Helen Thomas | Israel | News

White House Reporter Helen Thomas to Retire Immediately


White House veteran reporter Helen Thomas will retire, effective immediately, following fallout from her recent remarks that the Jews "should get the hell out of Palestine." Mediaite has the announcement from Hearst.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs condemned the remarks on Monday.

Said Gibbs: "I think those remarks were offensive and reprehensible. I think she should and has apologized. Obviously those remarks do not reflect the opinion, certainly, I assume, of most of the people in here, and certainly not of the administration."

Thomas apologized Friday on her website: “I deeply regret my comments I made last week regarding the Israelis and the Palestinians. They 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.”

Nevertheless, Thomas was dropped by her speakers agency on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Rabbi Nesenoff, whose video interview captured the remarks, says more footage is coming.

Mediaite reports:

"Nesenoff noted that he was just as surprised as anyone else at Thomas’ comments and that he had intended the interview to be 'light': 'I was dumbfounded and hurt by it.' Nesenoff also revealed that 'there was more to the video' and that 'part two is coming out in the next day or so.' Nesenoff would not disclose what 'more' consisted of except that the visual 'explains it all.' I must admit I find the fact he is waiting a 'day or two' to get it up when there is clearly such a clamor for this story somewhat questionable. Additionally, one wonders whether Thomas will still have her job in a day or two, and if she doesn’t whether any additional video will really matter in the larger picture."

The original interview, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. wait,what exactly was her crime here? Suggesting that the Israelis shouldn't be able to just do whatever they please to whomever they please?

    Sorry, but I must say I don't really disagree with her here. The only thing that disappoints me is that she apologized.

    Because God forbid anyone criticize Israel.

    Posted by: Daniel | Jun 7, 2010 11:50:04 AM

  2. Yikes! Whatever you do, if that woman gives you an apple, don't eat it.

    Posted by: crispy | Jun 7, 2010 11:57:29 AM

  3. She's of Lebanese origin, not a lesbian.

    She's 89! She might lose her job? I'm sure she's quacking in her boots.

    It's not my blog, so whatever, but I think this one got through the search filter on the misspelling of "lesbian" angle. I have always believed that a human being was involved in this blog and not that it was computer generated.

    I remember Helen sticking it to LBJ, Nixon, Reagan and Bush. She's a good person.

    Posted by: John | Jun 7, 2010 12:01:47 PM

  4. I have to agree with Daniel - What on earth did she say that was so wrong? The only quibble I have is if she actually said _Jews_ should get out of Palestine (but that word isn't part of the quote); I would simply say that Israel should get the hell out of Palestine, and there certainly isn't anything wrong with that sentiment.

    Posted by: LemmyC | Jun 7, 2010 12:02:44 PM

  5. This is obviously a side-show created by the right in the US to deflect criticism away from the idiocy of Benjamin Netanyahu (sorta like the Perez Hilton rant against Miss sluts-her-name). But, I have to ask Daniel et al which concentration camp in Germany and Poland they suggest the Jews go back to, considering that that was the last place of "residence" of German and Polish Jewry?

    Posted by: Observer1000 | Jun 7, 2010 12:09:27 PM

  6. I must be the only one who thinks she looks like the Family Guy character 'Herbert' lol

    Posted by: Rob | Jun 7, 2010 12:12:33 PM

  7. In her apology she says that "...peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance..."

    Mutual means mutual.

    But she forgot the one thing that's even harder than mutual respect and tolerance.


    Posted by: JeffNYC | Jun 7, 2010 12:17:02 PM

  8. She didn't say Jews should get out of Palestine meaning Gaza and the West Bank, she said--and meant--that they should go "back to Germany and Poland," 'cause, you know, that worked out so well for them the first time.

    It pains me to say that Helen Thomas is a bigot, but it's plain as the nose on her face. She's also woefully ignorant of the fact that half the citizens of Israel are not of Eastern European descent but actually from the region.

    It's akin to suggesting that certain Native-American tribes "go back to Germany"!

    Posted by: Feral | Jun 7, 2010 12:17:03 PM

  9. I don't neccessarily think her comment was wrong, just naive and unrealistic. I'm actually surprised by the outrage, although people have been gunning for her for ages.

    Posted by: Gregoire | Jun 7, 2010 12:17:30 PM

  10. She clearly spoke in anger, stung by the reprehensible needless deaths of 9 unarmed people last week by Israeli forces.

    I don't agree with what she said and she has apologized. The story isn't Helen Thomas. The story is Israel's disproportionate, free wheeling and frankly stupid use of force.

    Posted by: yonkersconquers | Jun 7, 2010 12:20:07 PM

  11. A sad end to an illustrious career. I wouldn't go as far as what she said, but I have to admit I get more and more tired of Israel's actions by the day.

    Posted by: Snowlowe | Jun 7, 2010 12:23:38 PM

  12. Strange comment from her, as Israel has been home to the Jews before that land was even called 'Palestine.' Jews were in that land, called Judea, until driven out by the Romans, who then renamed the territory Palestine, then inhabited by greeks and romans. Arabs showed up about 800 years later. So it seems that the Jews are already in their ancestral homeland and Helen should STFU already.

    Posted by: b mac | Jun 7, 2010 12:28:53 PM

  13. What's up w/Israel? Helen apologized already and she was under a lot of stress from the boat incident. Does she have to crucify herself on a cross to make them happy....oh, er....wait.

    Although I think really that it's those in government and the White House who have simply found an excuse to try to get rid of her, as she's been the only journalist for over a decade now who asks the tough questions in the WH Press Room. Once she's gone then everyone in there will be administration lapdogs.

    Posted by: Ian | Jun 7, 2010 12:31:23 PM

  14. Wow, Ian, blaming Jews for the death of Jesus? Never heard that one before. Stay classy.

    Posted by: Feral | Jun 7, 2010 12:35:03 PM

  15. So it seems that the Jews are already in their ancestral homeland and Helen should STFU already.
    Posted by: b mac

    Um, NO. Current research has definitively proven that the original Israeli Prophets actually came from south west Arabia. So other than a book of fiction called the Bible, the jewish people technically have NO land rights originally given to them to be in Palestine/Israel other than plopping themselves into the territory, same as we Americans did by displacing Native Americans.

    Posted by: Ian | Jun 7, 2010 12:35:15 PM

  16. Feral, let's put things in context. Israel is trying to get people to repatriate Israel...only if they are Jewish. Muslims and Christians that were driven out over the centuries are not welcome in the same manner. In most cases, Israeli law prohibits non-Jews from acquiring more land and denies them rights to water resources.

    A comparable American situation would be if the Mormons seized southern Illinois and northern Missouri where they started from, put all non-mormons (whom they consider sub-human trash) into ghettos of the worst land in the area and walled off from their God given land from them. Periodically the Mormons would go into these ghettos to harass the people they displaced and respond to kids throwing rocks at fine Mormon soldiers with machine gun fire. To top it off, the Mormon then call for all Mormon, wherever they are in the world, to come back to this area to get given land to settle, but prevent any and all other people that might have occupied the region at one time from entry.

    In as much as I support Israel's right to exist and defend itself from external attack, its internal policies are reprehensible religionism on par with the most fanatical Muslim states (eg Iran). Israel's continued oppression of its own people (people to whom they deny citizenship on account of religion) is a crime against humanity. They fact that the crime has occurred slowly over the course of 60 years instead of in a relatively short people like the Holocaust, is no excuse or defense for Israel's behavior. It time for Israel's ability to play the victim card is long overdue.

    Posted by: Craig | Jun 7, 2010 12:37:23 PM

  17. FERAL pinned it. I don't think everyone understands what Thomas was saying. She was not speaking of the West Bank or Gaza, she was talking about Palestine, AKA, Israel. She was saying the the state of Israel should cease to exist. Good-bye to gay pride in Tel Aviv and that beautiful city. Good-bye to Israelis. Under her picture, it would all cease to exist, and Israeli Jews should be forced to repatriate to Europe so Palestinians could take over their country

    Posted by: Mike C. | Jun 7, 2010 12:40:30 PM

  18. Why are you promoting this stupid racist idea that anyone who is anti-Israeli is anti-Jewish? Thomas said ISRAEL should get the hell out of palestine, not "the Jews", as you said. You are making a terrible conflation there.

    Posted by: Justin Lippi | Jun 7, 2010 12:49:40 PM

  19. It's amazing she's held on this long.

    Posted by: anon | Jun 7, 2010 12:52:33 PM

  20. Um, no. Craig pinned it.

    Posted by: anon | Jun 7, 2010 12:53:55 PM

  21. Sad that this legend is going out this way. It's too bad that she made these dumb remarks and that the right-wing was able to take them and run.

    Posted by: KFLO | Jun 7, 2010 12:56:58 PM

  22. It amazes me that so many posters claim to know what Helen Thomas meant by her remarks. I am not aware of any anti-semetic comments from her in the past. I wonder if, at 89, her mind may be starting to go. She has had a remarkable career. It is too bad that this is what people will remember.

    Posted by: voet | Jun 7, 2010 12:58:18 PM

  23. Having read the inane pronouncements of Leviticus, I reject the Bible as authority for anything.

    Leave Helen alone! She's 89 and was surely one of the most admirable women of her generation. Hasn't your old grandma blurted out some blunt opinion on occasion?

    If we can leave Brittany alone, we can leave Helen alone.


    Posted by: John | Jun 7, 2010 12:58:40 PM

  24. Don't feel she did anything wrong at all. This isn't even a gay issue but since it's here I honestly think it is time we start questioning are unquestioned support of all things Israel.

    Posted by: Willie | Jun 7, 2010 1:10:31 PM

  25. meant to say "our"

    Posted by: Willie | Jun 7, 2010 1:11:35 PM

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