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Monday, June 7, 2010

Helen Thomas under fire for comment on Jews

A good solid apology from Helen is due; if she were not a celebrity we could have ignored her. I demand her to step down from her position as an ace journalist.

A good solid apology from Helen is due; if she were not a celebrity we could have ignored her. I demand her to step down from her position as an ace journalist.

There is a big question for the Jewish community and all of us; how to go to the roots of bigotry and evaporate it with a meaningful dialogue. In the short run we can squelch bigotry with laws, but that would breed resentment and flare up every now and then. The problem is deeper and as a society, we all need to sit down and talk, place all the cards on the table, then only we can find lasting solutions.

Helen may resign and go, but the spark of bigotry is in the air, brewing or latent some where with some one and ready to burst as it happened with Helen. We should not become a fireman to put fires out; we need to extinguish the sparks that are waiting for oxygen. Let me be clear, freedom to speak must never be compromised whether it is Muhammad's cartoons, south park on Jesus or other items, people should speak out their minds whether we agree or not, ultimately truth will triumph.

Years ago a council man in Dallas said to the Jewish council man "you people" and I had jumped on it and thank God, Dallas Morning News had published it. It is in the interests of the society at large to stop bigotry at once, we cannot allow it to rot our societies. Ahmedinejad had blurted out about Holocaust denying its happening, the Muslims spoke up against him, and several of us wrote letters to Dallas Morning news, and thanks God, they published at least three letters. There are ton of stories I have personally witnessed, and have spoken out against bigotry against every one, it is the most difficult thing to do, if you fear your job or your life the right wingers will hound you like the hyenas. They bark in unison to eat you alive.

The problem with Jews, Muslims, Christians, Hindus and others is their silence; they let the right-wingers run their lives. Right wingers are nurtured with fear that every one is out to get them, and their optionless minds tell them to annihilate the others, or frighten the others believing that it will solve the problem, it won't, instead it flares up the problem. The moderates need to speak up and find solutions of co-existence for all. Co-existence is sustainable and frees one from anxieties. There is a need to work on social cohesion and co-existence and smooth functioning of the societies.

We need to see the whole tape, and need to know the context in which Helen was saying "to get the hell out of Palestine?" If she was saying as a bigot, she is wrong and she needs to step out of her position; but if she was saying it in the context of ending the missiles into Israel and ceasing blockade of essentials in to Gaza, then the comments may have to be evaluated differently.

On the face of it, I do not appreciate her comments and we all need to condemn it.
I will update the outcomes in the comment section below.

Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker, writer, optimist and an activist of Pluralism, Justice, Islam, India and Civil Societies. He is a conflict mitigater and a goodwill nurturer offering pluralistic solutions on issues of the day and a frequent guest on the media. His work is reflected at 3 websites & 22 Blogs listed at http://www.mikeghouse.net/
~~~~

Helen Thomas on You tube ; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQcQdWBqt14&feature=player_embedded
---------------------

Helen Thomas - http://blogs.jta.org/politics/article/2010/06/07/2739476/helen-thomas-under-fire

Ari Fliescher - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDnyzgEdz6o&feature=player_embedded

Continued: http://mikeghouseforamerica.blogspot.com/2010/06/helen-thomas-under-fire-for-comment-on.html

Several Comments at Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/note.php?saved&&suggest&note_id=439933367773#!/note.php?note_id=439933367773


## # #

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2010/06/06/helen-thomas-under-fire-for-saying-jews-in-israel-should-go-back-to-germany-poland/?fbid=gwuGZdU2UAE&hpt=T3
Helen Thomas under fire for saying Jews in Israel should go back to Germany, Poland

Posted: June 6th, 2010 07:54 PM ETFrom CNN Associate Producer Martina Stewart

Washington (CNN) – Lanny Davis joined Ari Fleischer Sunday in calling for Hearst Corporation to take quick action against legendary White House correspondent Helen Thomas for recently saying that Israel should “get the hell out of Palestine,” and that the Jewish people should go home to “Poland, Germany … and America and everywhere else.”

Thomas was also dropped by her agent Nine Speakers, Inc. Sunday, CNN has learned, and Craig Crawford, who coauthored “Listen Up, Mr. President” with Thomas, said in a blog post that he “will no longer be working with Helen on our book projects.”

Thomas has apologized for her comments that she made to Rabbilive.com about Israel.
Specifically, she was asked, “Any comments on Israel?”
“Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine,” she responded.

The interviewer then asked “Any better comments on Israel?” To which Thomas said, “Remember, these people are occupied and it’s their land. It’s not German’s. It’s not Poland’s.”
Thomas was then asked where the Jews in Israel should go and what they should do? Thomas responded, “They should go home” which the White House reporter identified as “Poland, Germany . . . and America and everywhere else.”

Thomas is considered the “dean” of the White House press corps after decades covering the presidency. The syndicated columnist for Hearst Corporation’s newspapers holds a privileged seat in the front row of the White House press briefing room where she regularly fires sharp questions on the major issues of the day at White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.
In the apology posted on her website

Friday, Thomas said she “deeply” regretted her comments. “They do not reflect my heart-felt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance. May that day come soon.”

But her apology was not enough for Davis, who served as special counsel to former President Bill Clinton.“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,” said Davis. “This is 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.”

Davis added, “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?”

Previously Fleischer, who served as press secretary for former President George W. Bush, said Thomas should be fired because of her remarks. And in a statement provided to CNN Sunday he reiterated that demand.

“Helen's statement calling for the religious cleansing of Israel is reprehensible,” Fleischer said. “If this isn't bigotry, what is? What she said is as bad as someone saying all blacks should leave America and go back to Africa.

“Hearst Newspapers should do the right thing and let Helen go,” Fleischer added in the statement.

Update, 8:33 p.m.: The Anti-Defamation League has provided CNN with a written statement regarding Thomas' remark and apology. "Helen Thomas’s statement of regret does not go far enough. Her remarks were outrageous, offensive and inappropriate," ADL national director Abraham H. Foxman said in the statement. Foxman added, "Her suggestion that Israelis should go back to Poland and Germany is bigoted and shows a profound ignorance of history. We believe Thomas needs to make a more forceful and sincere apology for the pain her remarks have caused."
--------------------

http://www.aolnews.com/nation/article/walt-whitman-high-school-cancels-graduation-speech-by-helen-thomas/19505687?icid=mainhtmlws-bv-wdl2link3http%3A%2F%2Fwww.aolnews.com%2Fnation%2Farticle%2Fwalt-whitman-high-school-cancels-graduation-speech-by-helen-thomas%2F19505687


BETHESDA, Md. (June 7) -- A high school graduation speech by veteran White House reporter Helen Thomas has been canceled because of controversial remarks she made about Israel, the school's principal said in an e-mail Sunday.Thomas had been scheduled to speak at the June 14 graduation of Walt Whitman High School, but Principal Alan Goodwin wrote in the e-mail to students and parents that she was being replaced. The school in the Washington suburb of Bethesda, Md., hasn't picked a new speaker.


"Graduation celebrations are not the venue for divisiveness," Goodwin wrote.Thomas, a columnist for Hearst Newspapers, issued an apology on her Web site on Friday for comments that were captured on video by an interviewer for the website www.rabbilive.com. On the video dated May 27, Thomas says Israelis should "get the hell out of Palestine," suggesting they go to Germany, Poland or the U.S."I deeply regret my comments I made last week regarding the Israelis and the Palestinians," Thomas wrote on her site on Friday. "They do not reflect my heart-felt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance. May that day come soon."

The national director of the Anti-Defamation League, Abraham H. Foxman, said Sunday that Thomas' apology didn't go far enough."Her suggestion that Israelis should go back to Poland and Germany is bigoted and shows a profound ignorance of history," Foxman said in a statement. "We believe Thomas needs to make a more forceful and sincere apology for the pain her remarks have caused."Thomas, 89, began her long career with the wire service United Press International in 1943, and started covering the White House in 1960, according to a biography posted on her website. She became a columnist for Hearst in 2000

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Helen Thomas quits
http://blogs.jta.org/politics/article/2010/06/07/2739476/helen-thomas-under-fire

By Ami Eden · June 7, 2010
BREAKING UPDATE: JTA's Ron Kampeas reports that Helen Thomas has annopunced her retirement:

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Helen Thomas quit her job with Hearst in the wake of mounting outrage over her assertion that Israeli Jews should "return" to Poland, Germany and the United States.

"Helen Thomas announced Monday that she is retiring, effective immediately," said a statement issued Monday by Hearst Corporation. "Her decision came after her controversial comments about Israel and the Palestinians were captured on videotape and widely disseminated on the Internet."

Thomas was asked by Rabbi David Nesenoff on May 27 if she had "any comments on Israel."
"Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine," she said.

Nesenoff, who was attending the first Jewish American Heritage Month event at the White House, asked where Jews should go.

"Go home," Thomas said. Asked to elaborate, she said: "Poland, Germany and America, and everywhere else."

Nesenoff did not post his video to his website, RabbiLIVE.com, until last week; subsequent to its release a number of Jewish groups and figures asked for Thomas' removal, if not from Hearst as a columnist, than from her front-row center perch in the White House press room.

Thomas had since apologized for the comment, but some of the critics said the apology was evasive.
"I deeply regret my comments I made last week regarding the Israelis and the Palestinians," said the apology posted on her website. "They do not reflect my heart-felt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance. May that day come soon."

Below is the original version of this post, which went up before Thomas' announcement.
The "Helen Thomas tells Israeli Jews to go back to Germany, Poland and the United States" story isn't going away.

Thomas actually made her remarks on the same day as the White House's May 27 American Jewish Heritage Month celebration. But it wasn't posted to the Web until last week, on June 3, by Rabbi David Nesenoff of RabbiLive.com. The chronolgy is important for two reasons:
It underscores that Thomas' animous cannot be explained way as some sort of heat-of-the-moment reaction to the flotilla incident.

It helps explain the passionate response from the Jewish community and Israel supporters -- because Thomas' comments hit the blogosphere smack in the middle of what they see as a post-flotilla assault on Israel's legitimacy.

Here's the initial video of her remarks:

Now the apology:
I deeply regret my comments I made last week regarding the Israelis and the Palestinians. They do not reflect my heart-felt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance. May that day come soon.
The Associated Press is reporting that one school has nixed Thomas -- a longtime critic of Israel, but best known for her confrontational opening questions as the dean of the White House press corps -- as a graduation speaker:

A high school graduation speech by veteran White House reporter Helen Thomas has been canceled because of controversial remarks she made about Israel, the school's principal said in an e-mail Sunday.

Thomas had been scheduled to speak at the June 14 graduation of Walt Whitman High School, but Principal Alan Goodwin wrote in the e-mail to students and parents that she was being replaced. The school in the Washington suburb of Bethesda, Md., hasn't picked a new speaker.
"Graduation celebrations are not the venue for divisiveness," Goodwin wrote.
Thomas has been taking it on the chin in recent days.

Daniel S. Mariaschin of B'nai B'rith: These vile comments, unfortunately, are the culmination of Thomas’ ongoing anti-Israel sentiments that she kept thinly veiled over the years. There should be no place for her in a news organization. Her comments go beyond commentary and land well in the camp that will stop at nothing to delegitimize Israel.

Abe Foxman of the ADL says her apology was insufficient: Helen Thomas's statement of regret does not go far enough. Her remarks were outrageous, offensive and inappropriate, especially since she uttered them on a day the White House had set aside to celebrate the extraordinary accomplishments of American Jews during Jewish American Heritage Month. Her suggestion that Israelis should go back to Poland and Germany is bigoted and shows a profound ignorance of history. We believe Thomas needs to make a more forceful and sincere apology for the pain her remarks have caused.

Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center: Helen, I got two things to say to you -- first, the Jews are not in Palestine, they’re in the state of Israel here they belong and where their ancestors lived for two thousand years before Mohammed was born. Second, you’re the one who should go -- there should be no place for bigots in the White House press room.
Lanny Davis: 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. ... 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.

Mort Klein of the Zionist Organization of America: Helen Thomas’ despicable anti-Semitic statements must not be tolerated. She should be fired by Hearst News and barred from the White House press corps. There is no way such vicious denial of Jewish nationhood and connection to the Jewish homeland would be tolerated if such statements were uttered in respect of any other people.

Jerry Silverman of the Jewish Federations of North America and Rabbi Steve Gutow of the Jewish Council of Publica Affairs: Helen Thomas has showed herself to be a bigot and her 'apology' fails to address the anti-Semitism of her comments. She has no place in the White House briefing room and should at the very least be suspended.

Ira Forman of the National Jewish Democratic Council: "Thomas' comments that Jews living in Israel should 'go back home to Poland, Germany, America and everywhere else,' combined with her remark that Israel should 'get the hell out of Palestine' are shocking. These statements call into her question her ability to objectively carry out her responsibilities.... Thomas has a right to her opinions -- as shocking as they might be. She has, by her longevity as a journalist, earned many accolades. We acknowledge that she has issued something of an apology -- though one that does not clearly reject her initial remarks. Nonetheless, we feel compelled to ask Hearst Corp. and Thomas in light of these stunning remarks, to seriously consider whether it is proper to continue in her current role."

Matt Brooks of the Republican Jewish Coalition: I think Ari Fleischer is correct; Hearst should sever its ties with Thomas. It's time for Helen Thomas to give up her special seat in the White House press room and go home.

Shmuley Boteach: Helen Thomas’s stomach-turning comments about the Jews returning to Germany and Poland, where six million were gassed and cremated into piles of ash, are striking for their racism and insensitivity. Whether she said them out of senility or anti-Semitism is beside the point. Either way she has no business working for any respectable media organization or sitting as the senior White House correspondent directly in front of the President of the United States. When Don Imus made racially charged statements against a woman’s basketball team, candidate Obama demanded he be fired. It will be interesting to see how President Obama, who could not offer a single word of support for Israel since the flotilla affair, will react.
And now to the video tape:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Helen Thomas on You tube ; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQcQdWBqt14&feature=player_embedded ---------------------

Helen Thomas - http://blogs.jta.org/politics/article/2010/06/07/2739476/helen-thomas-under-fire

Ari Fliescher - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDnyzgEdz6o&feature=player_embedded

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2010/06/06/helen-thomas-under-fire-for-saying-jews-in-israel-should-go-back-to-germany-poland/?fbid=gwuGZdU2UAE&hpt=T3

Helen Thomas under fire for saying Jews in Israel should go back to Germany, Poland

Posted: June 6th, 2010 07:54 PM ETFrom CNN Associate Producer Martina Stewart

Washington (CNN) – Lanny Davis joined Ari Fleischer Sunday in calling for Hearst Corporation to take quick action against legendary White House correspondent Helen Thomas for recently saying that Israel should “get the hell out of Palestine,” and that the Jewish people should go home to “Poland, Germany … and America and everywhere else.”

Thomas was also dropped by her agent Nine Speakers, Inc. Sunday, CNN has learned, and Craig Crawford, who coauthored “Listen Up, Mr. President” with Thomas, said in a blog post that he “will no longer be working with Helen on our book projects.”

Thomas has apologized for her comments that she made to Rabbilive.com about Israel.Specifically, she was asked, “Any comments on Israel?”“Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine,” she responded.

The interviewer then asked “Any better comments on Israel?” To which Thomas said, “Remember, these people are occupied and it’s their land. It’s not German’s. It’s not Poland’s.”Thomas was then asked where the Jews in Israel should go and what they should do? Thomas responded, “They should go home” which the White House reporter identified as “Poland, Germany . . . and America and everywhere else.”

Thomas is considered the “dean” of the White House press corps after decades covering the presidency. The syndicated columnist for Hearst Corporation’s newspapers holds a privileged seat in the front row of the White House press briefing room where she regularly fires sharp questions on the major issues of the day at White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.In the apology posted on her website

Friday, Thomas said she “deeply” regretted her comments. “They do not reflect my heart-felt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance. May that day come soon.”

But her apology was not enough for Davis, who served as special counsel to former President Bill Clinton.“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,” said Davis. “This is 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.”

Davis added, “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?”

Previously Fleischer, who served as press secretary for former President George W. Bush, said Thomas should be fired because of her remarks. And in a statement provided to CNN Sunday he reiterated that demand.

“Helen's statement calling for the religious cleansing of Israel is reprehensible,” Fleischer said. “If this isn't bigotry, what is? What she said is as bad as someone saying all blacks should leave America and go back to Africa.

“Hearst Newspapers should do the right thing and let Helen go,” Fleischer added in the statement.

Update, 8:33 p.m.: The Anti-Defamation League has provided CNN with a written statement regarding Thomas' remark and apology. "Helen Thomas’s statement of regret does not go far enough. Her remarks were outrageous, offensive and inappropriate," ADL national director Abraham H. Foxman said in the statement. Foxman added, "Her suggestion that Israelis should go back to Poland and Germany is bigoted and shows a profound ignorance of history. We believe Thomas needs to make a more forceful and sincere apology for the pain her remarks have caused."--------------------

http://www.aolnews.com/nation/article/walt-whitman-high-school-cancels-graduation-speech-by-helen-thomas/19505687?icid=mainhtmlws-bv-wdl2link3http%3A%2F%2Fwww.aolnews.com%2Fnation%2Farticle%2Fwalt-whitman-high-school-cancels-graduation-speech-by-helen-thomas%2F19505687

BETHESDA, Md. (June 7) -- A high school graduation speech by veteran White House reporter Helen Thomas has been canceled because of controversial remarks she made about Israel, the school's principal said in an e-mail Sunday.Thomas had been scheduled to speak at the June 14 graduation of Walt Whitman High School, but Principal Alan Goodwin wrote in the e-mail to students and parents that she was being replaced. The school in the Washington suburb of Bethesda, Md., hasn't picked a new speaker.

"Graduation celebrations are not the venue for divisiveness," Goodwin wrote.Thomas, a columnist for Hearst Newspapers, issued an apology on her Web site on Friday for comments that were captured on video by an interviewer for the website http://www.rabbilive.com/. On the video dated May 27, Thomas says Israelis should "get the hell out of Palestine," suggesting they go to Germany, Poland or the U.S."I deeply regret my comments I made last week regarding the Israelis and the Palestinians," Thomas wrote on her site on Friday. "They do not reflect my heart-felt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance. May that day come soon."

The national director of the Anti-Defamation League, Abraham H. Foxman, said Sunday that Thomas' apology didn't go far enough."Her suggestion that Israelis should go back to Poland and Germany is bigoted and shows a profound ignorance of history," Foxman said in a statement. "We believe Thomas needs to make a more forceful and sincere apology for the pain her remarks have caused."Thomas, 89, began her long career with the wire service United Press International in 1943, and started covering the White House in 1960, according to a biography posted on her website. She became a columnist for Hearst in 2000

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Helen Thomas quitshttp://blogs.jta.org/politics/article/2010/06/07/2739476/helen-thomas-under-fire

By Ami Eden · June 7, 2010BREAKING UPDATE: JTA's Ron Kampeas reports that Helen Thomas has annopunced her retirement:

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Helen Thomas quit her job with Hearst in the wake of mounting outrage over her assertion that Israeli Jews should "return" to Poland, Germany and the United States.

"Helen Thomas announced Monday that she is retiring, effective immediately," said a statement issued Monday by Hearst Corporation. "Her decision came after her controversial comments about Israel and the Palestinians were captured on videotape and widely disseminated on the Internet."

Thomas was asked by Rabbi David Nesenoff on May 27 if she had "any comments on Israel.""Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine," she said.

Nesenoff, who was attending the first Jewish American Heritage Month event at the White House, asked where Jews should go.

"Go home," Thomas said. Asked to elaborate, she said: "Poland, Germany and America, and everywhere else."

Nesenoff did not post his video to his website, RabbiLIVE.com, until last week; subsequent to its release a number of Jewish groups and figures asked for Thomas' removal, if not from Hearst as a columnist, than from her front-row center perch in the White House press room.

Thomas had since apologized for the comment, but some of the critics said the apology was evasive."I deeply regret my comments I made last week regarding the Israelis and the Palestinians," said the apology posted on her website. "They do not reflect my heart-felt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance. May that day come soon."

Below is the original version of this post, which went up before Thomas' announcement.The "Helen Thomas tells Israeli Jews to go back to Germany, Poland and the United States" story isn't going away.

Thomas actually made her remarks on the same day as the White House's May 27 American Jewish Heritage Month celebration. But it wasn't posted to the Web until last week, on June 3, by Rabbi David Nesenoff of RabbiLive.com. The chronolgy is important for two reasons:It underscores that Thomas' animous cannot be explained way as some sort of heat-of-the-moment reaction to the flotilla incident.

It helps explain the passionate response from the Jewish community and Israel supporters -- because Thomas' comments hit the blogosphere smack in the middle of what they see as a post-flotilla assault on Israel's legitimacy.

Here's the initial video of her remarks:

Now the apology:I deeply regret my comments I made last week regarding the Israelis and the Palestinians. They do not reflect my heart-felt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance. May that day come soon.The Associated Press is reporting that one school has nixed Thomas -- a longtime critic of Israel, but best known for her confrontational opening questions as the dean of the White House press corps -- as a graduation speaker:

A high school graduation speech by veteran White House reporter Helen Thomas has been canceled because of controversial remarks she made about Israel, the school's principal said in an e-mail Sunday.

Thomas had been scheduled to speak at the June 14 graduation of Walt Whitman High School, but Principal Alan Goodwin wrote in the e-mail to students and parents that she was being replaced. The school in the Washington suburb of Bethesda, Md., hasn't picked a new speaker."Graduation celebrations are not the venue for divisiveness," Goodwin wrote.Thomas has been taking it on the chin in recent days.

Daniel S. Mariaschin of B'nai B'rith: These vile comments, unfortunately, are the culmination of Thomas’ ongoing anti-Israel sentiments that she kept thinly veiled over the years. There should be no place for her in a news organization. Her comments go beyond commentary and land well in the camp that will stop at nothing to delegitimize Israel.

Abe Foxman of the ADL says her apology was insufficient: Helen Thomas's statement of regret does not go far enough. Her remarks were outrageous, offensive and inappropriate, especially since she uttered them on a day the White House had set aside to celebrate the extraordinary accomplishments of American Jews during Jewish American Heritage Month. Her suggestion that Israelis should go back to Poland and Germany is bigoted and shows a profound ignorance of history. We believe Thomas needs to make a more forceful and sincere apology for the pain her remarks have caused.

Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center: Helen, I got two things to say to you -- first, the Jews are not in Palestine, they’re in the state of Israel here they belong and where their ancestors lived for two thousand years before Mohammed was born. Second, you’re the one who should go -- there should be no place for bigots in the White House press room.Lanny Davis: 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. ... 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.

Mort Klein of the Zionist Organization of America: Helen Thomas’ despicable anti-Semitic statements must not be tolerated. She should be fired by Hearst News and barred from the White House press corps. There is no way such vicious denial of Jewish nationhood and connection to the Jewish homeland would be tolerated if such statements were uttered in respect of any other people.

Jerry Silverman of the Jewish Federations of North America and Rabbi Steve Gutow of the Jewish Council of Publica Affairs: Helen Thomas has showed herself to be a bigot and her 'apology' fails to address the anti-Semitism of her comments. She has no place in the White House briefing room and should at the very least be suspended.

Ira Forman of the National Jewish Democratic Council: "Thomas' comments that Jews living in Israel should 'go back home to Poland, Germany, America and everywhere else,' combined with her remark that Israel should 'get the hell out of Palestine' are shocking. These statements call into her question her ability to objectively carry out her responsibilities.... Thomas has a right to her opinions -- as shocking as they might be. She has, by her longevity as a journalist, earned many accolades. We acknowledge that she has issued something of an apology -- though one that does not clearly reject her initial remarks. Nonetheless, we feel compelled to ask Hearst Corp. and Thomas in light of these stunning remarks, to seriously consider whether it is proper to continue in her current role."

Matt Brooks of the Republican Jewish Coalition: I think Ari Fleischer is correct; Hearst should sever its ties with Thomas. It's time for Helen Thomas to give up her special seat in the White House press room and go home.

Shmuley Boteach: Helen Thomas’s stomach-turning comments about the Jews returning to Germany and Poland, where six million were gassed and cremated into piles of ash, are striking for their racism and insensitivity. Whether she said them out of senility or anti-Semitism is beside the point.

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