Become a digitalPLUS subscriber. 99¢ for 4 weeks.
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 © 2014, 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...

  • Getting help for traumatized children
    Getting help for traumatized children

    Thank you for running your investigative piece, "City violence can take hidden toll" (Dec. 14). Research has shown that trauma is the greatest environmental cause of mental health disorders in children, and neighborhoods with high rates of violence lead to serious trauma. In 2014, Maryland's...

  • Torture robs us of our humanity
    Torture robs us of our humanity

    The CIA's torture tactics were employed in the belief that the ends justify the means, but in reality they make us no better than those we fight and rob us of our humanity ("Report condemns CIA over torture," Dec. 10).

  • Where's the outrage when an officer is shot?
    Where's the outrage when an officer is shot?

    The Rev. Al Sharpton appeared on C-Span last Saturday in advance of his protest rally in Washington and said he doesn't discriminate when he protests shootings.

  • What about Pa. manure?
    What about Pa. manure?

    On an almost recurring basis lately, The Sun has devoted itself to bringing to everyone's attention the Eastern Shore poultry industry's polluted runoff flowing into the Chesapeake Bay ("Larry Hogan has a chance to be a green governor," Dec. 13). Attention should be directed to the Amish...

  • Unaffordable care in Bel Air
    Unaffordable care in Bel Air

    I am 59 years old, have been a practicing family physician for 30 years and I can't wait to pay my new health care premium for 2015. This past year, I paid $680 a month for my wife and me with a $5,400 deductible. With the Affordable Care Act, in 2015, I will be paying $700 a month with a...

Comments
Loading