A Real Profile In Courage

Craig Crawford:

I concur with the following response from my agent to Helen Thomas’ lamentable remarks about Israel, and will no longer be working with Helen on our book projects. — Craig Crawford

Condemning an almost ninety year old woman and severing all ties over an offensive remark takes balls! So bold! So noble! Any thoughts on Jimmy the Greek or Howard Cosell? He’s already left MSNBC citing irreconcilable differences- how long before he is at PJTV or FOX?

BTW- anyone want to count the times Crawford appeared across from Pat Buchanan on MSNBC without uttering so much as a peep?

222 replies
  1. 1
    Lolis says:

    Poor Helen. Amazing that appearing with Colbert at the WHCD didn’t bring her down but this comment might. It is really terrifying how apparently one cannot question Israel and still keep a high profile job.

  2. 2
    John Cole says:

    @Lolis: What she said was obnoxious and offensive, but no more so than anything that right-wingers routinely say about Muslims or Mexicans or, well, anyone else.

  3. 3
    The Dangerman says:

    It is really terrifying how apparently one cannot question Israel and still keep a high profile job.

    Questioning Israel is one thing.

    Questioning Israel’s right to exist is entirely different.

    She should be retired as gracefully as possible.

  4. 4

    Well, she’s 90. There is that. If she wants to stick around, she should retire to a columnist’s role, not sitting on the front row at the WH briefings.

    Call me an ageist, but there are other quality, young journalists who could fill that seat.

    ETA: Besides, it’s not like that stupid daily briefing isn’t streamed live over the Internet.

  5. 5
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    As offensive as HT’s remarks were, this sanctimonious concern trolling by her “friends” says more about them than it does about her.

  6. 6
    demo woman says:

    The double standard in journalism is repulsive.
    Buchanan can exercise his right to free speech and face no consequences. Talk radio host lie, spout hatred and are given raises. IOKIYR

  7. 7
    eemom says:

    I doubt anyone here will agree, but this seems to me a pretty reasonable commentary on the issue.
    http://themoderatevoice.com/75.....-swastika/
    And what does the fact that she’s almost 90 have to do with anything? If she’s too old to be accountable for her words maybe she’s too old to speak publicly.

  8. 8

    @demo woman:
    Buchanan should move to FOX where he belongs.

  9. 9

    @arguingwithsignposts: Who is going to replace her? Are any of those bozos that are part of the WH Press Corps gonna ask the questions she does? Or be a pain in the ass like she is? Fluffy used to be one of the better ones(I know, not saying much) until he started guest host Press the Meat. You know who I’d like to see replace her? One of the HuffPo people or Jane Hamsher. Why? Because they wouldn’t be afraid to ask the tough questions.

  10. 10
    Violet says:

    @John Cole:
    That’s the thing. It’s pretty commonplace for people to screech about Muslims “going back to where they came from” or “getting the hell out of our country.” Same with brown, Spanish-speaking people. And it’s really offensive. But say it about Jews or anything concerning Israel and all hell breaks loose.

    What she said is very offensive, but it’s no worse than what is routinely said about other groups. It is bad that she’s a WH reporter. Are there other reporters on the WH beat who have said such things about a minority group?

  11. 11

    @eemom:

    And what does the fact that she’s almost 90 have to do with anything? If she’s too old to be accountable for her words maybe she’s too old to speak publicly.

    I think the fact that she’s 90 just shows how based on seniority the Village is. It’s the same reason David Broder’s still typing into his 80s for WaPo. Nobody’s willing to tell these elder statesfolk that maybe it’s time for them to do something else and let some younger folks have the chance to run things for a change. It’s the same reason the median age of the Senate is probably 70 61.3, as well.

    I really don’t like sounding this way, but it’s not like there isn’t a deep bench of people out there in the wings. There’s no reason for people not to be productive into their 90s, but taking up prime seats in positions of power is what helps keep things from changing.

  12. 12

    @Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle: Or maybe Glennzilla.

    I agree there are a lot of crappy ones up there right now. Why not Ezra Klein? Steve Benen? Kevin Drum? Amy Goodman? Rachel Maddow? Chris Hayes? I can think of quite a few who could take that seat and do a good job.

  13. 13
    KG says:

    who the fuck is Craig Crawford and why the fuck should I care?

    relatedly, I was unaware that Helen Thomas was still part of the WH press corps… then again, I don’t pay attention to these kinds of things, which leads me back to my question

  14. 14
    Winston says:

    The comment was way beyond the Pale – precisely equivalent to “blacks ought to go back to Africa.” If she had said that, there would have been no question that she would have lost every contract or job she had. It’s hardly “questioning Israel” to suggest Israel should be made Judenrein. It is precisely because of the way Jews were treated in Germany and Poland that Israel arose. She seems to have forgotten that minor historical fact.

    The other offense of her comment was its profound historical ignorance on another level: Many of the Jews in Israel are not from Europe, but were expelled or fled from surrounding Arab countries – another minor historical fact that tends to get overlooked. Palestinian refugees in, say, Lebanon are in camps there not because Israel keeps them there, but because Lebanon, like other Arab countries except for Jordan, won’t accept them as citizens. Of course Israel immediately absorbed the Jews from Arab countries that dear Helen wants to send to Germany. I hope she gets fired.

  15. 15
    Violet says:

    @eemom:

    And what does the fact that she’s almost 90 have to do with anything? If she’s too old to be accountable for her words maybe she’s too old to speak publicly.

    I don’t think her age should have anything to do with anything. The only thing about her age and experience that is relevant, is that she’s been around a long time, seen a lot of Presidents come and go, and that gives her a certain depth of experience that others don’t have.

    I think her comments should be taken for what they are. If she were a pundit, she could get away with it. As a White House reporter, I’m not quite as certain. I think the knee-jerk reaction to it coming from the usual suspects is ridiculous, but I also think the comments were pretty offensive. She’s apologized. I guess I think that’s probably enough, but I’m not totally sure given her position.

  16. 16
    demo woman says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: And Fox should move to a pay per view channel like Playboy or another smut adult channel.

  17. 17
    Lolis says:

    This debate is interesting because it truly divides the left. I think a journalist has every right to question pretty much anything. It would probably be more helpful for us and the world if instead of trying to shut down debate by “retiring” someone we actually engage in these questions publicly. A lot of people all over the world question Israel’s right to exist. People may find that offensive, but it is the truth. And they are not crazy. Certainly, as some wingers have charged, Helen’s comments did not advocate any kind of “racial cleasing” or violence at all. But certainly there won’t ever be peace in the middle east without Palestinians and other Arabs feeling like the mistreatment of Palestinians from the early days of the Irsaeli state are recognized.

  18. 18
    BarbF says:

    That anyone would allow Pat Buchanon to appear on their show automatically leaves them out from being able to criticize Helen. It’s that pot/kettle/black thingie.

    I don’t disagree that what she said was quite offensive, but this inability to criticize Israel has gone way too far.

    Israel and her actions endanger our national security interests, and maybe it’s time for our fellow Americans of the Jewish persuasion to decide which country they love more.

    I support there being an Israeli state, I support defending them, but I draw the line at them endangering us with their blatant disregard for how their actions affect us. And I’m not shy, so should every American.

  19. 19

    Are you implying FOX is a channel for adults? I think you’re being far too generous with the mental acuity of their audience.

  20. 20
    Pancake says:

    “What she said was obnoxious and offensive, but no more so than anything that right-wingers routinely say about Muslims or Mexicans or, well, anyone else.”

    Rubbish. She was way, way beyond the pale.

  21. 21
    cleek says:

    @KG:

    who the fuck is Craig Crawford and why the fuck should I care?

    this is an excellent question. two excellent questions, in fact.

  22. 22
    neill says:

    I dont know who Craig Crawford is — and hardly care now — but I do know he is a dipshit.

    Helen Thomas is allowed to blow her top about Israel — hell, she’s of Lebanese descent, I think she ought to be allowed to pull Ariel Sharon’s life-support plug.

    And anyone who thinks I’m anti-semitic can kiss my kosher ass…

  23. 23
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @KG:

    who the fuck is Craig Crawford and why the fuck should I care?

    cleek is right, these are probably the two most relevant questions right here. I recognized Crawford’s name from Olbermann’s show, but I had literally no idea he’d left MSNBC. I did not notice his absence.

  24. 24
    eemom says:

    What she said is very offensive, but it’s no worse than what is routinely said about other groups.

    said by people whom we generally recognize to be bigoted assholes and blowhards like Buchanan. NOT by people whom we generally admire as tough and fair minded independent journalists.

    I know I’m gonna get flamed for this again, but I honestly cannot believe how you people who accuse others of bending over backwards to excuse Israel for whatever it does bend over backwards to excuse anyone who is anti-Israel for whatever they do.

  25. 25
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    I’d also like to know if HT’s comments were a one-off or part of an observed pattern. I figure everyone is entitled to — at the very least — one free pass on saying something stupid or offensive. Even Pat Buchanan, Ann Coulter, Don Imus, Glenn Beck, and the lot. Problem is, with those I named, being over the top and saying offensive things is the definition of what they dom. It’s expected of them, in fact. In the Helen Thomas case, it’s a very unfortunate exception in an otherwise fearless career. But to sever a professional relationship (and a good friendship, so I understand) over this one comment just seems really excessive to me. Whole thing is sad; I’ve been one of HT’s biggest admirers since I had the honour of introducing her at a banquet back in 1973 or so.

  26. 26
    Alex S. says:

    Helen Thomas has trolled with regard to Israel for a while now. For example, she tried to get Obama to admit that Israel possesses nuclear weapons.
    I think her firing is actually the right step, and a chance to get her retired. On the other hand, one has to remember that Helen Thomas was already around when Israel wasn’t even a country.

  27. 27
    PeakVT says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: Fox’s audience is not the brightest bunch, for sure. But they aren’t trying to inform themselves by watching the channel so much as getting off riled up to the content

  28. 28
    sunsin says:

    I support the right of the people of Israel to live in a democratic state that treats them as equal citizens.

    I do not support the right of the State of Israel, per se, to exist. Or any other state, for that matter.

    What does it mean to say that the state of Israel has an absolute right to exist? That this state can do anything and it must still have our support? What if its far-right crazies decide that the only answer to its problems is an Endlösung der Palästinafrage? Would a state that allowed that still have an absolute right to exist?

    I have no idea how you keep a state together when it’s based on religious identity, anyway. Such a way of identifying “true” citizenship is utterly undemocratic.

    And @26… how is it “trolling” to try to get the President of the United States to state an uncomfortable truth about a state that receives huge amounts of American aid? Obama may not be able to answer the question frankly — that’s a matter of diplomacy — but how can asking it be out of line? Such remarks show that for some people, the Israeli right-wing exists on another plane of existence, immune to criticism or even comment.

  29. 29

    @BarbF:

    What Barb said – twice

  30. 30
    eemom says:

    OMG, that “Congratulations you won” thing is back!

  31. 31
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    What neill said.

    Last I checked, it was a free country and Helen Thomas is allowed to have her own opinion about how to solve the I/P question.

    As long as Palestinians can be denied their own homeland, I see no reason to afford the courtesy to Israel.

  32. 32
    John Cole says:

    @eemom:

    And what does the fact that she’s almost 90 have to do with anything?

    Here on planet earth, old people occasionally blurt out offensive remarks. The polite thing to do is to quietly distance yourself from the remarks, not join in on a pile-on and act like her entire body of work should be trashed.

    @Winston:

    The comment was way beyond the Pale – precisely equivalent to “blacks ought to go back to Africa.” If she had said that, there would have been no question that she would have lost every contract or job she had. It’s hardly “questioning Israel” to suggest Israel should be made Judenrein. It is precisely because of the way Jews were treated in Germany and Poland that Israel arose. She seems to have forgotten that minor historical fact.

    If you can explain how her remarks are any more offensive than half the shit uttered on a daily basis by half of congress or any number of prominent people who do say things like “Mexicans-Americans should go back to Mexico,” I’ll understand the outrage. And Thomas would argue that just because Jews were treated like shit in Germany and Poland does not give them carte blanche to shit all over Palestinians.

    But back to the point. Thomas will probably lose her job. She already is a columnist and is in the front row out of respect. But the wingnuts and the Israel lobby want a scalp, and she gave them the knife. And it is hardly a noble profile in courage for an alleged friend of hers, Craig Crawford, who knows her as a person, to publicly shit all over her. Fuck him.

    And finally, her remarks, which I agree were offensive, killed no one. Israeli commandos, however, killed nine civilians, with multiple people shot in the head several times. One of those commandos, the guy who shot 6 civilians, is up for a medal of honor.

    How about some fucking priorities in your outrage? Oh yeah- I forgot. They weren’t people.

  33. 33
    Lolis says:

    @ Winston

    Nobody denies the Jewish people were incredibly persecuted and went through the horror of the holocaust. Many people do question whether that horror gave the Israeli state permission to do what they have done to the Palestianian people. The fact that many people (including a lot of liberals) won’t acknowledge the profound suffering of the Palestinians is deeply disturbing to me.

  34. 34
    sunsin says:

    It is precisely because of the way Jews were treated in Germany and Poland that Israel arose.

    So, because of crimes by Germany and Poland, and at best negligence by the rest of the world, the Palestinians are to be punished. Riiiiight.

    There seems to be a step or two missing in the logic above. It’s like the US getting pissed off at China and nuking Brazil.

  35. 35
    TBogg says:

    Oh noes! Helen has lost Craig Crawford!

    So…who the fuck is he? I’m serious. Never heard of the guy.

  36. 36
    John Cole says:

    I know I’m gonna get flamed for this again, but I honestly cannot believe how you people who accuse others of bending over backwards to excuse Israel for whatever it does bend over backwards to excuse anyone who is anti-Israel for whatever they do.

    Jesus christ. Our entire political and media establishment are parroting the IDF line. One cranky old woman made an offensive comment. For fuck’s sake.

    You’re like the idiots pretending the anti-war left runs the Democratic party when the Democrats have funded everything Bill Kristol and Dick Cheney asked for since 9/11.

    And can you point me to one comment of yours condemning the murder of 9 civilians and wounding of 3-4 dozen more. Or were you just too busy playing vicitimized commenter (“I know I will get flamed”) to squeeze an acknowledgment of that brutality in?

    For fuck’s sake.

  37. 37
    aimai says:

    Helen Thomas is a great woman, and was a huge fan of my grandfather’s. I respect her work very much. I respect her attempts, futile under both Bush and Obama, to keep before the eyes of the public the brutal policies pursued by our own government and those done by our allies.

    But she was wrong to say what she did–it was a pretty horrible thing to say. And I think the people defending her on this thread ought to stop and take a moment and grasp that she probably deeply regrets what she said. Her apology was probably quite sincere. She spoke in anger, and hastily, and from her deep and abiding feelings about the situation of the Palestinians and her anger (rightful) at the actions of the Israeli government and those of its citizens who support the blockade.

    But that being said she didn’t say “Israel should act like a fucking mensch and live up to its stated promise” or “Israel should act like a decent nation.” She said individual israelis should go back to the countries that originally ostracized, exterminated,and imprisoned them. The logical conclusion of that statement is that all modern day israelis should, essentially, die.

    Unlike our wingnuts, or Pat Buchanan, or any other of our home grown racists Helen Thomas is a good person, whose done amazing work over the years. But she’s a big girl. She doesn’t need people on this blog, or anywhere else, excusing her words by saying “she was right” or “that’s freedom of the press for ya'” or any other bullshit excuse. I think Helen would be the last person to want that kind of backup. What she said was cruel, silly, and beside the point. The Israelis can not, and are not, going back to Germany, France, Poland, Ethiopia, Iraq, Russia, America, Latin America, Egypt, Syria, etc…etc…etc… The struggle to get to a workable two state solution isn’t helped by such language. Indeed, its part of the ongoing permanent state of hysteria and fear that the Israelis live in which prevents them from seeking peace.

    aimai

    That’s ugly. And I’m sure she regrets it.

  38. 38
    Alex S. says:

    @sunsin:

    She just tested Obama and hoped for a slip of the tongue because she asked that question at a completely non-related press conference. And Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons is an open secret. Nothing would be gained from Obama’s admission for anyone.

  39. 39
  40. 40
    Jared says:

    Jeez. Notice that Crawford didn’t even really say anything, just that he agreed with his agent, That’s sort of like releasing a statement through a publicist, rather than giving one oneself.

    Also, he’s a hayseed. His voice is as grating as Cris Collinsworth’s. If I do not hear either man speak for the rest of my life, it will be too soon.

  41. 41
    handy says:

    So when is Obama going to pressured to trout out his “denouce and reject” statement about Helen Thomas? After all, it’s only what a Serious person expects him to do.

  42. 42

    Helen Thomas Dropped by her Speaking Agency after Controversial Comments (UPDATE III)…

    Veteran journalist Helen Thomas has been dumped by her speaking agency after her controversial comments about the Middle East in which she basically said that Israel’s Jews should go back where they came from (to Germany, Poland, etc.), the Huffi…

  43. 43
    Harold Turkoman says:

    West Bank settlements are routinely, violently colonized by, among others, religious fanatics from Brooklyn, NY, who believe that God promised their settlements to them thousands of years ago. Why shouldn’t they go back where they came from?

  44. 44
    eemom says:

    @John Cole:

    you know what, John? I didn’t read your blog back in the day, but on this issue at least, you’re just as much of mindless knee jerk party liner on the left as you apparently were on the right.

  45. 45
    Zach says:

    What she said was awful and deserves this sort of condemnation. Torture is infinitely worse, and Crawford has no problem joking about it and presumably cooperating with folks who participated in it:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....71678.html

  46. 46
    JenJen says:

    You know, of all the chatterknobs in the Village, I’ve always had a special kind of aversion to Craig Crawford. Can’t really put my finger on it, just never could stand that wanker.

    I mean, really. Yes, Thomas’ remarks were rather offensive; outrageously offensive, to be sure. But way to go out on a limb to show your principles there, Craig. He’s posturing. I’ve been watching the guy for years, it’s just what he does.

  47. 47
    Larkspur says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: What BarbF said, thrice.

    What ever happened to yelling at the offender (HT), saying critical things, writing counterpoints, giving her mean looks…and offering her a seat on the subway, acting natural when you are seated near her for lunch, and moving the hell on. Thomas has apologized. It was stupid and mean of her. The content of her stupid remark isn’t worthy of serious discussion. But why do we have to convene and debate her continued existence? She has no influence on policy, doesn’t run a major news corporation, isn’t in line for a diplomatic appointment. We continually put Buchanan’s latest bombast in the outbox; surely Helen Thomas does not warrant even more severe treatment than that.

    Also: there are those of us who care about Israel and desperately wish for basic, critical policy changes, and want Israelis to be safe, and want Palestinian babies (and families) to have decent lives, and want everyone to not be insane, malnourished, scared, shunned, or dangerously destabilized. Personally, I think Helen Thomas ought to issue herself a citation and pay a fee in the form of a huge honkin donation to a reputable, legitimate relief organization.

    Oof. I seem to be on edge a lot lately.

  48. 48
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Questioning a religious or political movement you don’t subscribe to, Zionism: beyond the pale, offensive, horrible.

    Treating Palestinians like animals, stealing their land, killing them: Yawn.

    How did things get so upside-down?

  49. 49
    leftist says:

    I think this might be a matter of Caesers’ quote about your having to be above suspicion.

    It’s very important when you advocate for the Palestinians in Washington not to be stupid, to realize that anything you say can and will be used against you.

    Whether or not Helen Thomas hates Jews isn’t really the point. The point is that she left the question open to be debated. And by doing that she made it that much more difficult for anybody who criticizes Israeli apartheid.

  50. 50
    Zach says:

    According to the Internet, Craig & Helen’s agent blows, anyway.

  51. 51
    eemom says:

    And can you point me to one comment of yours condemning the murder of 9 civilians and wounding of 3-4 dozen more. Or were you just too busy playing vicitimized commenter (“I know I will get flamed”) to squeeze an acknowledgment of that brutality in?

    why the fuck should I? You all were on that particular point like white on rice.

    And fuck your Turkey as “victim” narrative, also too. Turkey is very, very far from blameless in this mess.

    Why is nuance and shades of gray so fucking impossible for people on BOTH sides of the IP divide to grasp? WHY does there have to be a rush to condemnation one way or the other every single fucking time?

  52. 52
    Keith G says:

    Poor old Helen. She was great for so many years. I love her to death, but I wish she had had a plan B for her ultra “golden years”.

    Old people eventually loose it. It just happens. Some sooner than others. That’s why I do not care who the fuck they are, I do not want a person sworn into the office of President of the US after their 70th birthday.

    I really doubt that Helen is a bad person, but just an old person who’s brain does not function in the way it used to.

  53. 53
    Kyle says:

    @eemom:

    And you’re a mindless knee-jerk panty liner on any issue to do with Israel. You add nothing to the conversation but to make it all about you and your fact-free self-righteous opinions and feelings.

  54. 54
    John Cole says:

    you know what, John? I didn’t read your blog back in the day, but on this issue at least, you’re just as much of mindless knee jerk party liner on the left as you apparently were on the right.

    I’ll take that as an admission that you haven’t so much as acknowledged the nine dead civilians.

    This has nothing to do with being a knee-jerk partisan. Christ- 75% of the Democratic party is parroting the IDF line, and most of the liberal blogs are even afraid to talk about the issue.

    The thing is- I went down this road before. I cheerleaded the invasion of Iraq where we ended up killing hundreds of thousands of people, thousands of our own, and spent hundreds of billions of dollars, and you know what got me really upset back in the day? Ted Rall cartoons and and some jackass at an anti-war rally who called Bush Hitler.

    So sue me. I’m capable of learning.

    And can you point me to where you condemned the nine dead civilians with up to four bullets in the head? Or where you busy pre-emptively with HT’s remarks that would come five days later?

  55. 55
    eemom says:

    @Kyle:

    Bullshit.

  56. 56
    J says:

    Like most non-crazy people, I support a two state solution, (though I don’t think the idea of bi-national single state is to be dismissed out of hand). I don’t think it’s right to equate HT’s comment, so far as I understand it, with a white racist’s remark ‘send them back to Africa’. Remember what things were like not an infinitely long time ago, when Zionism was young. Zionism from the anti-semitic perspective was a ‘solution’ to the ‘the jewish question’. The idea of packing of ‘undesirables’ or ‘surplus populations’, the Irish, say, or convicts, or the lower orders, to Australia or ‘somewhere else’ was very much in vogue. Massive violently enforced population transfers, e.g., of native Americans, were accepted as part of the natural order of things by many. The non-racist, non anti-semitic view was that our Jewish fellow citizens are part of our nation (Frenchman and women, Englishmen and women, Germans, loyal subjects of the Dual Monarchy whatever) and not aliens who need to be ‘packed off’ somewhere. Admittedly, a lot has happened since then. The Israelis are there (just as descendants of Europeans are in N. and S. America, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and so on). But note that one of the places to which HT seems to think Jews could go ‘back’ is the US, the country of which she is a citizen. Not an obviously anti-semitic sentiment, however out of touch with the last sixty+ years of history (showing her age here I think).

  57. 57
    eemom says:

    most of the liberal blogs are even afraid to talk about the issue.

    That, sir, is just laughably wrong.

  58. 58
    Ailuridae says:

    @eemom:

    Because if you are actually a progressive there aren’t a whole lot of shades of gray in Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians in Gaza since 2007. Its morally reprehensible. Israel’s actions in Gaza run completely anathema to the entire progressive tradition. Pretty simple, actually.

    And as an American progressive I deeply resent that my government goes largely against the wishes of its own citizenry and quashes all dissent leaving blood on our hands.

  59. 59
    fucen tarmal says:

    i don’t like what helen thomas said, and i don’t agree with it.

    i do however understand the third rail that is criticism of israel and its policies. in the rhetoric of this nations media, israel is enormously well defensed. even mild criticisms can meet with a similar reaction to the one currently underway with helen thomas.

    the benefit of doubt i will give her, is that she has been implicitly and explicitly silenced on the issue. she knew, the question was asking her to embrace actions she felt repugnant, or risk rebuke for even a much milder criticism. i am wondering if that sort of self-censorship over the years bubbled up into, the anger you see in her face. that her response was something along the lines of, you wanna get me for this, fine, i’m gonna get my money’s worth for the shit i am gonna take….

    this isn’t to excuse it, just to say that i believe her anger and frustration is with the lack of real discussion on israel, not the bone felt loathing her remarks show on face value.

  60. 60
    Brian J says:

    @KG:

    He’s the guy who has brown hair slicked back like a used car salesman, glasses like a high school principal from the 1980s, and teeth so big I’d be surprised if they weren’t capped. His accent, while surely natural, makes him sound like a cross between Elmer Fudd and Hank Hill. He used to offer his opinions on MSNBC until recently.

  61. 61
    tavella says:

    @The Dangerman: Questioning Israel is one thing.

    Questioning Israel’s right to exist is entirely different.

    She should be retired as gracefully as possible.

    I think Israel has as much right to exist as the apartheid state of South Africa. This is me, questioning Israel’s right to exist. According to you, that should get me fired. Fuck that. The fetishization of Israel as sacred has become beyond obscene.

  62. 62
    Mary says:

    I’m confused. Why is Ann Coulter allowed to call Helen Thomas a “dirty old Arab,” with nary an apology nor a consequence but Helen Thomas has to be ruined in the twilight of her life for a remark for which she has apologized?

  63. 63
    fucen tarmal says:

    @Mary:

    because ann coulter was smart enough to get pictures in advance of enough important people sucking her dick.

  64. 64
    eemom says:

    further to my lack of “condemnation” — who the hell am I, the Secretary of State?

    My opinion about what happened is very simple. Yes, I’m sorry people died…..but innocent people die every fucking day, all the time.

    (echo: “So just because innocent people die all the time means Israel can do whatever it wants??”)

    And I do NOT believe those people were innocent. At the very best they were tools. Those ships were sent as an act of provocation — if you think that’s justified, fine, but it was NOT about getting supplies to the Gazans……because anything that wasn’t on the Israel “list” would have gotten there anyway, and the “activists” knew there was no fucking way Israel was going to let the stuff ON the list get in there no matter what.

    The Israeli response played right into their hands, and for that, I condemn the Israelis for being stupid as shit.

  65. 65
    BarbF says:

    @Alex S.:

    It is trolling to get our president to admit that our ally has undeclared nuclear weapons?

    May I ask what planet you live on?

  66. 66
    leftist says:

    @Brian J:

    He reminds me a bit of a liberal Tucker Carlson, someone who’s constructed an image of what a Washington reporter should look like from bits and pieces of the fairly distant past. Tucker used to play the WASPY twit with a bowtie. Crawford seems to be posing as the good ol boy small town newspaper man.

    On this issue, however, I don’t really see what else he could do. He agreed to work with her knowing full well what her views on the Middle East were. Then she made a boneheaded remark and he cut his ties with her. I can’t imagine why Craig Crawford’s agreeing to act like a martyr would do anybody any good.

    At this point, when you’ve got mainstream Democratic Party hacks like Peter Beinart and Joe Conason writing critically about Israel, does anybody really want to tie the issue to Helen Thomas?

  67. 67
    kdaug says:

    I said it on the other thread, but I’ll say it again here: what the fuck is a state’s “right to exist”? Does Kurdistan have a right to exist? Just lop off northern Iraq and southeast Turkey? How about Chechnya? Do the Chechen Muslims have a “right” to their own state in Central Europe?

    Or closer to home, how about the Arapaho Nation? Comanche? Cherokee? Iroquois? Seminole?

    Again, we’re not talking about a peoples’ right to exist, or a religions’ right to exist. We talking about a political construct, not a genetic or religious one.

    Strikes me that the “right” of a nation to exist is based largely on their military capacity. Also strikes me that that’s the way it has been for the entirety of human existence.

  68. 68
    Matt says:

    Who is Craig Crawford?

    He’s that guy who occasionally used to appear on Countdown who looks and sounds like the love child of Howard Fineman and Don Knotts.

  69. 69
    tavella says:

    @eemom: And I do NOT believe those people were innocent. At the very best they were tools. Those ships were sent as an act of provocation—if you think that’s justified, fine, but it was NOT about getting supplies to the Gazans

    “Those damn blacks and their acts of provocation! Sitting in Woolworth wasn’t about getting served! They deserved to get beaten, they weren’t innocent!”

    People like you make me sick.

  70. 70
    eemom says:

    @Ailuridae:

    Because if you are actually a progressive there aren’t a whole lot of shades of gray in Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians in Gaza since 2007. Its morally reprehensible. Israel’s actions in Gaza run completely anathema to the entire progressive tradition. Pretty simple, actually.

    I don’t disagree with that at all. But there are other actors in this horrible situation who are just as “morally reprehensible” as Israel. That is where the gray comes in.

  71. 71
    JL says:

    She may have slowed down some, but even ten years ago I bet Thomas could have kicked Crawford’s ass inside out.

  72. 72
    eemom says:

    @tavella:

    People like you make me sick.

    I don’t trouble my digestive process with people like you.

  73. 73
    eemom says:


    Those damn blacks and their acts of provocation! Sitting in Woolworth wasn’t about getting served! They deserved to get beaten, they weren’t innocent!”

    You’re really an idiot if you think those are comparable situations.

  74. 74
    fucen tarmal says:

    @kdaug:

    ask woodrow wilson.

  75. 75
    tavella says:

    @eemom: I don’t trouble my digestive process with people like you.

    I didn’t need to get that close to smell the stench of racism and special pleading off of you.

  76. 76
    srv says:

    @eemom:

    And I do NOT believe those people were innocent. At the very best they were tools. Those ships were sent as an act of provocation

    It’s about breaking the blockade, stupid. An act anyone with any sense of morality would support.

    You sound exactly like all those white folk who found them black folks trying to break segregation as being provocative and deserving their beatings.

    May your god forgive you.

  77. 77
    handy says:

    But there are other actors in this horrible situation who are just as “morally reprehensible” as Israel.

    Really? Like who?

  78. 78
    Alex S. says:

    @BarbF:

    Would Obama ever admit that?

    What planet are you living on?

  79. 79
    Winston says:

    John, I don’t know how you conclude from my reaction to Thomas’ remark (which wasn’t “outrage,” by the way – it was more akin to disgust) that I think it’s ok for Israel to shit on the Palestinians. Quite the contrary. I strongly oppose and have opposed for years what Israel has done to the Palestinians, up to and including the Gaza embargo. I just think “Jews get out of Palestine” – like “Mexicans go back to Mexico” (yes, that disgusts me just as much) – is a step beyond the normal offensive comment. Apparently, you disagree. But please don’t assume that my dislike of her remark means I think Israel gets a pass on ITS actions.

  80. 80
    Kyle says:

    @eemom:

    My opinion about what happened is very simple. Yes, I’m sorry people died…..but innocent people die every fucking day, all the time

    So if someone had that reaction toward the dozen or so Israeli civilians killed over the past decade by rockets from Gaza, you’re fine with that?

    And I do NOT believe those people were innocent. At the very best they were tools. Those ships were sent as an act of provocation blahblahblah

    Let me guess, you were a fan of the Tienanmen Square massacre? It’s cool to send a murderous military assault against people engaged in a peaceful demonstration in international waters because they’re not the ‘right’ kind of people?

  81. 81
    leftist says:

    @handy:

    Really? Like who?

    The United States, for allowing the occupation of Gaza and the West Bank to go on year after year after year with no resolution in sight.

    Russia, for sending an endless supply of gangsters, thugs, racists, and non-Jewish Jews into a tiny country that’s bound to be warped by the pressure.

    Egypt, for support Israel’s blockade of Gaza.

    Iran, for a constant deluge of incendiary remarks designed to unite its people behind the theocracy via a perceived threat from Israel and America.

    Everybody pretty much sucks on this issue. It’s the BP oil spill of international diplomacy.

  82. 82
    kdaug says:

    @fucen tarmal: And here we are. Not sure it’s a good place to be.

    But we sure as shit are going to spend whatever we have to on our military to ensure that we stay here. (Whether that’s a viable long-term strategy remains to be seen).

  83. 83
    eemom says:

    @handy:

    the Iranians, for example. The 800 pound gorilla in the room that is conveniently never mentioned when this topic comes up.

    Do you really think they bankroll Hamas and Hezbollah because they give a shit about the Palestinians?

    Where’s your righteous outrage when they massacre and torture their own citizens?

    (echo: So, just because the Iranians massacre and torture their own citizens means Israel gets to do whatever it wants??)

  84. 84
    Kyle says:

    @eemom:

    Iran is a pariah state because of what it does. Israel mooches off my US tax dollars.

  85. 85
    Svensker says:

    @Alex S.:

    Helen Thomas has trolled with regard to Israel for a while now. For example, she tried to get Obama to admit that Israel possesses nuclear weapons.

    Why is that wrong? Are we not allowed to ask that question publicly?

  86. 86
    Brian J says:

    @leftist:

    I’m sort of embarrassed to admit this, but I’m so far out of the loop on the situation involving Israel and the Palestinians it’s not even funny. As obtuse and difficult as it is to learn a little bit about financial reform, it’s even worse when it comes to something relating to foreign policy, at least for me. So aside from agreeing with your comments in regards to Crawford’s image, I don’t have anything else to add.

  87. 87
    eemom says:

    @srv:

    may you kiss my ass for the sanctimonious twit you are.

    I SAID, if you think the provocation was justified, that’s fine. But no one in their right mind could suppose “breaking the blockade” would happen without violence.

  88. 88
    BarbF says:

    @Jared:

    I’m with you. I had to stop and think, who is Craig Crawford, and then I remembered. The frothy, heavy breathing idiot that I abhor listening to.

  89. 89
    kdaug says:

    @Kyle: Precisely. We don’t send money and arms to Iran.

    This isn’t about Jews. This is about Israel.

  90. 90
    tesslibrarian says:

    @TBogg: Craig Crawford writes for…CQ? I can’t recall now. I find him impossible to listen to because he sounds EXACTLY like Al Franken’s impersonation of Pat Robertson from the 1988 GOP primary sketches on SNL.

  91. 91
    eemom says:

    @Kyle:

    oh, right. I forgot that other “tax dollars” echo.

    Because Israel’s is like, the ONLY, and the WORST, government in the world that has been supported with your fucking tax dollars.

  92. 92
    Ailuridae says:

    @eemom:

    Who around here defends the Iranian regime? Yeah, nobody. That’s a horrible strawman even by the new standards of horrible straw men the reflexive Israel supporters have introduced to this blog since the Flotilla “incident”.

    I think as progressives though we realize our country did the Iranian people wrong by destabilizing their duly elected government, reinstalling an illegitimate despot etc. As for the Middle East and I/P broadly I doubt you’ll agree to this but I have no problem admitting Israel and Iran are comparably shitty actors. The difference is that as Americans one of those countries is our sworn enemy precisely for that reason and one of them is our nearest ally in spite of it.

  93. 93
    leftist says:

    @kdaug:

    It seems also to be about a cultural and political divide within the United States.

    Peter Beinart’s article in the New York Review of Books is surpringly good, considering that he’s always been a pro-war hack.

    Beinart argue that American Jews tend to be liberals before being Zionists, and that Zionism is moving further and further away from liberalism.

    Not everybody, Jewish or Christian, in America, however, is a liberal. For a lot of right wing Americans, Israel seems like their ideal. For the typical Tea Partier, the idea of locking up a minority group inside a giant open air cage and bombing them every few years is pretty appealing.

    The Israelis are a bit like Americans on steroids, a coarser, more openly racist, more violent image of ourselves. That’s why the issue is such a touchstone. Liberals don’t to go in that direction. Conservatives do.

  94. 94
    tkogrumpy says:

    @neill: What neill said. Except for the part about my Swedish backside.

  95. 95
    kdaug says:

    @leftist: Ah, now that’s interesting… what, precisely, is a “non-Jewish Jew”?

    Just the ones from Russia and the Caucasus? Or are Jewish Arabs included as well? Jewish Persians?

    How about Jewish Americans?

    Methinks you conflate religion with ethnicity. Makes you a bit of a racist, no?

  96. 96
    BarbF says:

    @eemom:

    Yeah, let’s talk about that 800 lb gorilla. Do you think Iran would be pushing so hard to get nuclear if they didn’t see first hand what happens when the neocons push the US into doing when they fear someone? Please, don’t tell us that you aren’t aware that the Israeli neocons (Feith, Wolfowitz etal ring any bells?) pushed Bush into attacking Iraq.

    If you were any self-respecting Arab state, wouldn’t you want deterrence from the same happening to you? That is just one of the by-products of neoconservative hegemony.

    Do you believe in collective punishment? Why else did Olmert say he was putting the Gazans on ‘a diet’?

  97. 97
    eemom says:

    Who around here defends the Iranian regime? Yeah, nobody.

    Please spare me that tiresome “strawman” soundbite. I didn’t say anyone “defends” Iran. I said no one so much as acknowledges the part it plays in all this.

  98. 98
    leftist says:

    @kdaug:

    Ah, not that’s interesting… what, precisely, is a “non-Jewish Jew”?

    Russian gentiles who pretended to be Jewish to get into the country.

  99. 99
    Keith G says:

    @kdaug: Quite right.

    Since god is an imaginary construct, so are god-given rights. Israel’s ability to exist has gone through quite a metamorphosis. The modern state was given as a gift and its ability to exist was guaranteed by all manor of subsidies.- including some of my tax dollars.

    Now Israel’s ability to exist is bolster by its nuclear arsenal. Such a possession goes quite a long way in providing an ability to exist which is why so many other states, including Iran, want such weapons. Who can blame them?

  100. 100
    eemom says:

    If you were any self-respecting Arab state, wouldn’t you want deterrence from the same happening to you?

    How is Iran’s support for Hamas and Hezbollah “deterring” anything from happening to them?

    I wasn’t talking about their nukes.

  101. 101
    Kyle says:

    @eemom:

    Because Israel’s is like, the ONLY, and the WORST, government in the world that has been supported with your fucking tax dollars.

    That’s a ringing endorsement! “Israel: We’re not the worst government getting US foreign aid”.

    No other country on earth receives the level of financial and political favoritism from the US government that Israel does. And if Equatorial Guinea slaughters some political dissidents after pocketing US money, there aren’t any self-righteous whiny-ass titty-babies like you trolling blog comment boards defending them.

  102. 102
    The Dangerman says:

    @tavella:

    I think Israel has as much right to exist as the apartheid state of South Africa.

    Bad news for you, asshole; South Africa as a state still exists. There was a political solution to Apartheid…

    …as there would be if the State of Israel was recognized as having a right to exist.

    I have no idea if stating your belief that Israel shouldn’t exist should get you fired; it would depend upon what your job is. I do know that stating such a belief in as crass a fashion as was done by a political reporter should get one retired.

    Thanks for being such a dick.

  103. 103
    leftist says:

    @eemom:

    How is Iran’s support for Hamas and Hezbollah “deterring” anything from happening to them?

    Hezbollah’s victory over Israel in 2006 (combined with the success of the Iraqi resistance from 2004-2006) probably limited American and Israeli designs on Iran.

  104. 104
    kdaug says:

    @leftist: Actually let me back off that a bit in retrospect – “racist” is a loaded term, and is a bit harsh for what I’m getting at. The point is the conflation of religion with ethnicity.

    For example, a solid number of “Good Catholic” right wingers in this country really, well, just hate Mexicans. Wish them deported. Even though the majority of Central Americans are devout Catholics.

    At what point does the religious “team” solidarity end, and the racism begin?

  105. 105
    Hiram Taine says:

    @eemom:

    It’s much of what’s *on* the Israeli “list” that’s so disturbing and revealing of what the true intentions of the Israeli government are.

    The list that was put here on BJ a few days ago opened my eyes, I was once a very strong supporter of the state of Israel, these days the government of that country seems to vying with Hamas to see who can sink the lowest.

    Collective punishment and starving a civilian population is just plain wrong and that list made it quite clear to me anyway that’s what the Israeli government is doing.

  106. 106
    leftist says:

    @kdaug:

    Here’s an article on what I was referring to.

    http://www.washington-report.o.....04066.html

    A lot of white, only marginally Jewish Russian immigrants came to Israel in the 1990s. The Shas Party (which represents Israel’s Separdic, Orthodox Jews) tried to limit their ability to immigrate.

    So ironically, a right wing Israel political party wants “Russians to go back to Russia.”

  107. 107
    drag0n says:

    How is it racist for an American to suggest that her countrymen who are settling a foreign occupied land in order to forward the geopolitical aspirations of a foreign power return home to the USA?

    Comparisons with the “Blacks Should Go Back To Africa” crowd are absurd. This is more like a Yank saying “Yankee Go Home”. An unpopular view, stated by a woman who is probably no longer in complete control of her mouth due to her advancing age, but racist? No.

  108. 108
    Ailuridae says:

    @eemom:

    No, asshole. You suggested that nobody here talks about Iran slaughtering their own citizenry. Here (quoting you because you are such a dishonest fucking asshole)

    Where’s your righteous outrage when they massacre and torture their own citizens?

    The reason nobody here bothers to condemn those actions is because we all understand them to be condemnable. The reason there is a discussion about Israel’s repellent actions is because have a government at the federal level that supports Israel without qualification, a press that follows suit and “fellow travellers” on the left such as yourself that are willing to make the most dishonest possible arguments rather than just do what any progressive not blinded by tribalism would do and admit that Israel is acting abominably and has been at least since 2007 and likely this whole decade. And yes, actual progressives find that situation flabbergasting and wrong and struggle to come to terms with it.

  109. 109
    Corner Stone says:

    @eemom:

    And I do NOT believe those people were innocent. At the very best they were tools. Those ships were sent as an act of provocation—if you think that’s justified, fine, but it was NOT about getting supplies to the Gazans……because anything that wasn’t on the Israel “list” would have gotten there anyway, and the “activists” knew there was no fucking way Israel was going to let the stuff ON the list get in there no matter what.

    And I don’t even give a shit about this thread. I’m just extremely happy that the Banality of Evil that is your miserable soul has been clearly expressed for every person here.
    You’re a truly despicable human being.

  110. 110
    JK says:

    Craig Crawford should shun and disown both Helen Thomas and Pat Buchanan.

  111. 111
    Cacti says:

    Thomas is being raked over the coals for calling attention to the elephant in the living room.

    Where is it written that the modern State of Israel has an inalienable, unassailable right to exist? Where is this written for any nation-state?

    What larger good is served by the perpetuation of a State that recognizes a “right of return” to the middle east for Europeans and Americans who have no ties to that region in any form?

  112. 112
    Ron says:

    I’m a little surprised (and disappointed) to hear the main defense of Thomas being “Well, the right-wingers say offensive crap all the time!” They do, and most people on the left will happily criticize them when they do. What she said WAS offensive. I’m not calling for her to be fired over it, but to defend it with the “the other guys do it too” defense is pretty ridiculous. And the idea that Israel is an “apartheid state” is pretty ludicrous as well. I’m not saying there is completely equal treatment to everyone as only Jews have the inherent “right of return” but it’s not the same thing as what South Africa did. This is not to excuse the treatment of people in the occupied territories, but its useful to base arguments on what the reality is, not some exaggerated position with words with high emotional content.

  113. 113
    BarbF says:

    @eemom:

    You’re not talking about them getting nukes, I am. And why they would want nukes, after seeing what Feith, Wolfowitz etal helped push a nitwit US president into doing.

    And in case you’ve failed to notice, the neocons of Israel and the US have been pushing for for several years now, another war, on Iran. They aren’t even giving us the time to fix the fuck ups of their last war, or even begin to pay for it, but they want war on Iran now.

    Aren’t you listening anymore to the likes of those freaks? Well, maybe you should.

    And when you worry about Iran supporting Hamas (as Israel used to do), maybe you ought to wonder if they’re just trying to keep Israel busy while they finish up being able to deter the neocons from their next adventure. In Iran.

  114. 114
    eemom says:

    I honestly don’t give a shit what names you people call me.

  115. 115
    eemom says:

    @Corner Stone:

    You’re a truly despicable human being.

    ….except that I do regard that as a compliment coming from you, twerp.

  116. 116
    leftist says:

    @Ron:

    And the idea that Israel is an “apartheid state” is pretty ludicrous as well.

    It would be if Israel were actually planning to leave the West Bank and Gaza.

    But as it stands now they’ve been there for over 40 years and seem to have every intention of keeping both territories without giving the Palestinians in both the right to vote in Israeli elections.

    Even if the Palestinians in Gaza hadn’t been blockaded for voting the wrong people into power, they were still not voting in any election where the control of their borders or airspace was decided.

    That would be a bit like my being able to vote for governer of New Jersey but not the President. And that’s precisely the definition fo a Bantustan.

  117. 117
    Corner Stone says:

    @eemom: Bask in it baby.
    You ain’t winning any Nobel’s here with your disgusting calls for other human beings (who aren’t you) to know their place.
    Know your place! If you want concrete you can wait a few decades for it!

  118. 118
    JK says:

    @Ron:

    The defense of Helen Thomas is pure, unadulterated bullshit. Helen Thomas and Pat Buchanan are two sides of the same coin. She’s a leftwing anti-semite while he’s a rightwing antisemite.

    Israel deserves world wide condemnation for their attack on the ship carrying the activists and I’d love to see Netanyahu voted out of office in the next Israeli election, but Helen Thomas doesn’t deserve a pass for her vile, venomous, despicable comments.

  119. 119
    Ailuridae says:

    @Ron:

    Apartheid is a loaded word in this debate because when it is used people assume that it has to be one in the same as the South African implementation of apartheid when it doesn’t. Apartheid has a meaning distinct from that. For instance if the British National Party ever rose to power (unlikely) and implementing their plan to give white British citizens priority in housing and jobs that would rightly be called an apartheid regime. As such, it is rather tough to argue that under ICSPCA definition of apartheid the current treatment of non-Jews in Israel amounts to anything but an apartheid regime,.

  120. 120
    Phoenician in a time of Romans says:

    The comment was way beyond the Pale – precisely equivalent to “blacks ought to go back to Africa.” If she had said that, there would have been no question that she would have lost every contract or job she had. It’s hardly “questioning Israel” to suggest Israel should be made Judenrein.

    At what point did she use the word “Jew”?

    She was asked a question about Israel, to which she replied heatedly (and learning that she’s of Lebanonese descent makes that more understandable).

    The wingnuts have jumped on this as an example of anti-Semitism, playing the old “Israel = Jews” card. Why excatly are people not picking up on that?

  121. 121
    wilfred says:

    Jonathan Cook on Israeli apartheid:

    Today, in the occupied territories, the apartheid nature of Israeli rule is irrefutable — if little mentioned by Western politicians or the media. But inside Israel itself, it is largely veiled and hidden. My purpose today is to try to remove the veil a little. I say “a little”, because I would need far more than the time allotted to me to do justice to this topic. There are, for example, some 30 laws that explicitly discriminate between Jews and non-Jews — another way of referring to the fifth of the Israeli population who are Palestinian and supposedly enjoy full citizenship. There are also many other Israeli laws and administrative practices that lead to an outcome of ethnic-based segregation even if they do not make such discrimination explicit.

    http://www.counterpunch.org/cook04262010.html

  122. 122
    eemom says:

    @Corner Stone:

    you said you didn’t give a shit about this topic, dearie. Changed your mind?

  123. 123
    kdaug says:

    @Phoenician in a time of Romans: Precisely.

    Judaism is a ~4000 year old religion with adherents around the globe of many differing ethnicities.

    Israel is a ~60 year old political construct created by the Brits and Americans at the end of WWII to serve as a bulwark against Soviet expansion in the middle east.

    Why people seem to be unable to differentiate between the two is an interesting question. (I suspect the key words there are “seem to be”, and that the answer is “It’s deliberate”.)

  124. 124
    muddy says:

    I went through to Utube to find video. Found multi. Thomas says that people should go back to where they came from, admittedly this is offensive, particularly since they did not get there last week and at that time they really needed somewhere to go. But she says go to Poland, go to Germany, go to the US. At the end of the video it says in red letters that is sending them back to the Holocaust. Upthread I read someone saying that the logical conclusion of her comments is that she wants to send them back into the Holocaust. Here I paste like the luddite I am:

    #37 “She said individual israelis should go back to the countries that originally ostracized, exterminated,and imprisoned them. The logical conclusion of that statement is that all modern day israelis should, essentially, die.”

    The Holocaust is long over and no one emigrating to those 3 countries would be killed. It is *not* a logical conclusion of what she said.

    A while ago watching tv with the family we see Ahmadinejad whining that there should be no Israel because since it was the Germans that abused the Jews then the Germans ought to donate the land to them, why did it come out of someone else’s area? My young son says, yeah why? I said because that’s where they lived in Bible times. He says why doesn’t Italy own all Europe then? And shouldn’t we give this country back to the Native Americans? And and and… I feel stymied for logic. I fall back on, you research it and tell me (lame parental trick). He came back in a few days with arguments one way and the other and the other than that. He said he didn’t know. I said, me neither, everyone argues over it constantly.

    Obviously no one is going to kick the Israelis out after all this time, but if they did it would not be back to the Holocaust. And I don’t understand why the Israelis have to act so shitty when they ought to have learned a valuable lesson about being mean to the Other. Perhaps it’s like the military industrial complex, where you have to be at war all the time just to keep things running, keep that fear and persecution fresh. Otherwise people would be friends and get married to each other across the bounds, and all the specialness will be diluted.

    As for Craig Crawford he is just so damned smarmy I don’t care what he says because his voice is so whiny and annoying I can’t understand him half the time.

    Sorry this has gotten very long, but this idea I found all over the intertubes that she wants to send Jews into the Holocaust so they will die in the present day is just silly.

  125. 125
    Corner Stone says:

    @eemom: This thread. This thread. I don’t give a shit about Craig Crawford and his cowardice.
    Your despicable nature is an ongoing concern.

  126. 126
    Sheila says:

    @Alex S.: Israel does have nuclear weapons.

  127. 127
    Cacti says:

    Sorry this has gotten very long, but this idea I found all over the intertubes that she wants to send Jews into the Holocaust so they will die in the present day is just silly.

    Well, that’s what Ari Fleischer said, and if we can’t trust him, who can we trust?

  128. 128
    Elizabelle says:

    @Zach:

    Zach: can you provide some links re Helen Thomas’s agent “blows”? I am wondering about that one myself.

    Many thanks.

  129. 129
    tkogrumpy says:

    @eemom: Well, one of us does, and he doesn’t like it.

  130. 130
    handy says:

    @eemom:

    Where’s your righteous outrage when they massacre and torture their own citizens?

    The subject was some remarks someone made about Israel in response to their out-of-proportion attack on an unarmed vessel in international waters. This statement of yours reminds me of the kind wingnuts made (and actually continue to make to this day) when people would dare criticize the Iraq war. Please keep up the good work.

  131. 131
    tonyatlas says:

    @John Cole:

    How about we treat these as the separate transgressions they are, instead of just lumping them altogether and saying ‘Well, since person A says bad things and got off scot free, then person B should be able to commit the same. Or since people X got shit on by people Y, then they have the right to shit all over people Z. Two Girls One Cup Geopolitical style.’

    The logic of it all gets tiring. HT fucked up, the Germans fucked up, and the Israelis are fucking up.

  132. 132
    micah616 says:

    @Shorter eemom: I’m still butthurt because people have lost their “core belief” in Israel.

  133. 133

    I’m losing the point of what the purpose of the state of Israel is all about. A place where Jews won’t be persecuted?

  134. 134
    Ranger 3 says:

    I love how people like to pretend that there is any similarity whatsoever between the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Hamas. When did MLK send 18 year old young men into white neighborhoods to blow up buses full of civilians?

    The far left nuts who JC has regrettably decided to make common cause with on at least this issue, invariably scream accusations of racism and brutality at those they perceive to be white (although as many have pointed out Israel has a varied ethnic background) all the while ignoring the staggering racism and brutality exhibited by the groups they have chosen to side with.

    I simply have never understood the anger and hatred of the far left for Israel and the US, while simultaneously priding themselves on their moral superiority and sanctimony. I mean the muslim theocrats and Arab nationalists I understand… they fucking hate Jews and make no apologies for it. But the far left in this country, well there’s some serious cognitive dissonance going on. And I’m not even getting into the 9/11 conspiracy stuff.

    I doubt my input would be welcome in this fun little corner of the internet, as I am in fact a baby-killing mercenary war criminal who did a couple tours in Iraq as a member of the Evil American Imperial Army and fought against the Iraqi “Resistance”. Again, it’s fun when champions of peace, love and unity glorify paramilitary groups who enjoy torturing their own people with power tools and raping young women as a means of shaming them into volunteering for suicide bombing missions targeting civilians. And why do they kill these people, their fellow Iraqis? Because they’re not the right kind of muslim.

    But we’re the racists.

    Note that I have said nothing about the blockade incident, I am (gasp) reserving judgement until all the facts are in. I don’t put it past the monsters pulling the strings on the Arab side to have planned this bloodbath from the get go, and I don’t trust the idiots in charge on Israel’s side to have made this mess happen. I’m guessing it was a mix of both, but that’s just a guess.

    About that Helen Thomas thing… it’s fine to say stuff like that on Fox. Maybe she should go work there. But if you want to be taken seriously as an real journalist, it’s pretty much a career ending mistake.

  135. 135
    Ranger 3 says:

    @mapaghimagsik: It’s a civil war. The US decided to back Israel when it broke out and still does, kinda like the French decided to back the US at around the time of it’s formation. The alliance will evolve over time, as alliances tend to do.

    But for now, the conflict affords people with no lives and/or mental health issues something to rant about. For my part, I don’t think people care enough about Tibet. If you ever bought anything made in China you’ve got blood on your hands. The lack of comments showing solidarity with the Tibetans has layed bare the rotten core that is your soul.

    And you’re racist… also, too.

  136. 136
    Ailuridae says:

    @Ranger 3:

    That was a lot of typing to make no coherent point. Is that a learned skill?

  137. 137
    Zach says:

    @Elizabelle: “Zach: can you provide some links re Helen Thomas’s agent “blows”? I am wondering about that one myself.”

    Google her agency (Nine Speakers) and forums for writers pop up with various horror stories. No idea what fraction of complaints are legit and what fraction are from folks annoyed that they can’t get published, though.

  138. 138
    Egypt Steve says:

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

    Does the State of Israel protect the inalienable rights of its Arab citizens, or sub-citizens in the occupied zones? Thomas Jefferson says that, if the answer is “no,” then they have the right to call for the state to be altered or abolished. If you disagree, I ask you, why do you hate America?

  139. 139
    Brandon says:

    Jeebus, is AIPAC or the IDF paying for internet thread trolls now? Looks like a couple folks here are looking for overtime pay.

  140. 140
    Person of Choler says:

    I hope that Ms. Thomas lives to be 120 and stays in the White House press corps to the very end. I anticipate much hilarity from the daffy old crone.

    The only thing funnier than one of Obama’s press buddies opining that Israeli Jews ought to be sent back to the locales of Auschwitz, Treblinka, Dachau, Sachsenhausen, Nordhausen and so forth, is the verbal gymnastics of those trying to defend her remarks.

    This is the most amusing stuff to read here since the last outbreak of Palinophobia.

  141. 141
    kdaug says:

    @Brandon: It’s called “messaging”, “handling the PR”, or “directing the conversation”.

    And don’t doubt for a minute that there are a lot of people paid to do exactly that, in exactly a place like this, by our government and others.

  142. 142
    Egypt Steve says:

    @Person of Choler: I don’t think there’s any “Palinophobia” on this blog. “Phobia” suggests fear. Speaking for myself, I’d prefer to say that I experience “misopalinia,” “detestation” of Palin and Palinism.

  143. 143
    PeakVT says:

    @Brandon: Check out this article. But I doubt anyone commenting in this thread is a pro.

  144. 144
    Ty Lookwell says:

    @muddy: Yes, yes, yes. Thank you.

  145. 145
    Person of Choler says:

    @Egypt Steve:

    Speaking further of the names of diseases, “Hydrophobia” would translate only as “fear of water”, but the condition presents further, shall we say, more “intense”, characteristics than mere hydrological avoidance.

    Call your syndrome what you will, it leads to some pretty amusing screeds and diatribes and I read them to study the pathology.

  146. 146
    Ranger 3 says:

    @Ailuridae: Not having a point is precisely the point. Because this entire debate is near fucking pointless.

    Anyone on any side of this debate claiming to be unbiased is so full of it they warp time and space.

  147. 147
    Resident Firebagger says:

    I guess I missed the part where Helen said the Jews should be sent back to the Holocaust. It sounds like she meant that they should stop taking the Palestinians’ land when they could live in any number of other places without supporting the system of apartheid maintained by the Israeli government.

    But then, I clearly missed the part where the criticizing the Israeli government — even though it’s neither a race nor a religion — makes you an anti-Semite.

  148. 148
    Uriel says:

    @Winston:

    The comment was way beyond the Pale – precisely equivalent to “blacks ought to go back to Africa.”

    Sorry, but he moral quality of HT’s statements aside: trying to critique them by drawing an equivalence between blacks in the US and Jews in Israel is, frankly, beyond absurd- for like, a million reasons.

    We can start with the fact that blacks in the us were brought here in chains as chattel, and have only managed slow and incremental changes to their lot by waiting centuries. Jews in Israel, on the other hand, mostly came willingly and have been running the show for quite a while now- to the point that they get to blockade entire sections of the country based on the ethnicity of it’s inhabitants.

    Not a lot of commonality there.

  149. 149
    Ailuridae says:

    @Ranger 3:

    You typed seven paragraphs to not have a point? Interesting.

    Anyone on any side of this debate claiming to be unbiased is so full of it they warp time and space.

    How exactly would someone being full of it warp time and space? You’re used to being around right-wing blogs and the dummies that post there. Here when you ramble on incoherently for 500 words people will make fun of you. And, fwiw, one doesn’t need to claim to be unbiased to realize Israel’s continued actions are problematic. But, since you can’t make any sense or even a simple fucking analogy I suggest you head back to your sandbox with the rest of the droolers. You’ve sufficiently embarrassed yourself here.

  150. 150
    Uriel says:

    @Ranger 3:

    I doubt my input would be welcome in this fun little corner of the internet, as I am in fact a baby-killing mercenary war criminal who did a couple tours in Iraq as a member of the Evil American Imperial Army and fought against the Iraqi “Resistance”.

    No, that stuff would probably be OK- it the shameless self-puffery and being a pompous and presumptuous idiot that would probably make you less than welcome.

  151. 151
    Q says:

    Just out from WaPo and displayed prominently as the second story on their webpage:

    “Is Turkey Turning from the West?”

    Bravo, Liz Cheney. Brah-vo.

  152. 152
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @eemom:

    the Iranians, for example. The 800 pound gorilla in the room that is conveniently never mentioned when this topic comes up.

    Yes, never. Why, the only folks I’ve heard bring Iran up in regards to this particular event were, well, every single member of our pro-Israel commentariat (which, since being pro-Israel is nearly a prerequisite for getting gigs on the tee-vee, is somewhere in the neighborhood of 90% of the pundits that the average person ever knows about).

    No, nobody in this country ever has a bad thing to say about Iran. Do you truly believe this bullshit, or are you just scrambling for something to say?

  153. 153
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @Ailuridae:

    I have no problem admitting Israel and Iran are comparably shitty actors

    They’re not just comparably shitty, they’re complementarily shitty. Each one exists as the other’s bogey-man, thus allowing either government to deflect from its own misdeeds whenever convenient. They complete each other.

  154. 154
    FlipYrWhig says:

    I thought Helen Thomas’s point — one which I’ve heard more than a few times myself — was that the whole idea of Israel as a state for Holocaust refugees is peculiar in the first place, because the European nations that were defeated and/or reconstructed after WWII should have had to do right by their own Jewish citizens… rather than dropping the whole thing in the laps of the Arab world. Not to send them back to be slaughtered, obviously, but to allow them to rejoin the civil society of the countries they came from before the Nazis’ ethnic cleansing.

    “Go home” is obviously an inflammatory thing to say in the here and now. On the other hand, “stay home” wasn’t obviously the wrong course of action in the aftermath of the World Wars, and let’s not forget that Zionism was considered dodgy _even among Jews_ for a long, long time. And the whole separate ethnic homeland vs. social integration dynamic convulsed black civil rights in the early 20th century too.

  155. 155
    Phil says:

    And John Cole’s transition from moderate conservative to anti-Semetic Leftist anti-Semite is now complete!

    John, you decided to become a “conservative of conscience” by following in the footsteps of Andrew Sullivan. It’s pretty clear you still read Sullivan regularly as you link him quite often, particularly in regards to Israel.

    It’s too bad you never got the good sense to recognize that Andrew Sullivan is a piece of shit and a sad excuse for a human being. Between his marijuana charges and his Internet plea for “bareback sex” while suffering from HIV to his Trig Trutherism to his recent and very bizarre dreams about Sarah Palin’s garden:

    I had a dream last night that I was lost in Sarah Palin’s garden. It was springtime, and there were bluebells everywhere. I suddenly realized where I was and tried to get out to the street. But there was just more garden …

    ,I had been warning you for a long time now that you were following a crazy person. You elected not to listen John. So now you’re stuck in the gutter defending a woman who told the Jews to “get the hell out of Palestine” and “go back to Germany” John. Are you proud of yourself John?

    If you lay with dogs – don’t be surprised when you wake up with fleas John. When we thoroughly destroy your ideology and everything you believe in come November, I will be thinking of you John Cole, you anti-Semitic, sad excuse for a human being. It’s sad to see the sewer you’ve entered into. You used to be a decent human being. Now you’re just an Andrew Sullivan fanboy and an anti-Semite to boot.

    Maybe there’s a lot of Jew haters on the Left and traffic is up. Maybe you’ll making some pretty good loot from the blog now that you’re pandering to the lowest common denominator. I guess you just had to sell your soul in order to do it, eh John?

    Hope it was worth it.

  156. 156
    handy says:

    @Phil:

    You could have just saved time by typing “John Cole questions Israel’s right to do WTF it wants so that makes him a Jew hater.”

  157. 157
    Phil says:

    Oh…and an open invitation to any moderate liberals or Democrats who may lurk here. The new, emerging conservative/libertarian Right will be happy to have you debate with us. If you’re even just a wheeee bit uncomfortable with the guy who heads this blog defending a woman who told people to “get the hell out of Palestine and go back to Germany” (imagine if a journalist had told African Americans to “get the hell out of America and go back to Africa”), then I would highly recommend that you really reconsider your priorities and what you truly believe, and whether you’re in the right political place right now. There’s clearly an emerging political consensus among the far-Left nutroots that this kind of dialogue is acceptable or at least excusable, as witnessed by this very post by John. Yeah, I know we’ve probably been caricatured as crazy by the nutroots, but we seem to be winning by quite a bit on the Congressional ballot these days. We’re scary in the sense that we want to take control of the government, and then take on the public sector unions and keep your taxes low! (I know, very VERY SCARY!!!)

    So if there are any moderates here, feel free to stop by Ace of Spades or other conservative blogs where we actually like Jews, tell jokes and have a good time.

    And to the rest of you, we’ll be licking your tears in November, when we throw any like minded anti-Semetic pieces of shit out of office.

  158. 158
    Ailuridae says:

    @Phil:

    I always want this short of dumb, bat-shit crazy poster to have a handy html link so that I know from whence they came.

    Is the power of accusing someone of judenhass so invigorating that it needs to be used twice such as:

    anti-Semetic Leftist anti-Semite

    Would anti-Semetic Leftist or Leftist anti-Semite not do enough for you by themselves so to get your lather up you butcher the language and go with “anti-Semetic Leftist anti-Semite”

  159. 159
    FlipYrWhig says:

    One’s clarion call to moral authority suffers somewhat when one fantasizes about the extermination of an entire ideology.

  160. 160
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Isn’t Ace of Spades the guy who said that female genitalia looked like “bacon and play-doh”?

  161. 161
    Phil says:

    eemom,

    You’re far too reasonable for this blog. I would hope you and other reasonable people like you would seriously consider my sincere offer.

    This blog is in a really ugly place right now.

  162. 162
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @Phil:

    When we thoroughly destroy your ideology and everything you believe in come November

    Really? Thoroughly? Tell us more.

  163. 163
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Ailuridae: Maybe he thinks leftists hate both Semites and “Semetes.” They’re so consumed by hatred that they even hate imaginary ethnicities!

  164. 164
    Viva BrisVegas says:

    Has anybody looked at what Thomas actually said? Unless you deliberately want to misconstrue it for political effect it comes across as fairly banal.

    It’s fairly obvious she was talking about Palestine in the sense of “occupied territories”. Which to me sounds much more like Gaza and the West bank than it does Israel itself. She didn’t even use the word Israel.

    She said that she wants Jews in the occupied territories to “go back home” to Poland, Germany and America. Since so much of the West Bank settler population derives from the US and Russia, the major mistake she made is in refering to Poland and Germany instead.

    But the right smells blood in the water, so stand back as the feeding frenzy commences.

  165. 165
    Phil says:

    Ok, finished reading through the thread. It’s good to see there is some dividing lines being drawn. Most are excusing Helen Thomas’ remarks. No doubt they’re oblivious to the similarity the remarks have from those who would tell African Americans to go back to Africa.

    Seriously John Cole, are you really at that point now?

    Well, to the rest of you who are slightly uncomfortable with the excuses of it from this thread (and there have been MANY, including from John himself), don’t worry about the name calling. You’re right to be offended by Thomas’ remarks.

    The funny thing is, as someone who is more isolationist, I wouldn’t have a problem with the US ending foreign aid to Israel. But the different between me and someone like John Cole is that I don’t take a stand like that and then leap into the defense of those who want to annihilate Israel.

    So again, to those who are a little uncomfortable by John’s remarks, consider this day one of your very own John Cole transformation. Only, whereas John moved towards the crazy, you get the distinct pleasure of moving away from the crazy. Seriously though, limited government is really not all that scary and the people at blogs like Ace of Spades are a lot more fun than these anti-Semites you’re hanging out with now.

    All I ask is that you consider it….

    We’re not the monsters John Cole has tried to sell us as. I’d argue the people defending Israel annihilation are the ones you should be concerned with. And you’ve read their own words to see that for yourself.

  166. 166

    @muddy:

    Agreed muddy. Now what she said was offensive, but the AIPAC stooges just *can’t help themselves* they have to take it to 11. It *has* to be the holocaust.

    Like so many people, getting in their own way.

    And, I’m not sure quotes mean what Phil thinks they mean. Is that her exact quote?

  167. 167
    PTirebiter says:

    @Phil: Just in case that wasn’t some kind of long and incredibly inside snark, big pharm offers a number of programs to insure people who can’t afford their meds can still get them. Check with your doctor, soon.

  168. 168
    Fencedude says:

    @Viva BrisVegas:

    Has anybody looked at what Thomas actually said?

    Of course they haven’t, that would make sense.

    Also Phil is a riot, brilliant parody.

    Oh wait…

  169. 169
    Michael Finn says:

    What really irritates me about the whole thing is the lack of facts in her statement.

    Anybody who knows history knows that there were only 40,000 Jewish survivors out of 3,000,000 from the holocaust. They all couldn’t have immigrated.

    Duh.

  170. 170
    Uriel says:

    @Phil:

    No doubt they’re oblivious to the similarity the remarks have from those who would tell African Americans to go back to Africa.

    And again, this is puerile nonsense. There is a vast difference between the two groups. One was dragged to a country not their own, only to be treated as less than animals for several centuries before being told to leave once they show the temerity to fight for equal treatment. The other, while historically persecuted in other countries, are willing immigrants to an artificially created haven where they run everything and get to determine which people and places get to receive shipments of pikachu dolls, harmonicas and live chickens. Even people who happened to be there first.

    Sorry you don’t see the difference. It really does say something fundamental about you as a person.

  171. 171
    Uriel says:

    @Uriel: Which is not to say her comments aren’t problematic on their own merits, to be clear.

    Just saying that comparing the position of the Israelis to the conditions and situations of Blacks (or Hispanics, Latinos/as, or Native Americans) in the US is just, to be succinct, fucking ludicrous.

    Now, if you want to compare it to, say, the conditions the latter day saints face in modern Utah, which also happens to be in the US- well, I’m willing to entertain that comparison.

  172. 172
    The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge says:

    Wow! I thought eemom’s posts were disgusting enough—then comes Phil. How insane do you have to be to accommodate this kind of crap in your head?

    The Holocaust was a unique tragedy (well, the Nazis came a lot closer to their goal of exterminating all the Gypsies in Europe than they did with the Jews, but nobody cares about them, amirite?) The Jews should have been indemnified with a state of their own, a government recognized by the world community to take an interest in their welfare.

    IMO, a city-state like the Vatican would have been perfectly sufficient, but whatever it was, it should have been at the expense of Germany! The idea of some random third party’s country being invaded and occupied to indemnify the Jews for an atrocity commited by someone else is just fucking insane! (Yeah, yeah, yeah, “Mufti of Jerusalem”, yada, yada, yada.)

    So I support the right of A state of Israel to exist. I categorically deny the “right” of THIS state of Israel to exist where it does. I am not “anti-Semitic” in any way, shape, or form. If you want to tell me what a shit I am for thinking it’s wrong to invade and occupy some stranger’s country, shove them into an Andersonville, and try to starve them out, have at it.

  173. 173
    Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people) says:

    Helen Thomas is of Lebanese Christian descent. I know Lebanese Christians often sided with the Israelis against Lebanese Muslims in the 70s and 80s. What’s the relationship between Lebanese Christians in Lebanon and Israelis since the 2006 bombardment? Just curious.

  174. 174
    MBSS says:

    John Cole, you are very courageous to take the right position on this issue. you will get hit with the “antisemitism” charge. you will have the hasbarats come out of the woodwork to poison the well, obfuscate, and muddy the waters. you will split your constituency down the middle, and as you said, most all of the democratic party bows deep in reverent fealty to IDF murderers and bibi and his thug administration.

    keep up the good work on this issue. it’s about what is right. for pro-palestinians to be murdered because they dare bring needed items to starving people is simply wrong; it cannot be condoned. for israel to allow cinnamon and plastic pots into gaza and deny cardamom and houseplants is arbitrary and cruel.

    the analogies between the american civil rights movement and what the palestinians are experiencing now are apt. we are talking about human beings that are being treated as subhumans. we need to establish a baseline of human decency, and make sure that all our brothers and sisters around the world can maintain basic human dignity.

    this isn’t about jew hate. well, not for those who argue in good faith such as you and i (there definitely is a faction of nazi scum that attach themselves to legitimate criticism of israel). it is about the state of israel which has become what it hates. the way i feel about my own government and indiscriminate drone bombings which are obviously counterproductive to US security, is the same way i feel about the atrocious, counterproductive violence of israel.

  175. 175
    Phil says:

    @The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge:

    Wow, what a comment. I’m supposedly off my meds and it’s the other guy saying Israel has no right to exist and defending those who say the Jews should “get the hell out of Palestine”.

    A lovely bunch of commentators you’ve got here John. A real lovely bunch.

  176. 176
    The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge says:

    Phil, you fucking moron—

    WHY should the Palestinians lose their country because of what the Germans did to the (German, Polish, French, Russian, Hungarian, Italian, etc….) Jews? What is their guilt in this atrocity, for which they’re being punished? Try to connect to at least the tiniest corner of sanity when you answer.

  177. 177
    Phil says:

    @The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge:

    I have absolutely no interest in debating with anti-Semites who clearly desire for Israel to disappear completely and don’t even acknowledge its right to exist at all.

    There are many things I thought about saying here – this is the nicest one I could think of: if you were ever on fire, I wouldn’t piss on you to put it out.

  178. 178
    Viva BrisVegas says:

    @Phil:

    I’m supposedly off my meds and it’s the other guy saying Israel has no right to exist and defending those who say the Jews should “get the hell out of Palestine”.

    When Thomas spoke of Palestine, what did you think she meant?

    Do you think she was referring to the state of Israel, or to the occupied territories which would make up a Palestinian state under some presumed two state solution?

    If Thomas was referring to Israel, then why not say Israel?

    If she was referring to occupied Palestinian territories, why shouldn’t she call for the settlers to go home to “wherever they came from”?

    Particularly since so many of these settlers seem to come from overseas for the express purpose of dispossessing Palestinians.

    But don’t let me get in the way of your lynching.

  179. 179
    The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge says:

    Phil—kindly eat shit and die. You know goddamn well I’m not any kind of anti-Semite because I very clearly said I support A state for the Jews. So you’re just a fucking liar.

    Ask the voices in your head why they think the people living in Palestine in 1947 were just so completely shot through with irredeemable guilt for what the Germans did to the Jews in Europe that they deserved to have their country taken away as punishment for it.

    I just cannot imagine any way that you Israel apologists can answer this question in any sort of sane way. How could you even begin to come up with an explanation for giving them some random third party’s country?

  180. 180
    Phil says:

    @Viva BrisVegas:

    She told all the Jews to “go back to Poland and Germany”. Her insinuation was clear. She wants Israel to cease to exist.

  181. 181
    IM says:

    Could jewish citizens of Israel go back to Germany?

    Of course. A lot of them would get their german citizenship back or rather the german citizenship of their grandparents. A few hundredthousands or so would be eligible. A few thousand get a (dual) german citizenship each year anyway.

    That is not just a thought experiment, by the way. 200,000 jews and non jewish family members immigrated from the former soviet union to germany in the last twenty years.

    That said, imagine you are a forty year old israeli. Born in Israel, lived your whole live there. Your contact to Germany is that you once drove a volkswagen and that you like Kraftwerk and that you did wear adidas in the seventies.

    Now you are “sent back” to Germany because one or two of your grandparents were once germans.

    Tell me what you want, that is still a expulsion. Not to a fate worse than death but you will lose your home.

  182. 182
    Phil says:

    @The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge:

    Yeah, I’m sure all your best friends are Jews too. Fuck off and die you anti-Semitic piece of shit.

    I’m not debating whether Israel has a right to exist to your liking or not. It does exist, so you can get on board to support a two state solution, or you can fester in your own shit for all I care.

  183. 183
    IM says:

    So this whole go back to poland or germany is quite close to sending blacks “back to Africa or latinos back to South America.

    On the other hand, what about back to Brooklyn or Miami?

    A lot of the so called settlers are quite recent immigrants from western countries. If all immigrants from the US and the EU to Israel in the last five or ten years are sent back, would that be the same injustice?

    And the settlements would be half empty.

    Just a thought experiment anyway. I could as well propose Sitka, Alaska and Yiddish as official language.

  184. 184
    The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge says:

    Answer the fucking question, Phil, you rancid piece of fucking shit!

    Why should some random third party suffer for the sins of the Germans against the Jews?

    ANSWER THE FUCKING QUESTION!

    And yes, some of my best friends are Jews and most of them agree with me—wrap your head around that, you worthless fucking insane buttmunch!

  185. 185
    Phil says:

    @The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge:

    And as I’ve already told you several times now, I’m not debating whether Israel has a right to exist to your liking. It does exist and I’m sure that’s very upsetting to anti-Semites such as yourself.

    So again, you can find a way to build support for a sustainable two state solution or you can fester in your own shit. It really doesn’t make a difference to me.

    I’m not really interested in debating your little “Let’s uproot 6 million Jews!” fantasy so go fuck yourself.

  186. 186
    The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge says:

    Answer the goddamn question you fucking piece of shit! What crime are the Palestinians being punished for? Why THEIR country? When they declare your home state the long-lost home of the Zulus and they throw you out of your home into a tent camp, you’re just going to acquiesce in it, is that right? TRY to think for just a second and ANSWER THE GODDAMN QUESTION!

    And I said several times I support a state for the Jews, so don’t give me that fucking “Anti-Semite” crap. You’re a fucking insane liar, and stupid to boot because you won’t ANSWER THE FUCKING QUESTION!

  187. 187
    Phil says:

    @The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge:

    In your little thought experiment, 6 million Jews get uprooted and sent elsewhere. A nasty little byproduct of your anti-Semitic desires is that their lives, their families, their businesses, and their houses are all destroyed as they’re sent elsewhere. Been there, done that. I’m sure they’ll be thrilled to learn you support a state for them…just somewhere else. Maybe they’ll get to wear cute little gold stars on their coat to make sure everyone knows they’re special too.

    And again, I’m not really interested in entertaining your little fantasy, so go peddle your anti-Semitism elsewhere to someone who may want to have a listen.

    Like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. I hear he’s real fond of it.

  188. 188
    The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge says:

    You fucking idiot! We’re not talking about now!

    Why, IN 1947 should the Jews have been indemnified at the expense of the Palestinians instead of the people who had actually injured them?

    Yes, we’re stuck with this clusterfuck NOW, but your insane obsession to excuse any crime Israel commits just because they’re Jewish is getting really tiresome.

    It must be something to only have one bean bouncing around in your empty head.

    And STOP talking about my “Anti Semitism.” THAT’s where the insanity starts. Any criticism of the criminals running Israel and I’m an “Anti-Semite.” Go fuck yourself.

  189. 189
    Hypnos says:

    One might want to remember that there has been an individual who has personally ordered the forceful uprooting of Israeli settlers from a territory they were occupying, consequences be damned.

    He did that via a military operation. Thousands of people were forcefully evicted by soldiers in uniform.

    Remember who that was?

    Ariel Sharon.

    What a nazi.

    So let’s lay down the facts, before speaking of gray areas.

    There is an illegal occupation going on. That occupation is an act of war and of colonization, aimed at taking land from its rightful owners and deliver it to the armed occupants. This invasion is being carried out by military means.

    That is what the continuing settlement of Palestinian territory is. There can be no “two states” as long as half of the territory of the supposed Palestinian state is under active occupation by the Israeli military – to protect growing settlements which aren’t going to disappear if a Palestinian state is declared!

    Take a look at this map. All of it should be Palestine. The white is what Palestinians actually have. And it is constantly diminishing.
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wi.....ts2006.jpg

    So the point is this: either Palestinians have a right to their land, and thus a right to figh back, with armed resistance, to the illegal occupation thereof. Or they don’t, in which case give up the “two states” pretense, and just say it the way it is: the West Bank is going to be part of Greater Israel, Palestinians be damned.

    If the occupation is accepted as an act of invasion of a sovereign country by a foreign power, then each and every act of violent resistance carried out by Palestinians against Israelis is as legitimate as French and Italian and Greek and Yugoslavian resistance against Nazi occupiers was in World War II. And all those resistance movements did some nasty stuff, there is no denying of that.

    And if this state of war is accepted for what it is, then forcing the blockade on the part of foreign powers aligned to Palestine is no more an act of provocation than the United States resuppying Britain during the Nazi blockade was.

    All of this is fact.

    So untill Israel evicts ALL the settlers from Palestinian land, withdraws its military back within its own borders, and gives Palestinians full autonomy in their own land, there is no debating who is in the right or wrong. Israel, as an aggressor state, is in the wrong. And that is that.

  190. 190
    Evie says:

    What I think is sad is that Crawford was supposedly a close friend. To say “I agree with my agent” and just drop her while she is going through this fire is a personal betrayal.

    She said something stupid and offensive. She apologized. Her body of work more than stands up against this single incident.

  191. 191
    wengler says:

    I think most of the people here are missing the point.

    This isn’t about an outburst made by the very old de facto head of the White press corps, This is about Craig Crawford being an asshole and trying to get high-fives from the Villagers by throwing granny under the bus.

    As for the remarks, it appears she already apologized for them. Unlike most people on this planet, Helen Thomas was actually around for a good deal of time before the modern-state of Israel was created. This makes the framework of Israel-Palestine and the issues surrounding it much different than the rest of us. It doesn’t means it’s right, but it probably makes the idea of disassembling it in her mind is much easier than it actually is. Israel certainly is a nation of immigrants, though I would guess the proportion of Germans and Poles is much lower now than in 1948. Though that isn’t really very important.

    A non-asshole move would be to act like a professional and talk about how much you like her personally while disagreeing with what she said. But I think the cool kids have wanted to get rid of this grumpy old lady for awhile because she gets to sit in front and asks a ton of questions that actually makes people in power uncomfortable.

    So see you later granny! We’ve been waiting for you to give us enough rope to hang you with. Time to have another pool party with Joe Biden!

  192. 192
    Evie says:

    How have 2-yr-olds with poor intersocial skills hijacked this thread?

  193. 193
    CarolDuhart says:

    I’ve moved even beyond two states. It’s time for one unified state with two peoples. A one religion or one ethnicity state just isn’t viable in the modern world-that is is if it wants to stay modern and tolerant. Saudi (for those who will inevitably bring it up) is small, oil-rich (and probably buys off its opposition) and relies heavily on Western/Eastern sources for just about the rest of its economy and defense. Once the rest of the World gets off the oil spigot-the whole thing will probably crumble.

  194. 194
    CarolDuhart says:

    I’ve moved even beyond two states. It’s time for one unified state with two peoples. A one religion or one ethnicity state just isn’t viable in the modern world-that is is if it wants to stay modern and tolerant. Saudi (for those who will inevitably bring it up) is small, oil-rich (and probably buys off its opposition) and relies heavily on Western/Eastern sources for just about the rest of its economy and defense. Once the rest of the World gets off the oil spigot-the whole thing will probably crumble.

  195. 195
    soonergrunt says:

    Who the fuck is Craig Crawford?

  196. 196
    CarolDuhart says:

    Sorry for the double post everybody. Please delete just one.

  197. 197

    […] that said, I’m with John Cole and Stacy McCain — a rather rare alignment of the poles! — in thinking it rather […]

  198. 198
    dude says:

    What goes around comes around. The left is so busy tossing the race card around that they don’t see how ridiculous it is. Tough…deal with it.

  199. 199
    PeakVT says:

    A timely post from the other Cole:

    Now a German Jewish organization, Jewish Voice for Peace in the Middle East, is planning an aid flotilla to Gaza! Please send them money.

    There are over 250,000 Jews in contemporary Germany, and more Jews immigrated to Germany in 2005 than to Israel. Four-fifths of them are Russian Jews who prefer Berlin to Beersheva. And, there are some Israelis among them who have similar preferences. In further evidence of how Israel can actually be bad for Jews, the Israeli government lobbied Germany in 2004 to restrict Jewish immigration. But there are now more Jews in Germany than there were in 1939 before the Holocaust.

  200. 200
    dan says:

    To those who say that this is not the first time that somebody somewhere has utterred an offensive remark:
    The HT matter is not about some loser living in a trailer park, she is the most veteran White House correspondent, given a permanent front row center seat; at the very least she should be stripped of those privileges — if she will not retire gracefully, then she should be unceremoniously pushed out.

    The fact that doing the right thing appears easy, does not make it any less right.

  201. 201
    PeakVT says:

    @PeakVT: Italics fail. Remember to check your posts after submitting.

  202. 202
    John Cole says:

    This isn’t about an outburst made by the very old de facto head of the White press corps, This is about Craig Crawford being an asshole and trying to get high-fives from the Villagers by throwing granny under the bus.

    Winner.

    EEMOM- Let’s start over again today. Things got heated last night. Everyone try to behave.

  203. 203
    Lincolntf says:

    So Helen Thomas believes that all Jews should be forcibly removed from Israel . Shows what many of us have been saying for a couple years. Which is that the Left, driven by hatred and always on the lookout for a scapegoat, is using the current anti-“banker” and anti-“capitalist” fervor to indulge their anti-semitism.
    Hopefully, having this spittle-flecked old maniac exposed as the raving Hitlerian that she is will cause people to examine the motives of a whole lot of people in D.C., press and pols alike.

  204. 204
    John Cole says:

    So Helen Thomas believes that all Jews should be forcibly removed from Israel

    Actually, she never mentioned forcible removal at all. She said they could leave.

    If you want to talk about people who believe in forced removal, the person you want to see is Avigdor Lieberman. You know- Israel’s Foreign Minister.

  205. 205
    CarolDuhart says:

    @John Cole:And the truth is, the forced removal is being done to the Palestinians by several means. When the oppression finally ends, the only people who then will be leaving are the folks who believe that they simply cannot stand living in a unified state-the hardcore settlers and maybe some supernationalists. Everybody else will stay and try to live life and make it work somehow. Besides, noting the article by John Cole, millions of Jews are already voting with their feet, so much so that Israel felt a need to block Germany from allowing Jewish immigration. How about that? Who would have thought Germany would be considered a better place than Israel, so much so that the number of Jews there is higher than when Hitler came to power?

    In any case, Helen’s outburst comes from frustration, not from a desire to make people leave. She certainly can’t even begin to organize anything that could make people leave, or persuade anyone who can do to do anything Her remarks deserve perhaps the treatment of someone elderly and beloved, but slightly dotty, but not this massive shunning. It’s about punishing dissent, even of the thoughtless and heedless kind.

  206. 206
    Lincolntf says:

    No, she didn’t mention them being forcibly removed, that’s my subjective interpretation of her rant. What do you think she was suggesting?

  207. 207
    John Cole says:

    @Lincolntf: “If they don’t like it here they can leave and go back from where they came.”

    Still offensive and obnoxious, but hardly what your “subjective interpretation” would suggest.

  208. 208
    CarolDuhart says:

    That they leave, and go away. Of course, nobody is going anywhere, and certainly not by force. She knows that, and when she calmed down she realized that. But this is overkill in my view. She certainly has no history of anti-Semitic words or behavior, and at this late date has no means to do so in any event.

    This whole a fiasco on this board reminds me of the part in Peter Pan where if people stopped believing in fairies, Tinker Bell would die. Here, the belief is that if people start questioning Israel, it’s policies, or even its reason to be, the state would immediately fall over in a dead faint.

  209. 209
    Lincolntf says:

    I suppose you believe that she was simply suggesting a permanent Carnival Cruise for the Jews, but history and common sense (given the fact that these remarks were made in the context of a war for the right of Israel to exist) tell me that she’s just a tad more concerned with cleansing “Palestine” of all Jews than she is with what happens to them afterwards.

  210. 210
    Hypnos says:

    Can we please stop talking about removing any jew from anywhere? Nobody said anything abouts jews and we aren’t talking about jews. We are talking about Israelis. And not all of them. The 200k or so who are stealing Palestinian land.

    This isn’t about Israel’s right to exist. Whether you agree with it or not, that question is settled by facts on the ground. Hamas has said it would go along with a Palestinian state on the 1967 border – implicitly recognizing the continued existence of Israel. So that isn’t a question either.

    The settlements are the problem. Israeli settlers that are encroaching on Palestinian land in an act of illegal colonization should be forcibly evicted and sent back – either to Israel or to the countries they came from, as they prefer.

    The settlements are illegal under Israeli law itself. It is the IDF’s duty to forcibly remove these illegals settlers as they did in Gaza.

    There can be no two-state solution as long as 40% of the supposed Palestinian state’s land is under direct control of Israel – yes, 40%, and spread out in a way that Palestinians are actually trapped within enclaves, having to go through Israeli checkpoints to visit their relatives or go to work in other areas of the Palestinian territory.

    How can you claim moral right for Israel when it is carrying out a military occupation of a foreign country?

  211. 211
    Paul L. says:

    Balloon Juice/ Media Matters excuses/Talking points for defending Helen Thomas Jews Back To Germany/Poland quote.
    Out of Context.
    Ambush interview.
    Edited video.
    She mentioned sending the Jews to the US.
    The Reich Wing wingnuts are hypocrites.

  212. 212
    Hypnos says:

    If you want to take another perspective on the conflict, all the way back to 1948, you might want to consider this quote from David Ben Gurion, the founder of Israel:

    “If I were an Arab leader, I would never sign an agreement with Israel. It is normal; we have taken their country. It is true God promised it to us, but how could that interest them? Our God is not theirs. There has been Anti – Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault ? They see but one thing: we have come and we have stolen their country. Why would they accept that?”

  213. 213
    wilfred says:

    @Hypnos:

    Ben Gurion was a self-hating Jew.

  214. 214
    kay says:

    @Paul L.:

    She mentioned sending the Jews to the US.

    No, actually Paul she didn’t, nor do I have any idea who would “send” anyone anywhere. Helen Thomas now has this enormous power to “send” people places?

    Asked by Rabbi David Nesenoff of RabbiLive.com if she had “any comments on Israel,” Thomas replied, “Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine.”

    Thomas went on to say that the Palestinian people “are occupied and it’s their land” and that Israelis should “go home” — to Poland, Germany, America “and everywhere else.”

    If she’s going to be judged on her statement, you should use, you know, her actual statement.

    Start there. Don’t add, subtract and multiply to put political points on the board.

  215. 215
    Larkspur says:

    @John Cole:

    Let’s start over again today. Things got heated last night. Everyone try to behave.

    Thank goodness. Good morning, eemom and everyone else.

    It would be useful to remind ourselves that in the post-WWII era, especially in conjunction with the end of the British Empire, a lot of borders were pulled out of the hat and slapped down on the map, and that ever since, the people who live in those arbitrarily drawn nations have been trying to sort things out, oftentimes by killing each other.

    The State of Israel was established out of the British Mandate lands with much more international attention and involvement than changes elsewhere, but the fact is that it was never going to be without problems and conflict. The surrounding nations contributed to the mess by failing to integrate its refugees into the mainstream (unlike Israel, which accepted and helped Jewish refugees from neighboring countries). Israel contributed by forcibly ejecting Palestinian residents. (This is important to remember, because the subsequent lore says that all the Palestinian refugees fled under their own volition, that they didn’t have to abandon their homes, that they made that choice. That’s just not true.)

    It might have worked itself out differently, through negotiation and legal claims settlements, probably spanning decades. Kicking people out of anywhere without recompense (at a minimum) or a place to go is always bad and difficult. Ethnic Indians were ejected from Uganda, though they’d been Ugandans for several generations. Jewish Egyptians, including a friend of mine (she was a young girl from a Jewish family that had lived near Cairo for generations) were ejected during nationalization, and lost their homes and businesses and most of their possessions. When the going gets rough, ethnic Chinese throughout Asia and Africa often take the heat.

    I want to see people living better lives now, in this imperfect world. Suicide bombers fuck that up; so do blockades of humanitarian goods. So does continual incursion of Israeli settlements into contested areas. So does a global failure to sit down with maps and the expectation of tedious work that will take years, and will make none of the participants popular, but that might hammer out a workable solution that ends up giving everyone a chance at a better life.

    I’m sorry, but Helen Thomas and Craig Frikkin Crawford are a sideshow.

  216. 216
    piss off says:

    Big of John Cole to take a potshot at Pat Buchanan, whose record on advocating the mass murder of brown people is considerably cleaner than Cole’s.

  217. 217
    Lincolntf says:

    Great news that the foul old bigot has finally retired.

  218. 218
    eemom says:

    @Larkspur:

    Good morning. Thank you for being sane and reasonable — it’s a rare breath of fresh air on this infernal topic.

  219. 219
    Pixie says:

    I guess I’ll add my $.02. Also, I want to think eemom and others for making this the most entertaining thread I’ve seen in a LONG time!

    I guess my feeling is this…base on what I know at the moment, I feel that Israel really is crushing the civilian population of Gaza atm. While I think Israel is threatened in the area, I also think it comes with the terrority when you are an occupier. People who are defending Israel’s actions say that this floatilla was meant to provoke. Perhaps for some that was the case, but just maybe those people were sincere in their efforts to deliver aid to people they felt were being unjustly punished. It’s hard to get a rational discussion of this topic going because you have one side that absolutely believes that the floatilla is full of protestors/terrorists that are seeking to smuggle aid to Hamas, while the other side believes that these were peaceful protestors who were moved by the suffering in Gaza and wanted to deliver aid to the citizenry.

    When I look at Israel’s response to this, the boarding of the ship in international waters commando style, being dropped from helicopters, killing civilians who were fighting back with sticks, kitchen knives, etc and the fact that Israel confiscated all video/photo footage of what happened only to release their doctored version of events makes me seriously question Israel’s credibility. Also, the reluctance for them to take part in an independant investigation makes it even harder for the Israeli side to pass the smell test.

  220. 220
    Elizabelle says:

    @wengler:

    Wengler’s assessment is brilliant.

  221. 221
    PTirebiter says:

    @Larkspur: Thanks, it’s easy to forget that a somewhat rational overlay exists.

    I want to see people living better lives now, in this imperfect world.

    If only we could keep it out of the abstract like that, perhaps those seeking advantage in the suffering would find it less irresistible.

  222. 222
    Howlin Wolfe says:

    @Lincolntf: Yes, Linc, you’ve got special powers to discern what everyone on “the left” means what they cryptically say in plain English. Thus the tribal brain justifies its unsupported assertions. With that special power, the whole conservative movement can create its own reality!

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