Rabbi David Nesenoff: Any comments on Israel. We’re asking everybody today for any comments...Clinton Press Secretary Joe Lochart:
Thomas: Tell em to get the hell out of Palestine.
Rabbi: Any better comments?
Thomas: Remember these people are occupied and it’s their land. It’s not German; it’s not Poland.
Rabbi: So where should they go? What should they do?
Thomas: They can go home?
Rabbi: Where’s home?
Thomas: Poland, Germany.
Rabbi: So you’re saying Jews should go back to Poland and Germany?
Thomas: And America and everywhere else.
The good news is Ari no longer has the weight of government behind him in intimidating voices he doesn't agree with.”Lanny J. Davis, former Special Counsel to President Clinton (1996-98) and White House spokesman:
Helen Thomas, who I used to consider a close friend and who I used to respect, has showed herself to be an anti-Semitic bigot. This is not about disagreement about her criticisms of Israel. She has a right to criticize Israel and that is not the same as being an anti-Semite.Ann Comption, ABC and head of WHCA:
However, her statement that Jews in Israel should leave Israel and go back to Poland or Germany is an ancient and well-known anti-Semitic stereotype of the Alien Jew not belonging in the "land of Israel" -- one that began 2600 years with the first tragic and violent diaspora of the Jews at the hands of the Romans.
If she had asked all Blacks to go back to Africa, what would the White House Correspondents Association position be as to whether she deserved White House press room credentials -- much less a privileged honorary seat?
Does anyone doubt that my friends Ann Compton, head of the WHCA, and Joe Lockhart, who believe in the First Amendment right of free expression as much as I do, would be as tolerant and protective of Helen's privileges and honors in the White House press room as they appear to be if she had been asking Blacks to return to Africa? Or Native Americans to Asia and South America, from which they came 8,000 or more years ago? I doubt it.
Of course Helen has the right as a private citizen under the First Amendment to speak her mind, even as an anti-Jewish bigot - but not as a member, much less privileged member with a reserved seat, in the WH press corps.
"Helen has been a columnist for about a decade now and her strong beliefs on the Middle East are well known. I think I saw that she regretted these remarks and realized they were hurtful and inappropriate. Ari Fleischer is a private citizen and certainly free to express his opinion that this was a firing offense even for an opinion columnist. I would agree with you that Helen enjoys a rather special status as the White House. But I think her employer will have to decide whether the comments went over the line."This was not the first time that she has shown her being an anti-Semite.