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June 6th, 2010
07:32 PM ET

Helen Thomas under fire for comments on Israeli Jews

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.”

Read the full story

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Israel • Judaism

soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. Evangelinfol

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    November 28, 2013 at 2:53 am |
  2. MM from Toronto

    Uncle Sam, get your facts straight. Israel has sat down many times at the peace table, given up land won by war for the thought that they would have true peace. '48, 53, 67, 73 all wars declared by the Arabs and lost by the Arabs. Is this a childhood game of 'do over"?? They'll keep 'doing it over' until they get it right?? They had a chance for 99% of everything they wanted with the Clinton efforts: it choked him but Rabin shook hands with Arafat in front of millions. Arafat refused to sign because he knew he would be assassinated if he did.

    This tells me we will never have peace with the Arabs. Israel, quite rightly, refuses to commit suicide to accommodate them. And should they destroy Israel, do the western nations really think they are going to stop at that??

    June 9, 2010 at 4:43 pm |
    • Tellurian

      Israeli propagandists would have you believe that the 40 plus years of military occupation of the Palestinians was because the "Arabs" attacked Israel in 1967, but the fact is the 1967 war began when Israel made Pearl Harbor type, sneak attack air strikes against Egyptian and Jordanian airfields, and then the Israelis made blitzkrieg style attacks with their tank forces into Egypt and Jordan. The Israelis started the 1967 war, not the "Arabs". The Israelis believe they should be allowed to keep any lands that they successfully invaded, just the way Hitler and Stalin believed the same. It is amazing how successful the Israeli propaganda has been in making people believe the Israeli military and settlement occupation of the Palestinians is the "fault" of the Arabs.

      June 10, 2010 at 2:34 pm |
  3. Tellurian

    Someone at CNN is intentionally manipulating this story by chopping up the video to remove the portion before the segment that was shown. If you watched the deleted footage you would see that she was talking about the Israeli occupation and suppression of the Palestinians that has gone on for more than 40 years. She was saying that if the Israelis do not wish to end the occupation and allow a 2 state solution then they should leave and let the Palestinians live in peace. It would be as if the US government was suppressing the Native Americans and treating them like second class citizens, then someone saying the government of people descended from European immigrants should go back to Europe. Should a person lose their job for saying European descendants should go back to Europe if they are not going to treat Native Americans fairly and with respect? Why has CNN chopped up the video to not show the prior discussion? Is there an Israeli bias at CNN?

    June 9, 2010 at 12:19 pm |
  4. Tamara Steerman Gordon

    Dear Helen: I am almost as old as you, and have followed your career almost from the beginning. I appreciate the fine work you have done for women and for politics. I am greatly saddened by the fact that you, of all people, do not recognize that "these people," as you say, were home Please take your front row seat again. You have much more to offer our country. .

    June 8, 2010 at 6:07 pm |
  5. Captain Gort

    I watched Jon Stewart last night. He was on a roll, basically equating Thomas with a a chimpanzee, a full steam character teardown that he is so expert (like Hannity) at doing, complete with laugh track. This is a well oiled machine...recently used on Carter, too. Don't mess with Israel or anything "jewish" -at your own peril!
    Fact is: this Thomas event should not bother anybody that is "OK" with the fact that the media, Banks, stock market, Military, and Washington itself are now solidly controlled by those who favor Israel. Dissenters mus simply keep their "pie hole" shut. Read: "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy" avail on Amazon and decide for yourself. However, I do believe that this is an infringement on Thomas's right of free speech. I've always wondered how life would be, living in an occupied country...and now I know. But be thankful- its one hell of a lot better than being under the Taliban!

    June 8, 2010 at 9:14 am |
  6. Uncle Sam

    Reality, erecting the diving walls was a terrible idea. They basically split the city in half. Now the people who have lively hoods can no longer continue on in peace. Their lives are messed up now. Second, this is the equivalent of the Berlin Wall. Also, you cant consider the passages in the Quraan. The Quraan discusses a country called Israel (1400 years before it ever existed). The issue isnt to protect yourself with a wall, the issue is how to make peace with the Palestinians so you can live in harmony.

    As for everyone who thinks Israel cant acheive peace with the region because everyone hates them, look at the situation today. The whole region (minus Iran), has offered Israel the carrot to sit down to the negotiating table to work towards peace. This is the closest the region has ever come to peace. And now, Israel refuses to sit at that table. And they even call Hamas a terrorist organization. How can one call an elected government of a country a terrorist organization? Its ridiculous. The people elected them in a democratic election, therefore the people want them.

    June 7, 2010 at 9:51 pm |
    • Reality

      Uncle Sam, the following sums it up: "Mohammed could not have known the size of the world, but several passages in the Koran show that he envisioned Islam dominating all of it, however large it might be: “He it is who sent his messenger . . . that he may cause it [Islam] to prevail over all religions´(Koran 9:33, M.M. Ali; see also 48:28 and 61:9). M.M. Ali designates these three passages as “the prophecy of the ultimate triumph of Islam in the whole world.”

      June 7, 2010 at 10:23 pm |
  7. Uncle Sam

    Also, it should be interesting what happens in the weeks ahead. I hope Netanyahu as a good plan to work towards peace.

    June 7, 2010 at 9:50 pm |
  8. Maggie

    Helen Thomas's remark about Israeli Jews completely missed the mark. The Jewish/Palestinian fight for Israel has gone on for thousands of years, and will no doubt continue. Israel doesn't "belong" to the Palestinians–in fact, the land serves as a protection for Jewish people everywhere. The idea that Thomas thinks Jews should "find another place to live" is hauntingly reminiscent of the pre-Holocaust feelings across Europe. Israel was created specifically to combat these feelings by giving all Jews a place to call home. I am amazed by such a well-regarded reporter's pure ignorance and disregard of the entire Jewish race. There isn't another country on this planet for the Jewish religion, although there are a multitude of countries that welcome Islam and Christianity, and when you are in the majority, like Thomas, it must be hard to remember that some people don't have dozens of countries where they are welcome. For some of us Israel is our only hope.

    June 7, 2010 at 9:23 am |
    • Uncle Sam

      Maggie, again, why was Israel created in that spot? They picked of all the places, one of the most religiously charged regions of the world to create their country. It was as if they didnt care about what was going to happen in the region, and they created their own country to gather all the Jews of the world. I am fine with the idea that the Jews want a country of their own to live in as a safe haven from prosecution or whatever, but forcing other people out of their land, to create a country of their own is just wrong. To migrate to that country (Jordan or Palestine, or wherever) and settle there, and make peace with the government and live in harmony with everyone living there, would have made this so much better for everyone. Instead by forcefully moving people (and killing them) you made enemies with a lot of people. With the Gaza embargo, and the halt of the humanitarian aid, it has exacerbated the situation. And because of that there is no longer an opportunity for peace. If Israel really cared about its existence, and to make peace with the region, they should also show that they care for peace. And instead of taking steps to protect itself, it should be also taking steps to help neighborly countries get back on their feet. Keeping Gaza in a terrible state of human suffering doesnt help at all.

      June 7, 2010 at 9:51 pm |
  9. Reality

    Israel- Its formation was approved by the UN in 1948. It should honor the original UN agreement and live within the described borders. Considering the hate generated by passages in the koran, erecting dividing walls between Muslims and Jews was a great idea. UN forces should control these walls.

    And Jerusalem should be made into an international city under the control and protection of the UN.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:44 am |
  10. İsmail

    Why is this filed under "Religion," and not "Politics"? This is not a religious statement or news. It's politics and international. I don't get the religion angle of this.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:05 am |
    • Barry Johnstone.

      It is religion – every time – that causes these problems! Which is why I'm an enthusiastic atheist. If ALL religion was removed from the horrible situation in the Middle East, what might happen then? Would the various peoples have co-operation, peace and get on with each other – just like some other countrys. I don't think that politics has the power by itself to create a workable peace, because unfortunately politics has to walk hand-in-hand with religion to be effective. If religion was removed from politics – the entire world might benefit! Woopsy! I forgot. "Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun"

      June 9, 2010 at 8:44 am |
  11. MikeP

    She's 90 years old! I'm typically shocked when 90 year old men and women are NOT crotchety old bigots, frankly, rather than when they are.

    June 7, 2010 at 2:36 am |
  12. David

    Subtract Israel from modern history and voila!: We have a world with no Hamas, no Hezbollah, no war in Iraq, and little or no conflict between U.S. and Syria and Iran. Very likely there would be little to fuel the hatred of Osama bin Laden and his ilk and, hence, no 9/11. Millions of people could come out of their graves and hiding places into a much more peaceful world. Hundreds of billions of dollars would be saved. Given this alternative reality, one can only conclude that the British Mandate that fulfilled the Zionist's imagined covenant with God to return to the Promised Land of ancient history was easily the greatest blunder in Human history. Modern Israel - no matter how democratic or well intentioned - may well be the source of World War III – and a real and unprophesied Armegeddon.
    . Although the world arguably be poorer without Jewish culture, it’s important to understand what the effects of Zionism and the taking of an Arab country have been.

    June 7, 2010 at 12:33 am |
    • janwat

      Some one would have come up with something/somebody to hate.

      June 7, 2010 at 8:24 pm |
  13. sjenner

    Israel has a right to exist, something Thomas obviously disagrees with. She thinks the Jews should return to those parts of the world that oppressed them for centuries and which then tried to exterminate them all. Israel is a highly defensive country by necessity. Most Muslim countries don't recognize it as a valid, existing country. Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and other countries either directly or indirectly sponsor terrorist organizations bent on the destruction of Israel. Important to note: they are also bent on the destruction of the Jewish people (Hitler's Mein Kampf is still a best seller in those parts of the world). There can be no peace until Israel has security. And security requires everyone to acknowledge Israel's right to exist. Some may accuse Israel of lacking a certain degree of refinement in dealing with its neighbors. But at least Israel doesn't deny the right of its neighbors to actually exist.

    June 6, 2010 at 11:48 pm |
    • Barry Johnstone.

      Given that the Israeli's had the horror of the WW2 Holocaust, it's absolutely no wonder they are as militant and aggressive as they are! Now they face the very real prospect of a second Holocaust by the surrounding Muslim "community".The Israeli backs are against the wall! I wish the Israelis and the Arabs peace, which might be expensive, but war is much more expensive, so please don't screw up lives on the other side of the world!

      June 9, 2010 at 8:26 am |
  14. Reality

    Both the Palestinians and the Jews should return to their origins as sheep and goat herders in the deserts of Saudi Arabia and the Sinai.

    June 6, 2010 at 10:33 pm |
  15. Leiza Ann Duckworth/Wafer I

    Don't let anyone touch a hair on that old ladies head!As if only Israel has the moral high ground on justic,and hyprocracy!We all know why the Jews were given a pass into the Middle East.But having come so far,out from Egypt,liberated out the camps in Germany,and the oppressions that thier people have suffered in other parts of the world,(including America!). Should they want to wish anyone worse as they progress in those regions where ohters have existed for consecutive generations?I for one think they lack a certain gene'cequa'in thier approach to other cultures.Lending to a back lash of adverse reactions to thier presence among thier fellow man!Which makes me very sad for them,and thier blatent ignorance to these facts!

    June 6, 2010 at 10:14 pm |
    • janwat

      Je ne sais quoi means I don't know what.

      June 7, 2010 at 8:21 pm |
  16. Edward Stein

    Ms Thomas's comments were hatefull, but more important totally wrong. She makes the assumptions the Palestine people were there first. Let me ask a question. How was America, South America and places like South Africa established? A bunch of white men got off a boat and took over from the natives. In Iseral, the Jews were the natives. Both the Christains and the Muslim took over and sent the Jews out on the diaspara. We are back and we will not give up our land again.

    Also Farida on GPS said in his commentary today, he assumed the Jews should negociate with Iran, Seria and the terroirst groups in Gaza and Leabanon. That Idea was tried before WWII and we know where that led. Never again! The Turks want to move away from a secular Gov't and the set up this problem to support there position. If they were so interested in the death of musilim, why did they not say anything when 80 were killed in PK this past week. That hardly made the news.

    What everyone must recognize is the Jewish State will do what ever it takes to defend itself. You hit Israel and it will hit you back twice as hard. We are the natives and never again. If you want peace, Israel will negociate as long as you agree they have a right to live in peace.

    June 6, 2010 at 8:36 pm |
    • Leiza Ann Duckworth/Wafer I

      What peace can anyone have with any negociations?When one has to choose to fight! It's like holding the carrott behind the back.When one peaks to see which hand holds it,"he gets the stick!"

      June 6, 2010 at 10:24 pm |
    • MikeP

      There will never be security for Israel. Israel is surrounded by people who hate them and who are willing to die to hurt them. Neither side of that conflict is getting more tolerant of the other side over time, they are simply becoming more polarized in their viewpoints. You can't negotiate when the minimum acceptable position for each side is the diametric opposite of the other's.

      The western nations keep things just under all-out war by holding an axe over the head of the arab world, and providing a lot of smaller axes to Israel, but that's just a stopgap measure. We can stay like that, with things being terrible, but not genocidal, forever. The only serious solution is for everybody to take a hands-off approach and let Israel and the arab world fight it out in a dirty, bloody war that, once finished, will settle it in one direction or the other. Both sides seem perfectly interested in doing that, too.

      June 7, 2010 at 2:29 am |
    • NotSureAboutThis

      Why are we, the US, involved in this?

      June 8, 2010 at 4:30 pm |
    • ideacanon

      Wrong and racist.
      Jews are not a people- Hebrews are, Arabs, Nazarenes and Quraish are groups of people. How intellectual is it to say that a Polish Jew is a Semite or a German Jewish convert is a Semite. It isn't intelligent: the people are Saxon or some Balto-Slavic group- Semite. So they are not the Hebrews (Palestinians and Israelites) that were ran off.
      And Thomas made direct reference to European Jews not anyone that could genetically be traced to that area.

      Were the heck did you learn history? Africa, South America and South Africa are not good defenses for your argument, they are all lands occupied by intruders. Intruders like those who intruded on Palestine and Israel after WWII to give European Jewish refugees a place to go.

      June 8, 2010 at 4:47 pm |
    • Pete

      So, point made on how the US was created. Big difference – the indigenous people you are kicking out are backed by 1/3 of the world with a ton of guns and money. So treating the Palestinians like garbage may not be in Israel's best interests. Playing colonialist only works when the opposition isn't on a level playing field.

      I do (at this point) acknowledge Israel's right to exist. I just don't acknowledge it's right to expand wherever and however it sees fit. No Gaza, no Palestine, back down and try your best to get along. Because you're not doing that now, and my vote is to not back you when the inevitable retaliations come. Because you, Israel, are the oppressor here.

      June 9, 2010 at 11:44 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.