I'm really more saddened than outraged about Helen Thomas. I wish she'd been able or willing to express her outrage at the recent Israeli attack on a flotilla delivering aid to Gaza in a way that wasn't so, well, just plain outright cruel. It's probably appropriate that she retire, not because she spoke up against Israel, but because of the "Go back go Germany" sentiment. You can make the argument that the establishment of the state of Israel after World War II was the Allied powers' way of assuaging their guilt over having looked the other way for years while Hitler was massacring Jews in Germany and Eastern Europe; and that it was probably not a great idea. But what are you going to do now? Dismantle it? Arguably this is what Helen Thomas was calling for. But when you have other opinion columnists like Charles Krauthammer and Jonah Goldberg and other knee-jerk supporters of EVERYTHING Israel does, no matter how heinous, still working, I have to wonder why only this particular statement warranted forcing a 90-year-old woman off the stage while those who have advocated nuking the Middle East, racially profiling all Muslims, and invoking the Crusades are still walking around.
If it's just about being offensive to Jews, what about Pat Buchanan, then? He's been a rabid anti-Semite for years, and he's still a beloved, if less frequent, fixture on Joe Scarborough's show on the supposedly liberal MSNBC.Media Matters has a rundown of the Jew-hatred of Pat Buchanan
During his time in public life, Buchanan has defended Adolf Hitler -- repeatedly. He has peddled Holocaust denial claims and compared suspected Nazi war criminal John Demjanjuk to Jesus Christ.
Buchanan has reminisced fondly about his childhood in segregated Washington, DC, and complained that “Old heroes like ... Robert E. Lee are replaced by Dr. King." He wrote that “integration of blacks and whites” was likely to result in “perpetual friction, as the incapable are placed … side by side with the capable.” Buchanan's anti-integration views were so hard-core, even Richard Nixon characterized Buchanan’s them as “segregation forever.” When 67 blacks were shot to death by South African police, Buchanan dismissed the massacre as “a few South African whites mistreating a couple of blacks.” In 1989, Buchanan defended Bob Jones University’s ban on interracial dating. 1989!
In 1983, Buchanan wrote that "homosexuals ... have declared war on nature, and now nature is exacting an awful retribution." (During his 1992 presidential campaign, he stood by that view, insisting "AIDS is nature's retribution for violating the laws of nature.") He has compared gays to alcoholics.
He has accused David Duke of stealing his ideas, and he has appeared -- just two years ago -- as a guest on a “pro-White” radio show that was streamed live on a self-described “White Nationalist” web site.
Buchanan’s comments have been denounced even by conservative leaders like William F. Buckley (who found it “"impossible to defend Pat Buchanan against the charge that what he did and said during the period under examination, the military build-up for the Gulf War, amounted to anti-Semitism,”) Charles Krauthammer ("There's no doubt he makes subliminal appeals to prejudice”) and then-RNC chairman Rich Bond (who said Buchanan was “heading toward a low-road message of anger, hate and race-baiting.”).
It is important to remember that, although Pat Buchanan’s nasty comments about a wide variety of minorities are very much of the past, they are not in the past. He has defended Hitler within the past year. His complaint that “Old heros like … Robert W. Lee are replaced by Dr. King” came within the past year. Just last month he was busy counting the Jews on the Supreme Court -- and concluding that there are too many. The month before that, he insisted that “both sides were right" during the Civil War.
And if it's about being offensive to Jews, how about Glenn Beck's endorsement of the work and ideology of Elizabeth Dilling
, who was such a rabid anti-Communist that she excused the encampment and gassing of Jews during World War II because many of the Jews exterminated were Russian? Where's the outrage about that, and why isn't there an outcry among the very journalistic organizations that called for Helen Thomas' head to have Glenn Beck removed from the airwaves? Thomas was an opinion journalist, no longer a news reporter. What's really the difference, except for the fact that Thomas has long spoken out about the worst of Israeli thuggery?
NO ONE, not even in the blogosphere, is excusing what Helen Thomas said. As someone from a family who had members go up in smoke in Hitler's camps, I find the "Go back to Germany" sentment as offensive as for white people here telling black people to "Go back to Africa", or racists in Arizona telling children born here to go back to Mexico. I wish that Thomas had found a more artful way to express her sentiment, though I could also argue that at 90, you've earned the right to express your sentiments however the hell you want. And it's quite possibly time for Thomas to leave the public scene. I just wish that it weren't on this kind of note, and I also wish that in pushing her out of the public scene, the organizations expressing outrage at what she said reserved some of their outrage for the racists and Nazi sympathizers who continue to spew their own brand of bile in the newspapers and over the radio and television airwaves every day without impunity.
Labels: Anti-Semitism, double standards, Helen Thomas, Pat Buchanan