Saturday, December 4, 2010

Oh The Irony...

So, the delightful Helen Thomas has made some more comments that have gotten her into hot water once again. But does anyone else notice the irony here?

Okay, here's what happened:
Thomas, 90, told a workshop on anti-Arab bias in Dearborn, Mich., that Jewish influence made it impossible to criticize Israel in the United States.

"Congress, the White House and Hollywood, Wall Street are owned by the Zionists," Thomas said on Thursday. "They put their money where their mouth is."
Then, this was the result:
Wayne State University has terminated its Helen Thomas Spirit of Diversity in Media award after the former White House correspondent claimed that the United States is controlled by "Zionists."


The university yanked the award Friday and denounced her comments.

Wayne State "strongly condemns the anti-Semitic remarks made by Helen Thomas," the university said in an e-mailed statement, according to The Associated Press.

Wayne State's Journalism Institute for Media Diversity has given the Helen Thomas award for work that promotes diversity. The award "is no longer helping us achieve our goals," Matthew Seeger, an interim dean, told The Detroit Free Press.


The Anti-Defamation League blasted Thomas on Friday and said her latest comments tarnished her legacy as a journalist.

"Helen Thomas has clearly, unequivocally revealed herself as a vulgar anti-Semite," ADL National Director Abraham Foxman said in a statement. "Her suggestion that Zionists control government, finance and Hollywood is nothing less than classic, garden-variety anti-Semitism."

Robert Cohen, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Metropolitan Detroit, applauded Wayne State's decision to withdraw the award.

"I think it was just very ironic that she made these comments at an event, the purpose of which was to address stereotyping," Cohen told the AP. "And it was very disappointing to know that she received a standing ovation from that audience."

Thomas's words also drew criticism from members of her own profession. In a New Republic article titled "Helen Thomas Lets The Mask Slip," Jonathan Chait wrote that she has a problem with Jews.

Chait previously said Thomas' comments about Jews in Palestine were anti-Zionist, rather than anti-Semitic.

"I prefer to hold off on imputing motives of bigotry without strong proof, but there's not a whole lot of doubt remaining here," Chait wrote in The New Republic.

The ADL called on all institutions that have presented Thomas with awards to withdraw them. Thomas has been honored by the Society of Professional Journalists and holds more than 30 honorary degrees, according to the ADL.

"Through her words and deeds she has besmirched both herself and her profession," Foxman said. "This is a sad final chapter to an otherwise illustrious career."
Hmmmmm. Noticed the irony yet? Here's a hint: she said that you can't criticize Israel in the US and that Zionists control the media and put their money where their mouth is. And what happens? She criticizes Israel, and immediately a bunch of Zionists in the media put their money where their mouth is and essentially revoke her public standing and credibility in one fell swoop. Yet, isn't that the sort of thing her very statement implies would happen? Reacting like this makes it seem like it actually is impossible to (credibly) criticize Israel in the United States and that the media is controlled by Zionists, which is exactly what she's getting in trouble for saying!!! Ironic.


Andrew said...

Indeed it is. You'd think these people would see it too, but I would bet they are banking on the fact that when the term "anti-semitism" gets thrown around, the capacity for rational and level-headed discussion seems to fly out the window.

Anonymous said...

Well. I would be interested to know what the reaction should have been?

She did frame her remarks in the old classic way "Hollywood, government , banks" are controlled by .....

And just substituted Zionists for Jews

What so hard not to understand??? I'm sure that audience in Dearborn got the message (and I always loved Helen Thomas)

A Sinner said...

The thing is, though, "Zionists" is NOT equivalent to "Jews". There are plenty of anti-zionist Jews, and a supermajority of the Zionists in America are actually Christians or even secular folk who support Israel uncritically as a political stance.

And they do sort of "control government" inasmuch as Zionism is a principle that is almost universal common ground in politics. There is simply no doubt that almost all congressman and senators are pro-Israel, believe in the US and Israel having a "special relationship," would side with Israel over Palestine if it came down to that. Republican or Democrat, they are mostly all Zionists and believe in an exceptionalism for the State of Israel that we don't give to any other country.

Likewise, that is the "mainstream" position in the media (if the shunning of Helen Thomas is any indication) and in society in general. Just as no one in America dare speak against "capitalism" or "democracy" or "supporting the troops" in America, likewise politicians have a very hard time being critical of the State of Israel beyond a certain point.

You can't really critique Israel without people (like the ADL) jumping down your throat (look what happened to Jimmy Carter when he wrote his book recently) and so the reaction to Helen Thomas's statements was ironic.

sortacatholic said...

Abe Foxman and the ADL are right about Ms. Thomas. She didn't criticize Israel's domestic or foreign policy. She spewed slurs. There's a difference between a comparison of Israel's state policy with the actions of other nations and the malicious use of grotesque stereotypes that fueled the murder of six million people. I don't care that Thomas is in her 90's and perhaps senile. She broke it; she owns it.

When I read her words I picture the Nazi propaganda posters of the 1930's. The Nazis used every single slur from financial greed to pedophilia to objectify the Jews and pave the road to the Final Solution. Helen Thomas's comments are reprehensible in the light of history.

A Sinner said...

Perhaps. The irony is just that the media reacted exactly the way she said it would, and the statement that caused them to react that way...was a statement predicting they'd react that way!!

The self-fulfilling prophecy aspect is incredible and (I think) makes BOTH her shooting-off at the mouth AND the ADL's whiny stridency...look incredibly foolish.

All she said was that you can't criticize Israel in this country because Zionists control the media. And what happens when she says that? Zionists in the media bury her. Just like the very statement she got buried for said they would.

It's basically the irony of being censored for claiming there is censorship.