Senior White House Press Corps member Helen Thomas may have apologized for her recent on-camera remarks calling on Jews to “get the hell out of Palestine” and go home to Europe, but her reputation seems beyond repair amid the abounding calls for her resignation.
In the wake of the incident, Thomas’ agent Nine Speaker Inc. announced that it would no longer represent her.
“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,” wrote Diane Nine, agency president.
“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,” wrote Nine.
Lanny Davis, who served as former president Bill Clinton’s White House counsel, said that Thomas should be stripped of her honors for having crossed the line of freedom of speech.
“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,” wrote Davis in a statement.. “She has a right to criticize Israel…. 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 that began 2,600 years with the first tragic and violent Diaspora caused bythe Romans.”
“If she had asked all blacks to go back to Africa, what would the White House Correspondents Association’s position be as to whether she deserved WhiteHouse press room credentials - much less a privileged honorary seat?” wrote Davis, referring to Thomas’ seat in the middle of the front row at the White House briefing room.
“Does anyone doubt that my friends Ann Compton and Joe Lockhart, whobelieve in the First Amendment right of free expression as much as I do,would not be as tolerant and protective of Helen’s privileges and honorsif 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”, concluded Davis.
Former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said that Thomas should be fired or at the very least have her White House press credentials revoked.
Fleischer, who served under President George W. Bush’s secretary, issued a statement on Sunday saying Thomas, who he used to consider a close friend, “has showed herself to be an anti-Semitic bigot.”
Thomas could not be reached by “Haaretz” to comment.