hatreds — Peter Thomson)  

By Blogger Cardinalpark, at Tue Jun 08, 03:59:00 PM:

I'll just add to the responses to the Anon clown (there really is no other way to say it) briefly.

Look, of course I took offense because her bigoted antisemitic comments were directed at
me. Of course I'm emotionally invested. That's what's required. Impartial observers don't referee bigotry, buffoon.

What I find especially pernicious - it's not stupid actually, it's a form of evil - is your denial of my feeling of bigotry aimed at me.

A sensible person - who I wouldn't flog like the bigoted idiot you are - would say, I disagree, but I am sorry you took offense. I don't see antisemitism in her statement, but since you are a jew, I understand why you might. That would be a sensitive human response that would allow for disagreement on the topic.

However, as a consequence of your outright denial and condemnation of my perspective, your vile bigotry becomes vivid, exceedingly clear. Maybe you know you are an antisemite. Perhaps you genuinely have no idea, and it may only appear to you later. But you are.  

By Blogger Catchy Pseudonym, at Tue Jun 08, 04:27:00 PM:

I see how this game works. CP rants, someone disagrees, then that someone gets called an antisemitic bigoted idiot... it's a process that has been repeated consistently through two threads related to this discussion.

I don't agree with CP... so I guess if I'm playing this game... I'm now a racist antisemitic bigoted idiot who wants to exterminate 6 million Jews. Wow... that's such a revelation.

Now I await the response back from CP verifying that that is true.  

By Blogger Cardinalpark, at Tue Jun 08, 04:45:00 PM:

Heyyyy Catchy...long time...why do you disagree?  

By Blogger Catchy Pseudonym, at Tue Jun 08, 05:17:00 PM:

Okay... so I'll answer and usher in the inevitable.

1. I don't equate a statement about Israel (or in her case Palestine) or the politics of Israel with a blanket statement about all Jews.

2. Regardless of history, it seemed to me that her opinion reflected her view that the conflict in Palestine was created from from Jews coming to the Middle East from all over the world after WWII, and her statement (as bad as it was) was meant literally, not as an expression of her desire to exterminate 6 million Jews as I've read repeatedly.

3. I don't have blind support for Israel. Israel angers me and inspires me equally. Since I don't approve of everything they do, I understand if someone has a negative view of Israel and they should be able to express it without fear of being called an anti-Semite.

4. Any comparisons of Israel to the African-American experience just does not hold water.

5. I feel Freedom of Speech took a back seat to Political Correctness and my reaction to how she was treated was anger.

I have more, and would expand on those but blogging at work is frowned upon.

There I took the bait. I'll be waiting for the nazi membership card in the mail.  

By Blogger commoncents, at Tue Jun 08, 05:29:00 PM:

I just wanted to say I really enjoy visiting your blog! Keep up the superlative work!!

Common Cents

ps. Care for a Link Exchange???  

By Blogger Progressively Defensive, at Tue Jun 08, 05:41:00 PM:

The point would be that Sharia would exist in Montana despite the US Contitution. When you declare independence like Israel did in 1948, that is how it works. The analogy is apt.

I'm curious amongst the posters who thinks Israel should fight for itself and not put the U.S. soldiers at risk. If Israel is so "great." Or is ths all about begging for help while not a single Israeli battalion fights along side the U.S.A. in Iraq and Afghanistan? They remain in their Zionist home.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Jun 08, 06:28:00 PM:

Anon Attorney here. Just swung by this thread. Whoa.

Just to make it perfectly clear, I'm NOT the Anon(s) making the bigoted comments. I'm the unassuming Iowa farm boy turned attorney and armchair economist who comments primarily on matters economic. Thought it would be best if I removed any doubts.

CP, we've tangled before on Goldman and I stand my ground on that one, but I'm with you 110% on supporting Israel. She's the canary in the coal mine of the West's commitment to the Judeo-Christian values that define Western Civilization. When we lose our connection to Jerusalem, we've lost Western Civilization, Pat Buchanan be damned. Sign me up for the IDF if need be.

These fault lines may not be academic much longer. Iran's peace flotilla is steaming toward Gaza right now. Echoes of the Lusitania.

@Progressively Defensive: that's a stupid question to which I suspect you already know the answer. The US instructed Israel to stay miles away from our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to avoid inflaming Muslim tensions.

@Anon: how did you know CP was Jewish? I don't see it disclosed in the post, and it's not like you can check out the schmeckle online. (Now that's some Goy Boy humor--not bad for an Iowa farm boy.)  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Jun 08, 09:00:00 PM:

Cardinalpark - trust me, you have no idea. Really no clue.

"Buffoon," "Clown," etc.



You have no idea. Which is the beauty of it. I won't dignify you by saying more.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Jun 08, 09:06:00 PM:

Anon Attorney:

It was obvious from CP's reaction that he likely was Jewish. But I knew it for other reasons.

Which is why it's amusing that he thinks he knows more about me than he does.

I have no trouble distinguishing between racism and insensitivity, or racism and opposition to a particular viewpoint with which a racial group is identified (here, more accurately, a religious group). Pointing out that people are conflating ideas is important, in emotionally charged situations, because often in our society there is an effort to silence unpopular viewpoints by using tendentious labels. When I see such an effort, I try to make it clear that I think folks have gotten a bit, or a lot, confused.

Sometimes that confuses people - like CP. Such is life. I think it is important to stand up to such verbal bullying, from whatever quarter, and to be accurate with one's choice of words when making statements like those CP makes. If he doesn't like it, so be it.  

By Anonymous Ignoramus, at Tue Jun 08, 11:03:00 PM:

You all suck ... a hobo's dick cheese. Most of you anyway.

Most of this thread is utter bullshit. Cardinal Park only fans the flames, stupidly. I'm not sure why. Who cares about Helen Thomas, let alone the nuance of The New York Times coverage wherefor.

When it comes to things Middle East, I go look at The Jerusalem Post -- which I haven't done in months because there's been so many domestic distractions. The JaPo has some bias -- no surprise -- but it gives you the facts. Once upon a time, that's what we used to ask of our leading dailies.

So what do I see right now:

The only thing on Helen Thomas is a sidebar on Obama saying: "Thomas remarks offensive." Our Fearless Leader really went out on a limb saying that. Had Obama not spoken, I don't know that JaPo would have covered Helen Thomas much at all. (She's a dingbat!, and has been for years.)

But here are some other current ledes from JaPo online:

Russia, Turkey deny Israel fuel due to "economic considerations."

Iran: 'We must break Gaza blockade'

Iran's Ahmadinejad to Turkish crowd: Flotilla raid 'Death knell for Zionist regime' [Ahmadinejad is in Turkey? WTF???]

Palestinian Authority worried about Turkey's support of Hamas. [The PA is worried about Turkey? WTF??]

Netanyahu: Our right to self-defense under attack

Poll: We urge the US to relate fair-mindedly to Israel [Sign of desperation. WTF???]

Also add prior story about Egypt no longer policing Gaza's southern border for smuggling. [WTF squared !!!!]

There's more ledes like this on JaPo.

Sheeeeet, I didn't go to an Ivy League college, let alone the Wilson School, but there's enough dots on this page so that even I can draw the cat: the next infitada will start in 28 Days, or less. In isolation, Israel will be pressured to attack Iran.

Once again, I suspect Putin has a hand in this. He wants a shooting war. Like Goldfinger, his personal holdings will only go up in value if this happens.

What am I missing?

[ps Going to look at JaPo online is one of the little miracles of today. I played with Pravda Online at one point. When I did, it had far better coverage of ClimateGate and AGW than any major American paper ... graced with detailed pictorial reportage of any and all the then pending Soviet modeling competitions -- Miss Ukraine July 2009 ! Look out Gray Lady!]

Ignoramus = The Truth is Out There, and some other handles -- but I've never been Anon. TTIOT was getting pretentious. I started using it with AGW Brian, as a joke. I thank AVI for calling me "ignorant" in a different thread and putting me in my place.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Jun 08, 11:08:00 PM:

This is funny:

Let's enjoy it....


and be happy, and wish Helen Thomas well. She's old. Let's have a little grace.

Enjoy the clip!  

By Blogger Assistant Village Idiot, at Tue Jun 08, 11:26:00 PM:

Too many anons. Get a name so we can tell who's talking. Anon attorney had a good temp solution. It's not that hard.

No need to answer any of those guys.

Catchy - So far, I don't think you're bigoted. I just think you're wrong. 1. I don't think that HT made a comment about the politics of Israel. You're cleaning it up for her. 2. I haven't heard anyone claim she is advocating the extermination of 6 million Jews. The horror is in not noticing, or not caring that she was advocating they return to a place of death and prejudice. Now you are exaggerating what her critics said in hopes of creating a false choice. 3. She didn't express a negative view of Israel. You are watering her down and sweetening her comments (again). She told its native-born citizens to go back to a place where the aunts and uncles of some of them were killed. As a side note, you may not personally be guilty of this in every instance, but I grow weary of the magic phrase "blind support for Israel" popping up whenever someone writes anything positive about her. 4. I agree, but I don't see anything about that comparison in CP's post. 5. Watering down again. It's not a free speech issue. She is free from prosecution or any government sanction for her words. We are not free from the consequences of our words when we work in a field where words are what we are judged on. People are free to sing badly, but cannot demand that radios play their music.

All in all, you have changed what people said and then defended or attacked your edited version. That is not the mark of someone who believes they can win a fair fight.  

By Anonymous Goy Boy, at Wed Jun 09, 12:00:00 AM:

4. Any comparisons of Israel to the African-American experience just does not hold water.

Would you agree that it also doesn't hold water when African Americans themselves make the comparison? I refer to the spiritual "Let my people go." Black slaves saw a lot of similarity with their condition and that of Israel's people in Egypt.

Which goes something like this.

When Israel was in Egypt's land
Let my people go
Oppressed to hard they could not stand

Let my people go

Go down old Moses
Way down in Egypt's land
Tell old Pharoah to
Let My people go.

By Blogger Gary Rosen, at Wed Jun 09, 01:47:00 AM:

"I don't equate a statement about Israel (or in her case Palestine) or the politics of Israel with a blanket statement about all Jews"

When she says "go back to Germany and Poland" it has meaning for every Jew whether they are Israeli or not.

"it seemed to me that her opinion reflected her view that the conflict in Palestine was created from from Jews coming to the Middle East from all over the world"

But she *specified* Germany and Poland, then added America as an afterthought which is ludicrous since only a small proportion of Israeli Jews come from the US. As a number of us have pointed out - and as not a single one of Thomas' defenders here has acknowledged - the majority of Israeli Jews in fact trace their ancestry back to the Middle East, not Europe.

She knows the history and the facts. She is old enough not only to have been alive during the Holocaust but to have been an adult at the time. She knew what she was saying. I'm not inclined to give her a pass. YMMV.  

By Blogger Cardinalpark, at Wed Jun 09, 09:01:00 AM:

Most of this stuff isn't that interesting, but I will respond to Catchy.

1) Point 1 you make is correct, but off topic. Helen Thomas didn't make a statement about Israel. She denied Israel's existence, referring to it as Palestine, and said the Jews should leave it. Pointed, blatant bigotry.

2) I find it interesting that you also use the term "conflict in Palestine."

To be historically clear and correct, there is not, and has never been a nation state called Palestine. The Balfour Declaration of 1917, long predating WWII, promised both the Jews and Arabs a homeland in Palestine. This was in the aftermath of WWI and the end of the Ottoman Turkish Empire and its period of sovereignty over the region, which feel to the British Empire. When in 1947, the UN offered each of the Jews and Arabs a nation state, the Jews took the deal,the Rabs rejected it and immediately turned to a war of extermination against the Jews - Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Iraq.

So you cannot, in your point 2, "disregard history." It is central to the topic.

3) It is clear that you don't have "blind support for Israel." Neither do I. I see clearly. I don't think you do. How can you see clearly if you, as you say, disregard history?

4) Really, you can't compare in any way Jewish history with Black history? Why not? Both have suffered enslavement? Both have entered into a form of diaspora. Of course, a significant proportion of world Jewry was expelled to Europe and then exterminated. This experience is certainly appreciably worse than the African American Experience.

Jews felt enough empathy for the African American experience to be deeply and actively engaged in the Civil Rights movement, in some instances giving their life for southern blacks. And finally, and despite some evidence suggesting perhaps a lack of empathy for Jews among some of Obama's coterie, 78% of Jews voted for Obama, second only to blacks themselves.

So somebody sees some parallels, even if you don't.

5) Now point 5 I find actually funny. Helen Thomas made a blatently antisemitic comment. She's a journalist, and she's not senile. She could have said, "the Israelis should get out of the occupied territories." That would be a perfectly honorable and acceptable position, that would not be antisemitic in any way. Legit criticism of Israel.

Instead, she said "Jews should get out of Palestine" and go back to, I don't know, visit mass graves I suppose.

It is rare, actually, for somebody to be so bold and clear in their expression of bigotry. It's not meremly "insensitive."

SO let me ask, was it appropriate for Al Campanis to have been immediately retired from his job as Dodger GM in 1987? Or for Jimmy the GReek to be fired from CBS? Or, more recently, for Rush Limbaugh to be fired from ESPN?

So no, do I conclude you are antisemitic from your comments as I did with the other trolls, who made their crude cases sufficiently transparent that I felt compelled to call their bigotry out by name. No. Not yet.

But I have my suspicions Catchy. I don't think you know yourself whether you are or not.

I don't recall your age and general level of development. I know that our educational system has been deeply flawed in its instruction of the history which you elect to disregard. I know that our young people have espoused the cause of the Palestinian Arab in some measure as an analogy to the native American experience here. But those comparisons, to use your terms, fall down pretty badly as well.  

By Blogger MTF, at Wed Jun 09, 12:55:00 PM:

Helen Thomas has for decades supported the destruction of Israel. But that wasn't what she discussed the other day. Instead she went a considerable step further, and she said she wants to force native born Israelis to leave their homes and country, and "return" to Germany and Poland, thereby returning Jews to the scenes of the Holocaust. Anonymous crazies here profess not to comprehend the direct and obvious threat she is leveling, but I hope most others can understand her language more clearly. Certainly, any time one finds oneself wholly agreeing with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, one should stop and consider their beliefs carefully.

As Michael Oren has said (in his days as an historian before renouncing his American citizenship and becoming Israeli ambassador), nations are rarely victims of attack for the specific purpose of eliminating it from the face of the earth. In modern times, in fact, only one nation has been the victim of such an attack: Israel. Perhaps readers here think H. Thomas isn't a bigot, though she clearly is, but instead is merely trying to end the conflict of violent Islamists with the world. If we give them Israel, the thinking seems to go, they'll leave the rest of us alone.

The state perpetrators of these attacks and their fellow traveler Islamists have also attacked many other nations of the world, including our own, and have repeatedly put us on notice that ending our own existence is their ultimate goal.

We are next, in other words. So don't think that throwing the Israelis to the wolves will save America. And, don't think that Israeli Jews will leave Israel, especially to give scum like Helen Thomas her wish fulfillment.  

By Anonymous Lycidas, at Wed Jun 09, 10:56:00 PM:

I do not understand why the remark was anti-semetic.

For example, I have heard friends - experts in the Mideast - criticize Arab countries for not allowing Palestinian refugees to become permanent residents. Does that reflect racial hatred toward the Palestinians (because it directly states that they should stay in the lands where they are refugees, rather than going home)?

I don't think so. In fact, I know so. That's the analogy here. In fact, I think many Israelis would be happy (West Bank Settlements) if Judea and Samaria and Gaza were parts of a Jewish state, and, at the same time, the Palestinians left. Does this make these Jews racist (against the Palestinians)?

Taking or giving back land has not usually been seen as racist, though I suppose we could consider both groups racist under the definition that you implicitly offer (CP).

My own reading of HT's comments is that they were the words of a doddering old person. I could go into a lengthier exegesis.

What is more interesting to me, however, is the real terror the comment evokes in Jews. In talking it over with my Jewish friends at work, they were clearly upset in a way that went well beyond simple anger at (if it is) a bigoted comment. And it was not just the (mistaken, I think) reference to Germany. I think that, for example, with the Gaza flotilla Israelis, and Jews generally, really feel quite actively threatened - if not terrified.

The reason I find this perspective interesting is that I think the overwhelming majority of Americans are very, very supportive of Israel, and would clearly step in before anything happened untoward. We are part of a common civilization, and historical context (Western civilization, which extends from Israel, across Europe, to North America; some might include Japan at this point, and Australia). I think there is great comfort in this, or should be. It is sad that there isn't.

I finally add that I think it's a shame that there is a Biblical connection to this part of the world. Because it would be nice if there were a much safer, secure homeland where Jews would not feel constantly threatened.  

By Anonymous Goy Boy, at Thu Jun 10, 01:16:00 AM:

Courtesy of Instapundit, here is Hezbollah’s take on Helen Thomas:
"Respected American journalist Helen Thomas's answer shows ... a courageous, bold, honest and free opinion which expresses what people across the globe believe: that Israel is a racist state of murderers and thugs," Hezbollah MP Hussein Moussawi said in a statement.

Say no more. Tell me who your friends are……  

By Blogger Gary Rosen, at Thu Jun 10, 02:51:00 AM:

"What is more interesting to me, however, is the real terror the comment evokes in Jews. In talking it over with my Jewish friends at work, they were clearly upset in a way that went well beyond simple anger at (if it is) a bigoted comment."

What part of "go back to Poland and Germany" do you not understand? Do you know what that represents for Jews? Especially since, as some of us have pointed out over and over again but others do not wish to hear, that the majority of Jews in Israel trace their ancestry back to the Middle East and not Europe.  

By Blogger MTF, at Thu Jun 10, 08:30:00 AM:

Lycidas, to understand better I suggest you see the documentary film "Night and Fog". That will answer your question, I think.  

By Blogger Cardinalpark, at Thu Jun 10, 09:05:00 AM:


There is a peculiar aroma to your comment that I think deserves some response.

Helen Thomas until a few days before was a columnist who also was given a seat of honor in the White House PRess Room. she was antagonistic for years. Nothing new there. So, is your implication in the use of the word doddering that she is senile?

Perhaps so. If you are saying she is doddering/senile, then you are implying she said something
"wrong," and excusing it because she is doddering.

Yet above, you argue - sort of, cautiously - she didn't say anything that you interpeted as "wrong." Although, golly, all your jewish friends were angry. So angry they were "terrified."

Well, let me tell you something my Greek friend, Lycidas.

I am a Jew, and I am not terrified. She made a derogatory, inflammatory, stupid comment directed at a single class of people who happen to be Jews. If somebody said to me here in the US, I think all you Jews (in the US) should go back to where you came from, I'd say that was bloody antisemitic, wouldn't you? that would piss me off. Just like if I said here, all Greeks should leave the US and go back to where they came from.

That is further aggravated by the fact that, as we know, the last stop in Poland and Germany and the Ukraine and all those lovely antisemitic Jewish graveyards of Europe were places like Auschwitz and Treblinka and Buchenau.

That may not seem terribly antisemitic or personal to you - because obviously you have no nerve endings, read no history or frankly don't give a rat's ass -- but since most Jews, even weak-kneed, fairly antizionist Jews, lost a part of their ancestry in one of those places, they take it as bigotted. Capice?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Jun 10, 10:53:00 AM:

And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Jun 10, 04:24:00 PM:

Actually Lina, before 1948, it wasn’t called Palestine. It was called the British Mandate of Palestine. Ironically, the Jewish people of the mandate period were called “Palestinians,” while the Arabs were called “Arabs.” Even the Palestine Post, now the Jerusalem Post, was a Zionist newspaper. The Palestinian Regiment that fought for the British in World War II, Lina, was made up primarily of Jews, even before it was renamed the Jewish Brigade. The Arabs, under the leadership of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin el Husseini, actually threw their lot in with the Nazis. During the war, Haj was Adolph Hitler’s personal guest in Berlin, where he fantasized about another Holocaust — in Mandate Palestine. He promised one during the 1948 war.

The Jews have had a continual presence the land of Israel since Abraham left Ur and settled the land. Since 1840, Jews constituted the largest single group in Jerusalem, a time when Native Americans in California still controlled much of the state. Californians have far and away less right to their property than Jews have to Jerusalem.

The Arabs came as conquerors in the 7th century. They conquered the land from Christians. Starting with the increased migration in the 1840s of Jews to “southern Syria,” which it was called when the Ottoman Turks ruled the land before World War I, Jewish development brought in Arab migrants, from such countries as Yemen and Egypt, seeking work. Should they and their descendants get the “hell out of Palestine”?

As for Helen Thomas, Lina, yes, she has freedom of speech, but the First Amendment applies to the government censoring and punishing speech. Private organizations routinely censor speech that is considered racist, sexist, homophobic, or just downright stupid and offensive. As a society, we too find certain forms of speech offensive and will express our outrage. Have you forgotten Don Imus? How about Kathy Griffin’s “Suck it, Jesus” moment?

As Helen Thomas knows, sending Jews back to Germany and Poland is the equivalent of religious cleansing, not to mention the imagery of sending them back to countries from which they were sent to death camps. Or did she mean they should go back to Auschwitz?

Most Israeli Jews do not come from Europe, but from the Middle East, from Arab and also Muslim communities that expelled them after 1948. So should these Jews be sent back to Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Iran or Helen Thomas’ ancestral Lebanon? And we know what would happen to them when they got there, don’t we?


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