In today’s Washington Post, there are a series of op-eds responding to veteran news reporter and Hearst columnist Helen Thomas’s resignation following her despicable comments about Israel and Jews.
Richard Cohen offered a much-needed response to Thomas, reminding readers that following World War II and the Holocaust, many Jews did, in fact, try to return to their decimated villages.
The mini-Holocaust that followed the Holocaust itself is not well-known anymore, but it played an outsize role in the establishment of the state of Israel. It was the plight of Jews consigned to Displaced Persons camps in Europe that both moved and outraged President Harry Truman, who supported Jewish immigration to Palestine and, when the time came, the new state itself. Something had to be done for the Jews of Europe. They were still being murdered.
In the Polish city of Kielce, on July 4, 1946 — more than a year after the end of the war — rumors of a Jewish ritual murder triggered a pogrom in which 42 Jewish Holocaust survivors were killed. The Kielce murders were not, by any means, the sole example of why Jews could not “go home.” When I visited the Polish city where my mother had been born, Ostroleka, I was told of a Jew who survived Auschwitz only to be murdered when he tried to reclaim his business. In much of Eastern Europe, Jews feared for their lives.
But leave it to The Nation’s Katrina Vanden Heuvel to put feminism ahead of history and human rights. She was practically drooling over Thomas, referring to her as a “trailblazing journalist” and describing her “legendary career:”
Thomas opened many doors for women journalists; she was the first woman officer of the National Press Club after it opened its doors to women members, the first woman member and president of the White House Correspondents Association and the first woman member of the Gridiron club. In 1998, Thomas was honored by President Clinton as the first recipient of the Helen Thomas Lifetime Achievement Award. She will mark her 90th birthday on Aug. 4.
Excuse me for a minute, but if this is feminism, count me out! Thomas’s anti-semitic and anti-Israel reputation has been with her for years. Sadly, it just took a serious lapse in judgment – and perhaps a loss of faculties – for her to finally make such a repulsive public comment.
Today Hot Air ran a collection of quotes from other Washington journalists recounting Thomas’s biases. Perhaps one of the most telling is this one from Mark Rabin, a former freelance CNN cameraman. In a 2002 conversation at the White House, he recounts Thomas saying: “thank God for Hezbollah” for driving Israel out of Lebanon, adding that “Israel is the cause for 99 percent of all this terrorism.”
Feminism is about equal rights – and freedom – for all. It’s too bad Vanden Heuvel is so quick to forget that.