Defiant Helen Thomas defends remarks that led to exit
(Detroit Free Press) -- By NIRAJ WARIKOO --
Striking a defiant tone, journalist Helen Thomas, 90, said today she absolutely stands by her controversial comments about Israel made earlier this year that led to her resignation. But she stoked additional controversy with new remarks, claiming that "Zionists" control U.S. foreign policy and other American institutions. The local Jewish community strongly condemned her remarks.
"I can call a president of the United States anything in the book but I can't touch Israel, which has Jewish-only roads in the West Bank," Thomas said. "No American would tolerate that -- white-only roads."
Thomas, who grew up in Detroit the daughter of Lebanese immigrants, was in Dearborn today for an Arab Detroit workshop on anti-Arab bias. The Free Press asked her about her comments, which critics have said were anti-Israel.
"I paid the price for that," said Thomas, a longtime White House correspondent. "But it was worth it, to speak the truth."
"The Zionists have to understand that's their country, too. Palestinians were there long before any European Zionists."
Thomas claimed that "You can not say anything (critical) about Israel in this country."
In a speech that drew a standing ovation, Thomas talked about "the whole question of money involved in politics."
"We are owned by propagandists against the Arabs. There's no question about that. Congress, the White House, and Hollywood, Wall Street, are owned by the Zionists. No question in my opinion. They put their money where there mouth is…We're being pushed into a wrong direction in every way."
Jewish groups have criticized Thomas' earlier remarks, saying they were unfair and bigoted. And they slammed today's remarks as well.
"When she said…today that Congress, the White House, Hollywood and Wall Street are owned by Zionists, Ms. Thomas repeated the anti-Semitic 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," said Robert Cohen, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Metropolitan Detroit...MORE...LINK
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