Try digitalPLUS for 10 days for only $0.99

Readers Respond

News Opinion Readers Respond

Helen Thomas' Arab ancestry was no excuse for her anti-Semitic views

Susan Reimer's column about pioneering female journalist Helen Thomas makes light of Ms. Thomas' vicious comments about Jews that ended her career ("Helen Thomas opened journalism for women," July 25).

Ms. Thomas' views were not simply "intemperate" and "abrasive" — they were hateful and uninformed.

For example, her May 2010 remark that Jews should "get the hell out of Palestine" and "go home" to Poland and Germany not only rejected Israel's right to exist but also showed contempt for the traumatic legacy of the Holocaust.

Furthermore, the remark exposed her ignorance of the fact that a majority of Israel's Jews arrived as refugees not from Europe but from Arab countries like Morocco, Egypt, Yemen and Iraq, from which hundreds of thousands of Jews were forced to flee beginning in the early 1940s.

As for Ms. Thomas' December 2010 speech in which she asserted that "Congress, the White House, and Hollywood, Wall Street, are owned by the Zionists," one should recall the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s admonishment that: "When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews, you are talking anti-Semitism."

Moreover, Ms. Reimer's suggestion that Ms. Thomas' Lebanese ancestry somehow explained or excused her hatred for Jews is itself offensive.

To be sure, it would be rejected by Danny Thomas (no relation to Helen Thomas), the late Lebanese-American actor who founded St. Jude Children's Research Hospital with a mission to treat children of all religions, and by his daughter, Marlo Thomas, an actress and social activist who starred in "That Girl" and later created the album and children's television special "Free to Be ... You and Me," with its themes of diversity, tolerance and inclusiveness.

Ancestry does not explain or excuse hate.

Stephen A. Silver, San Francisco, Calif.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • Helen Thomas was a pathbreaker — but also a bigot

    Helen Thomas was a pathbreaker — but also a bigot

    Regarding Susan Reimer's column ("Helen Thomas opened journalism for women," July 25), Helen Thomas' comments on Israel and Zionism were more than "unacceptable" and "intemperate," they were insulting. Rather than question their own far-fetched notions, people like Ms. Thomas chalk up their unpopularity...

  • Treat Lee and Jackson as veterans

    Confederate soldiers are legal veterans under U.S. law, and shouldn't this apply to the statue of Confederate veterans Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson ("Status of Confederate statues to be reviewed in Baltimore," June 30)?

  • Let's add statues, not subtract them

    Let's add statues, not subtract them

    We should not rewrite history, burn books or destroy statues. Besides those principles, Robert E. Lee was an honorable American who was forced to make an unwanted choice. However, Baltimore's Lee statute always made me uncomfortable, so I would like a change ("Status of Confederate statues to be...

  • BGE should invest in solar

    BGE should invest in solar

    Ever since we had solar panels installed on our roof, I have been following the interest in solar. We had solar installed with no initial investment on our part. We just pay for the energy used ("Maryland embraces solar power," May 21).

  • Veterans deserve nation's support

    Veterans deserve nation's support

    Every year on July 4th, we celebrate the birth of our nation taking special pride in the men and women who wear the cloth of the nation in defense of our freedom. For more than two centuries now, Americans have been called to serve and sacrifice, enduring hardships of all kinds to protect those...

  • Removing history to suit ideology: Isn't that what ISIS does?

    Removing history to suit ideology: Isn't that what ISIS does?

    As a member of the Maryland Historical Society, I am deeply dismayed at activists' calls to remove any monuments associated with the Confederate and Civil War history of Baltimore and Maryland in light of recent events in Baltimore and South Carolina — even denigrating Robert E. Lee whose name...

Comments
Loading

73°