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Helen Thomas, hypocrisy here and there

It’s impossible to defend Grande Dame of White House journalists Helen Thomas’

recent off the cuff statement that Israeli Jews should go back to Germany…..

or Poland. (She said Israel should get out of Palestine, but it wasn’t clear if she

meant the Occupied Territories, which Israelis should get out of, or Israel behind

the green line.) It was deeply offensive and wrong.

One of this country’s most important and courageous journalists said something

terribly wrong, was massively criticized, apologized for it, and was forced into

retirement. Exactly the way it should be, right? Wrong.

It’s hard to even chart out the hypocrisy of the whole affair. What happened in 2002

when House Republican Majority Leader Dick Armey

called for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians on MSNBC’s Hardball? An outraged

response? Nary a peep. That same year Senator James Inhofe also called for Israel

to permanently retain all of the Occupied Territories, “Because God said so. “ 

 Did he quit? No. And what to make of the fact that Obama’s White House

summoned infinitely more moral outrage for Thomas’ terrible but certainly

not lethal remarks, than for the death of 9 people on the Mavi Marmara, including

a 19-year-old US citizen shot in the head. (One prompted “deep regret”, the other

was “reprehensible”. Guess which was which.)

There’s also the glass house in which Rabbi Nessenoff lives: he’s the one who recorded

the Thomas gotcha video and who, it seems, has offered the world his own

offensive imitation of a Mexican priest, and believes that Palestinians all belong back home…in Jordan.

Taking a short trip over to Israel we discover that the Israeli military recently created

an order that, according to many human rights groups and Ha’aretz,

will enable mass deportation from West Bank.” Who had to retire because of that?

Maybe because it wasn’t an off the cuff remark to suggest ethnic cleansing, but an

actual military order to allow it, its authors escaped opprobrium. Wacky!

Just this week, Likud party MK, Miri Regev shouted at Hanin Zuabi, an Arab member

 of the Knesset from Nazareth who went on the Gaza flotilla,

Get back to Gaza, you traitor!” Sounds familiar, as though Thomas herself could

have said it. Outrage meter? Zero. Then again, Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai

wants Zuabi stripped of her Israeli citizenship, so telling her to go back to a place

she is not from actually seems pretty mild by those standards.

Moshe Yaroni, who abhors what Thomas said,

compares her treatment to Israel’s response to the Jerusalem Post’s Caroline Glick

who is surely responsible for what will go down as one of the most morally heinous

pieces of agitprop in modern history:

In Israel, the premier woman journalist in the country went a hell of a lot

farther, in a premeditated, rather than an impetuous fashion. And there is

 hardly a peep in response in her home country.

Caroline Glick is well-known to readers of right-wing e-mail lists, and of

course, of the Jerusalem Post, where she is the deputy managing editor and a

regular columnist. She is also a fellow at the extremist neoconservative Center

 for Security Policy in Washington.

Glick herself is an extremist, and even those who agree with her (and who

would, of course, not refer to her as an extremist) would have to agree that

she situates herself well to the right of the current Israeli government. And

that’s all well and good; she’s an op-ed writer, and she is certainly entitled to

her opinions.

But at her web site, Latma, Glick has raised her vitriol to a whole new level.

In a video overflowing with racism, a group of Israelis satirize the Israeli

attack on the Gaza flotilla. You can see it for yourself at the link above, if you can

make it through the whole thing.

Caroline Glick with fellow travelers, Morton Klein and John Bolton

In a most contemptible fashion, almost every trope of bigotry is on display in

the video, which features the contention that the massive suffering in Gaza

is all an elaborate fabrication. For a quick rundown of this “fabricated”

suffering, check out B’Tselem’s summary of conditions in Gaza.

This level of cruelty is truly astonishing. Even if one contends that the Gaza

blockade is a necessary security measure (see my earlier article for why it

has the opposite effect), it is appalling to see fellow Jews laughing about it.

 And don’t we know all too well the offense in denying such things?

The punch line, of course, is that because of her truly abominable and utterly vile

video, Caroline Glick and is being hailed as a Hasbara hero in Israel- while one of

our few truly great journalists has ended an otherwise remarkable career. Yaroni


No, the real concern, the real question is where is the Israeli outrage? We

wouldn’t expect it from the government, of course. In fact, the Government

Press Office e-mailed the video to journalists and later apologized, saying it had

been done in error. That is unlikely to say the least. Mark Regev, the

Prime Minister’s Office Spokesman said “I called my kids in to watch it because I

thought it was funny. It is what Israelis feel. But the government has nothing to do

with it.” The courageous blog, Coteret, run by Didi Remez, blasts the video

and all it represents. But in the mainstream Israeli media and commentary,

there is nothing. This blatantly hateful and racist video is perfectly acceptable

in Israel.

Glick, on her blog, magnifies her hypocrisy by spending a great many words

blasting Thomas for her offensive remarks.

Grit Tv’s Laura Flanders may be onto something when she says:

Thomas’s crime wasn’t just Antisemitism — it was Antisemitism in defense of

Palestine. That’s the true source of the outrage. The outrage that Obama and

Biden and most other U.S. officials, to say nothing of the majority of the press

corps, can’t seem to find for others.

I’m not sure. Had Helen Thomas made a similar remark about African Americans,

for example, it’s possible the same fate would have befallen her. If only I could feel

confident that all those power-brokers cared as much about my Arab and Muslim

friends as they seem to care about me… as a Jew of course.

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