Saturday, June 5, 2010

Helen Thomas says Jews Should 'Get the Hell Out of Palestine'

The grande dame of the Washington press corps put her foot in her mouth with an answer at the White House last week, suggesting Jews should "get the hell out of Palestine" and "go back home to Poland, Germany, America and everywhere else."

The jaw-dropping words from the 89-year-old Hearst Newspapers columnist hit the Internet on YouTube Friday and sparked a firestorm of controversy.

Elan Steinberg, executive director of the World Jewish Congress, sharply rebuked her. "Shame on Helen Thomas. She is certainly old enough to remember the Holocaust and the Second World War. She owes an apology to all victims of the Nazis," Steinberg said.

Thomas posted a lukewarm apology on her personal Web site.

"I deeply regret my comments I made last week regarding the Israelis and the Palestinians. They do not reflect my heartfelt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance. May that day come soon," she wrote.

The daughter of Lebanese immigrants who has covered the administrations of 10 Presidents in a career spanning nearly 60 years made her controversial comments at a White House Jewish Heritage Celebration on May 27.

Questioned about the Palestinians by Rabbi Nesenoff for, Thomas said, "Remember, these people are occupied and it's their land. It's not Germany, not Poland."

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