Helen Thomas, the veteran White House correspondent who resigned from Hearst newspapers in June after a row over her anti-Jewish comments, will receive a lifetime achievement award from the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
CAIR will honor Thomas, 90, who is of Lebanese descent, at its Leadership Conference and 16th Annual Fundraising Banquet on October 9 in Arlington, Va.
The interview which forced Thomas's resignation took place on May 27, on the White House lawn. Thomas was interviewed by Rabbi David Nesenoff. The short interview, which quickly became an Internet hit, went thus:
Nesenoff: Any comments on Israel? We're asking everybody today, any comments on Israel?Thomas: Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine.Nesenoff: Oooh. Any better comments on Israel?Thomas: Remember, these people [the Arabs - ed.] are occupied and it's their land. It's not German, it's not Poland...Nesenoff: So where should they go, what should they do?Thomas: They - go home.Nesenoff: Where's the home?Thomas: Poland. Germany.Nesenoff: So you're saying the Jews go back to Poland and Germany?Thomas: And America and everywhere else. Why push people out of there who have lived there for centuries? See?
The White House Correspondents Association and the White House itself rebuked Thomas, and President Barack Obama said she had made “the right call” in resigning.
Thomas later apologized, saying: “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.”
Nesenoff said he received tens of thousands of hate e-mails after the video became public, and said last week that he has “never been closer” to making Aliyah to Israel, according to the Jerusalem Post.
Nesenoff said he had “always considered making Aliyah,” and that he had been deeply moved by the outpouring of support he received from Israelis after the Thomas affair.