I’m really sad about what’s happened to, and with, Helen Thomas. Helen has had a long career of poking holes in the white house propaganda (in every administration since Kennedy). But she made the mistake of speaking honestly about Israel:
Any comments on israel?
Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine. Remember these people are occupied, and it’s their land. It’s not Germany or Poland.
So where should they go?
They go home.
Where is their home?
Germany. Poland and America…. and everywhere else.
Here’s the full interview:
The rabbi who interviewed here had this to say about her response (from here).
“I was very surprised when Thomas told me that not only was she opposed to the two-state solution, but that she thought that the Jews should leave Israel and return to the final solution, more or less,”
Now Helen’s conclusions regarding Israel are pretty radical, and in my mind unrealistic, but they are a far cry from being hate speech, and it’s really stretching it to characterize her words as meaning jews should “return to the final solution, more or less”. If Helen has said “they should go back to their countries of origin”, which would be equivalent, it would have made for much better press. This just shows us that Helen’s not as quick witted and careful as she used to be, not that she’s a nazi sympathiser.
Making her comment that “they should go home to German, Palestine, the United States…” into a comment supporting ethnic cleansing is dishonest, and stops us from asking important questions. Questions like: Well, what if we, as an international community, decide Israel was a bad idea? It’s true, they are occupying land that belonged to someone else, they have taken land through invasion and are engaging in starvation and ghetoization tactics. What if we dismantled Israel, and made reparations to the Palestinians, restoring their land? Well, the next step would be to return all of the land that the Nazis seized from Jewish citizens. Then we would have to restore the land that allies, like the soviet union, seized from German citizens. This would be applying a certain kind of historic justice, at the cost of screwing over perfectly innocent people living on the occupied land (in Israel and Europe). I think it’s a bad decision as I think the net harm would be greater than the net good.
The Isreali’s, particularly the right wing, claim that they are the original inhabitants of Israel, and are returning to their proper homeland, in a contract in the bible. Joe Biden has echoed these sentiments while condemning Thomas. So both the Israelis and Joe Biden seem to be advocating returning dispossessed people their lands, regardless of how long ago these people were dispossessed. But if we apply this standard honestly, we must return the United States and Canada back to the remaining American Indians. We should certainly make restorations to African Americans, for the hundreds of years we enslaved, killed and beat their ancestors. What’s the statute of limitations on displacement, genocide, and human enslavement?
Stephen Colbert later interviewed the Israeli ambassador to the U.S. and asked why Israel wouldn’t allow an international investigation into flotilla event. The Israeli ambassador shrewdly replied that it was for the same reason that the U.S. won’t allow international investigations and international courts to try American war criminals or American human rights violators. Well, that was the most honest statement that came out of the whole drama It’s also a telling revelation of the harm that our own lack of international ethics causes us in international negotiations.
I’m far from an expert on middle east issues, but I’m also far from being an expert on American or S. African Apartheid — I still know they are wrong. Perhaps a two-state solution is the answer, perhaps there exists a better solution, I don’t really have an opinion. Where I do have a an opinion is on very obvious human rights violations and illegal occupations.