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'Helen Thomas Award' Pulled after Rant about 'Zionist Control'

The alma mater of U.S. journalist Helen Thomas pulls an award in her honor after she claims 'Zionists' control Congress and the White House.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 12/5/2010, 5:58 PM / Last Update: 12/5/2010, 7:28 PM

Wayne State University, the alma mater of Arab-American journalist Helen Thomas, has pulled an award in her name, following a speech she gave Thursday claiming that Congress, the White House, Wall Street, and Hollywood are controlled by “Zionists". WSU had kept the award following an earlier outburst in which she suggested that Israeli Jews “get the hell out of Palestine.”

Thomas, 90, told an audience in Dearborn, Michigan, that Zionists control the American government and other major institutions. “They put their money where their mouth is... We're being pushed in the wrong direction in every way,” she stated.

WSU officials announced Friday that they would no longer offer the Helen Thomas Spirit of Diversity Award.

“As a public university, Wayne State encourages free speech and open dialogue, and respects diverse viewpoints,” a statement said. “However, the university strongly condemns the anti-Semitic remarks made by Helen Thomas during a conference yesterday.”

The award was previously granted for journalism work that promotes diversity.

In June, Thomas gave an impromptu interview to Rabbi David Nesenoff in which she said that Jews should “get the hell out of Palestine” and “go back home to Poland, Germany, America and everywhere else.” She was strongly criticized for her remarks, and announced her retirement just days later, after a 50-year career as a White House correspondent.

In an interview in October she stood by her original statements and accused “them” - an apparent reference to Zionists – of distorting her remarks “for their own propaganda purposes.”