Helen Thomas: anger over Zionist conspiracy claims

By Jennifer Lipman, December 6, 2010
Helen Thomas with President Barack Obama

Helen Thomas with President Barack Obama

The former White House journalist who called for all Jews to "get the hell out of Palestine" has caused further controversy by claiming that "Zionists" control US foreign policy.

Helen Thomas, who lost her job with Hearst Newspapers after she caught on film making the denigrating comments, told an audience in Detroit that America is “owned by propagandists against the Arabs.”

The 90-year-old, who enjoyed a decades-long career at the forefront of US political journalism until the scandal last June, was speaking during a seminar on anti-Arab bias.

She said: “There's no question about that. Congress, the White House, and Hollywood, Wall Street, are owned by the Zionists.

“They put their money where their mouth is. We're being pushed into a wrong direction in every way."

Ms Thomas, the daughter of Lebanese immigrants, also said that while she had paid the price for her earlier remarks: “It was worth it, to speak the truth."

Robert Cohen, executive director of Detroit’s Jewish Community Relations Council, criticised Ms Thomas for repeating “the antisemitic stereotypes that have been used for more than a century to incite hatred of Jews.

“Her comments should be condemned by all people who oppose bigotry in any form.”

Elan Steinberg, vice president of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants said the latest comments revealed that Ms Thomas’ previous apology had been “as hollow as her character.”

He said: "Holocaust survivors are shocked that someone old enough to remember the horrors of the Nazi era would utter such obscene and bigoted comments that we thought were a relic of a time long past.

“With her latest words Helen Thomas has confirmed the hatred behind her prior shocking suggestion that Jews in Israel should go back to places where during the Holocaust our families were burned and gassed.”

Following the recent remarks, Ms Thomas’ former university announced that it would no longer be giving out an award in her name.

Wayne State University in Michigan said the Helen Thomas Spirit of Diversity in the Media Award had been withdrawn because they considered her remarks antisemitic.

Last updated: 4:27pm, December 6 2010