Friday, August 06, 2010

Hezbollah Owes Us Big Time

The Detroit Free Press is reporting that a group of Holocaust survivors are quite unhappy with the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn over its decision to finance a statue of Helen Thomas, a decision the survivors group claims will “tarnish” the museum’s reputation. (“Holocaust survivors condemn tribute to newswoman, call proposed honor immoral”).

Here is what the statue looks like. I’m thinking the actual Helen Thomas is the one on the right.

As reported by Niraj Warikoo:

The American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants, which represents about 80,000 families of Holocaust survivors in the U.S., said that honoring Thomas with a statue is immoral.

“The campaign to honor Helen Thomas with a statue is a moral taint on the Arab American National Museum ,” Elan Steinberg, vice-president of the New York-based Holocaust survivors group, said Thursday. “The museum must understand that American values are at stake here. We would be as horrified as they would be if some bigot demanded that Arab Americans get out of this country.”
You may recall how Thomas “was forced to resign from Hearst Newspapers in June after telling a rabbi on camera that Israelis should ‘get the hell out of Palestine’ and ‘go home’ to ‘Poland, Germany and America, and everywhere else.’”

Ms. Steinberg said “Holocaust survivors and their families were deeply shocked by Helen Thomas’ comments. . .Her monstrous call for Jews to go back to the places where we were gassed and burned were profoundly anti-American words of hate.”

Shocked, but there’s no reason to be surprised. In a 2002 speech at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Thomas said this about her transition from straight news reporting for UPI to opinion journalism: “I censored myself for 50 years. Now I wake up and ask myself, Who do I hate today?’”

I like good, hard-hitting opinion writing, but really, now.

Thomas was indulged for years as an institution in the White House briefing room, especially for her ill-informed questions aimed at conservative presidents, such as Reagan and George W. Bush. Even after the statements that led to her resignation, the liberal media preferred giving the last word to her reputation as “a pioneer for women in journalism,” (e.g., Niraj Warikoo in the Free Press), who deserved her doyenne props just for having been in that front row seat so damn long.

Museum staff don’t seem bothered by Thomas’s bigotry.
Anan Ameri, the museum director, told the Free Press that “we disagree with” the comments that Thomas made about Israel , which were “uncalled for.” But “it was unfair to scratch a whole history ... because of a statement she made.”

Thomas “spent her life ... doing a lot of good things,” Ameri said.

“She contributed a lot,” Ameri added. Thomas “opened many, many doors for women in this country.”
OK, we get it. Helen Thomas did a lot of good things, even if no one can think of them offhand. And on account of that she should be allowed to call for the expulsion of the Jews from Israel, er, Palestine. Besides, while Ameri acknowledges that Thomas’s remarks were “uncalled for,” that’s not the same as saying they clash with the opinions of Museum supporters.

When he was Bush’s press secretary the late Tony Snow once thanked Thomas “for the Hezbollah view” during one of her factless, hectoring, “questions.”

It was a fair criticism then. After her hateful remarks about the Jews in June the Lebanese Hezbollah MP Hussein Moussawi released a statement praising Thomas:
“Respected American journalist Helen Thomas's answer shows ... a courageous, bold, honest and free opinion which expresses what people across the globe believe: that Israel is a racist state of murderers and thugs.”
Maybe the Museum can hit Hezbollah up for the money to pay for Helen’s statue. It would only be fair after all the money Dearborn has sent to them.

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