Former White House correspondent Helen Thomas stands by her controversial remarks on Israel that led to her retirement.

By The Associated Press

Former White House correspondent Helen Thomas has acknowledged she touched a nerve with remarks about Israel that led to her retirement. But she says the comments were “exactly what I thought,” even though she realized soon afterward that it was the end of her job.

“I hit the third rail. You cannot criticize Israel in this country and survive,” Thomas told Ohio station WMRN-AM in a sometimes emotional 35-minute interview that aired Tuesday. It was recorded a week earlier by WMRN reporter Scott Spears at Thomas’ Washington, D.C., condominium.

Thomas, 90, stepped down from her job as a columnist for Hearst News Service in June after a rabbi and independent filmmaker videotaped her outside the White House calling on Israelis to get “out of Palestine.” She gave up her front row seat in the White House press room, where she had aimed often pointed questions at 10 presidents, going back to Eisenhower.

She has kept a low profile since then.

“(It was) very hard for the first two weeks. After that, I came out of my coma,” said Thomas, whose parents immigrated to the U.S. from Lebanon.

Rabbi David Nesenoff, who runs the website rabbilive.com, said he approached Thomas after he’d been at the White House for Jewish Heritage Day on May 27. He asked whether she had any comments on Israel.

“Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine,” she replied.

“Remember, these people are occupied and it’s their land. It’s not Germany, it’s not Poland,” she continued. Asked where they should go, she answered, “They should go home.”

“Where’s home?” Nesenoff asked.

“Poland, Germany and America and everywhere else,” Thomas replied.

“I told him exactly what I thought,” she told Spears, who said during the interview that some accounts left off her reference to America. Thomas did not disagree.

“I was not talking about Auschwitz or anything else,” she said.

“They distorted my remarks, which they obviously have to do for their own propaganda purposes, otherwise people might wonder why they continue to take Palestinian land,” said Thomas. There was no explanation of whom “they” referred to.

When she soon began getting calls about her remark, “I said this is the end of my job.”

She issued an apology, she told the radio interviewer, because people were upset and she thought she had hurt people. “At the same time, I had the same feelings about Israel’s aggression and brutality,” Thomas said.

Asked whether she’s anti-Semitic, she responded “Baloney!” She said she wants to be remembered for “integrity and my honesty and my belief in good journalism” and would like to work again.

Spears said Thomas granted him the interview because the two had developed a friendship during previous interviews she had done with the station in Marion, some 70 kilometres north of Columbus, Ohio.

Their discussion also touched on current politics, particularly on women.

Thomas described Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as “a hawk.” ”I thought women in politics would have more compassion, be more liberal,” Thomas said.

As for Sarah Palin, Thomas said she believed the former Alaska governor and Republican vice-presidential candidate was ambitious enough to run for president.

“That would be a tragedy, a national tragedy,” she said, describing Palin as “very conservative, reactionary, unbelievable.”

Asked about tea party-backed Republican Delaware Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell, Thomas responded with one word: “Frightening.”

Also see:

Helen Thomas on her one question for Obama

DC’s most experienced journalist says Obama lost credibility when he dodged question on Israeli nukes



  1. Rehmat on the 14. Oct, 2010 remarked #

    What Helen Thomas said was not new. It has been known and voiced outside the western world for over six decades. It’s in the West, the so-called “flag-bearer” of the “Freedom of thought” where this freedom is only applicable to bash Islam and to some extent Christianity – but there is no freedom to say any truth related to the Jews.

    Helen Thomas is one of the few westerners, who do dare to speak….


  2. Cold Wind on the 14. Oct, 2010 remarked #

    Helen shouldn’t fret. Her spontaneous criticism was really quite mild. Given the reality of Israel’s crimes, the moral illegitimacy of its position as a Jews only state, and Israel’s infernal subversion of the US democratic process, Helen clearly understated a growing frustration with the Jews. In the end Helen will be fondly remembered and her Jewish critics easily forgotten.

  3. NadePaulKuciGravMcKi on the 14. Oct, 2010 remarked #

    We miss you Helen Thomas.

  4. Earlaiman on the 15. Oct, 2010 remarked #

    Madam Journalist… honesty is thy name! May it grace you name in our memory forever!

    You have joined some great Journalists in your exile.

    You have exposed the beast for the brute he is. I an no win game such as this,you have taken all the marbles.

    Ojala! Inshallah! May you enjoy the remainder of your days in peace. May there be many more of them!


  5. debra on the 15. Oct, 2010 remarked #


  6. Dawoodi Morkas on the 20. Oct, 2010 remarked #

    There is inbuilt lava of resentment for the people who are cheating on the vast majority of the Americans. This resentment is deluding and dissolving the American patriotism towards America by the people. The people of America are getting frustrated with the Nationalist concept. The people are increasingly being felt cheated. The isolation of the vast majority of Americans with increasing individual debts and a society which is divided on lines of poverty never seen before in the history of America is wasting the resources of the greatness of America which lies in the wealth of the people that make America great.

    The looters have not made America. The people have.

    If American people loose their patriotism towards America, America will loose itself and there will be a very big gap felt, just like the vacuum felt when USSR dissolved.

    The media controlled by the Jews have made the Americans addicted to the protection of Jews State of Israel, which is consuming bulk of its economic resources, it is a luxury America cannot afford and has to give up, for its own survival.

  7. michael thomas on the 03. Nov, 2010 remarked #

    Whether you agree with her or not, nobody argues that she is one of the great great journalists.


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