June 7, 2010
Helen Thomas resigns after making controversial statement about Jews living in Israel
Veteran White House reporter Helen Thomas resigned today, after saying during an interview at the White House Jewish Heritage Celebration on May 27 that the Jews “should get the hell out of Palestine” since the Palestinians “are occupied.”
The video of the interview, posted on RabbiLIVE.com and YouTube, was widely seen. In the same chat with Thomas, the interviewer—Rabbi David F. Nesenoff of RabbiLIVE.com—asked Thomas where the Jews living in Israel (or Palestine) should go if they were to leave.
They should “go home,” Thomas said, to “Poland, Germany…and America and everywhere else.”
Her remarks promoted Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center to say that her statement “shows off her bigotry.” Hier expressed his views on Thomas at a pro-Israel rally in Los Angeles on June 6, which was held to counter international condemnation of Israel in the wake of the flotilla crisis.
On Thomas’ resignation, Hier, during a phone interview today, said, “It was the only thing to do, whether she was resigned or pushed out – whatever it is, it’s great to see her go and I hope that she spends her time now that she’s out of it, thinking about the consequences of the bigotry she expressed.”
Thomas will turn 90-years-old this August and her resignation comes despite her apology on June 4, when she said her previous statements “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.”
Following Thomas’ departure from her position, a statement released by the White House Correspondents Associations says, though “We do not police the speech of our members or colleagues…the incident does revive the issue of whether it is appropriate for an opinion columnist to have a front row seat in the WH briefing room.”
Below, watch the video of Thomas making the controversial statement during the May 27 interview.