Monday, June 7, 2010

Helen Thomas, Racist

Over his long career (which is still going strong), talk show host Bob Grant used to say that liberals are the ultimate hypocrites. Liberals (esp. liberal journalists, although that may be redundant) are the ones always labeling others racists, when it's obvious what they're all about. One of them, Helen Thomas, resigned her position with the Hearst News Service after her "controversial comments" about Israel went viral (and viral is a good word for it) on the Internet. Her retirement came with a lame apology.

Many thoughtful bloggers have weighed in on this so-called journalist's loathesome comments. William Jacobson of Legal Insurrection had this to say:
The Islamist-Leftist Coalition repeatedly seeks to delegitimize Israel by claiming that Israelis are Europeans who should go back home. This racial component is key to portraying Israelis as European racists and denying the legitimacy of Israel through coalitions with "people of color."
But the portrayal of Israel as a European implant is false.
In the immediate aftermath of Israel's War of Independence (after the Arabs rejected the U.N. partition plan which would have created the first Palestinian state ever), approximately 850,000 Jews fled or were expelled from Arab and other Muslim countries, with the majority going to Israel.
What happened in 1947-1949 was an exchange of populations, with roughly equal numbers of non-Jewish Arabs leaving what now is Israel and the West Bank, and Jews leaving Arab and Muslim countries to go to Israel.
Those Jewish refugees from Muslim countries, and their descendants, now account for roughly half of Israel's population. Israel also went to great lengths to rescue the Ethiopian and Yemeni Jewish communities, among others.
William Katz, the editor of Urgent Agenda wrote, in part, the following:
Helen Thomas's disgusting call for Israeli Jews to "go home" to Poland and Germany, where the Holocaust took place, is even more sinister than it seems. Remarks like that are part of an international campaign to delegitimize the state of Israel by denying that Jews have a history there. But many of the same forces behind this campaign are also militantly anti-Christian. After all, if Jews have no history in Israel then, by definition, Christianity was never invented, since there could not have been a Jew named Jesus.
And Neo-Neocon added this:
Thomas’s reference to Germany and Poland as the original “home” of the Jews of Israel also expresses, among other things, her adherence to the false and misleading anti-Israel party line that Israel is composed of European Jews, which ignores the vast numbers of Jews from Arab countries who have settled there since its founding. And her particular mention of Poland as the Jewish “home” made me think of the complex yet ultimately sorrowful history of the Jews in that country...Where did that small number of surviving Polish Jews go? The answer, for quite a few, was “Israel”—the only country on earth that was/is bound to take them. But for the Helen Thomases of the world, the Jews must leave there as well—that is, if they are allowed to live at all.
Historian Victor Davis Hanson offers this perspective:
Of course, Thomas doesn’t care that nearly half the Israelis are of Middle Eastern heritage, that many Israelis can claim a family residence in “Palestine” longer than her own in the United States, that a Jewish presence in Israel dates to the dawn of recorded history, that many of Israel’s older generation were ethnically cleansed from cities like Baghdad and Cairo after the 1967 war, or that her views are in sync with the Hamas charter and Iranian promises. Note also that Thomas is not concerned with occupation in such places as Tibet, Cyprus, or Ossetia; such human-rights violations as Turkey’s treatment of the Kurds; such violence on the high seas as the North Korean attack, Iran’s hijacking of a British ship, or the pirates off Somalia. All these are mere abstractions — unless they involve the Jews.
Addendum: On the American Spectator website, Aaron Goldstein points out that "Never mind that Gaza and the West Bank were under Egyptian and Jordanian control from 1948 to 1967, respectively. Isn't it curious that no one was advocating Palestinian statehood while Egypt and Jordan were occupying those territories?"