Helen Thomas, 89, retires after Israel comments

From The Hill newspaper in Washington:

Helen Thomas announced Monday that “she is retiring, effective immediately,” according to a statement from Hearst newspapers.

Her decision comes after her controversial remarks about Israel hit the blogosphere. She later apologized for her comments, saying she “deeply regretted” making them.

White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) President Ed Chen criticized her in a statement Monday.

“Helen Thomas’ comments were indefensible and the White House Correspondents Association board firmly dissociates itself from them. Many in our profession who have known Helen for years were saddened by the comments, which were especially unfortunate in light of her role as a trail blazer on the White House beat,” he said.

Thomas, who will turn 90 in August, has been covering U.S. presidents since the Kennedy administration.

Here’s the source of the controversy — a YouTube video posted on rabbiLIVE.com:

It would have been hard for her to stay, considering this comment from Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, as reported by Politico:

“I think those remarks were offensive and reprehensible. I think she should and has apologized,” Gibbs continued. “Obviously those remarks do not reflect the opinion, certainly, I assume, of most of the people in here, and certainly not of the administration.”

Thomas was not present in the briefing room Monday.

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21 comments Add your comment

lmno

June 7th, 2010
1:44 pm

Thats a sad ending to a long career.

Speed Racer

June 7th, 2010
1:58 pm

People shouldn’t “deeply regret” saying what they believe. If you believe something, stand up and be counted for it. I would rather hear someone say “That’s what I believe” instead of “deeply regretting” a comment when what they really “regret” is that it was caught on tape or film.

marcus

June 7th, 2010
2:01 pm

she’s not being anti-semitic, she’s voicing her opinion based on the historical significance of who had the land. of course the u.s. will take israel’s side on this, look what we did to the indians and any other occupying resident (hawaiians, alaskans). if you are born and raised in chicago and you want to leave it all behind to “find your jewish roots” do you honestly have the right to occupy someone’s else’s land.

Ginger

June 7th, 2010
2:08 pm

Seems to me..she had a right to say what she thought….right or wrong…..Free speech….Now I don’t agree with her thoughts however…Jews & Arabs should learn to co-exist in peace…Both sides share some faults in this situation.

Racer X

June 7th, 2010
2:10 pm

Been sick of the old bat for years.

Jury Dell

June 7th, 2010
2:17 pm

I always thought she was Jewish.

David S

June 7th, 2010
2:25 pm

Bottom line, Helen is right. The State of Israel should just get the hell out of Palestine. If individual Jews wish to live in Palestine as they have for thousands of years, then fine, but the Aparteid situation and genocide that the government of Israel has set up and is committing on the Palestinians is nothing short of a crime against humanity. Arabs and Jews coexisted very well until governments got involved. What makes it even worse is that my tax dollars are given to promote and fund this carnage.

There is certainly a lot that I didn’t care for about Helen Thomas, but this truthful outburst is not one of those things.

Good for you Helen. You shouldn’t have appologized.

David S

June 7th, 2010
2:26 pm

Actually what is even worse is that AIPAC and the State of Israel virtually own and control our congress and our foreign policy. The behavior of some of our elected officials on their behalf is nothing short of treasonous.

Appalled

June 7th, 2010
2:30 pm

Anyone who’s anti-Israel is automatically pro-terrorist. The Palestinians are blood-thirsty cowards who send women & children out with bombs strapped around their waists, plus they have their nasty refugee camps. Refugees are all filthy beggars. I bet all you pro-Palestinians were secretly, or maybe not-so-secretly delighted at the events of 911. You hate America so much, then get the heck out. WE DO NOT WANT YOU

Huh?

June 7th, 2010
2:36 pm

She should know about this…she was like 30 years old during the Holocaust. Maybe she just forgot.

Too bad she has to go out like this.

Mike Smith

June 7th, 2010
2:45 pm

Marcus- If you’re so ridden with guilt over what “we” did to the Native Americans, then why don’t you give all of your property back to them?

The General

June 7th, 2010
3:14 pm

@ David S

You are full of bull excrement. There is no ‘palestine’. Hell, even the other Arabs do want the so-called palestinians.

@ Ginger

She DOES have a right to say what she thought, as evidenced by the fact that she did in fact say it. She also has to deal with the consequences of free speech, as her employer has the right to require its employees behave a certain way or face said consequences. You forget that although there is ‘free speech’ there is no guarantee that once said, those comments will not elicit negative consequences.

The General

June 7th, 2010
3:16 pm

Typo on my comment. Meant to say “even the other Arabs do *NOT* want the so-called palestinians.

Herd89

June 7th, 2010
3:47 pm

Agree with the General. I wish all those who throw around “freedom of speech and the first amendment” would actually read it and understand it. It only states that the govt will not prohibit you from speaking. You can say anything you want, but there may be consequences. Helen Thomas stated her opinion and it was the fact she told the Jews to go back to Germany and Poland – dear Heavens, how ignorant is that?! yes yes everyhing is the fault of the evil Jews….grow up. There is plenty of blame to be spread all over the Middle East.

Mr. Bear

June 7th, 2010
4:18 pm

For the record, she was born in Detroit to parents of Lebanese descent. She grew up in northern Kentucky.

Mr. Bear

June 7th, 2010
4:29 pm

Oops, got it wrong. Born in Winchester, KY and grew up in Detroit. Parents were from Tripoli, Lebanon.

The Snark

June 7th, 2010
5:59 pm

Great idea, Helen. Let them all go “back” to Germany and Poland and Russia. After all, there is so much more room for them now, after those six million were killed.

But Helen, what do we do with the Jews who were already there before the Holocaust? You know, the ones who actually founded the state of Israel in the first place?

Red

June 7th, 2010
7:44 pm

And Helen go back to Lebanon….her “home”. The irony of this whole discussion is that people pile on Israel for the treatment of those in Gaza and the West Bank. No one dare mention Egypt treated Gaza with the same blockade as well and only PARTLY lifted it when they could have been tied to Israel. The Palestinians have been pimped out for decades by their fellow Muslim brothers. When a Muslim nation needs a cause or means to raise money, play up the poor Palestinians. Meanwhile these people live in abject poverty with pitiful hopes. Where is the help from a fellow Arab? The rest of the Muslim world? A cargo ship is all they get? No, my bad. Other aid includes Katyusha rockets, mortars, explosives to kill civilians on buses, etc. What about infrastructure? Power, water, sewage? Education system? A government not corrupt and riddled with terrorists? But my bad. Israel is the bad nation here.

Emily

June 8th, 2010
8:41 pm

KUDOS to you, Helen Thomas, for daring to say what needed to be said, and what many intelligent and historically knowledgable people know, but are afraid to say, in our Jewish influenced country.

My only regret was that you apologized.

Bill Orvis White

June 9th, 2010
10:09 am

@Emily This woman is a total anti-Semite and always was … Gimme a break. The woman obviously hates the Hebrews and loves terrorist thugs who wish to destroy us. Good riddance, Miss Thomas, you ignorant hack.

Teddy K

June 9th, 2010
12:48 pm

Emily, how many times have you read Mein Kampf? You are a disgusting to support Helen Thomas and her anti-Semite, pro-Nazi speech. You should repent.