No Thanks, Helen Thomas

Editorial

Published June 08, 2010, issue of June 18, 2010.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Let’s shed no tears for Helen Thomas. She exemplified the adage that reminds us to quit while we’re ahead. In her case, how much neater it would have been if she had simply stepped away from her front-row seat to the nation’s business before the ravages of age further loosened her tongue to utter some pretty deplorable thoughts. In her later years, her questioning of presidents and their spokespeople didn’t reflect a kind of praiseworthy skepticism. She was mean, violating journalistic values that some in the press still hold.

But say this about her flight from the stage: It was fast. And there is a weird solace in that.

Her remarks, so well known by now that they are not worth repeating here, were clearly unacceptable. There were a few voices of sympathy, or perhaps empathy, but very few. Her slurs against Israel and the Jewish people — against the historical record, really — were indefensible, and nobody in the mainstream was going to try to rationalize them.

At a time when the movement to delegitimize Israel is gaining strength in some unpleasant quarters, it is good to know that what accounts for mainstream America won’t accept Thomas’s suggestion that Jews don’t belong in a Jewish state. It’s not just the ridiculous notion of “going back” to Poland or Germany (or Syria or Yemen) that is beyond the pale.

Thomas’s swift fall from grace reflects an understanding in the broad American public that, more than 60 years after the birth of the State of Israel, an indigenous Jewish presence is there to stay. Under what conditions, within what borders — there’s still work to be done. But there is no going back.






Find us on Facebook!
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.