Op-Ed: Helen Thomas - The Ugly Truth
Rabbi David NesenoffThe writer speaks all over the world on topics of Women in Judaism, Shabbos, Anti-Semitism, Israel, Chabad and Chassidus. He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
As the person who video interviewed Helen Thomas on the White House lawn in May 2010, the famous video that went viral, capturing Helen Thomas saying that the Jews should leave Israel and go back to Germany and Poland, I watched with interest the memorializing of her passing. After all, three years ago, when she delivered her scathing words to me on the White House lawn on Jewish Heritage Day, she was thrown out of her job; the White House press corps banished her, the Nines Agency dropped their representation, her coauthor quit her and numerous speaking engagements were cancelled.
Soon after, the White House removed the plaque bearing her name from her front row seat in the briefing room; her name was removed from the tolerance award at her alma mater Wayne State University and her name was erased from the Society of Professional Journalists’ award as well. President Obama, himself, on camera, said that her words were “indefensible.”
Helen Thomas managed 60 years of hiding behind her anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian veil until it was finally removed. And the naked anti-Jewish truth stood before us. Everyone saw it, knew it and threw her out.
President Obama lauded Helen Thomas as a “true pioneer,” ignoring her vile anti-Jewish words that had her thrown out of his house. Newspaper obituaries trivialized her bigotry, characterizing it as a small controversy stemming from her feistiness, and newscasters’ dimples’ grinned, “Oh that Helen, ha-ha.”
Yet upon her passing, the truth, facts, videos, quotes, and evidence of Helen Thomas being a blatant proud anti-Semite are all buried even before Helen is. Her original apology is sometimes included, but without mention of her continued post apology anti-Jewish words that have been documented. All the media are very quick to throw stones at Rolling Stone magazine’s cover of bombing suspect Tsarnaev, while they themselves air brush and glorify the life of a banished, video proven, anti-Semite Helen Thomas.
The world is a scary place and those informing us need to pay attention and report with truth. They can start by telling the truth about one of their own. Being a proven banished video documented anti-Semite should not be a small footnote in someone’s obituary. It is ultimately part and parcel of one’s legacy and it infected the world.
(David Nesenoff is a rabbi, film maker and author of David’s Harp. He is the publisher of RabbiLIVE.com and speaks worldwide on topics including anti-Semitism, Israel, media and the Middle East.)