You Got Played

Now that Helen Hitler Thomas has been forcibly retired, more video of the interview miraculously has become available for viewing:

Here’s the “appalling” transcript:

Q: Any advice for these young people over here for starting out in the press corps?

Thomas: Go for it. You’ll never be unhappy. You’ll always keep people informed, you’ll always keep learning. The greatest thing of the profession is you’ll never stop learning.

Q: Today they are covering the Jewish Heritage Month.

Thomas: … and meet the President.

A: Any comments on Israel? We’re asking everyone today, any comments on..

Thomas: Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine.

Q: Oooh. Any better comments?

Thomas: Remember, these people are occupied, and it’s their land. It’s not German and it’s not Poland.

Q: So where should they go, what should they do?

Thomas: They can go home.

Q: Where is home?

Thomas: Poland. Germany.

Q: So you are saying Jews should go back to Poland?

Thomas: And America and everywhere else. Why push people out who have lived their for centuries? See?

Q: Now, are you familiar with the history of that region and what took place?

Thomas: Very much. I’m of Arab background.

{It goes on for a little while with friendly banter about languages they both speak with words I can not even begin to spell.}

Q: Thank you.

Thomas: All the best to you (directed at the Jewish students). Go for it- go for journalism, you’ll never regret it.

Clearly, this woman is evil beyond words. The way she smiled at those Jewish kids while giving them friendly advice to enter careers in journalism so they can have fulfilling lives of learning and accomplishment when secretly, I have been assured by liberals and others, what she really wants is to transport them back to the gas ovens of the Holocaust (for the morons- see the update).

You guys got played. And by this jackass, running around doing Mexican impressions in his spare time. Does anyone still want to try to pretend she was suggesting people be time-warped back to Auschwitz? Or that her pleasantly offering advice to Jewish students was horrifying anti-Semitism at work? Anyone?

On the upside, no one is talking about the unpleasantness with the flotilla anymore.

*** Update ***

For the folks with comprehension problems, the sarcasm employed regarding her chatting with the students is directed at the foolish notion she was implying folks should head off to the ovens, not to deflect from what I have repeatedly stated were her idiotic and obnoxious remarks. There seems to be some desire in every one of these pile-ons to turn stupid remarks by someone into something altogether unforgivable. I’m reminded of the time I spent days arguing that no, Republican Bill Bennett wasn’t actually suggesting that all black babies be aborted in order to lower the crime rate.

Grow up. What Thomas said was stupid enough. She’s lost her job. There is no reason to pretend she was implying people should be sent off to Nazi Germany or Poland and be exterminated. Quit making things up and impugning those who aren’t into playing your games. I think (again, as I have stated repeatedly), the state of Israel and her citizens have every right to exist. I don’t think, however, that criticism of policies of the state of Israel are somehow verboten.

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430 replies
  1. 1
    Poopyman says:

    So, apparently this guy’s attending the James O’Keefe School of Journalism. It’s the new thing with the kids these days. Who listens to ol’ Tia Loca anyways?

  2. 2
    Breezeblock says:

    Yeah, he’s already pulled his Mexican video.

  3. 3
    RP says:

    I don’t follow. HOw did she get played?

  4. 4
    Sheila says:

    Thank you for this. Though I am no fan of Israel as it stands today, and I have always been somewhat uncomfortable with the way it came into being, the remarks as originally presented were insensitive at best, and taken in context, they are tempered somewhat. I probably would not have uttered them myself, or even thought them, but then I, unlike Thomas, do not have an Arab background.

  5. 5
    Brian J says:

    Now that we’ve firmly established how Helen Thomas is just a few steps away from being Hitler, perhaps we can all go back to laughing at the dishonesty coming from right-wing economic commentators, in this case Arthur Laffer. Barry Ritholtz takes him to the woodshed and doesn’t display even the slightest bit of sorrow. I have to say, I really like the fact that Ritholtz, a guy respected enough to be read by people working at the Fed, doesn’t mince words and calls this stuff for what it is: bullshit.

    Read the whole thing.

  6. 6
    Gex says:

    The important thing here is to make sure most Americans never consider the situation from the Palestinian perspective. Can anyone adequately answer why the Palestinians needed to be forcibly removed from their homeland because Europeans decided to kill all the Jews? And for those Jews to side with the Christian end-of-timers in constantly expanding Isreal when those Christians come from the tradition and cultures that tried to exterminate them. What a magical feat they’ve performed in making the Palestinians the bad guys. The illusion can’t last. So no matter how harmlessly Thomas meant those words, it is the words that are the threat. The AIPAC crowd can’t allow it, period.

  7. 7
    geg6 says:

    Hmmmm, wonder if anyone who was piling on here yesterday and who were so sure of exactly what she’d been thinking when she said this will come back around and apologize for being asshats.

    I won’t hold my breath.

  8. 8
    elmo says:

    No, not time-warped back to Auschwitz, that’s silly. But there’s a whole lot of real estate between “legitimate criticism of the State of Israel” and “OMG ovenz!!!!eleven!”

    Criticize Israel all you want. Even call for it to be dissolved, I don’t care. Those are political arguments, aimed at a political entity. But that’s not what she did. She was specifically asked about “the Jews.”

    A normal, sane response to “Should the Jews go back to Poland?” is “No, they should stay in Israel and not occupy Palestine.” The normal, sane response is not “Yes, and to America too.”

    I do not believe that she was saying, a la Whittaker Chambers, “To the gas chambers, go!” I do believe that she was letting the filter slip, and revealed a little too much of what she actually believes — that there are too many Jews (not Israelis, Jews) in the Middle East. Please don’t tell me that nobody thinks such things. They do, and sometimes they say so.

  9. 9
    MMonides says:

    John,

    With my respect for you teetering on the brink here, please explain how we “got played.” This is still offensive and awful. “Go back to the countries where millions of your people were massacred” seems pretty clear to me.

    I’m not following your logic at all.

  10. 10
    Face says:

    Clearly, her name is a dead-giveaway for being an Arab, known in some places as a fucking raghead.

  11. 11
    handy says:

    @RP:

    I read “You guys got played” to mean the people who were screaming for her head because she said Jews should be shoveled back into the ovens and gas chambers.

  12. 12
    MMonides says:

    And really John, playing the “OMG, the guy who interviewed her is kinda racist too” game?

    I’m disappointed in you Mr. Cole. Very disappointed.

  13. 13
    geg6 says:

    And I see we still have the same crowd implying that she is an anti-Semite.

    Israel first, last, and always, I guess.

    Fuck those starving Palestinians in their concentration camp.

  14. 14

    Brian J:
    Funny thing is, I get the feeling that Ritholtz is a Rockefeller Republican(remember those?) with out the harsh drug laws.

  15. 15
    wilfred says:

    Q: So you are saying Jews should go back to Poland?
    Thomas: And America and everywhere else. Why push people out who have lived their for centuries? See?
    Q: Now, are you familiar with the history of that region and what took place?
    Thomas: Very much. I’m of Arab background.

    Get it? Of course, Helen knows he means Germany, Poland and that history. But she’s talking about another history, one that has been erased: the history, the story, of the Palestinians.

    The word for ‘what took place’ is nakba.

  16. 16
    cleek says:

    as i hear it, she’s saying that people who have come from Germany and Poland (and “everywhere else”) to “settle” in Palestine should go back there instead of “settling” on more occupied Palestinian land.

  17. 17
    Paul L. says:

    Called it yesterday
    Progressive / Media Matters excuses/Talking points for defending Helen Thomas Jews Back To Germany/Poland quote.

    Out of Context.
    Ambush interview.
    Edited video.
    She mentioned the [Israelis/Illegals in Palestine] “can go to America. And everywhere else..”
    The Reich Wing wingnuts are hypocrites.
    Reich Wing wingnuts are attacking and mocking the appearance and age of a poor 90 year old woman.
    Patrick Buchanan denies the Holocaust and defends Hitler.

  18. 18
    MMonides says:

    @geg6: Your trolling is a bit desperate. Dial it back from 11 and it won’t be quite so obvious.

  19. 19
    J.W. Hamner says:

    I’m not terribly well versed in these things, but I believe that the argument is that being against Zionism tends to share a lot of common ground with anti-Semitism… though from my experience the arguments tend to be somewhat reflexive and based on guilt by association.

  20. 20
    elmo says:

    @MMonides:

    See, I think it’s offensive and awful even if she hadn’t mentioned Germany and Poland at all. If she had said, “The Jews should all go to America,” or “The Jews should all go to the finest beach resort in the Carribbean,” that’s still offensive and awful. It’s not where she wants to send them — it’s that she wants them all to go, strictly because they’re Jews. It’s calling for the Middle East to be Jew-free.

    Like so much of this type of rhetoric, there’s a phrase for that in German…

  21. 21
    Violet says:

    This is the part I just don’t get:

    Thomas: Remember, these people are occupied, and it’s their land. It’s not German and it’s not Poland.

    The land isn’t German and Poland? It’s not Germany or Poland? Or it’s not German or Polish land? What is she saying? Why single out those two countries? Did they do something specific? (Outside of the obvious of being the sites of horrific concentration camps during WWII and the Germans running the show during that time.)

    I don’t even understand what she’s trying to say, let alone hazard a guess as to what she may or may not be thinking.

  22. 22
    Lolis says:

    Correction: Nobody in the U.S.A. is talking about the flotilla incident anymore.

    Like I said before, I don’t want to be on the same side as Ari Fleischer and Lanny Davis. I will also add Sarah Palin to that list.

  23. 23
    MattR says:

    @MMonides:

    This is still offensive and awful. “Go back to the countries where millions of your people were massacred” seems pretty clear to me.

    If the conditions in Poland and Germany were anywhere similar to what they were 70 years ago, maybe I would actually be offended by that inference. But the places that Helen Thomas wants to “send” the Israeli Jews are the same places that many Jews (Israeli and otherwise) are already currently flocking to.

  24. 24
    MMonides says:

    @elmo: Just read your comment above, and you’re spot on, much as aimai was yesterday. I wish JC would pay more attention to your comments.

    My parsing comes from talking to my Jewish family (I’m a convert) who were offended, but willing to let it pass when everyone was talking about her saying “send them back to Europe.” I saw a table full of people freeze in shock when the “Germany and Poland” distinction came out. I really don’t think JC understands the subtext that indicates to anyone who grew up Jewish, and probably needs to stfu before he digs himself in any deeper.

  25. 25
    demimondian says:

    @geg6: Not me — the full video merely confirms what I thought before.

    Before you talk about getting played, go read Richard Cohen’s column — it provides another blob of critical context, explaining why saying “go back to Poland” really is saying “go back to the ovens”.

  26. 26
    Chyron HR says:

    @Paul L.:

    Ambush interview.

    Oh, did they also ask Helen which newspapers she reads?

  27. 27
    Josh says:

    What I don’t understand is why it’s so fucking easy for people to shout ANTI-SEMITE and blather on and on about Israel and almost COMPLETELY ignore the Palestinians.

    That’s a big pile of bullshit.

  28. 28
    LT says:

    I’m lost. She didn’t mean what her worst critics say she meant, but jesus, it was still a monumentally dumb and offensive thing to say. Jews go back to Germany and Poland? Come the fuck on. You cannot blame people for *going there* against her after that. Nobody got played.

    Her worst critics on this hated her before this – so I don’t give much of a fuck about them either.

    Helen Thomas was going to retire soon in any case. Her long and often wickedly good career doesn’t change because of this, and Israel’s serious offenses (as well as others, of course) don’t go away because of this.

    Next.

  29. 29
    Michael says:

    @MMonides:

    I’m disappointed in you Mr. Cole. Very disappointed.

    Your disappointment is noted. Who are you anyway?

  30. 30
    TTT says:

    How exactly did we get “played”? The extended video is no different whatsoever: she still wants Israel to be abolished, the land ethnically cleansed. This is a repugnant, racist opinion, and I don’t care what sweet grandmotherly advice she offers in her next breath.

    You are falling into Dick Cheney’s trap about “the civility of our discourse.” Her ideas are just as evil as his, regardless of facial expression.

  31. 31
    RP says:

    As I said yesterday, I don’t think she meant to reference the Holocaust. I think it was just a horrifically insensitive and stupid comment (similar to HRC’s comment that “anything can happen in a primary — look at Bobby Kennedy). The context above doesn’t change anything IMO.

  32. 32
    cfaller96 says:

    John is being too nuanced, because some Beltway journos have embellished Helen’s comments. Even with the full transcript Helen’s remarks are pretty unacceptable, and as such if I were John I’d let this go.

    “(Fill in the blank ethnic group) GO BACK TO (fill in the blank geographic location)!!!!1!!” is still pretty offensive, IMO. I suppose reasonable people can disagree whether there are racist tendencies in such a statement (I think there are), but at the very least this kind of talk is resentful, unproductive, and unprofessional.

  33. 33
    Titty Time Carwash says:

    Wait wait wait Mr. Cole, “you got played” as in us, not you? Didn’t you shit on Helen this morning over the comments?

  34. 34
    elmo says:

    @Lolis:

    Like I said before, I don’t want to be on the same side as Ari Fleischer and Lanny Davis.

    Oh, that’s garbage. Some things don’t have “sides.” If Ari Fleischer and Lanny Davis called out Pat Buchanan the same way, would you rush to defend him because you don’t want to be on their “side?” That’s the worst kind of childish tribalism.

    You know what else those guys are against? Hitler. Al Qaeda. Bad shrimp. Socks missing from the dryer. Can I get you to defend those? Dance, little puppet, dance!

  35. 35
    MMonides says:

    @MattR: Which explains why we Jews are so offended. Oh, it doesn’t? Maybe that’s because out of all the countries Jews are flocking too she just happened to pick those two. Yeah, sure. Thanks for being gullible.

  36. 36
    El Cid says:

    It certainly didn’t help, but the awful slurs on different sides of the South African struggle over apartheid and European-originated colonialism didn’t in the end prevent a substantially democratic settlement. Afrikaaners said (and the British-originated South African governments especially did) a lot of awful things against black and coloured (their contemporary term) South Africans, and “one settler one bullet” wasn’t the most reassuring sentiment either. It didn’t make any of it right, and the historical grievances were certainly more persuasive in my opinion from the black African side, but the harsh words didn’t prevent a solution once the apartheid regime lost its anti-Communist bullshit justification for leaving Nelson Mandela in jail (as Dick Cheney supported) and as it was after their close supporter Ronald Reagan left office.

    Point being I wouldn’t much care which side said what awful thing about the other if there were actual moves toward the stunted, withered, dying remains of a just settlements so that Palestinians can somehow live out life in their Gazan hellhole and their West Bank bantustans and whatever portion of East Jerusalem they’re left with.

  37. 37
    John Cole says:

    And really John, playing the “OMG, the guy who interviewed her is kinda racist too” game?

    Many people watched an edited version of a video, immediately attached to Helen Thomas the most evil of meaning possible, and it turns out the truth is castly different, and from a guy who turns out to be a racist asshat himself.

    And I still think the “get out of Palestine” is stupid, if for no other reason than it is ridiculous and never going to happen. But that is not what happened in this pile-on, was it? She was accused repeatedly of wanting to send them back to Holocaust era Germany. That’s absurd.

  38. 38
    Crusty Dem says:

    Does anyone still want to try to pretend she was suggesting people be time-warped back to Auschwitz?

    Plenty, but my personal favorite is Joke Line..

  39. 39
    Gator90 says:

    Still looks like she said that the Jews of Israel (most of whom, as she surely knows, were born there) should leave their homes and relocate to the countries where the Holocaust was carried out.

    Fuck that hateful crone.

  40. 40
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Helen is prolly cooking up some Jews in her basement right now.

  41. 41
    Svensker says:

    @elmo:

    Assume you’ll be calling for Yglesias to get canned for this:

    AFTER THE LATEST DEPRESSING news from the Middle East I think we have to start asking just how inhumane it would be for Israel to just expel the Palestinians from the occupied terroritories. The result would probably be out-and-out war with the neighboring Arab states, but Israel could win that.
    All forced population transfers are humanitarian disasters, of course, but so is the current situation. It’s not like there’s not any room in the whole Arab world for all these Palestinian Arabs to go live in, it’s just that the other Arab leaders don’t want to cooperate.

    h/t Sadly No

    I also assume that the blogosphere will be on fire calling for his appalling remarks to have Some Serious Consequences!

  42. 42
    Punchy says:

    MMonides seems concerned.

  43. 43
    John Cole says:

    Before you talk about getting played, go read Richard Cohen’s column—it provides another blob of critical context, explaining why saying “go back to Poland” really is saying “go back to the ovens”.

    For fuck’s sake. THAT WAS 1946 and 1947. It is 2010. There are no more ovens anywhere. There is no more mini-Holocaust in Poland. Stop it.

    Why can’t her comments that Israel get out of Palestine be offensive enough for what they were, that we have to make up shit- “OOOO- she wants them to go back to Poland to be killed by the Polish. Or the Nazis.”

  44. 44
    Violet says:

    @MMonides:

    I saw a table full of people freeze in shock when the “Germany and Poland” distinction came out. I really don’t think JC understands the subtext that indicates to anyone who grew up Jewish,

    I made a similar point in another thread. If she had said go back to “Ethiopia and Argentina,” it might not have had the same emotional impact. The choice of those two countries was terrible and even I was quite taken aback, although I’m not Jewish.

    Although she does not say anything about gas chambers or concentration camps, the choice of those two countries leaves an emotional impression. Words are just words, but just as we we often hear people complain that you can’t convey tone via email, you don’t pick up on emotional subtext if you only take the words at face value.

    She didn’t say “send the Jews back to the gas chambers” but the choice of those two countries, out of all the countries in the world, sent an emotional message that was extraordinarily shocking. It was almost like an anti-Semitic dog whistle.

  45. 45
    PhoenixRising says:

    Many Israeli Jews, who came there from American, African and European countries to which they could return without risk to their religious freedom, prefer to live in a country where extremists dominate the discourse and assert that they have a special right to oppress the land’s previous owners due to the Holocaust.

    Israel has limited resources of land and water.

    The fact that it’s packed to the gills with religious fundamentalists who genuinely believe that Yahweh authorized the theft of their former neighbors’ orchard is a distraction. As with all other religious fundamentalism, those beliefs are awfully convenient. God hates all the same people you do, that’s how you know you’re making Him up.

    Would this be a story if she’d confined herself to, Hey, one idea to relieve the stress on the occupied territories would be for some of the Jews from Toronto and Los Angeles to, you know, go home?

  46. 46
    kay says:

    I wondered about this yesterday in light of the ACORN fiasco, but I watched the clip and it seemed cut and dried.

    I did get played. Yup.

  47. 47
    MMonides says:

    @Michael:

    Your disappointment is noted. Who are you anyway?

    Arguing on the Internet Lesson #1138: When you can’t address an opinion, question who the person is who would dare hold a contradictory opinion.

    Who the fuck are you to ask?

  48. 48
    LT says:

    A reader at TPM has an interesting comment:

    Let’s assume for the purpose of argument that Zionism was an immoral movement. Fine, so the State of Israel was born in sin. But birth in sin is not a problem peculiar to Israel. Scratch any modern nation-state’s origin story and you’ll find resettlement, exile, expropriation, genocide, and all the other evils that accompany inter-ethnic warfare.

    […]

    When apartheid was a live issue, I don’t remember anyone on the left suggesting that the Afrikaners should move back to the Netherlands. When the Troubles were more troublesome, I don’t remember IRA sympathizers proposing that Irish Protestants go back to Scotland. Why, when it comes to Israel, does the comparable idea keep getting bruited about?

    Something to think about, but do people, at least people in the West, really talk about Israelis leaving all that often or seriously?

  49. 49
    El Cid says:

    @Josh: Palestinians are Arabs, and Arabs and Muslims aren’t humans. They’re just things to be killed, unless they’re useful things to prop up for various gains and PR purposes.

  50. 50
    MattR says:

    @MMonides: Not all of “we Jews” are offended.

  51. 51
    Death Panel Truck says:

    There can be no doubt about it. Clearly she’s calling for Wannsee Conference II. The Final Solution to the Jewish Question must once again be decided, since the first one didn’t work out so well. Where is Adolf Eichmann when you need him?

    The video is all the proof anyone needs. Helen Thomas is truly history’s biggest monster.

  52. 52
    El Cid says:

    @LT:

    I don’t remember anyone on the left suggesting that the Afrikaners should move back to the Netherlands

    Not so much the white left, but a significant chunk of the black anti-apartheid forces said such things repeatedly. See above, re APLA.

  53. 53
    Emma says:

    Ummm…. two people whose sigs I don’t recognize jumping in with the anti-semitic, ethnic-cleansing attack. It’s happening again, methinks.

  54. 54
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Also note how Helen suggesting Jews go back home is interpreted as ETHNIC CLEANSING but forcibly expelling Palestinians from their homeland is.. whatever, lalala.

  55. 55
    Michael says:

    @El Cid:

    It didn’t make any of it right, and the historical grievances were certainly more persuasive in my opinion from the black African side, but the harsh words didn’t prevent a solution once the apartheid regime lost its anti-Communist bullshit justification for leaving Nelson Mandela in jail (as Dick Cheney supported) and as it was after their close supporter Ronald Reagan left office.

    Had I been a South African black man, I’d have becoem a communist if it meant upending that status quo of oppression.

    Likewise, had I been James Baldwin here in the US, I’d have probably been a communist if it meant upending the status quo of that oppression.

    Given these examples, what alternative does an impoverished Gaza City resident have other than to become radicalized? It isn’t like anything good is going to work out for them if they roll over and die – if you’ve got nothing, what incentive is there to not strap on a dynamite vest? The only reason why the West Bank is less afflicted by violence is that there is a bit more breathing room, but the immigrant settlers are working hard to shrink that.

  56. 56
    LT says:

    @kay: How exactly did anything change? She suggested, in earnest, as far as I can see, that the Jews in Israel should

    Hold on a second. She was asked for a comment about Israel, and answered that “They should get the hell out of Palestine?” What tthe fuck? Israel is a nation, and there happens to be a lot of Arabs living there.

    I don’t know John. I don’t have a problem with anyone having a reaction to defend HT, but I think you might need to give it more thought.

  57. 57
    MMonides says:

    @John Cole: I still don’t get how this version is in any way exonerating. This whole conversation is making me feel sick, and very wary of the language I’m seeing among the comments.

    Above @Violet: notes that this was “like an anti-semitic dog whistle.” There’s no “like” about it. It was one; you can almost see Pat Buchanan’s ears perking up somewhere in the bowels of an MSNBC green room somewhere.

  58. 58
    Unintentionally Pregnant says:

    You might appreciate this take too…

    On Helen Thomas

  59. 59
    elmo says:

    @John Cole:

    Why can’t her comments that Israel get out of Palestine be offensive enough for what they were, that we have to make up shit

    Exactly my point — they are offensive enough for what they were. And while we’re at it, let’s be accurate about what she said. She wasn’t asked about “Israel,” which is a political entity and not a human being. She was asked about “the Jews.”

    Saying “It really would have been better for Israel to have been formed in Texas” is not the same thing as saying “The Jews need to get the hell out of the Middle East.” The first is talking about a bloodless political entity with no human feelings or attachments. The second is talking about ethnic cleansing.

  60. 60
    terry chay says:

    I think the point is there seems to be a lot more ambiguity to Helen Thomas’s words that the video making the internet rounds. Even if you are still offended (and to some extent I am—the use of the word “Jews” vs. “Israel” seems to have too much anti-semetic bite for my liking), the harsh reality is a much larger share would not have been offended had they been presented with the complete interview. It is that larger share that is forcing the resignation, not you, the suddenly-sensitive (this is Balloon Juice, right? I didn’t happen on another blog where people can’t get their snark on?).

    To that extent, we were manipulated.

    Personally, I’m glad she’s retired but disappointed how it came about. This sort of methodology is going to encourage even shoddier journalism. We can’t hold our journalists to the standards we hold our politicians too. We need to hold them to different standards. As far as I can see, this is just another lever/double standard corporations and political movements are going to use to manipulate journalists to get outcomes that are clearly not in the public’s interest.

  61. 61
    Paul L. says:

    @Chyron HR:
    Would you prefer ambush journalism?
    ‘O’Reilly Factor’ Ambushes Al Gore, Gets Nothing (VIDEO)

    “I don’t like ambush journalism,” Gore told Watters, adding that he would “consider” coming on O’Reilly’s show.
    As Watters pressed on, Gore repeatedly and calmly kept saying, “I’m not doing an interview right now.”

    @kay:
    Thanks for your help in “refining” the talking points
    And John, Helen Thomas could have said “Europe” instead of “Germany and Poland”.

  62. 62
    Josh says:

    @John Cole:

    Yeah. I agree with you there. As far as I know, the Nazi’s aren’t exactly the party in power in Germany anymore. However, my knowledge of history post-1944 is a bit sketchy. I know that there was this Ronny Rayghun guy and some sort of “cola war” but I haven’t the foggiest…

    I do think it was incredibly stupid.

    Why are we letting this sidetrack the real problem, though?

  63. 63
    Jason says:

    She was not specifically asked about “the Jews.” She was specifically asked about “Israel.” As in:

    “Any comments on Israel? We’re asking everyone today”

    Clearly contextualizing, then, the later question about “Jews,” which clearly refers to “the Jewish population of Israel.”

    She identified herself as having a particular stake and bias. Of course she thinks there are too many Jews in the Middle East. And she thinks they’re in Israel. I wonder if there are any Jews who think there are too many Arabs in Israel? Or Europe, for that matter?

    And this nonsense about “it is unseemly and evil to suggest that the Jews return to European countries that killed them” is ridiculous – having lived abroad and met a number of people with dual citizenship, I can tell you they seem quite fine with the prospect of diaspora as a historical metaphor rather than a geopolitical restriction.

    It was a stupid comment, but the outrage over this is weak as shit.

  64. 64
    QuaintIrene says:

    Meanwhile…

    Dateline: October, 2007
    Ann Coulter appears on CNBC and announces that Judaism should “just be thrown away” because Jews are “imperfect Christians.”

    So where were all the attack dogs back then?

  65. 65
    El Cid says:

    @Svensker: I’ve quoted that (via SadlyNo!) a number of times here, and I don’t so much want Yglesias to be fired as I want it explained — out loud, not so much for my own understanding, I already know the real answers — why it’s an appropriately huge issue to say deeply insulting things about Jews and Israeli Jews while media figures can advocate widespread killing, ethnic cleansing, and even the genocide (see the UN definitions) of Arab and Muslim populations

    One is a barrier which cannot be passed without severe professional consequences for most, the other garners no serious notice.

  66. 66
    Tom Hilton says:

    Comments can be deeply stupid and offensive without actually having malignant intent behind them. All I’m saying.

  67. 67
    Emma says:

    LT: You move in small circles, then. I’ve heard both those things advocated. I’ve also heard a Native American, fed up with the crap the US government was feeding him, say “they should go back to Europe, they stole my land.”

    People say those things all the time. We don’t take them seriously because we know it would be impossible. But they do say it.

    And yes, Ms. Thomas comments were stupid and badly phrased and she should have known better.

  68. 68
    LT says:

    @elmo:

    She wasn’t asked about “Israel,” which is a political entity and not a human being. She was asked about “the Jews.”

    No she was not. She was asked for a comment about Israel.

  69. 69
    Josh says:

    @El Cid:

    Palestinians are also Semitic. My question is how the fuck can making a comment in favor of them over Israel can be anti-Semitic?

  70. 70
    Evinfuilt says:

    Correction: Nobody in the U.S.A. is talking about the flotilla incident anymore.

    @Lolis:
    I thought that was the goal of releasing a month old conversation.

  71. 71
    MadRuth says:

    Here’s an interpretation nobody is proposing:

    Thomas: And America and everywhere else. Why push people out who have lived their for centuries? See?I believe she could be trying to make the point out that this attitude -“they”meaning Palestinians should go somewhere else -is common in Israel. I have seen Israeli settlers in the West Bank say the Palestinians should all go to Jordon, and to my knowledge nobody hit the fainting couch.

  72. 72
    Violet says:

    @elmo:

    She wasn’t asked about “Israel,” which is a political entity and not a human being. She was asked about “the Jews.”

    No, she was being asked about Israel. From the transcript:

    A: Any comments on Israel? We’re asking everyone today, any comments o

  73. 73
    elmo says:

    @Svensker:

    No, I won’t be calling for him to be canned, as I wasn’t calling for HT to be canned either. I condemn what HT said, and I reject efforts to defend her, but I didn’t and don’t call for her to lose her job over it.

    Based on the excerpt that you just provided, I’ll be happy to condemn Yglesias for it too, as long as you haven’t just cut out the introductory paragraph in which he says, “This isn’t what I think, but this is what others are saying,” or some other caveat like that.

    Advocating ethnic cleansing is wrong, mmkay?

  74. 74
    demimondian says:

    @John Cole: Again, context matters. Have you followed the reports on the resurgence of anti-Semitism in Poland? In eastern Germany? In most of the previous Soviet Bloc? It’s back, dude — and it’s every bit as virulent as ever.

    Despite that, I apologize. Thomas didn’t *mean* to say “go back to the ovens” and, honestly, I believe with all my heart that she didn’t even think she was saying that. That doesn’t mean that her comment wouldn’t be reasonably heard as meaning the same thing.. Just as saying “Blacks were better off under slavery” sounds a lot like “You should be back in chains where you belong” to my ears, so saying “Go back to Poland” sounds a lot like “Go back to the ovens” to, say, my wife, even if the speaker may honestly be merely guilty of a horrible choice of words in both cases.

  75. 75
    John Cole says:

    @elmo:

    She wasn’t asked about “Israel,” which is a political entity and not a human being. She was asked about “the Jews.”

    WTF? Did you even watch the video or read the transcript I posted for you? 41 seconds in, a DIRECT QUOTE: “Any comments about Israel?” To which she stated “Israel should get the hell out of Palestine.”

  76. 76
    LT says:

    @Emma:

    LT: You move in small circles, then. I’ve heard both those things advocated. I’ve also heard a Native American, fed up with the crap the US government was feeding him, say “they should go back to Europe, they stole my land.”

    Of for fuck’s sake. Yes, I understnad that people have said such things. Did you really not understand my meaning?

  77. 77
    elmo says:

    @Violet:

    Keep reading. The question specifically asked about “the Jews.” Unless you think that nobody in the history of ever has shifted topics through the course of a conversation?

  78. 78
    Morbo says:

    @wilfred: Come on. Is it really obvious what he’s talking about? She refers to her Arab background because she knows he’s talking about Germany and Poland? As opposed to perhaps, I don’t know, the Middle East? Please.

  79. 79
    PeakVT says:

    On the upside downside, no one is talking about the unpleasantness with the flotilla anymore.

    Thomas unwittingly gave the people who screwed up the flotilla incident and are trying to push the Palestinians out of the West Bank a major gift. It sucks that everybody has followed the shiny trinket, but what can you do…

  80. 80
    sunsin says:

    @Gex:

    Can anyone adequately answer why the Palestinians needed to be forcibly removed from their homeland because Europeans decided to kill all the Jews?

    Because there was a long-term European program to establish a Jewish state in Palestine as a beachhead and forward position against the “Oriental” Arabs. See the Balfour Declaration, and the article in The Realist, December 1929, that I quoted yesterday. The reason the Holocaust seems oddly disconnected from the Zionist enterprise is that the former was never anything more than an excuse and a cover, something to guilt-trip opponents with. The basic program had been decided when Hitler was still an irritating nut speaking to crowds of dozens in Munich beer halls.

    In 1922, Winston Churchill, who supported this policy, wrote the following caution:

    ….it is increasingly difficult to meet the argument that it is unfair to ask the British taxpayer, already overwhelmed with taxation, to bear the cost of imposing on Palestine an unpopular policy.

    Change “British” to “American” and he could have been speaking today.

  81. 81
    The Moar You Know says:

    And really John, playing the “OMG, the guy who interviewed her is kinda racist too” game? I’m disappointed in you Mr. Cole. Very disappointed.

    @MMonides: Oh, look, the new guy we’ve never seen posting here before is tossing out the “Helen Thomas hates the joos” spin faster than a blender on frappe, even when confronted with clear and understandable evidence that this is not what she said.

    Keep fucking that chicken, buddy. There’s a pony in there somewhere.

  82. 82
    elmo says:

    @John Cole:

    WTF back atcha, John, because if she had stopped right there, you and I would not even be having this conversation. That wasn’t the portion I object to. The portion I object to is here:

    Q: So where should they go, what should they do?

    Thomas: They can go home.

    Q: Where is home?

    Thomas: Poland. Germany.

    Q: So you are saying Jews should go back to Poland?

    Thomas: And America and everywhere else. Why push people out who have lived their for centuries? See?

    In response to that last question, a person who isn’t talking about “Jews” says “I didn’t say Jews, I said Israel.”

  83. 83
    MMonides says:

    @MattR: Congratulations, you’re the one I know of so far.

  84. 84
    James K. Polk, Esq. says:

    Thomas calling for Israel to “get the hell out of Palestine” is not the same as calling for the destruction of Israel.

    She is calling for a two state system, no?

  85. 85
    Reggie Syriac says:

    @MMonides: I saw a table full of people freeze in shock when the “Germany and Poland” distinction came out.”

    cool story bro. r they thawed out yet from the deep freeze? 4 a bro who likes to tell other bros 2 ‘dial it back,’ u sure do luv 2 link ur rugged personal brand 2 ‘hyperbole’ & ‘fucking cliched bullshit.’

  86. 86
    John Cole says:

    Advocating ethnic cleansing is wrong, mmkay?

    I’m hoping at the very least we can agree on that.

  87. 87
    LT says:

    @James K. Polk, Esq.:

    She is calling for a two state system, no?

    Ha! Yeah, one in the Ruhrgebiet and one on the Western Mediterannean.

    Talk about *West Bank*, man.

  88. 88
    Violet says:

    @demimondian:

    Just as saying “Blacks were better off under slavery” sounds a lot like “You should be back in chains where you belong” to my ears, so saying “Go back to Poland” sounds a lot like “Go back to the ovens” to, say, my wife, even if the speaker may honestly be merely guilty of a horrible choice of words in both cases.

    Yep. When Rush Limbaugh says that the US started to go downhill in 1920, which coincidentally is the year women got the right to vote, he’s not saying women shouldn’t vote. But the implication is that we’d all be better off if women couldn’t vote.

    Actual words and implication and/or subtext are not the same thing. The very same words can be said with irony, sarcasm or in all seriousness and mean entirely different things.

  89. 89
    Crusty Dem says:

    @LT:

    Um, LT, who the fuck “on the left” is suggesting the Jews get out of Palestine. I’ve got Helen Thomas (on the left?) and???

    btw, loved your work with the 1986 NY Giants.

  90. 90
    cfaller96 says:

    Why can’t her comments that Israel get out of Palestine be offensive enough for what they were

    Oh I don’t know, maybe because some people are still trying hard to defend her, even though her comments were indefensible? Maybe because some blogger(s) seem to only mention her remarks were “offensive enough” in comments, while boldly proclaiming OMG YOU GOT PLAYED FREE HELEN THOMAS!! in the post? Maybe because for some people her comments are not, in fact, “offensive enough” and those people need to be taken to task for being insensitive.

    John, if her comments were “offensive enough” to you, then WTF is the point of your bitching about this sorry episode? If you too are offended at her comments, then the rational response to Helen retiring under fire would be to shrug your shoulders and move on. Mistermix’s post might be a good example of that rational response.

    But that’s not what you’re doing. You’re not letting this go. Why?

  91. 91

    […] Cole posts this video (an expanded version of the one stirring up all this controversy) of Helen Thomas […]

  92. 92
    LT says:

    I wrote:

    Ha! Yeah, one in the Ruhrgebiet and one on the Western Mediterannean.

    That should have been “Eastern Mediterranean.” Oy

  93. 93
    Sarcastro says:

    “No, they should stay in Israel and not occupy Palestine.”

    Yes, and the Protestants should stay in Ireland and not occupy Erin. The Anglos should stay in Ohio and not occupy the Iroquois League. The Spaniards should stay in Navarre and not occupy the Basque Country.

    Jeezus, we can just define “Palestine” as “Florida” and solve all of our god damned problems with shitty semantics.

  94. 94

    […] Cole posts this video (an expanded version of the one stirring up all this controversy) of Helen Thomas […]

  95. 95
    MBSS says:

    @elmo:

    Like so much of this type of rhetoric, there’s a phrase for that in German…

    scheisse

  96. 96
    PhoenixRising says:

    @LT: Why, when it comes to Israel, does the comparable idea keep getting bruited about?

    Well, perhaps because there is a well-funded and largely uncriticized movement, Zionism, which moves Jews from all over the world to Israel. In its infancy Zionism made a lot of sense (100 years ago, leaving aside events that have passed since then)–Jews were endangered and oppressed in every European nation, at varying degrees.

    In 1948, Zionism and guilt helped Israel to create a Jewish nation able to defy its Arab neighbors. Today there is no threat to Israel’s existence, but you’re still not allowed to criticize Zionism and remain part of the mainstream debate because OMG Hitler!

    Some people, the ones who understand that adding immigrants who are religious fundamentalists called to have lots of babies involves increasing an area’s population, wonder why a state that wants peace and prosperity would continue a policy of making those things impossible due to demographics. There aren’t enough orchards, there isn’t enough water and ‘Shimon from Toronto gets Selim’s inherited share of those because he was born Jewish’ makes Selim justifiably annoyed.

    But the end to any question about Israel’s immigration policies, regardless of who poses it or in what language, is Godwin’s law. You just can’t say certain things on television or anywhere else, and ‘This can’t work without the wholesale oppression of innocent non-Jews’ is one of them.

  97. 97
    MMonides says:

    @The Moar You Know: Then you should do a search for my handle, and Media Browski, which I’ve also used here. You’re the second person to question who I am rather than dealing with my arguments btw.

    That’s pretty weak, especially with JC telling me by email that I would have trouble handling his commenters. So far the eating me alive he warned me of has been pretty standard tactics to deflect from the discussion at hand.

  98. 98
    El Cid says:

    @Josh: It’s a different situation. I don’t know of any Palestinians or Arabs who get prominent roles in major and well-funded U.S. news or commentary companies and get to say anti-Semitic things.

    My relatives have said anti-Arab, anti-Muslim, anti-black, and anti-Semitic things. Nobody’s hiring them to write columns in the New York Times or as a regular commentator on FOXNOOZ.

  99. 99
    Frank Chow says:

    With the whole thing released I don’t think it exonerates her, but the context does clarify her point of view. It is not nearly as “send them to the ovens.” What is silly is the adolescent freak out that has followed. It is the new ACORN pimp.

  100. 100
    wilfred says:

    @Morbo:

    You can’t read? He’s asking her about the Middle East??

    You ask that question because you have no sense of the irony involved in either the question or her refusal to play to it.

    For Arabs, the dislocation of Palestinians and the theft of Palestinian land is called the Catastrophe, the Nakba. Arabs don’t give a shit about the history of the Jews or Poland or Germany.They care about what that history has caused them.

    Helen’s answer was ironic in it’s purest sense, that of exclusion.

  101. 101
    MMonides says:

    @Reggie Syriac: Fascinating use of middle-school texting vernacular.

  102. 102
    Jason says:

    @LT: This is really not true. Even Afrikaaners talk about leaving, and when Zimbabwe evicted white landowners, the line at the embassy to gtfo was pretty long, as I remember. This discussion was the primary political narrative of District 9, iirc.

  103. 103
    Emma says:

    LT:

    When apartheid was a live issue, I don’t remember anyone on the left suggesting that the Afrikaners should move back to the Netherlands. When the Troubles were more troublesome, I don’t remember IRA sympathizers proposing that Irish Protestants go back to Scotland. Why, when it comes to Israel, does the comparable idea keep getting bruited about?

    This is what you said. If you meant something completely different, perhaps you should have said it.

  104. 104
    wilfred says:

    Advocating ethnic cleansing is wrong, mmkay?

    We’ll see about that.

  105. 105
    LT says:

    @Crusty Dem:

    Can you tell me what comment you’re replying to? Was it the one with this blockquote:

    Let’s assume for the purpose of argument that Zionism was an immoral movement. Fine, so the State of Israel was born in sin. But birth in sin is not a problem peculiar to Israel. Scratch any modern nation-state’s origin story and you’ll find resettlement, exile, expropriation, genocide, and all the other evils that accompany inter-ethnic warfare.

    It was followed by another paragraph – which should have been in the above blockquote, but the comment system here, which will drive me to drink acid some day, doesn’t allow space lines in blockquotes>

    The paragraph, that should have been in the bq:

    When apartheid was a live issue, I don’t remember anyone on the left suggesting that the Afrikaners should move back to the Netherlands. When the Troubles were more troublesome, I don’t remember IRA sympathizers proposing that Irish Protestants go back to Scotland. Why, when it comes to Israel, does the comparable idea keep getting bruited about?

  106. 106
    Svensker says:

    @El Cid:

    Yes, mind meld, just saw yours on the other thread.

    The thing is, the Arabs/Muslims are the niggers/kikes of our era. It is OK to say awful things about them and do awful things to them. They are only probationally allowed into polite society and when one of them — i.e. Helen Thomas, a Christian Arab, in this case — forgets the proper subservient role and shows some anger at the situation, then punishment must be swift to ensure that the status quo is secure.

    What happened on the Gaza flotilla — at least 9 people murdered — has been almost completely overshadowed by the impolite comments of a 90-year-old woman. But, afterall, which is worse? Killing 9 Muslims or saying something offensive about Israelis? We know the answer to that.

  107. 107
    Tom Betz says:

    @elmo: By definition, by staying in Israel (as a separate Jewish-privileged state from Gaza and the West Bank), Jews are occupying Palestine. The only way not to be occupying Palestine is to give up the idea of a Jewish-privileged state by applying a one-state solution for all of Palestine that includes all occupants thereof as equals.

  108. 108
    LT says:

    @Emma:

    UGGGG.

    See what I mean about drinking acid? That was not my comment. It was supposed to be in the blockquotes that preceded it.

  109. 109
    Reggie Syriac says:

    @MMonides: but seriously bro, r yr bros unfrozen yet? have u ever watched the movie ‘BATMAN’ w/ arnold schwarz as ‘mr freeze’? u may find some tips to unfreeze yr bros there. i am just concerned 4 yr ‘froze bros.’ please tell us what has bcum of the ‘froze bros’ krew u run w/.

  110. 110
    kay says:

    @Frank Chow:

    It is the new ACORN pimp.

    Right? You probably thought, like me, that video presented as news would be more reliable.

    We have to wait for the uncut version.

    This could get completely out of hand, incidentally. The moment this happens to someone wildly powerful we’ll have a “debate” on submitted video “evidence”, but not until then.

  111. 111
    policomic says:

    @Violet: Yes; Thomas’s reference to Germany and Poland–which she introduced into the conversation, not the villainous interviewer–definitely strikes me as revealing. Certainly it doesn’t put her on the level of a Nazi, or even of a Holocaust denier, but it’s no more innocent than a white southerner of 40 years ago talking about “states’ rights” or “outside agitators.” Comparing her to Hitler is absurd, of course, and I don’t think that by mentioning Germany and Poland she was expressing literal sympathy with the “final solution.” But the fact that those two countries came tripping off her tongue does, I believe, reek of racist hostility.

    And yes, it’s pathetic that the press is paying more attention to this than the flotilla, but that doesn’t change the fact that what she said was indefensible. So please, JC, stop defending her (and feel free to go back to talking about the flotilla, yourself).

  112. 112
    Jason says:

    @demimondian:

    Have you followed the reports on the resurgence of anti-Semitism in Poland? In eastern Germany? In most of the previous Soviet Bloc? It’s back, dude—and it’s every bit as virulent as ever.

    Would that be the one where the Swiss ban minarets, or the one where France bans the hijab?

  113. 113
    Svensker says:

    @elmo:

    ,

    I’ll be happy to condemn Yglesias for it too, as long as you haven’t just cut out the introductory paragraph in which he says, “This isn’t what I think, but this is what others are saying,” or some other caveat like that.

    There was no introductory paragraph. His comment was his comment, in toto.

  114. 114
    Tonal Crow says:

    John, you’re getting played by Dave and his AIPAC kin into defending an indefensible remark.

  115. 115
    elmo says:

    @Tom Betz:

    I think that’s a perfectly reasonable position. There’s a strong argument to be made that it is fundamentally unjust for Israel to remain a “Jewish state,” and that there is no way to fix that injustice short of Israel giving up its Jewishness.

    All fine and dandy. No objection. The place I start objecting is when the argument shifts to “and therefore the Jews need to get the hell out of the Middle East and go somewhere else.”

    I really don’t understand why this is difficult. Criticize Israel = cool. Call for the area to be Jew-free = not cool.

  116. 116
    carlos the dwarf says:

    Cole, I agree with you most of the time, but here you’re wrong. What she says is still pretty offensive. She’s still saying that Jews who were born in Israel should go back to where their families came from. I don’t see how that’s any less offensive than telling the children of Mexican immigrants that they should go back to Mexico–and that’s pretty offensive.

  117. 117
    Josh says:

    @El Cid:

    My real issue here is that this is a completely dishonest debate and I wish someone with influence would just be fucking honest about this shit.

    It’s like my attitude regarding the “pro-life” vs “pro-choice” bullshit. It’s just that–bullshit.

    Any attempts to point that out or to try to cut through the bullshit makes you a racist, anti-Semitic Jew-hater. The only acceptable public discourse on this matter is completely dishonest and devoid of any real substance.

    I have equal sympathy to the plights of the Israelis and the Palestinians, and I don’t favor one side over the other. I don’t claim that Palestine is a place of rainbows and bunnies, but I don’t see how it helps Israel to defend their bullshit when it just creates problems. Long-lasting and difficult problems.

    So is it possible to be honest about the situation without being labeled anti-Semitic? Probably not.

    I don’t defend Helen Thomas. What I’m pissed off about is the mentality that surrounds this situation. The immediate assumption that she’s calling for ethnic cleansing or using some kind of anti-Semitic dog-whistle. The questions she were asked were rather pointed–and you’ll noticed the interviewer switched from Israel to Jews pretty quickly, which, in such a situation, might have caught someone off-guard. A lot of people equate Israel with Jews, so—I don’t know why people jump to the worst-case scenario.

  118. 118
    stuckinred says:

    @Svensker: I liked Toto!

  119. 119
    elmo says:

    @Svensker:

    Then you may consider me disgusted with Yglesias. Those comments are flat indefensible.

  120. 120
    Warren Terra says:

    If she’d said the Jews have no exclusive right to the land of Israel, that’d be unremarkable. If she’d said they must emigrate, that’d be very questionable. “Go back to Germany and Poland” is hateful.

  121. 121
    Dan says:

    I called her batshit insane yesterday and i’m calling her batshit insane today.

    I appreciate Cole’s comments on so many issues facing us today, but i don’t know where his head is at here.

    He is using the worst kind of tactics i normally attribute to the right wing. He jokingly suggests people are comparing her to hitler in order to make her critics look silly. Nobody has suggested that. What people have suggested is that her comments expose an incredible insensitivity toward what happened in the holocaust.

    I’m not going to rehash the same argument over and over again. But if people are so upset about palestinians who lived in what is now israel being uprooted in 1948, why would it be ok to uproot jews who’ve lived there since 1948 (or in many instances earlier) now? How long do jews have to hold onto the land of israel before their presence is accepted? 2020? 2030? 3000? I’m not talking about the west bank or gaza, just israel.

  122. 122
    Torridjoe says:

    What’s offensive about suggesting that people who illegally made homes on other peoples’ land, move back where they came from? she said Israel should leave PALESTINE, not Israel. So the question “where should they go” refers to settlers who everyone agrees SHOULD leave–and by definition if they’re leaving they have to go somewhere else. How many settlers moved from Israel proper–as opposed to other places around the world…like Germany, Poland, America, et al?

    The bottom line is she was asked about Israel, said they should get out of Palestine, and the people who are there should go home. That’s not offensive; that’s the basic international community position.

  123. 123
    Reggie Syriac says:

    @carlos the dwarf: ur right bro. the mexicans who r born in america are just like the zionists who r born in israel. both subsets believe that a magic bro in the sky promised the land 2 them thousands of yrs ago.

  124. 124
    LT says:

    Warren Terra:

    If she’d said the Jews have no exclusive right to the land of Israel, that’d be unremarkable. If she’d said they must emigrate, that’d be very questionable. “Go back to Germany and Poland” is hateful.

  125. 125
    demimondian says:

    @Jason: Oops! Didn’t like the answer, so we change the subject. Sorry, puppy, I’m not biting — nobody is suggesting that the Palestinians be shipped back to countries where they were exterminated en masse. Now, if you were talking about the Armenians being shipped back to “eastern Turkey”, or the Tutsi being deported back to Rwanda, you might have a case, but…as it is, no, pupster, you lose.

  126. 126
    El Cid says:

    @Tom Betz: Remember, or know, that hardline Likudist, former Israeli Defense and Foreign minister Moshe Arens has been advocating — technically though advocating the ‘serious consideration of — incorporating the West Bank into Israel with full citizenship rights for the Palestinians, not least because he knows it is unlikely to be sustainable to keep pushing Palestinian holdings in the West Bank into tinier and shittier Bantustans.

    Unlike the dire predictions heard so often, Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria would not be the end of the State of Israel, nor would it mean the end of democratic governance in Israel. It would, however, pose a serious challenge to Israeli society. But that is equally true for the other options being suggested for dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This option of Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria merits serious consideration.

    As for the Gazans under that view, given their million or so inhabitants of utter squalor, presumably their best option is to beg to join Egypt (unlikely), survive as a statelet, flee elsewhere, or just rot to hell.

  127. 127
    zzyzx says:

    And yes, it was 60 years ago, but there’s still a “too soon” aspect going on when there are enough people like me who exist solely because my grandparents got out in time… and I’ve met their friends who had camp tattoos…

    I don’t think she was calling for Holocaust II, This Time It’s Personal! or something, but it’s hard to be completely rational about demanding that Jews move out of the mideast and back to the countries where they escaped from.

  128. 128
    Observer says:

    So out of curiosity, anyone think Germany and Poland will still embrace the “Right to Return” when it’s “their” land, you know the land that was confiscated from Jews when they were run out?

    Or that Germany and Poland will accept the unique definition of “refugee”, the sole privilege of Arab Palestinians, to mean all their descendants for ever and ever, even though the globally accepted definition is just that first generation?

    In 1939 Jews made up one third of the population of Palestine. By 1947 Muslims had the chance over and over again for their own homeland, also carved out of the Ottoman empire. But the Arabs chose all or nothing and they’ve insisted on nothing ever since.

    And all it takes to make life better for Gazans is for Hamas to stand up in the UN and speechify.

    But they won’t. Speeches are just too much, a road too far, to help their people.

    It’s almost like Hamas is motivated by something other than a state for their people…

  129. 129
    LT says:

    Please ingnore my last comment, in which another paragrpah that should have been bq’d was not. Fuck.

    Warren Terra:

    If she’d said the Jews have no exclusive right to the land of Israel, that’d be unremarkable. If she’d said they must emigrate, that’d be very questionable. “Go back to Germany and Poland” is hateful.

    No – she’s talking about Ashkenazi Jews, whose home for many centuries before the Third Reich was what is now Germany and Poland, and to a lesser extent, the way I understand it, the rest of W. Europe. That was their home.

    But why stop there? Why not their home before that? It’s just dumb.

  130. 130
    Brandon says:

    @LT: Well just because you don’t recall any of it, doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen. You apparently have little historical knowledge about South Africa, so in that case you really shouldn’t use examples that display your ignorance.

  131. 131
    Tom Betz says:

    @El Cid:

    If Israel ever wants to annex the West Bank, they must be forced also to annex Gaza. They made that bed of nails, now they must lie in it.

  132. 132
    o kanis says:

    Israelis don’t have to go to Poland for some museum piece concentration camps.

    They have a real live one right next door, pop. a million and a half, starving kids and all.

  133. 133
    Citizen_X says:

    @elmo:

    There’s a strong argument to be made that it is fundamentally unjust for Israel to remain a “Jewish state,” and that there is no way to fix that injustice short of Israel giving up its Jewishness.

    All fine and dandy. No objection. The place I start objecting is when the argument shifts to “and therefore the Jews need to get the hell out of the Middle East and go somewhere else.”

    All well and good; a “one-state solution” where religious freedom is enshrined and state establishment of religion is proscribed, where Jews are safe and Arabs are treated equally.

    HOWEVER, this solution would be an explicit rejection of Zionism, and will thus also be attacked, immediately, as being anti-semitic. Count on it.

  134. 134
    Josh says:

    @Observer:

    But to assume that the Israeli government doesn’t have ulterior motives is just ludicrous.

    Of course they do. Both sides are culpable in this mess.

    But why do the Palestinian people have to suffer in squalor for it?

  135. 135
    kay says:

    Why not trust people to draw whatever conclusions they may, relying on the whole exchange?

    If she’s going to be hung using her own words, all of them should be included.

    I think that’s just basic fairness. Why wasn’t she given that?

  136. 136
    eemom says:

    1. Nobody with any sense really believes she meant “send the Jews back to the concentration camps.”

    2. Even so, the comments were offensive, for all the reasons that have already been said 80 million times.

    3. I don’t see anything in the above transcript that even remotely suggests anybody got played. John seems to be suggesting that because she smiled and waved and said nice things to the Jewish kiddies that cancels out what she said. That’s just as absurd as #1.

  137. 137
    Phoebe says:

    @John Cole: Yes, but isn’t it clear she means “the Jews” when the follow up question asks where “they” should go, and she suggests Germany and Poland [for starters]?

    That is not mind reading. I don’t see any other possible meaning she could have for what she said to make sense. And no, I’m not saying or thinking that she wants them back in ovens, either.

    Oh, wait, elmo already said it.

    Look, can’t I hate everyone? I’m with MMonides on the word choice. It’s unfortunate at best. AND I think Palestinians should not be thought of as so much brush to be cleared so that the Jews get to live where Moses said. The whole thing was fucked up from the get go.

  138. 138
    Observer says:

    @Tom Betz: Actually Egypt made that bed of nails. That’s the problem with starting wars of acquisition – one might lose and lose rather than gain land.

    Nor has Egypt or Jordan shown in key interest in getting back their beloved people and the land lost in that past aggression.

    Makes one wonder why…

  139. 139
    Don says:

    Oh I don’t know, maybe because some people are still trying hard to defend her, even though her comments were indefensible?

    When one says that someone’s statement was stupid & wrong but not racist it is not defense of that person. It’s defense of accuracy.

  140. 140
    Jay in Oregon says:

    @MMonides:

    @John Cole: I still don’t get how this version is in any way exonerating. This whole conversation is making me feel sick, and very wary of the language I’m seeing among the comments.

    To me, it’s “exonerating” only in that it puts the lie to people who claim that Helen Thomas wants the Jews to go back into the ovens.

    Why did she single out Germany and Poland? I dunno, maybe because she’s old enough to remember the Holocaust and the efforts to bring Jewish refugees from Germany and Poland to Palestine? That might be ancient history to us, but not to her. She’s lived through the partition plan, the Six-Day War, the Munich Massacre, and has a perspective on Israel and Palestine that I can never have.

  141. 141
    Svensker says:

    @Observer:

    Oh go soak your head.

  142. 142
    Redshirt says:

    I’m in the camp that doesn’t care. Who’s with me?

    I do care about Israel messing everything up however, politically and strategically, for my country – the USA.

  143. 143
    Emma says:

    LT” My apologies! I haven’t figured out how to block quote properly on this site, so I usually quote something by putting it in italics.

  144. 144
    Observer says:

    @Josh: Because they want to inflict hurt rather than make peace and build up their society to do something more ambitious than taunt Israel.

    Making three statements in a speech to UN seems like a small price to pay. But it is apparently too high.

  145. 145
    LT says:

    @Brandon: Oh for fuck’s sake.

    It was not my comment. It was a reader at TPM.

    Fuck.

    John, why in satan’s name can we not put a space between paragraphs in a blockquote? Can I make a polite request that that be put on the things to discuss list at the next BJ staff meeting? Thank you.

  146. 146
    El Cid says:

    FWIW, I’ve heard many, many times from people who didn’t look at any statistics that most Israelis hail from Germany & Poland, not the least of which because that’s the sort of tale told in ‘Exodus’, and a lot of people seem to forget that things have greatly changed since the early 20th century.

    Most people don’t know anything about the First Aliyah wave of migration to Israel in the late 19th century from Eastern Europe (pogroms) and Yemen, nor of the Second Aliyah of the early 20th century, mostly from Russia and Yemen.

    So, no, I don’t think everyone who thinks most Israeli Jews came from Germany or Poland (and who in a bitter turn thinks they should voluntarily go back today, not back in time to the 1940s) is wanting them to die. That it sounds very much like that to most should have been pretty obvious. I just don’t think too many people are going to hear a suggestion that Jews should go back to Germany and think about, I dunno, modern Bavaria.

    But I think it’s mainly about the illusion that since it’s where they all came from, they should go back.

    That said, I have heard calls that many Palestinians should leave not just for Jordan and Egypt but Syria, which did carry out a genocidal attack in the city Hama in 1982, killing about as many civilians in one attack that Israelis did in their invasion of Lebanon in the same year.

  147. 147
    Observer says:

    @Svensker: You’re right – I could use a cool refreshing dunk. Thanks for the thoughtful reminder.

  148. 148
    LT says:

    @Emma: I’m going to do the same, I think. I know how to do it – three underscores in the space line, I think – but I always forget.

    grrr

  149. 149
    Shygetz says:

    @James K. Polk, Esq.: No; Israel was built out of Palestine post-WWII in a classic British Empire fuck-up. The two-state solution involves giving a small part of Palestine back to the Arabs in return for them stop demanding the rest of Palestine back.

    She called for them to go back to Germany and Poland because the post-Holocaust survivors mostly hailed from there, and made up a huge part of the would-be immigrants that fought the British for Palestine immigration rights. And America has the largest population of Jews worldwide and is still a big source of Israeli immigrants. So no, it was no “back to the ovens” dog-whistle, it was a statement of historical fact–a lot of Israel’s current population stem from Germany, Poland, and America. So that’s where they would go “back” to.

    Helen Thomas is actually old enough to remember this. Yes, what she is calling for is ethnic relocation, which is bad (she never mentioned using force, which means it’s not ethnic cleansing). A possibly mitigating factor is that she’s calling for ethnic relocation of a group that is currently enforcing an apartheid state (and may be involved in small-scale ethnic cleansing). So, yes, it’s akin to black South Africans calling for Afrikaaners to go back to Europe, or Native Americans calling for the white man to go back to Europe…with the sole distinction that the Israeli ethnic actions against the Palestinians is much more recent, and is ongoing against a historic Palestinian population in an apartheid state. So, while I would consider her words intemperate, unhelpful, and unrealistic, I can’t fault her much for saying them.

    Note to Jews: being the historically recent victims of vile ethnic cleansing does not justify you doing a kinder, gentler version to Arabs in Israel/Palestine. If you can’t understand why a self-confessed Palestinian partisan would call for the Jews to leave Palestine, then you really should try to look at the Israel/Palestine problem from a different angle.

    Or, you could just call everyone anti-Semites until people are afraid to point out your injustices against others. That might work.

  150. 150
    El Cid says:

    @Tom Betz: Okay, but no one I can see in the foreseeable future would force Israel to do anything, much less take in Gaza as a part of Israel. It might be the right thing to offer, but I don’t see it happening. I’m not magic, though, things often do change drastically.

  151. 151
    cleek says:

    Thomas’s reference to Germany and Poland—which she introduced into the conversation, not the villainous interviewer

    actually, since we don’t have footage of anything before this, we don’t know this for a fact.

  152. 152
    matt says:

    It’s hard to know what HT’s journalistic tactics were, because I’ve never seen her do a one-on-one, but it wouldn’t be unreasonable to guess that one her techniques is to try to get the interviewee to say things they ordinarily wouldn’t by bringing out their irrational side. Thus, “they should go back to Germany, Poland.” Of course, there are no concentration camps there anymore, but the words do set off all sorts of triggers, as evidenced in these threads. (And of course, with a lifetime of experience in this area, she knows this.) Had the RabbiLIVE people reacted in anger, instead of just calmly recording what she said, maybe the interaction would have gone the way she wanted.

  153. 153
    Josh says:

    @Observer:

    That’s just patently ridiculous.

    You didn’t even address the point. Moreover, I get the feeling your content to let over a million people suffer because some jackasses want to taunt Israel–and Israel wants to be just as stupid and be jackasses right back.

  154. 154
    eemom says:

    another thing: the constant comparison of Gaza to the Warsaw ghetto or to a concentration camp IS a bunch of disgusting anti-Semitic propaganda.

    WITHOUT condoning the conditions the Gazans are living in, and WITHOUT excusing Israel for same, the fact is that Israel is NOT starving the Gazans, lining them up and shooting them or loading them on trains to gas chambers, nor does it have any intentions of doing so — and anyone who suggests otherwise is just flat out making shit up.

    Now go ahead and start foaming at the mouth and calling me a Zionist apologist or whatever — as I’ve said before, I really don’t give a shit.

  155. 155
    elmo says:

    @Shygetz:

    So, yes, it’s akin to black South Africans calling for Afrikaaners to go back to Europe, or Native Americans calling for the white man to go back to Europe…with the sole distinction that the Israeli ethnic actions against the Palestinians is much more recent, and is ongoing against a historic Palestinian population in an apartheid state.

    Not quite the sole distinction, no. The additional distinction here is that there is no agonizing historic parallel to a call for an area to be “free of Europeans.” There might be a reason for Jews to be especially sensitive to any call for an area to be “Jew-free.” Calling for an area to be “white-free,” or “Euro-free” doesn’t have the same resonance. This is true whether you are calling for the Jews to go to Germany or to South America — the point is you’re calling for them to go.

  156. 156
    LT says:

    @El Cid: Weren’t the ancestors of those in Eastern Europe from Western Europe, primarily what is now Germany. Hence Yiddish.

  157. 157
    MattR says:

    @elmo: Do you really think that distinction matters? Is it not perfectly clear and normal to assume that when talking about what Israel should do about Palestine we are talking about the Jews in Israel? It seems like quite a stretch to interpret Thomas’s comments to mean that she thinks there should be no Jews in the Middle East.

  158. 158
    Josh says:

    @Shygetz:

    Note to Jews: being the historically recent victims of vile ethnic cleansing does not justify you doing a kinder, gentler version to Arabs in Israel/Palestine. If you can’t understand why a self-confessed Palestinian partisan would call for the Jews to leave Palestine, then you really should try to look at the Israel/Palestine problem from a different angle.
    Or, you could just call everyone anti-Semites until people are afraid to point out your injustices against others. That might work.

    This is a good point. Like I said previously, what Thomas said was indefensible and just dumb.

    But to lambaste critics of Israeli policy and U.S. policy with regard to Israel as anti-Semitic is even stupider.

  159. 159
    Morbo says:

    @wilfred: /looks up nakba on Wikipedia/

    Sorry. You have me dead to rights on my own ignorance.

  160. 160
    BDeevDad says:

    @o kanis: What BS. What’s the population of Palestinians now vs 10, 20, 50 years ago. I’ll give you a hint. It’s rising. Anyone that claims Concentration Camps in Gaza and the West Bank loses all credibility.

  161. 161
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Svensker: You know the run of Blog post at MY’s old site after that comment is really quite the smorgasbord of brain-deadedness. My current fav:
    “What better way to show that than to go do something they really, really don’t want us to do like, say, invade Iraq?

    Plus, if we invade Iraq, we can create at least one reasonable regime in the area. If some “moderate” government get toppled (or just become outright hostile) as the worriers always worry, then we can just topple them again and set up some more supportive regimes.”

  162. 162
    Mnemosyne says:

    Notice how the questioner changes the parameters:

    A: Any comments on Israel? We’re asking everyone today, any comments on..

    Q: So you are saying Jews should go back to Poland?

    Contrary to popular belief, Israel =/= all Jews, and yet he shifted the question from asking her about Israel to asking her about Jews. And people here fell for it and think that Thomas suddenly switched to talking about all Jews when she was actually talking about Israel and it was only the questioner who changed direction.

  163. 163
    Chyron HR says:

    @BDeevDad:

    Anyone that claims Concentration Camps in Gaza and the West Bank loses all credibility.

    As opposed to Germany and America, where the ovens are being fired up as we speak.

  164. 164
    Bill Section 147 says:

    @MMonides: Hang on to that hate. Delicious.

  165. 165
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Svensker:

    What happened on the Gaza flotilla—at least 9 people murdered—has been almost completely overshadowed by the impolite comments of a 90-year-old woman.

    Only in the United States of America. That’s an important fact that keeps getting left out when people make this point.

  166. 166
    Phoebe says:

    @eemom: No, it’s not as bad as Hitler. Does it have to be? Shygetz @149 gets it right. It’s kinder and gentler, but it is what it is.

  167. 167
    BDeevDad says:

    @Chyron HR: I’ve never argued that’s what she said. I’ve argued that 50% of the Israeli population is non-Ashkenazi Jews so not descended from the US and Germany, hence she’s an idiot.

  168. 168
    liberal says:

    @BDeevDad:

    Anyone that claims Concentration Camps in Gaza and the West Bank loses all credibility.

    Do you actually know the definition of “concentration camp”?

  169. 169
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Also note how Helen suggesting Jews go back home is interpreted as ETHNIC CLEANSING but forcibly expelling Palestinians from their homeland is.. whatever, lalala.

    You may be a fuckhead, but in this case you have a point.

  170. 170
    liberal says:

    @BDeevDad:

    I’ve argued that 50% of the Israeli population is non-Ashkenazi Jews…

    Yes, and do you have numbers for that? It’s possible, but seems a little doubtful.

  171. 171
    Reggie Syriac says:

    @eemom: Now go ahead and start foaming at the mouth and calling me a Zionist apologist or whatever—as I’ve said before, I really don’t give a shit.

    cool story mom-bro. 4 some1 who is trying to forge a unique personal brand of ‘really don’t give a shit,’ maybe u shld comment less, or generally do things that might not give so much of the impression that u ‘give a shit.’ bcuz otherwise u look like a ‘fucking retard’ who doesn’t know how 2 ‘understand the meaning of words & phrases.’

  172. 172
    liberal says:

    @Shygetz:
    I agree with much of what you wrote, but remember, European Jewish emigration to Palestine began before the Holocaust.

  173. 173
    cfaller96 says:

    When one says that someone’s statement was stupid & wrong but not racist it is not defense of that person. It’s defense of accuracy.

    And how many posts does that require? The defense of accuracy post is down a ways. If this is nothing more than a rehash of that post, then it’s pointless and (again) makes me wonder why John can’t let this go.

    When John Cole says the transcript of her remarks is “appalling,” as opposed to appalling, I think it’s reasonable to question just how offensive he finds her remarks.

    Melissa McEwan said it best:

    There are other things that could be written here, points being made in other spaces about double-standards and hypocrites, and questions being raised about whether the reaction to Thomas’ comments would quite be the same if she weren’t old, or female, or Lebanese, or the toughest nut in the White House Press Corps—but lingering on these things beyond this cursory mention would feel to me like an attempt to mitigate or obfuscate her comments and what was wrong about them, which I’ve no yen to do. Helen Thomas never had any tolerance for bullshit or excuses, so I’m just going to leave it there.

  174. 174
    Observer says:

    @Josh: No Josh it is you missing the point.

    Hamas can make all the pain go away any time it wants. All it has to do is make a speech. That’s the real issue.

    Their refusal to commit to peace and instead to terror and the destruction of Israel is the root of all the things that most offend everyone.

    The West Bank under Fatah is making real economic process. As was noted above there are now real discussions about full citizenship.

    But like so many others you look away from the people working towards a constructive future. And the necessary outcome if the world goes the way you want it is Hamas, still bulldozing their own citizen’s houses, still shutting down womens’s schools, ad nauseum.

    So focus on the trivia. But until Hamas steps on to the floor of the UN and commits itself to peace then suffering and no security will continue to be the fate of Gazans.

    Congratulations.

  175. 175
    El Cid says:

    @liberal: I don’t claim that there are concentration camps in Gaza. Gaza is a concentration camp. Complete with children stunted by malnutrition, pregnant women risking death because of anemia, waste running in the street, and the need to run smuggling operations to get in basic materials, in addition to complete surrounding by Israel & Egypt (at Israel’s and the U.S.’ — its funder — demands), and the blocking of any materials that would allow Gaza to rebuild its own functioning. Not to mention that Israel can enter at any time, lay waste to the entire infrastructure, slaughter well over 1,000 civilians.

    What, concentration camps have to be smaller, with those wooden and barbed wire fences on a snowy European field?

  176. 176
    Mnemosyne says:

    @elmo:

    She wasn’t asked about “Israel,” which is a political entity and not a human being. She was asked about “the Jews.”

    No, she was asked about Israel, and then the questioner switched it up and said “Jews” instead of “Israel” in the follow-up with no indication that it was a new question.

    You do at least agree that asking a question about Israel and asking a question about Jews are two separate questions, right? Because I don’t think this guy does think of them as separate questions, which is why he phrased them that way. As far as he’s concerned Israel=all Jews, so anything Thomas said against Israel is against all Jews. And you seem to agree since you’re ignoring that he changed the question from “Israel” to “Jews.”

  177. 177
    elmo says:

    @MattR:

    I can’t tell you what’s in her heart, except from what she says. If she had intended to say “Israel,” she’s savvy enough to say “Israel,” even when the questioner asked about “Jews.”

    Maybe she did only mean that “Israel” should withdraw to the 1967 borders. But that isn’t at all what she said. And I don’t, honestly, think that the opinion — “There are too many Jews in the Middle East” — is so rare as to be a huge stretch to apply in the face of these comments.

    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, I grant you. But the opinion that the Jews should get out isn’t all that uncommon, sadly.

  178. 178
    BDeevDad says:

    @liberal: Yeah, my grand-parent’s families died in them.

    Please explain how all of Gaza and the West Bank are Concentration Camps similar to, in his words, Poland “museum piece concentration camps.”

  179. 179
    Shygetz says:

    @elmo:

    The additional distinction here is that there is no agonizing historic parallel to a call for an area to be “free of Europeans.”

    If you really think this, then you are ignorant of the history of American and South African immigration. Both were heavily populated by victims of serious religious persecution. While it’s true that the native populations tended not to make the distinction (why call the white invader Calvinists when you can just call them white?), the historical persecution was there. But, just because the Puritans were persecuted by the English doesn’t justify persecuting the Native Americans…

  180. 180
    El Cid says:

    @Observer: I don’t think there’s any evidence that if Hamas were to vanish tomorrow, any internationally-supervised and just settlement would be more likely to happen either in Gaza or the West Bank. Otherwise, this would be like taking Israeli state propaganda seriously, which is ludicrous. There is one continuous policy, settling and bottling up Palestinians, and a roving set of excuses around how the current (name your year) Palestinian leadership is just too horrible to deal with. As if terrible forces who hate each other have never negotiated peace and territory agreements.

  181. 181
    liberal says:

    @eemom:

    the constant comparison of Gaza to the Warsaw ghetto or to a concentration camp IS a bunch of disgusting anti-Semitic propaganda.

    Clearly there are similarities between Gaza and the Warsaw ghetto, but of course the nastiness in the W G is orders of magnitude worse (inflicted poverty etc versus nearly certain death).

    OTOH, it’s quite reasonable to liken Gaza to a big concentration camp. “Concentration camp” doesn’t necessarily imply “death camp”; rather, it’s a place where people are “concentrated” and their liberty withheld, and under harsh conditions. Some people might use “cc” to denote places with conditions akin to the Nazi death camps like Birkenau, Trelbinka, etc, but that’s not the only usage.

  182. 182
    eemom says:

    @Reggie Syriac:

    ks m ass, u ahole. kthxbai.

  183. 183
    liberal says:

    @El Cid:
    Making it worse is a clear Israeli policy of detaining more moderate Palestinians.

    It’s actually a pretty clever strategy, which I assume has been used in other times in other contexts: surpress the more moderate of your enemies, and give aid to the extremists.

  184. 184
    BDeevDad says:

    @liberal: See the sidebar.

  185. 185
    wilfred says:

    Hamas can make all the pain go away any time it wants

    Right. Then, let’s say, a progressive Palestinian government is elected that is satisfactory to Israel, and lo! and behold we have a Palestinian state.

    What happens when Iranian ships want to lay anchor in Gaza? Or if Libya and Palestine sign a treaty, or anything else that might possibly threaten Israel.

    Straw man. Bantustan.

  186. 186
    Josh says:

    @Observer:

    Ah. I see.

    I thought we were having an honest discussion. The onus is entirely on Hamas, then? Just one speech and a commitment to peace would end Israel’s policy of expansionism?

    I bet.

  187. 187
    o kanis says:

    the constant comparison of Gaza to the Warsaw ghetto or to a concentration camp IS a bunch of disgusting anti-Semitic propaganda.

    Cue teh violins.

    Lol!

    anti-semitic™…blah, blah, blah. The brand is finished.

    Doesn’t work any more. But you’ll be waving the bloody victim shirt nevertheless. Here’s something for you.

    Ken O’Keefe

    The Israeli prostitutes of propaganda can spew all of their  disgusting bile all they wish, the commandos are the murderers, we  are the defenders, and yet we fought.  We fought not just for our  lives, not just for our cargo, not just for the people of  Palestine, we fought in the name of justice and humanity.  We were  right to do so, in every way.

    http://tinyurl.com/2buyyad

  188. 188
    Citizen_X says:

    @BDeevDad and everybody else: Concentration camp /= death camp. Read up on “the Boer War” and the “Japanese Relocation Program” sometime.

  189. 189
    Reggie Syriac says:

    @eemom: damn. kind of disappointed in that reply. felt like u cld have truly proven u ‘don’t give a shit’ just by ignoring me. guess u do give a shit after all. <3

  190. 190
    Mnemosyne says:

    @MMonides:

    You’re the second person to question who I am rather than dealing with my arguments btw.

    Considering that you threw the exact same accusations at geg6, who has been posting here for at least 6 months that I know of, it’s pretty funny that you’re getting all huffy that anyone would dare question your length of time here as a poster.

  191. 191
    eemom says:

    @liberal:

    ok, the “concentration camp” point is fair enough. Like what we did to the Japanese in WWII.

    Still the difference between the Warsaw ghetto and Gaza is not merely one of “magnitude.” The Israelis are NOT out to murder innocent people.

  192. 192
    Observer says:

    @El Cid: Except I didn’t say Hamas needs to disappear. I said they need to commit to peace instead of destruction. And that starts with a simple speech.

    BushCo tried the disappearing routine and all it caused was a brief civil war.

  193. 193
    El Cid says:

    @BDeevDad: Sort of like how the U.S. “strategic hamlets” were concentration camps in Vietnam. Concentration camps needn’t be industrial death camps. Nor need they be Nazi or Soviet in origin.

    The Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed. defines concentration camp as: a camp where non-combatants of a district are accommodated, such as those instituted by Lord Kitchener during the South African war of 1899-1902; one for the internment of political prisoners, foreign nationals, etc., esp. as organized by the Nazi regime in Germany before and during the war of 1939-45. The Random House Dictionary defines the term as: “a guarded compound for the detention or imprisonment of aliens, members of ethnic minorities, political opponents, etc.”, and, the American Heritage Dictionary defines it thus: “A camp where civilians, enemy aliens, political prisoners, and sometimes prisoners of war are detained and confined, typically under harsh conditions.” Finally, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as: “a camp where persons (as prisoners of war, political prisoners, or refugees) are detained or confined.”
    __
    Similar camps existed earlier, such as in the United States (concentration camps for Cherokee and other Native Americans in the 1830s); in Cuba (1868–78) and in the Philippines (1898–1901) by Spain and the U.S., respectively.[5]
    __
    The term originated in the “reconcentration camps” set up in Cuba by General Valeriano Weyler in 1897, during Spain’s campaign to suppress rebellion in Cuba.
    __
    During the Second Boer War (1899-1902), the term “concentration camp” was used to describe camps operated by the British in South Africa.[6] Ostensibly conceived as a form of humanitarian aid to the families whose farms had been destroyed in the fighting, the camps were used to confine and control large numbers of civilians as part of a scorched earth tactic.
    __
    Polish historian Władysław Konopczyński has suggested the first concentration camps were created in Poland in the 18th century, during the Bar Confederation rebellion, when the Russian Empire established three concentration camps for Polish rebel captives awaiting deportation to Siberia. [7]
    __
    Use of the word concentration comes from the idea of concentrating a group of people who are in some way undesirable in one place, where they can be watched by those who incarcerated them. For example, in a time of insurgency, potential supporters of the insurgents may be placed where they cannot provide supplies or information.

    Gaza is a concentration camp. It is. It’s not a Nazi or Soviet death camp. It’s a concentration camp in the sense that the term was used before the Nazis, and has been used after the Nazis. The Nazis did terrible things, but they didn’t invent every horrible thing they did.

  194. 194
    BDeevDad says:

    @Citizen_X: I was responding to a specific comment referencing Nazi concentration camps.

  195. 195
    liberal says:

    @BDeevDad:

    Yeah, my grand-parent’s families died in them.

    Piss off, asshole. So did a big chunk of my family.

    Please explain how all of Gaza and the West Bank are Concentration Camps similar to, in his words, Poland “museum piece concentration camps.”

    “Concentration camps” include but are not limited to “death camps.”

  196. 196
    Svensker says:

    @t jasper parnell:

    Plus, if we invade Iraq, we can create at least one reasonable regime in the area. If some “moderate” government get toppled (or just become outright hostile) as the worriers always worry, then we can just topple them again and set up some more supportive regimes.”

    It’s so easy! Tasty, too!

  197. 197
    elmo says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Sorry, Mnem, but she was asked about both. First one, and then the other. You can’t say, “She was only asked about Israel, and then the questioner switched it up and asked about the Jews,” without implicitly acknowledging that she was, in fact, asked about the Jews.

    And the answer she gave only makes sense in the context of speaking about “the Jews,” as people. Israel proper can’t go to Germany, or Poland, or America. Only people can do that. My reading of the transcript is that the questioner asked about “Jews” because it was clear from her earlier answers — They can go home. Where is home? Poland. Germany. — that she was talking about individuals, not about the State of Israel.

    I’ve had discussions like this about Israel. Anybody who likes discussing world affairs has had similar discussions. And anyone with an ounce of sensitivity or class maintains the discussion in terms of what “Israel” should do or not do, not “the Jews.” If you get challenged about “What should the Jews do, then?” you don’t have to accept the premise that “the Jews” should do anything. Israel should. Not “the Jews.”

    It’s just unacceptable to say that Jews should go. Just as it’s unacceptable to say that Arabs should go. Calling for the area to be Jew-free or Arab-free is over the line.

  198. 198
    eemom says:

    @Reggie Syriac:

    nope. jst cldnt rsist t fun of ur stpd txtish cmt stl.

  199. 199
    El Cid says:

    @Observer: Again, I have no idea whatsoever why blog commenters [pretend to be] unfamiliar with [something akin to] reductio ad absurdum. If Hamas declared itself in absolute love with peace and Israel and that Israel deserved to live in peace more than any other nation in the history of the infinite universe, and yet still pushed for a just settlement along the sorts continually called for by the international community, such a settlement would not happen. If you don’t like the literary technique, than why would anyone on Earth have ever used a counterfactual such as ‘Had Qassam rockets not been fired into Israel’, because that can’t retroactively happen either.

  200. 200
    Shygetz says:

    @liberal: Sure, it did. But the push for the Jewish state began after the Holocaust, and the Jewish survivors of Europe were the key players in this push. European Russian Jews emigrated to Palestine well before in sizable numbers (with unrest from the Arab population), but Palestine has had Jews since, well, pretty much since there were Jews to have.

    I would bet that if Palestine were a secular or Muslim state, Helen Thomas would have no problem with Jews there. But it’s not. I would bet that Helen Thomas is anti-Zionist, not anti-Semitic.

  201. 201
    Observer says:

    The quartet requirements are defined by today’s great powers.

    Israel is truly brought to its knees if Hamas pledges the quartet and Israel attempts to continue on its current path.

    Hamas pledging the quartet puts Israel and AIPIC in the corner. American congress will disappear into dark holes. Bibi’s government falls. Pretty much immediately.

  202. 202
    liberal says:

    @El Cid:
    Well said.

    In particular, “Sort of like how the U.S. ‘strategic hamlets’ were concentration camps in Vietnam. ” was one example I had in mind.

  203. 203
    BDeevDad says:

    @liberal: Hey, I get the difference, the OC doesn’t.

  204. 204
    Josh says:

    @Observer:

    Except I didn’t say Hamas needs to disappear. I said they need to commit to peace instead of destruction. And that starts with a simple speech.

    You are dumber than I thought. I thought he was, I don’t know…making a point that it Hamas isn’t the only party that is creating problems.

    Or, you’re incredibly dishonest and your goal is to just sputter whatever bullshit you can.

    Yes. I’m sure a speech from big bad Hamas would totally change the world.

  205. 205
    licensed to kill time says:

    @LT:
    __

    Put two underscores in each blank line between paragraphs to hold your blockquote together. They won’t show. You can also put two underscores directly above your blockquote and it won’t go bold.
    __
    It’s the blank lines that make blockquote spillage occur.

    ;-)

  206. 206
    Crusty Dem says:

    @LT:

    Got it. Damnable blockquotes threw me for a loop (again).

  207. 207
    Svensker says:

    @Midnight Marauder:

    Only in the United States of America. That’s an important fact that keeps getting left out when people make this point.

    Yes, I know. But I live here and pay taxes to keep this shit going. And the USofA blows up lotsa people, so what our pinheads focus us is important, unfortunately. The pinheads in France mostly only affect their own population.

  208. 208
    geg6 says:

    @MMonides:

    Go fuck yourself. I’m no troll. I read a lot of bullshit here over this and was excoriated in several threads for saying the remarks were being taken out of context, were being misunderstood, and that people were reading things into HT’s motivations that weren’t there. Looks like I was right. If stating an opinion that turns out to be correct and then mentioning that those that were asshats the previous day were wrong and were continuing to dig deeper, then half this fucking blog is filled with trolls.

    I’m done with this entire subject here. Too many people too emotionally attached to a country that endangers their own but which they value as much as or even more than their own for me to even discuss it with them.

  209. 209
    Observer says:

    @Josh: Yes dumbass it does.

    The quartet requirements are the only magic wand that keeps the US from finally cutting the purse strings.

  210. 210
    Svensker says:

    @Observer:

    So focus on the trivia. But until Hamas steps on to the floor of the UN and commits itself to peace then suffering and no security will continue to be the fate of Gazans.

    Collective punishment for $400, Alex!

  211. 211
    liberal says:

    @Shygetz:

    But the push for the Jewish state began after the Holocaust, and the Jewish survivors of Europe were the key players in this push.

    As a matter of history, maybe you’re right, but my recollection is that you’re wrong. It’s possible that the Holocaust hastened the actual creation of the state, but much of the relevant history (Balfour Declaration, etc etc) started well before the Holocaust.

    For example, look at Ben Gurion.

  212. 212
    And Another Thing... says:

    @LT: What is so hard about John’s concept…”condemn her for what she said, but DON’T make shit up and condemn her for what she DIDN’T say.” There is a useful insight when a person observes that this feels like “dog whistle ” language, which was posted on one of the threads. That’s an observation that evokes empathy and political support. Saying that HT wants to send Jews to the ovens is propagandist bullshit, and is designed to stifle debate about legitimate matters of policy. It is also frequently used as a license to justify doing whatever the hell you want to the Palestinians. It is also a very short sighted tactic as it drains “anti-semite” of its real meaning and blunts it as a condemnation, in much the same was as yelling commie or soc 1alist.

  213. 213
    Reggie Syriac says:

    @eemom: have u ever considered realigning yr personal brand from ‘don’t give a shit’ 2 ‘give a shit so hard that i literally can’t resist minor provocation’? seems like it wld b more in line w/ ‘truth in advertising’ & it wld also demonstrate that u ‘understand the meaning of words & phrases’ that u type. just trying 2 help u put the ‘best foot 4ward’ in the bulletin board system.

  214. 214
    El Cid says:

    @Josh: Although I didn’t like the intentional missing of exaggeration to make a point, to be fair, this is a widely held — in fact, mainstream — position that were Hamas to change its views and policies and declarations, or likewise somehow collapse as an organization, that it would lead to a just negotiated settlement. In my view, I think the evidence is against this — but I would certainly prefer the experiment be attempted.

    I mean, if I could wish things. Internal dynamics in Palestinian power being what they are, particularly the utter and locally hated corruption of the Palestinian Authority which was considered to a degree acceptable by the Israeli and US authorities, I don’t see either happening.

  215. 215
    Cat says:

    @Observer:

    Hamas can make all the pain go away any time it wants. All it has to do is make a speech. That’s the real issue.

    Man you are an idiot. Even if Hamas did exactly what you want, some radicalized idiots would blow something up in Israel and they’d claim Hamas broke their promise by directly supporting the attack or indirectly supporting the attack by not policing their territory effectively. Israel did this over and over again with the PLO.

  216. 216
    liberal says:

    @BDeevDad:
    Depends on whether the OC is necessarily implying that the “concentration camp” of Gaza is as bad as the death camps in Poland. It’s up to interpretation, but the literal interpretation doesn’t support it.

  217. 217
    Josh says:

    @Observer:

    You are completely…and I mean COMPLETELY oblivious to the actual situation, aren’t you?

    Good God, you’re some kind of special jackass, aren’t you? I’m sure that Hamas making a speech and pledging peace would suddenly reverse U.S. policy and render AIPAC null-and-void, wouldn’t it?

    And I’m sure Israel would kick the dirt lightly while saying, “Aw, shucks.”

  218. 218
    slag says:

    I’m all for giving America back to the Native Americans.

    Just sayin.

  219. 219
    Svensker says:

    @eemom:

    The Israelis are NOT out to murder innocent people.

    Bad choice of words, considering Operation Cast Lead and the recent flotilla murders. Oh, wait, I forgot, none of those dead people were innocent.

  220. 220
    eemom says:

    @o kanis:

    the fact that a lot of right wing assholes abuse the term “anti-Semitism” by hurling it at everyone who criticizes Israel, which I agree they do, does NOT mean that anti-Semitism doesn’t exist at all, or that some non-zero subset of the “criticisms” of Israel — e.g., comparing the occupation to the Holocaust — do smack of anti-Semitism.

    It’s a case of one set of extremist assholes vs a competing set of extremist assholes, nothing more.

  221. 221
    Paula says:

    [slow clap for collective idiocy]

  222. 222
    liberal says:

    @El Cid:
    Well, there is that bit about Hamas offering Israel a “hudna.” And there’s also the claim that if you look at the cycle of retaliation, it’s actually more Israel driving it than Hamas.

    Not that I am fond of Hamas, insofar as their own ideology is pretty illiberal. OTOH, as I remarked before, Israel’s own agency is at work here: they seem to prefer to deal with extremists than moderates.

  223. 223
    LD50 says:

    Israel wants to give the Palestinians as little as possible. NOTHING, if possible. The ultimate goal is to colonize almost all the West Bank and to wall off the Arabs into little Bantustans forever. Replacing Hamas with some group that Netanyahu can treat like doormats certainly wouldn’t change that.

  224. 224
    eemom says:

    @Svensker:

    If “innocent people” include useful idiots, sure they were.

    But the Israelis didn’t kill them because they want to exterminate all Turks from the face of the earth. They killed them because they –rightly or wrongly — deemed them to be hostile aggressors. Tiny little difference there.

    ETA: and lumping the innocent Gazans killed in Cast Lead with the flotilla people is just more disingenuous bullshit on your part.

  225. 225
    Josh says:

    @El Cid:

    I have no love of Hamas and I would like to see a change in the Palestinian power-structure and authority.

    But I’m fairly sure that even if Hamas were to change like that, it wouldn’t really change anything because, outside of Hamas, there are still radicals. Radicals–they won’t just stop doing what they do because the Palestinians changed their minds.

    What I’m really peeved about is how people find Israel’s actions acceptable when it comes to the civilians.

  226. 226
    LT says:

    @licensed to kill time: Well hell. I’ve tried to bold inside bq’s a hundred times. Thanks so much.

  227. 227
    Jay B. says:

    @eemom:

    WITHOUT condoning the conditions the Gazans are living in, and WITHOUT excusing Israel for same, the fact is that Israel is NOT starving the Gazans, lining them up and shooting them or loading them on trains to gas chambers, nor does it have any intentions of doing so—and anyone who suggests otherwise is just flat out making shit up.

    They ARE starving the Gazans. They are killing them by concentrating them into a small, unsustainable place and restricting access in and out of said place. But you’re right, no trains.

    Of course it’s different in some ways. Horrifyingly similar in others.

    Ordinary Palestinians are suffering, and dying, at the hands of ultra-nationalist government that barely tolerates their right to exist — and allows Israeli citizens to take what remains of decent Palestinian land. Why? Because of an historic claim on a greater homeland.

    That barely sounds familiar.

    Or, try this one on for size, the Holocaust is a singular event in modern (but not all of) history, one that Israel itself is devaluing by inviting comparisons to it in their monumental oppression of the Palestinian people. It does no good at all to cling to the horror of the Holocaust as a de facto defense in favor of current Israeli policy, which, despite your cries otherwise, you most certainly are doing.

    All I see is a people who have suffered off and on for thousands of years go through one of their periodic bouts of making other people suffer.

  228. 228
    liberal says:

    @eemom:
    That’s hardly fair. While there are of course extremists on both sides, here in the US, if you weigh by who actually dominates the discourse and has access to power (in Congress, for the setting of foreign policy), there’s no contest which assholes are louder and more numerous.

  229. 229
    Mnemosyne says:

    @eemom:

    another thing: the constant comparison of Gaza to the Warsaw ghetto or to a concentration camp IS a bunch of disgusting anti-Semitic propaganda.

    You’re half right — comparing Gaza and the West Bank to the Warsaw Ghetto is actually a completely apt comparison since that involved driving people off of the land that they owned, taking their stuff, restricting the flow of goods into the ghetto, and preventing people from leaving.

    The fact that the Israelis have been marginally nicer than the Nazis and haven’t (yet) massacred the armed resisters but only destroyed their economy and infrastructure doesn’t remove the aptness of the comparison.

    The concentration camp comparison is dumb, though. Internment camps is closer to the truth.

  230. 230
    rdldot says:

    Trying to post this to see if the runaway strikethroughs go away. Between the text going out of bounds and the strikethroughs and the two minute response, it gets pretty frustrating being around here.

  231. 231
    Kryptik says:

    Here’s my take on the thing: Thomas brought up Germany and Poland to make a point, one that was missed in the rush to paint it immediately as a call to send “Jews back to the oven”:

    Political circumstances, persecution, and living conditions ended up forcing what jews who managed to survive in Poland and Germany out, lest they be killed. While the situation is nowhere near that extreme yet, a similar persecution is happening in Gaza with the Palestinians, marginalizing them, ghettoizing them, etc.

    Do you get the point yet? It’s the same one Shygetz made upthread: Lack of historical memory on the part of the Israeli gov’t. They’re hardly as bad, but the motive is still the same that ended up with the persecution of Jews in Europe that led to the rise of Nazism. It’s a plea for historical context.

    Now, that doesn’t excuse Thomas, her point was hamhandedly made and still came off as offensive and ineffective. But the point is that her sentiment was not the blatantly anti-Semetic ‘SEND THEM BACK TO THE OVENS!’ screed that this has been made out to be by those in a rush to label any criticism of our Sacred Cow, Israel as an affront to all of Judaism and somehow equal to Holocaust denial.

  232. 232
    eemom says:

    @Jay B.:

    the Gazans are NOT starving. Read some of the reports from people who’ve actually been there and aren’t just running their mouths.

  233. 233
    Svensker says:

    @eemom:

    Well, if you’re going to argue what the murderer thought is mitigating, then you’ll have to excuse the Germans because they thought the Jews were destroying Germany.

    Not what you meant?

    What the hell DO you mean?

    The U.S. “thought” that Iraq was a “hostile aggressor” as well and consequently killed hundreds of thousands of completely innocent Iraqis. Guess the Iraqi families shouldn’t be pissed off, right? I mean, we THOUGHT they were a threat.

  234. 234
    Shygetz says:

    @Observer:

    The quartet requirements are the only magic wand that keeps the US from finally cutting the purse strings.

    You are so high if you think this is true. If Hamas sang out Israel’s right to exist peacefully and some terrorist asshole inevitably launched a homemade rocket into an empty Israeli field, you’d have Israeli crackdowns and Intifada 3. But it’s so convenient to just blame everything on Arafat…I mean Hamas. Just as it’s so easy for some to blame everything on Likud.

    Second verse, same as the first.

  235. 235
    Brian J says:

    @Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle:

    Maybe, maybe not. He seems equally critical of both sides. Even if he’s a lot more conservative than he lets on, which is probably not the case, he seems to very honest as well as intelligent. That’s really all that you can ask for.

  236. 236
    t jasper parnell says:

    @liberal: The push for a Jewish state, i.e., Zionism, began before the Holocaust. It didn’t, however, have a lot of support and the movement of Jews for Europe and Russia to Palestine was tepid at best.

  237. 237
    LD50 says:

    the constant comparison of Gaza to the Warsaw ghetto or to a concentration camp IS a bunch of disgusting anti-Semitic propaganda.

    Why?

    I mean why? Why does pointing out the parallels to the Warsaw ghetto to Israel’s Gaza policy — or comparing Israel’s policy in the West Bank to Germany’s Lebensraum policy — constitute ‘hating Jews’?

    If you choose to throw around these inflammatory terms, explain the causal connection. “Because everyone says so” is an inadequate answer.

  238. 238
    LT says:

    @And Another Thing…:
    __

    What is so hard about John’s concept…”condemn her for what she said, but DON’T make shit up and condemn her for what she DIDN’T say.”

    Nothing hard to understand about that, but that’s not the only thing I’m getting here. I understand that much of his (and others) ire is directed at people who condemned her for what she didn’t say, but he still seems pretty upset with people who condemned her for what she did. And I see nothing in the video that says anyone was played. It was a dumb, and offensive, thing to say.

  239. 239
    liberal says:

    @eemom:

    Still the difference between the Warsaw ghetto and Gaza is not merely one of “magnitude.” The Israelis are NOT out to murder innocent people.

    I said orders of magnitude, which I don’t think you understand the meaning of.

  240. 240
    eemom says:

    @liberal:

    In the US, maybe. Not in the rest of the world.

  241. 241
    grimc says:

    @eemom:

    the Gazans are NOT starving. Read some of the reports from people who’ve actually been there and aren’t just running their mouths.

    Of course they’re not starving. Everybody should know by now that the point is just to put them on a little diet.

  242. 242
    liberal says:

    @t jasper parnell:
    I think you’re flat out wrong there. The Holocaust really was at its peak something like 1942 — 1945. State of Israel was declared 1948.

    Sure, the Holocaust probably sped it up a lot. But you simply don’t build a state in three years. Not possible.

  243. 243
    Mnemosyne says:

    @eemom:

    Still the difference between the Warsaw ghetto and Gaza is not merely one of “magnitude.” The Israelis are NOT out to murder innocent people.

    Believe it or not, neither were the Nazis, at first. In the beginning, they were more interested in turning their Jewish population into slave labor and stealing all of their stuff than they were in outright killing them. It was only after the Jewish population had been bled dry that the Final Solution idea came up.

    There’s a great BBC series and companion book called The Nazis: A Warning from History that lays all of it out. The Holocaust was a process, not a plan they had from day one.

  244. 244
    El Cid says:

    @liberal: It’s not just an offer. Israel continually violates ceasefires, and for logical reasons — to stir up retaliatory violence as a justification for continued militarist and expansionist policies.

    Hamas honored the Egyptian brokered ceasefire for 26 weeks in 2008, and Israel upheld it by invading Gaza in November 2008 for a variety of reasons they called defensive, killed 6 members of Hamas, and then complained loudly when Hamas began ignoring the ceasefire, and finally declared in over in December.

    But this is unreality, because Hamas must be the ones who don’t uphold ceasefires, and Israel must be the ones who do. Because, you know, shut up.

    And then, as Israeli policymakers wanted, the end of the ceasefire they themselves had brought about gave a great excuse a week later to invade and lay waste to Gaza, stopping for Obama’s inauguration.

    Neither Israeli policymakers nor Hamas give a damn about their respective populations’ own civilian casualties (and of course not for the other’s), except that they serve useful propaganda functions.

  245. 245
    Jason says:

    @eemom: Right – they’re just on a diet.

  246. 246
    LT says:

    @And Another Thing…:

    And @Kryptik:

    It’s not about the Germany and Poland comment. That was innocent. I honestly believe that, and I think the fact that she said “America” too backs that up.

    The point is, if she said “They should get out of Palestine” alone in response to “How about a comment about israel” it would have headscratchingly dumb and very offensive. I forgive her for that. I’ve been dumb and offensive plenty. And I’m awesome.

  247. 247
    Svensker says:

    @eemom:

    the Gazans are NOT starving. Read some of the reports from people who’ve actually been there and aren’t just running their mouths.

    You mean like Amnesty International (but then again, maybe they are just running their mouths)

    Suffocating Gaza (read down to the part on Economic Collapse to see the statistics on food insecurity).

  248. 248
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @eemom:

    The Israelis are NOT out to murder innocent people.

    Dubious.

    The Qana massacre, also occasionally referred to as the shelling of Qana, took place on April 18, 1996 in Qana, a village in Southern Lebanon, when Israeli artillery shelled the area of a UN compound near Qana. Of the 800 Lebanese civilians who had taken refuge in the compound to escape the fighting, 106 were killed and around 116 injured. Four Fijian United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon soldiers were also seriously injured.
    __
    […]
    __
    The UN appointed military advisor Major-General Franklin van Kappen of the Netherlands to investigate the incident. His conclusions were:
    __
    (a) The distribution of impacts at Qana shows two distinct concentrations, whose mean points of impact are about 140 metres apart. If the guns were converged, as stated by the Israeli forces, there should have been only one main point of impact.
    __
    (b) The pattern of impacts is inconsistent with a normal overshooting of the declared target (the mortar site) by a few rounds, as suggested by the Israeli forces.
    __
    (c) During the shelling, there was a perceptible shift in the weight of fire from the mortar site to the United Nations compound.
    __
    (d) The distribution of point impact detonations and air bursts makes it improbable that impact fuses and proximity fuses were employed in random order, as stated by the Israeli forces.
    __
    (e) There were no impacts in the second target area which the Israeli forces claim to have shelled.
    __
    (f) Contrary to repeated denials, two Israeli helicopters and a remotely piloted vehicle were present in the Qana area at the time of the shelling.
    __
    While the possibility cannot be ruled out completely, it is unlikely that the shelling of the United Nations compound was the result of gross technical and/or procedural errors.

  249. 249
    liberal says:

    @eemom:
    Given that (a) most of the commenters here are Americans, (b) the US provides a huge amount of aid to Israel, well out of proportion to its population and with no current discernable connection to US stratetic interests, I don’t see why the “rest of the world” is nearly as relevant as the debate within the US.

  250. 250
    BDeevDad says:

    They are killing them by concentrating them into a small, unsustainable place and restricting access in and out of said place.

    I guess that’s why they have the sixth highest population growth rate in the world.

  251. 251
    BDeevDad says:

    They are killing them by concentrating them into a small, unsustainable place and restricting access in and out of said place.

    I guess that’s why they have the sixth highest population growth rate in the world.

  252. 252
    eemom says:

    @liberal:

    Please don’t aim condescending bullshit like that at me when I’m trying to have a civil discussion with you.

    Magnitude denotes quantity. The comparison of Israel’s agenda to that of the Nazis is wrong as matter of substance. Fundamentally and obscenely wrong.

    Israel thinks it’s acting in self-defense — again whether you agree or not. It’s done terrible things as a result, but it didn’t set out to conquer the world or to create a “master race,” and it sure as shit didn’t set out to “exterminate” an entire people from the face of the earth.

  253. 253
    Bill Section 147 says:

    @slag: You should be fired from whatever hell-hole you work in. How dare you condemn millions of Americans to die.

    It isn’t that what you said is so horrible, as obviously somebody could be offended, it is what I wish to imply by what you said. So by definition you are for genocide or something like it. Apologize and it will not be enough. Oh and your comment justifies the treatment of somebody by some ancestor of someone else. And remember there is no time line for when my hatred can end because as long as I can keep it up I am going to hate. But I will rationalize my hate as justified while your hate is just anti-me and mine.

  254. 254
    Mnemosyne says:

    @elmo:

    Sorry, Mnem, but she was asked about both. First one, and then the other. You can’t say, “She was only asked about Israel, and then the questioner switched it up and asked about the Jews,” without implicitly acknowledging that she was, in fact, asked about the Jews.

    That’s the thing, though — if her answer was responding to a question about “the Jews” and not Israel, why did she only talk about the ones in Israel? Unless you think that Israel = all Jews and not Israel = Israelis, it’s a nonsensical answer.

    Like I said in the thread below, this has a distinct whiff of O’Keefe and ACORN around it. I’m waiting for the third iteration of these videos to come out before I decide that Thomas was calling for Jews to be shoved into ovens in Germany and Poland.

  255. 255
    Terrye says:

    Talk about getting played, this is the same Thomas who said Thank God for Hezbellah back in 2002. She is a mean, nasty tempered old lefty who should have retired years ago. And now it seems Cole has gone so far over to the other side that he feels the need to defend anyone the right does not like.

  256. 256
    Bill Section 147 says:

    @BDeevDad: Reminds me of the story of the farmer who herded wild rabbits into a pen. Everyday he at one of them but at the end of the year there were even more rabbits than when he started. Mmmmm. Freedom never tasted so good.

  257. 257
    El Cid says:

    @eemom: The UN relief representatives who survey the situation of the Gazan residents aren’t claiming that Gazans are starving to death.

    The World Health Organization (WHO) is concerned by rising malnutrition indicators – increased cases of stunting, wasting and underweight children – and continuing high rates of anaemia among children and pregnant women.
    __
    A poverty survey conducted by the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) shows that the number of Palestine refugees unable to access food and lacking the means to purchase even the most basic items, such as soap, school stationery and safe drinking water, has tripled since the imposition of the blockade in June 2007.

    There are probably a lot of people who would consider empirically measurable signs of malnutrition, wasting, and anemia to be among the senses in which they would use the term ‘starving’, or ‘starvation’, without it meaning ‘dying from complete lack of food’.

    I don’t think anyone who has given the slightest damn to look into this would say something so harsh and uninformed in such an assured manner.

  258. 258
    James K. Polk, Esq. says:

    @eemom:

    __the Gazans are NOT starving. Read some of the reports from people who’ve actually been there and aren’t just running their mouths.

    Do you have a link to these reports?

  259. 259
    liberal says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    I was thinking something similar, but it was more that at first, the Nazis initial policy was to expel all the Jews from Europe.

    Part of the problem here is that the notion of the ties between blood and land is anathema to me as an American. So, I do see one very striking similarity between Nazi and Zionist doctrine: the connection between blood and land.

    Unfortunately, it seems like most of the rest of the world has this view, too. Certainly Germany has it, or had it—the whole “you can be the nth generation of Turkish Gastarbeiten born in Germany, but you’re still not German citizens by birth” thing. (Though I’ve heard that’s changing.)

    So…part of my harshness towards Israel on that is because, while I’m a liberal/leftist American who criticizes our government constantly, there really are some things that are done right here, among them our notion of what is need to create an entitlement of citizenship. (Yes, I know that these things are often more adhered to in principle than in practice.) In that sense, it’s not fair to Israel, insofar as this crazy f*cked up blood/land thing seems to be the rule, not the exception.

  260. 260
    liberal says:

    @El Cid:

    The UN relief representatives who survey the situation of the Gazan residents aren’t claiming that Gazans are starving to death.

    Anyone with that kind of nuance is certainly an anti-Semite/self-hating Jew.

  261. 261
    elmo says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    No, I definitely think she was only talking about the Jews in Israel, don’t misunderstand. Not “all Jews all over the world,” otherwise it would make no sense to say they should go to America — there are already lots here!

    But even giving her comments that interpretation — “The Jews in Israel should all go somewhere else” — it’s bloody offensive and wrong, don’t you think? Totally leaving aside the whole notion of ovens, it’s wrong to say that a family should leave their home because of religion or ethnicity.

  262. 262
    Freemark says:

    Helen Thomas should have retired years ago. Her irritability and personal feelings have come through much stronger then her questions the last couple of years. That being said what she said in the interview was not offensive, it was just interpreted in an offensive way.

    Helen Thomas was 25-26 years old when Israel was created. Since the Holocaust happened on German occupied land; that is where most of the immigration from Europe to Palestine that happened immediately after the war are perceived to come from.

    With that immigration and the creation of Israel tens of thousands of Palestinians had their homes and livelihoods stolen. Not to mention the number killed who didn’t leave voluntarily.

    Helen Thomas lived through that time and saw it from the point of view as an Arab. It is rather obvious that she is saying that the people who came after the war should go back where they came from which seems like a reasonable position for an Arab to take. The Arabs didn’t create the Holocaust so why should their homes and lives be taken to pay for the atrocities of Europeans.

    I know many people will say I’m an anti-Semite because I believe we shouldn’t ignore the reality of how Israel was created and I can empathize with how someone from the Arab side would see it.

  263. 263
    El Cid says:

    @BDeevDad: Zimbabwe has the 13th greatest population growth. Somalia has the 16th greatest. Things are awesome there. Hell, Burundi’s 4th, so there are so many desirable places to emigrate given these awesome and meaningful social statistics!

  264. 264
    eemom says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    In the beginning, they were more interested in turning their Jewish population into slave labor and stealing all of their stuff

    oh….is that all?

    Did “the beginning” include Kristellnacht, which occurred in 1938?

    What are the parallels to those things in I/P history?

  265. 265
    liberal says:

    @eemom:

    The comparison of Israel’s agenda to that of the Nazis is wrong as matter of substance. Fundamentally and obscenely wrong.

    No, it’s not. If you’re looking at results and not intent, you can look at fraction of population murdered. You might not like that kind of utilitarian calculus (except this is purely calculus of pain, not pleasure), but it’s a useful way to look at things. If you don’t think it ever has a point, then you might as well claim that the murder of a single individual is just as bad as an entire genocide.

    Israel thinks it’s acting in self-defense—again whether you agree or not.

    Yes, completely and utterly meaningless. Every oppressor claims, and even thinks, it’s acting in self-defense.

  266. 266
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Josh:

    Radicals—they won’t just stop doing what they do because the Palestinians changed their minds.

    This is why you still have feckin’ idjits running around Northern Ireland blowing shit up even though the official IRA lay down their arms.

    Once you have terrorist cells established, some of them are going to go freelance on you when steps towards peace are taken. Fortunately, the British haven’t decided that the peace process should shut down entirely because you have splinter groups still doing attacks.

  267. 267
    kay says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I’m waiting for the third iteration of these videos to come out before I decide that Thomas was calling for Jews to be shoved into ovens in Germany and Poland.

    I’m bothered that people are referring to “versions” of the incident.
    Release the whole thing from the start, then there won’t be “versions”.
    It wasn’t a long encounter. Why truncate it?
    I’m not a fan of her work, and I wasn’t defending her, but I have questions now. There’s something wrong with not letting people make up their own mind, by clipping what another person finds unimportant. The longer “version” should have been used.

  268. 268
    Shygetz says:

    @liberal: The Zionism movement didn’t start with the Holocaust, but the Holocaust survivors’ struggle to emigrate to Palestine (complete with the internment camps on Cyprus and the Arab and Jewish protests and violence in Palestine) is what eventually prompted the UN to end the British Mandate and recommend partition into Israel, which in turn triggered the Israeli Declaration of Independence and the 1948 war. Without the Holocaust and the survivors’ struggle to emigrate, Israel as we know it today would certainly not exist.

  269. 269
    nogo postal says:

    ahem… Helen is 90 YEARS old! She was still working.
    When President Obama had his Gulf gulp’n oil PC.. it was Helen who brought up Afghanistan. Back when Jeff Gannon was asking Bush those hard questions..or when “Stretch” asked his… Helen was banished to the back rows…
    By the way.. for two bucks you can read former President Carter’s book.. here’s the link…
    http://www.amazon.com/Palestin.....0743285026

  270. 270
    liberal says:

    @eemom:

    What are the parallels to those things in I/P history?

    Uh…ethnically cleansing entire Arab villages?

  271. 271
    Turbulence says:

    @eemom: Since Israel is not starving children in Gaza, would you mind adopting the same diet that the average child in Gaza has for your own children? You could limit them to only foodstuffs on the ‘approved’ list and also limit them to the number of calories that various aid agencies estimate Gazan children get. That wouldn’t be a big deal right? I mean, what’s a little anemia or malnutrition, right? You’re totally willing to make your own children endure the non-starvation that Palestinian children are forced to endure, right?

  272. 272
    liberal says:

    @Shygetz:

    Without the Holocaust and the survivors’ struggle to emigrate, Israel as we know it today would certainly not exist.

    Not sure I buy that. Certainly?

  273. 273
    eemom says:

    @liberal:

    Part of the problem here is that the notion of the ties between blood and land is anathema to me as an American. So, I do see one very striking similarity between Nazi and Zionist doctrine: the connection between blood and land.

    Not sure I follow the point here. What does your “anathema as an American” to the “ties between blood and land” have to say about the fact that your “America” itself was founded on blood, genocide, and ethnic cleansing?

    Or is that just TOTALLY irrelevant?

  274. 274
    slag says:

    @Bill Section 147: Ha! Fucking Puritans. Always whining that somebody somewhere is persecuting you for your religion. Get over it, bitches! This isn’t 16th century England anymore. You won. You’ve got the land, which means that you’re the aggressors now. Sucks to be you. Or sucks to be everyone else. (Not sure on that last bit.)

  275. 275
    liberal says:

    @elmo:

    Totally leaving aside the whole notion of ovens, it’s wrong to say that a family should leave their home because of religion or ethnicity.

    Yes. The point is that it seems to only be totally wrong if the family is Jewish, but not necessarily if the family is Arab or Muslim.

  276. 276
    Joel says:

    I don’t see how this played out any differently than it should.

    Thomas’ statement is pure Pat Buchanan bullshit. The fact that her colleagues are a bunch of worthless suckups is irrelevant. So is the fact that Buchanan remains employed (he shouldn’t).

  277. 277
    Josh says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    This is why you still have feckin’ idjits running around Northern Ireland blowing shit up even though the official IRA lay down their arms.
    _______
    Once you have terrorist cells established, some of them are going to go freelance on you when steps towards peace are taken. Fortunately, the British haven’t decided that the peace process should shut down entirely because you have splinter groups still doing attacks

    This. Excellent example. Once you create something like this, it’s hard to stop it.

  278. 278
    eemom says:

    @liberal:

    Show me your evidence that the Israelis were ever out to exterminate or enslave the Palestinians, as opposed to fighting over land that both sides had a claim to.

  279. 279
    Elizabelle says:

    @Mnemosyne: agree with you there.

    to MMonides: Are you Ari Fleischer with time on your hands?

    Or one of his minions?

  280. 280
    DavidTC says:

    A lot of people here have suffered from reading comprehension failure. She didn’t say anything about people in Israeli.

    A: Any comments on Israel? We’re asking everyone today, any comments on..
    Thomas: Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine.
    Q: Oooh. Any better comments?
    Thomas: Remember, these people are occupied, and it’s their land. It’s not German and it’s not Poland.
    Q: So where should they go, what should they do?
    Thomas: They can go home.
    Q: Where is home?
    Thomas: Poland. Germany.
    Q: So you are saying Jews should go back to Poland?
    Thomas: And America and everywhere else. Why push people out who have lived their for centuries? See?

    Let me mark the pronouns with the object they are referring too.

    A: Any comments on Israel? We’re asking everyone today, any comments on..
    Thomas: Tell them(Israel) to get the hell out of Palestine.
    Q: Oooh. Any better comments?
    Thomas: Remember, these people(Palestine) are occupied, and it’s their land. It’s not German and it’s not Poland.
    Q: So where should they(Israelis in Palestine) go, what should they do?
    Thomas: They(Israelis in Palestine) can go home.
    Q: Where is home?
    Thomas: Poland. Germany.
    Q: So you are saying Jews(Israelis in Palestine) should go back to Poland?
    Thomas: And America and everywhere else. Why push people out who have lived their for centuries? See?

    Now, the interviewer switched up from ‘they’ to ‘Jews’, but Thomas was clearly talking about ‘Israeli (Jews)s in Palestine’, and presumably continued to mean that. She was suggesting that Israeli Jews should leave Palestine, not Israeli.

    At no point whatsoever did she suggest that people in Israeli should leave. She was asked where ‘they’ should go, not if they should go. So she presented the alternative ‘Israelis should not move into Palestine. They should move elsewhere in the world. You know, like the places they just moved away from.’.

    Or they could, presumably, stay in Israeli. But she wasn’t answering that question, she was answering the question of where they should go. (I think she missed a racist implication here by the questioner that all Jews should leave the area, and continued to talk about what she was talking about, namely, Israelis moving into Palestine.)

    So she was just attacking whatever random justification like ‘Lack of space’ or whatever that Israeli ‘settlers’ are using to illegally invade Palestine, by pointing out it makes no sense for a country to keep encouraging people to move there and also, someone, be massively out of space enough that they have to illegally occupy parts of another country.

    And that if they’re truly that much out of space, perhaps people could start moving back to their, or their ancestor’s, traditionally Jewish communities around the world, instead of having to move at gunpoint into another country, causing massive problems.

    But, of course, this requires some sort of context of what is actually going on over there that 90% of the US lacks. Where it’s accepted that, somehow, Israel has the right to just put as much of its population in Palestine as it wants.

    And, as was pointed out, she said Poland, Germany, and America because that’s where a very very large fraction of Jews in Israeli come from. I agree it was a bit tone deaf and she could have phrased it better…but I also think it’s a bit silly, and I wonder what Jews in Germany and Poland think about the implication that no Jew would want to live there.

  281. 281
    JAHILL10 says:

    This may have already been stated above, but just in case it hasn’t: Would people stop pretending that Poland and Germany have a bunch of ovens and showers just ready and waiting to receive any Jewish people who might have the temerity to move there?
    Yes, the holocaust was a real, insanely terrible thing, but it’s not an ongoing thing. In fact I think the people of Germany are doing a pretty good job policing themselves so that nothing like it could ever happen again (unlike our own country, which it has just been revealed likes to dabble in torture experiments). So returning to Germany or Poland is not an instant death sentence.
    Yes, the HT remarks were insensitive, but let’s keep things in the reality based community.
    Are we insinuating that there are NO Jewish people living in these countries today? And if not, then we have to acknowledge that the Jewish people living there are capable of dealing with the reality of the terrible past, but are also enjoying the benefits of the not so terrible present.
    On the other hand, we have Palestinians who in the present day here and now are trying to live in what is fast becoming the new South Africa. As a political entity our nation seems sorta okay with kicking them off their land or starving them to death or hijacking boats bringing them aid.
    The long and the short of it is you can’t correct or redress the murder of 6 million people almost 60 years ago. You cannot give those people their lives back. But you can sensitize people to that sort of insane prejudiced cruelty so that it never happens again — not to Jewish people, not to anyone. You can act morally in the here and now. And you do that by respecting EVERY human life. No exceptions.
    end rant

  282. 282
    elspi says:

    “@eemom: Since Israel is not starving children in Gaza, would you mind adopting the same diet that the average child in Gaza has for your own children?”

    Answer the question.

  283. 283
    liberal says:

    @eemom:
    In the context of my remarks, yes, it’s irrelevant. There’s no coherent “America for the Americans,” unless it’s stated by a Native American. There’s no law of return, for example.

  284. 284
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @DavidTC:

    At no point whatsoever did she suggest that people in Israeli should leave.

    A: Any comments on Israel? We’re asking everyone today, any comments on..
    Thomas: Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine.

    What the fuck do you think she was referring to with Palestine?

  285. 285
    nogo postal says:

    oh yeah…
    “Rachel Aliene Corrie (April 10, 1979 – March 16, 2003) was an American member of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). She was crushed to death in the Gaza Strip by an Israel Defence Forces (IDF) bulldozer when she was kneeling in front of a local Palestinian’s home, thus acting as a human shield, attempting to prevent IDF forces from demolishing the home. The IDF has claimed that the death was due to the restricted angle of view of the IDF Caterpillar D9 bulldozer driver, while ISM eyewitnesses said “there was nothing to obscure the driver’s view.”[1] A student at the Evergreen State College, she had taken a year off and traveled to the Gaza Strip during the Second Intifada.[2]”

    Free GAZA end the blockade..remember the murder of an American citizen..
    2 days before her murder
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3JI-axaRF4

  286. 286
    El Cid says:

    I understand that Americans for the most part only have Nazis with which they’re familiar with and agree to as so evil that what they do counts as evil, and a smaller percentage can add Stalin’s USSR or maybe Pol Pot to that. Maybe Vietnamese ‘tiger cages’ or other limited examples, and some of Saddam’s murderous reputation, though likely something vaguer like ‘rape rooms’ etc.

    That’s why I’m not particularly bothered by too easy reference to Nazi Germany, because that’s one of the few points of reference for ‘truly awful evil government’ that Americans share familiarity with, in nearly all political segments. (Except for open Nazi and Aryan sympathizers and softer admiration of Franco fascism from such as Pat Buchanan.)

    Making some comparison and saying “we shouldn’t do that, it’s wrong, and it’s what the Nazis did” is like a rhetorical move to bring up images in peoples’ heads so that they will go, ‘Oh, hmmmmm, baaaaad.’ Pure logical arguments of ‘why torture is wrong’ pretty much get you no where. Use other historical comparisons with a lot of people and you’ll be lucky if anyone even knows who you’re talking about, much less experience a visceral sense of the really, really wrong.

    And even though Israeli Jews often toss out comparisons of Israeli or opposing political figures or settlers (or of course Arabs and Muslims etc) as Nazis and fascists, I recommend trying really, really hard to avoid any use of such comparisons with regard to I/P issues except when it’s a literal examination of certain points of real history.

  287. 287
    Shygetz says:

    @liberal: Yes, certainly. Before WWII, Britain was negotiating a withdrawal from Palestine leaving a unified Palestine with an Arab government by 1949, and limiting Jewish immigration to 75K/year until then. They were negotiating primarily with the Arabs (whom they had an important economic relationship with), so those numbers would have been negotiated further in their favor, not the Jews. Do you really think Israel could have carved itself out of a unified Arab Palestine?

    MAYBE the Jews could have carved out a Soviet puppet state as part of the Cold War (the Soviets were eager to have a socialist Israel to hurt the British Empire), with American Zionists preventing American opposition. But I doubt it, and even so, it would be nothing like the Israel as we know it today.

  288. 288
    eemom says:

    @James K. Polk, Esq.:

    I can’t link from my office computer, but there was one in the WaPo last week that cited evidence, including interviews with Gazans and visits to stores, of there being no shortage of food in Gaza — again, from objective observers who were actually there. I believe it had the word “dysfunctional” in the title so it shouldn’t be hard to find.

    There are also statistics about the numbers of trucks that deliver food and medical supplies there every day.

    There was also something yesterday about the fact that Hamas won’t let the stuff delivered on the flotilla in. I’ll see if I can find that.

  289. 289
    Mnemosyne says:

    @elmo:

    But even giving her comments that interpretation—“The Jews in Israel should all go somewhere else”—it’s bloody offensive and wrong, don’t you think? Totally leaving aside the whole notion of ovens, it’s wrong to say that a family should leave their home because of religion or ethnicity.

    A lot of Arabs still think of the Israelis as invaders who came in and took over. At base, they really don’t care that they’re Jews — Islam and Islamic cultures have a long history of peacefully co-existing with Jews (which is why Jews took refuge in Muslim countries when they were driven out of places like Spain). Most of the anti-Semitic stuff you see in Egyptian newspapers is “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” bullshit that was created in Europe at the turn of the century and has been exported to the Middle East. It’s yet another legacy of the Cold War.

    So, honestly, I don’t think the idea is, “Jews go home.” It’s “Europeans go home.” There was some discussion in the other thread that the US has never really had to confront its history of colonialism the way that the rest of the world has. We see Israel as a refuge from violence in Europe, but a lot of the rest of the world sees it as a European colony and doesn’t differentiate it from other European and American attempts to control the Middle East. We may have forgotten about how the CIA overthrew the elected president of Iran and put the dictatorial Shah back on the throne, but no one in the Middle East has. They see Israel as part of that program.

  290. 290
    stormhit says:

    I just want to state in response to the original post that the full clip adds no additional context for me; so in no way do I feel like I got played. That is all.

  291. 291
    liberal says:

    @eemom:
    Why do I need to show you that?

  292. 292
    LD50 says:

    @liberal: It’s her way of avoiding answering awkward questions.

  293. 293
    Elizabelle says:

    @elmo:

    elmo’s comment:

    Totally leaving aside the whole notion of ovens, it’s wrong to say that a family should leave their home because of religion or ethnicity.

    But isn’t that what is happening or has happened to the Palestinians?

    Many had a valid and longtime claim to and livelihood on the land that became Israel.

    Hello? Can you not see this is the root of much of the contention?

    Are Palestinians less human? Do they deserve to be treated as they are?

    Not every Palestinian is a terrorist, any more than every Israeli is a fundamentalistic, heavily-armed settler.

  294. 294
    FreeAtLast says:

    @demimondian:

    From the column:

    The Radoshes cite Branda Kalk, a Polish Jew who lost her husband to the Germans in 1942. Along with the rest of her family, she fled east to Russia, where they remained until the end of the war, when they returned to Poland. There, a pogrom wiped out what remained of her family. Kalk was shot in the eye.

    “I want to go to Palestine,” Kalk told members of a U.N. investigating committee. “I know the conditions there. But where in the world is it good for the Jew? Sooner or later he is made to suffer. In Palestine, at least, the Jews fight together for their life and their country.”

    I am pretty sure the Radoshes were referring to my grandmother Brandla Kalka. Many of the details are wrong, but she did lose an eye when Polish thugs (can I say anti-semites?) shot up a group of Jews, including her son and grandchildren. Two people survived that massacre, my grandmother because she was taken for dead.

    Here is what it’s like to be a child of Polish Holocaust survivors: Until I was 6, I didn’t even know anyone else who had a grandmother. Then a schoolmate had her grandma pick her up at school. I said to her: “How come she has 2 eyes?”

    Of the remnants of my father’s large Polish Jewish family, most live in Israel. We ended up in the US. Hearing HT’s words was like a sucker punch to the gut for me.

    That is all.

  295. 295
    eemom says:

    @liberal:

    Assuming you’re not a Native American, why are you not an occupier who should go back to wherever you came from?

    Any why aren’t you the moral equivalent of a Nazi too? Don’t you live on land which was stolen through “ethnic cleansing”?

  296. 296
    Mnemosyne says:

    @eemom:

    Did “the beginning” include Kristellnacht, which occurred in 1938?

    Kristellnacht, which resulted in Jewish Germans’ businesses and homes being confiscated by the government without compensation? I think that would be a big, “Yep.”

    What are the parallels to those things in I/P history?

    Forty percent of the settlements are built on land that legally belongs to Palestinians. Olive groves that belong to Palestinians are being “mysteriously” destroyed to try and drive them off their farms. If you don’t see the parallels, I can’t help you.

  297. 297
    liberal says:

    @Shygetz:

    Do you really think Israel could have carved itself out of a unified Arab Palestine?

    Not for sure, but the Jews were far, far better organized than the Arabs. Not to mention that the Arabs, at least in some general sense, seem far less divided.

    Of course, it’s a little confusing at some point. If you tweak history and posit too few progroms, then perhaps the Zionist movement would never have gotten started to begin with.

    But it looks like you know more about this subject, so I’ll stop while I’m not too far behind. Interesting conversation, though.

  298. 298
    eemom says:

    @liberal:

    uh, because based on what you said above you are in fact equating Israel to the Nazis as a matter of substance if not of “magnitude”?

  299. 299
    eemom says:

    @LD50:

    What awkward question have I avoided, asshole?

  300. 300
    El Cid says:

    @eemom: During Ethiopia’s famine of the 1980s, food production was actually pretty much at normal. It didn’t mean that ordinary people had access to food. During a lot of famines there are full restaurants and full stores. And, yes, repressive regimes also take advantage of such situations, including sanctions, for themselves.

    Still, the state of Israel has a policy of blockading and starving (though maybe not yet to death) Gazans, particularly anything which would end their total dependency on donated aid. To suggest this is not happening is just silly. One doesn’t have to ignore that Hamas exploits the situation to recognize it so. Nor is this some sort of questionable or radical view.

    UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has said Israel’s blockade of Gaza is illegal and should be lifted, and reiterated calls for an investigation into Israel’s raid on aid supply ships this week.
    __
    “International humanitarian law prohibits starvation of civilians as a method of warfare and … it is also prohibited to impose collective punishment on civilians.”
    __
    “I have consistently reported to member states that the blockade is illegal and must be lifted.”

  301. 301
    liberal says:

    @eemom:

    Don’t you live on land which was stolen through “ethnic cleansing”?

    Sure I do. But so do all humans, if you go back far enough.

    I never said Jews living in Israel proper should go back to Europe. I said that it’s understandable, if not condonable, that someone of Arab descent like HT would say it.

    Now, if you’re saying that no one can criticize Israel for stealing land in the Occupied Territories, because we all live on stolen land, then your position (since all humanity lives on stolen land) is tantamount to saying that no one can criticize another nation for conducting ethnic cleansing. In which case, please do fuck off. If not, please clarify your position.

  302. 302
    Turbulence says:

    @eemom: I’m still waiting for an answer to my question about you providing the Israeli non-starvation diet treatment for your own kids….

  303. 303
    eemom says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Smashed mosques, rampant murders, wholesale destruction of property and crazed mobs screaming “death to Arabs” terrorizing the entire Palestinian population?? Not so much.

  304. 304
    liberal says:

    @eemom:
    All this, all because I originally dared to say that A was orders of magnitude worse than B?

    Yawn…

  305. 305
    Turbulence says:

    @eemom: Assuming you’re not a Native American, why are you not an occupier who should go back to wherever you came from?

    Do you think that liberal is, right at this moment, kicking a Native American family from their house, destroying it with a bulldozer and building a new house with a big “anglos-only” sign out front?

    Do you recognize that ongoing ethnic cleansing might be a problem that we should worry about in a way that ethnic cleansing from centuries ago is not? What with the creation of suffering victims today, right now, and all….

  306. 306
    DavidTC says:

    At no point whatsoever did she suggest that people in Israeli should leave.

    A: Any comments on Israel? We’re asking everyone today, any comments on..
    Thomas: Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine.

    What the fuck do you think she was referring to with Palestine?

    I dunno, perhaps she was talking about the COUNTY OF PALESTINE? That thing created by the Oslo Accords?

    Which Israel is currently occupying in a manner not consistent with the Oslo Accords, and is illegally building settlements in parts of in a manner not consistent with Oslo, the UN, or international law in general? The thing she wants Israel out of?

    What the hell is everyone else talking about when referring to Palestine? New Jersey? Mars? Is there some other Palestine out there I’m unaware of?

  307. 307
    Jay B. says:

    @BDeevDad:

    Oh, well, since people are fucking, I guess that means everything is sustainable on that parched sliver of contained, blockaded and fenced-in land and Israel isn’t killing them (or, slowly squeezing them to death).

    Or, if you don’t think massive population growth is necessarily a sign of positive public health (the Top Five, from your link 1. Niger 2. Uganda 3. United Arab Emirates 4. Burundi 5. Kuwait — Nos. 1, 2 and 4 have large camp populations and aren’t exactly celebrating their society’s robust health), it can easily be seen as “killing” the people because they have a growing population AND even less food.

  308. 308
    eemom says:

    @Turbulence:

    May I see some evidence of the non starvation diet treatment of the Gazan children, please? Otherwise I can’t give an informed answer to the question.

  309. 309
    liberal says:

    @eemom:
    Someone who clearly has no knowledge of the history of the founding of Israel, or the current actions of settlers in the West Bank today.

  310. 310
    liberal says:

    @DavidTC:

    Is there some other Palestine out there I’m unaware of?

    Mandate Palestine, for example.

  311. 311
    LD50 says:

    @eemom: Try again.

  312. 312
    liberal says:

    @Turbulence:
    I don’t think someone with eemon’s level of moral intelligence is going to understand the distinction between “past crime” and “ongoing crime.”

  313. 313
    eemom says:

    @liberal:

    Now who’s avoiding questions, “liberal”?

  314. 314
    Mnemosyne says:

    @eemom:

    Smashed mosques, rampant murders, wholesale destruction of property and crazed mobs screaming “death to Arabs” terrorizing the entire Palestinian population?? Not so much.

    Wow. You should probably read a few things about Israel outside of the American press, because you seem pretty ignorant of what’s actually going on over there.

  315. 315
    Turbulence says:

    @eemom:
    You could start with the link in El Cid’s comment….

  316. 316
    LD50 says:

    @eemom:

    asshole

    Hey, YOU are the one blithely flinging around the term ‘antisemite’ and moving the goalposts every two minutes.

    Since you’re evidently having some kind of horrible problem reading today, you could start with #282 above.

  317. 317
    eemom says:

    @liberal:

    ok, end of attempt at civil discussion due to lack of reciprocity.

    You’re a smug, self-righteous, ignorant little twit. And you haven’t answered what I asked.

    “Past crime” and “ongoing crime”. Very convenient.

    What exactly IS the statute of limitations on ethnic cleansing and genocide? Because, you know, in another couple of hundred years the Israelis will be off the hook.

  318. 318
    eemom says:

    @LD50:

    actually I used the term once, maybe twice. And it wasn’t directed at you.

  319. 319
    LD50 says:

    @eemom: So you’re a kinder, gentler version of Dave/Phil. And you’re still ignoring most of the questions addressed to you.

  320. 320
    nogo postal says:

    Again…could this have been filmed yesterday?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3JI-axaRF4
    it reminds me of when the rest of the world was condemning
    South Africa in the early 80’s ..during Regan…it should be no surprise that our former Vice President was Cheney.. his then support of South Africa when he was in office? Well it was strange. It seems he felt the white South Africans had a right to keep a black majority from “taking over”

    Hmm does Israel have similar fears?
    “Oh the more it changes, the more it stays the same..The hand just rearranges the players in the game”
    Tap yer toes and work fer peace…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qa89bt0GZvQ

  321. 321
    DavidTC says:

    Mandate Palestine

    Oh, that must be it. How silly of me, Thomas thinks it’s 1922.
    Of course, that means she want to take Jordon back also! You’d think she’d make a comment about them occupying Palestine also.

    Actually, you’d think she’d be bitching about the British occupying it. And not mentioning Israel, which doesn’t exist yet. I’m having some weird problems figuring out how people deliberately misunderstanding her are interpreting her comments.

    And, of course, we shouldn’t blame her for the Poland and Germany thing, she doesn’t know what’s going to happen there in two decades. (Now that she’s retired, can we get her to go kill Hitler? He’ll get arrested next year after a failed coup in Bavaria, should be easy to find.)

    But, seriously, how about when people refer to political entities, we assume they refer to, you know, modern ones unless otherwise stated? Not that Palestine was really ever a political entity until either 1993, or, at earliest, 1988.

    Because otherwise any discussion is going to get a lot more stupider. Like this one, but all the time!

  322. 322
    Rob Miller says:

    Proof that Jew hatred is alive and well in the Angry Left.

    Guess what, John? Half of the Jews in Israel’s former ‘homes’ aren’t in Poland or Germany. They were ethnically cleansed from the Arab world after 1948, and unlike a lot of the ‘Palestinians’ they had no choice in the matter. And sending THEM home like your buddy Helen Thomas suggested is tantamount to a death sentence.

    And don’t tell me she – and you- didn’t know that. It simply doesn’t concern you, because your ‘humanitarian concerns’ are, shall we say, subjective.

    You basically agree with Hamas – you like the idea of a judenrein Middle East, and you’re happy to embrace segregation and apartheid – provided it’s limited to Jews.

    The Jews are home, and Israel stays. Learn to deal with it.

    Rob Miller

  323. 323
    And Another Thing... says:

    @eemom: It can be useful to discuss what constitutes fair comparisons of “concentration camps.” Your knee jerk reaction to calling the comparison anti-semitic is a sleazy tactic. I don’t think you’re a “Phil” who was lurking around here and calling just about anything that moved anti-semitic, and definitely not building any political support for his cause. Because ultimately these are political questions.

    It would be interesting to go back abt 15 years or so and watch/read the debates on Middle-eastern policy. Because I just don’t remember being alienated by the pro-Israeli voices, and I always was disgusted by most of the pro-Palestinian voices (remember Hannah Ashwari (?), because it was almost exclusively a recitation of grievances. Yes, yes, most of those things happened but WHAT DO WE NEED TO DO NEXT? Palestinians had a case that could be made, but it was so buried in bellicose rhetoric that who would want to be associated with them.

    Frankly, in the last several years and especially the last 5 years or so, the Israelis and their clients have significantly declined in their ability to be persuasive and garner sympathy for their country. I think that I’m not alone in this sentiment. The trend is not in Israel’s long term best interests IMO.

  324. 324
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @DavidTC:

    Oh, that must be it. How silly of me, Thomas thinks it’s 1922.

    Helen Thomas is almost 90 years old. Everything that we are talking about in a historical, “past tense” sense she actually lived through and experienced. It is not far-fetched nor folly to believe those experiences were behind her statements.

    But, seriously, how about when people refer to political entities, we assume they refer to, you know, modern ones unless otherwise stated?

    Unless, of course, they are referring to a historical land mass whose borders are consistently disputed. You know, like the ones that were around when they were teenagers and all that.

  325. 325
    S Brennan says:

    I read the same text and see the Rabbi suggests to Helen that the settlers should go somewhere besides the Occupied Palestinian territories. When the “good” Rabbi asked Helen where is home? Helen goes back to original line of Germany and Poland who were the 1947 majority, then the “good” Rabbi speaks the hateful words he wants her to say. She didn’t say “Jews should go back to Poland” the Rabbi did. In fact her next line she asks “Why push people out who have lived their for centuries?”

    The hater here is the Rabbi.

  326. 326
    DavidTC says:

    Helen Thomas is almost 90 years old. Everything that we are talking about in a historical, “past tense” sense she actually lived through and experienced. It is not far-fetched nor folly to believe those experiences were behind her statements.

    Yes, when we can interpret something someone says in one of two ways, either of which mostly makes sense, we must pick the racist one.

    Although, what she said doesn’t actually make sense in the way you seem to think it does.

    When a nation gets built ‘inside’ another nation, you don’t usually refuse to that nation as ‘occupying’. That’s not really the same thing. It would be an illegal government, but that’s not ‘occupation’, occupation is when an external entity does it, and Israel is not ‘external’ to ‘Palestine Mandate’ Palestine. There are many names you could call Israel if you thought like that, but occupier isn’t one of them.

    It would be ‘the Jews’ who are occupying Palestine if people were talking about it in that sense. They would be an external entity propping up a puppet government for part of the country, and occupying the rest.

    No one would actually speak like you think Thomas was speaking. Governments, even if illegally installed horrible fascist whatever regimes, cannot ‘occupy’ their own county.

  327. 327
    Jay B. says:

    @Rob Miller:

    It’s like everything you said is the opposite of what’s being discussed here. Amazing!

  328. 328
    eemom says:

    @And Another Thing…:

    It can be useful to discuss what constitutes fair comparisons of “concentration camps.” Your knee jerk reaction to calling the comparison anti-semitic is a sleazy tactic.

    and you can just stick your “knee jerk” and “sleazy” up your ass, because I acknowledged that very point re “concentration camps” way up above. Read much?

    “Dave” and “Phil” calling people Jew haters is sleazy. People who liken the Israeli occupation to the Holocaust are just as sleazy. It’s extremist bullshit coming from both sides.

    fwiw, I actually don’t think most of the people here who attack Israel are anti-Semitic. The point I started out making was that doesn’t mean that NO criticism of Israel is
    EVER tinged with anti-Semitism.

    Fuck this. I am so sick of people accusing me of saying things I never said.

  329. 329
    winguts to iraq says:

    i believe the Israelis should get out of Palestine too.

  330. 330
    And Another Thing... says:

    @eemom: Well, how about the Sabra and Shatila massacres. I have enormous respect for the Israeli governments willingness to investigate themselves. Ariel Sharon was found indirectly complicit (enabling), and was forced to resign…uh…from Minister of Defense equivalent. He became Housing Minister. At the time I totally didn’t understand why Sharon would take a nothing job like that…I mean, go from Sec Defense to HUD??? It just goes to show how lacking in vision I can be. Can you say West Bank settlements?

    The dreaded Wikipedia has a reasonable article:

  331. 331
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @MMonides:

    Arguing on the Internet Lesson #1138: When you can’t address an opinion, question who the person is who would dare hold a contradictory opinion.

    The reason people asked the question was that you haughtily scolded John and told him your respect for him was “teetering in the balance,” as though he (and everyone else, since you made the comment publicly) could give a shit.

  332. 332

    um, we have an unclosed html tag on the loose. let me try to close it for future benefit. But you guys might go back and fix it.

    Anyway, oh, so she smiled at some jewish people, therefore she isn’t bad.

    sorry, she displayed a profound ignorance of the history of the region. And telling the jews to leave is ugly, even she says it with a smile. in fact, in some ways that is even more messed up.

    She’s an anti-semite pure and simple. The fact that some of her best friends might be jews is beside the point.

    Btw, its hilarious to see you try to defend her conduct when even she couldn’t, in the end.

  333. 333
    J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford says:

    Aren’t Arabs semitic people too? A person of Arab descent is as semitic as a person of Jewish descent.

    Helen Thomas is not anti-semitic because she herself is a semite. Thomas may be anti-Israeli or anti-Zionist but she most likely is not anti-semitic.

    semite: 1 a : a member of any of a number of peoples of ancient southwestern Asia including the Akkadians, Phoenicians, Hebrews, and Arabs b : a descendant of these peoples
    2 : a member of a modern people speaking a Semitic language

  334. 334
    elmo says:

    @And Another Thing…:

    I think that I’m not alone in this sentiment.

    You’re not.

  335. 335
    Mnemosyne says:

    @DavidTC:

    No one would actually speak like you think Thomas was speaking. Governments, even if illegally installed horrible fascist whatever regimes, cannot ‘occupy’ their own county.

    It’s funny that you’re claiming that the West Bank and Gaza are part of Israel so therefore we can’t refer to Israel as “occupying” them, because even Israel doesn’t make that claim.

  336. 336
    El Cid says:

    @J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford:
    Because of historical reasons, the term “anti-Semitic” was first used for racial discrimination and/or hatred against Jews, including organizations openly dedicated to anti-Jewish sentiments. Though, yes, logically if created new it would apply to populations of both Jews, Arabs, and, for that matter, the Babylonians and others.

  337. 337
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Aaron Worthing:

    sorry, she displayed a profound ignorance of the history of the region.

    Helen Thomas is Lebanese-American — her parents immigrated here from Lebanon. I have a feeling that she might know a bit more about the history of the region than you do, especially from the Arab perspective.

    Thomas was 28 when Israel was founded — how old were you?

  338. 338
    And Another Thing... says:

    @eemom: I can’t copy the list of items that are banned and permitted in the blockade, so here is a link to a list.

    http://www.gisha.org/UserFiles.....281%29.pdf

    Naively I assumed that Israel was running the blockade to prohibit weapons, which I TOTALLY SUPPORT.

    Because of the manner in which Israel handled the flotilla, I and lots of other people became aware of what was really going on with the blockade. It now appears to me that Israeli policy involves much more than banning weapons.

    Just saying.

  339. 339
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @DavidTC:

    Yes, when we can interpret something someone says in one of two ways, either of which mostly makes sense, we must pick the racist one.

    Or the one that corresponds to her history as someone whose parents immigrated to the United States from Lebanon, and was 28 years old when Israel was founded.

    @Mnemosyne:

    No one would actually speak like you think Thomas was speaking. Governments, even if illegally installed horrible fascist whatever regimes, cannot ‘occupy’ their own county.

    It’s funny that you’re claiming that the West Bank and Gaza are part of Israel so therefore we can’t refer to Israel as “occupying” them, because even Israel doesn’t make that claim.

    That shit is hilarious.

  340. 340
    Angry says:

    The mainstream media is yet again tabooing anything against Israel. If a Muslim speaks out, he/she’s a terrorist, if an American speaks out, he/she’s a fanatic, and if a journalist speaks out she’s forced to resign… what a disgrace! What happened to freedom of the press and freedom of speech?

    There is a HUGE difference between anti-Israel, anti-Jewish, and anti-Semite. Arabs are Semites. Israel does not represent Jews in any way. These comments are anti-ISRAEL, not anti-Jewish or anti-Semite (how can she be racist against her own people?), and rightfully so because of Israel’s crimes that no one dare lift a finger against.

    The hijacked media did this to send a message so no one else would ever speak up ever again about all the mass murdering Israel does… invading ships in international waters, setting up illegal blockades, settlements, bombing random houses, 8,000 civilian prisoners to one military prisoner, no food, water, et cetera, and censoring the media. Thanks a lot, Obama, for bringing “peace” to the Middle East.

  341. 341
    El Cid says:

    @And Another Thing…: FWIW, it’s pretty easy to smuggle in weapons through the tunnels into Gaza. They’re small and easy to transport. Some reports even have there being a good trade in Gazan smugglers exporting weapons from Gaza to Egypt.

    Egypt also has legitimate security concerns about Hamas’ control of Gaza. It is concerned about radicalization of the territory and believes that Gazan groups more radical than Hamas may have provided training for the terrorists who carried out three major attacks in Sinai between 2004 and 2006. (It is generally believed Hamas has imposed order in Gaza and checked smaller radical groups and criminal gangs.)
    __
    The issue of weapons smuggling not only affects Israel’s security, but also Egypt’s, as stockpiles of explosives discovered in Sinai over the past year suggests. The dismantling of a network of Hizbullah network last year, recognized by Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah to be involved in smuggling to Gaza, has also raised concerns that Egypt could be drawn into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
    __
    Even worse, officials fear a plan to “dump” the problem of Gaza on Egypt’s lap, something Israeli strategists have contemplated for decades. Already facing tense relations with the Bedouin population of Eastern Sinai, the regime has no desire to become responsible for Gaza, one of the most radicalized places on the planet.
    __
    But perhaps most importantly, it is the Mubarak regime’s own security that is threatened. During the Gaza war, Nasrallah made an unprecedented call for the Egyptian military, as well as citizens, to force the regime to open the border. Many officials I spoke to during the war felt that the “resistance front” of Iran, Syria, Qatar, Hizbullah and Hamas — as well as pro-Palestinian activists around the world and media outlets such al-Jazeera or al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper — was waging war on Egypt as much as Israel. It was a flashback to the 1980s, when Egypt had been kicked out of the Arab League for signing a separate peace deal.

    It’s worth remembering that the Egyptian regime is very, very nervous that activities in Gaza, whether being through active linkages or popular Egyptian disgust with Gazan repression, would empower their own Islamic fundamentalists (i.e., more fundamentalist than the Mubarak regime, more tyrannical — maybe) such as the Muslim Brotherhood.

    It’s a lot easier to smuggle weapons than food, large amounts of building materials, or other bulkier, less profitable items.

  342. 342
    And Another Thing... says:

    @eemom: Temper, temper… I wrote my comment before you recanted. It’s a long, very active thread. The over-use of accusations of anti-Semite is knee jerk and the use of a sleazy tactic. It is also self-defeating.

    And OF COURSE there is active, pernicious anti-Semitism going on in the world today. I also recognize that it is very painful reading criticisms of one’s team, especially if one has deep personal identification with that group.

    IMO one of the most pernicious legacies of the Bush/Cheney Admin is the mind set that you’re either with us or against us. NO !! That is wrong, stupid and self-destructive. People like me can be aware of Israeli actions and policies that are immoral if not illegal and still support Israel. But I’ll be damned if I have to shut up about policies or actions that are wrong, especially if they are supported politically & financially by my government.

  343. 343
    DavidTC says:

    It’s funny that you’re claiming that the West Bank and Gaza are part of Israel so therefore we can’t refer to Israel as “occupying” them, because even Israel doesn’t make that claim.

    No, I’m not making that claim at all. I said that Thomas clearly wanted Israel (and Israeli Jews specifically) out of Palestine, if you actually read what was said. That was my claim.

    So, apparently because this is indisputable (No one’s even tried to dispute it yet.), Midnight Marauder and some others then came along to make the claim that, by ‘Palestine’, she meant the entire Palestine Mandate area. (And hence she wanted Israel to stop existing.)

    This is not the current meaning of ‘Palestine’, and this is not what anyone who says ‘Israel out of Palestine’ means, but that’s besides the point I was making, which is that it would be pretty absurd to use the word ‘occupying’ if that’s how you thought about the situation.

    Governments, even totally illegitimate ones, cannot ‘occupy’ the area that they exist entirely within. Governments occupy other places, not their own. That’s what occupation means.

    It’s like he said that she said something analogous to ‘Vichy France occupied France’. No one would say that, no matter how illegitimate they thought the Vichy government was.

    So, in order for Midnight Marauder to make the claim he’s trying to make, he had to totally ignore that she said ‘occupy Palestine’, and pretend she said ‘operate an illegal government in the Palestine (Mandate)’ or something.

  344. 344
    And Another Thing... says:

    @J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford: Actually, that’s true and ususally missed. I attended a religion affiliated college, and taking a Semitic language got you out of taking religion class. I preferred Hebrew but couldn’t make the schedule work, so I ended up with 10 credits of Arabic. I clearly had poor motivations.

  345. 345
    eemom says:

    @And Another Thing…:

    fwiw, I’m not Jewish, so if that’s what you mean by your condescending reference to “one’s team,” you’ve got it wrong.

    I just don’t like simplistic, unbalanced, KNEE JERK condemnations of anybody, any time.

  346. 346
    Mnemosyne says:

    @DavidTC:

    So, apparently because this is indisputable (No one’s even tried to dispute it yet.), Midnight Marauder and some others then came along to make the claim that, by ‘Palestine’, she meant the entire Palestine Mandate area. (And hence she wanted Israel to stop existing.)

    Ah, okay. The intertwining arguments are getting hard to follow at this point.

    So, apparently when Midnight Marauder thinks it’s hilarious for me to point out that Israel =/= Palestine in modern usage, he’s sticking by the assumption that all of Israel = Palestine so therefore any talk of getting Israel out of Palestine means disbanding the country of Israel. Is that about right, MM?

  347. 347
    Max Bialystok says:

    O/T but on/T….
    Why is all the text struck out?

  348. 348
    DavidTC says:

    So, apparently when Midnight Marauder thinks it’s hilarious for me to point out that Israel =/= Palestine in modern usage, he’s sticking by the assumption that all of Israel = Palestine so therefore any talk of getting Israel out of Palestine means disbanding the country of Israel.

    Apparently. Or at least any talk by people who are 90, because he magically knows they’re referring to the Palestine Mandate or something, instead of the actual place currently known as Palestine.

    Because that’s apparently how old people talk, referring to the world as it was when they were 20 instead of currently. I can’t count the number of old people who wander around talking about ‘talkies’ and ‘color television’ and ‘radio phones’ and ‘the information superhighway’. And, of course, they refer to ‘Russia’ but actually mean ‘all areas once part of the Soviet Union’.

    This is stupid to start with, and as I pointed out, I’m pretty sure Thomas was not doing that, as people who actually called the entire area ‘Palestine’ would not talk about Israel occupying relatively small parts of 25% of it. Their main concern would probably be Israel ‘illegally governing’ the other 75% of it!

  349. 349
    Bob says:

    The way she smiled at those Jewish kids while giving them friendly advice to enter careers in journalism so they can have fulfilling lives of learning and accomplishment

    Yes, this most definitely mitigates everything. Had we only known.

    The only one getting played is John Cole. As usual.

  350. 350
    LT says:

    Past time for JCole to come in here and say, “This thread sucks.”

    And good gods it does.

  351. 351
    John says:

    @Josh:

    Because the term “Anti-Semitic” has nothing to do with the Semitic languages that both Israelis and Palestinians speak?

    The term was invented by 19th century anti-semites to describe hatred of Jews. Jews who, it should be noted, spoke an Indo-European language (Yiddish), not a Semitic one. It has always meant hatred of Jews, and only hatred of Jews. That is what it still means. It has never had anything to do with hatred of Arabs or Ethiopians or ancient Babylonians.

  352. 352
    John says:

    @demimondian:

    The Tutsi run Rwanda now.

  353. 353
    John says:

    @Torridjoe:

    I think that by “Palestine,” Thomas means all of the pre-1948 British Mandate, not just the West Bank and Gaza. It’s not completely clear, but I think that makes a lot more sense than the alternative. Arabs generally do not use the term “Palestine” to refer only to the Occupied Territories.

  354. 354
    Resident Firebagger says:

    Meanwhile, an actual anti-Semite, one who makes millions a year and has a far larger audience, blabs on, and no one says a thing:

    http://mediamatters.org/resear.....onblog.com

  355. 355
    John says:

    @Observer:

    In 1939 Jews made up one third of the population of Palestine. By 1947 Muslims had the chance over and over again for their own homeland, also carved out of the Ottoman empire. But the Arabs chose all or nothing and they’ve insisted on nothing ever since.

    Yeah, the Arabs were offered a non-contiguous state on 45% of the land, even though they had 67% of the population. Does that really strike anyone as fair?

  356. 356
    John says:

    @Citizen_X:

    Yup. See Jon Chait today, who says that Thomas’s statement is exactly as morally repugnant as Tony Judt’s support for a bi-national state.

  357. 357
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    So, apparently when Midnight Marauder thinks it’s hilarious for me to point out that Israel =/= Palestine in modern usage, he’s sticking by the assumption that all of Israel = Palestine so therefore any talk of getting Israel out of Palestine means disbanding the country of Israel. Is that about right, MM?

    Yes, that sounds about right.

    @DavidTC:

    Because that’s apparently how old people talk, referring to the world as it was when they were 20 instead of currently. I can’t count the number of old people who wander around talking about ‘talkies’ and ‘color television’ and ‘radio phones’ and ‘the information superhighway’. And, of course, they refer to ‘Russia’ but actually mean ‘all areas once part of the Soviet Union’.

    You are right. There are no persons involved in this dispute who refer to certain territories and regions by names that are hundreds (and in some cases, thousands) of years old. And your patently obtuse and intellectually dishonest comparing of the historical context of the Israel/Palestine struggle to…verbiage from decades gone by of dead technology and fallen regimes could not be more of a non sequitur.

    Apparently. Or at least any talk by people who are 90, because he magically knows they’re referring to the Palestine Mandate or something, instead of the actual place currently known as Palestine.

    It’s really not that hard to understand the point I’m making. The terms that you are referring to as antiquated and past their historical freshness are the very terms that were being used when Helen Thomas was an adolescent, watching the world create the state of Israel. These were not some kind of whacky phrases she heard in a history book; these were actives terms of description in her day.

    Honestly, it’s not that hard to figure out. And it has not a fucking thing to do with racism.

  358. 358
    John says:

    @DavidTC:

    Umm, the other 75% is exactly what Thomas is talking about. If she had meant only the Occupied Territories, she would have said so.

  359. 359
    Jose Chung says:

    Those who got played were the suckers who watched this video with the expectation of learning something new.

    There is nothing here.

  360. 360
    And Another Thing... says:

    @eemom: Glad to here that you don’t like it, then don’t call other people anti-semite based on an analogy you don’t like.

    And who would assume that a person’s support for Israel would imply that that person were Jewish? I certainly don’t.

    The use of the “one’s team” is to make an observation about human nature. If I were being condescending towards you about your possibly being Jewish, I would have not chosen the most neutral characterization I could think of at the moment, like something along the lines of oh, “you’re just a pro-semite.”

    Who gives a fuck whether you’re Jewish or not? That status is irrelevant, or should be, to discussions of politics, policy, strategy or tactics. It’s relevant to the heart. When you get those realms confused, somebody’s going to get embarrassed or killed.

    Interesting that you felt you had to announce your status.

  361. 361
    t jasper parnell says:

    @liberal: The first Zionist Congress was 1897 and there was little movement from Europe to Palestine initially. This is not to say no movement or that the most dedicated Zionists didn’t go at first with a long term aim of creating a Jewish state. Movement picks up in the post WWI era but the real push comes in the period after 1933, for obvious reasons.

  362. 362
    t jasper parnell says:

    @liberal: This

    I was thinking something similar, but it was more that at first, the Nazis initial policy was to expel all the Jews from Europe.

    is wrong. Initially the getting it was stripping Jews of German citizenship, then it was kicking them out of Germany, [an interlude concerning the fantasy of sending all the Jews to Madagascar], then it was Ghetoization, then CC camps, then extermination. The decision to exterminate was made at Wansee in, what, 1941. A lot of the process was the result of constant radicalization of Nazi Jewish policy.

  363. 363
    And Another Thing... says:

    @John: “…Jews who, it should be noted, spoke an Indo-European language (Yiddish), not a Semitic one…”

    Ohfergawds sake, They spoke Hebrew.

    And maybe English, Hungarian, French, Yiddish or whatever depending on where they lived.

    The stupid.

  364. 364
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Mnemosyne: Actually this

    Kristellnacht, which resulted in Jewish Germans’ businesses and homes being confiscated by the government without compensation?

    is wrong.
    The Jewish business, homes, etc collected insurance, at least those that had it did. Then Goering fined the Jews collectively the same amount that they had collected from their insurance. The Nazis really were horribly evil beyond belief.

  365. 365
    DavidTC says:

    Umm, the other 75% is exactly what Thomas is talking about. If she had meant only the Occupied Territories, she would have said so.

    Yeah, she could have said so. For example, in addition to calling it Palestine, she could have referred to the place she was talking about as ‘occupied’. I mean, it’s not like she used that exact word or anything.

    *holds hand to imaginary earpiece*

    Oh, she did? She used exactly that word? As I’ve repeatedly pointed out? A word that is not used to refer to local illegitimate governments, but is instead used to refer to external rule by non-local government? but, if that entire area is ‘Palestine’, how is Israel external to it to ‘occupy’ it?

    Seriously, I think you just proved my point for me.

    When someone is talking about a ‘Palestine‘ that is occupied by Israel, how about we assume they are talking what used to be called the the Occupied Territories, but is now theoretically governed by something called the ‘Palestinian National Authority’, but, sadly, still occupied in parts by Israel?

    Or, you know, we could just make up racist interpretations. Either way.

    Incidentally, they haven’t been ‘the Occupied Territories’ either as a name, or in the legal military sense, for more than a decade and half, since Oslo, and it would be rather odd to call them that, so I guess it is true that some people don’t update the terminology. It’s just not her, it’s you guys who apparently don’t know the new name. Whatever.

  366. 366
    t jasper parnell says:

    @J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford:

    Aren’t Arabs semitic people too? A person of Arab descent is as semitic as a person of Jewish descent.

    The phrase anti-semite was coined by Wilhelm Marr around 1900 to mean hatred of Jews from a non-religious standpoint. Marr is one of the weirdest of the weird in the long history of the longest hatred. The book Wilhelm Marr Patriarch of Anti-Semitism is a fine place to start. While much of it is overwrought, Goldhagen’s Hitler’s Willing Executioners provides a fairly accessible intro.

  367. 367
    Joshers says:

    Speaking of racism, here’s an earlier “comedy” sketch by the guy interviewing Helen Thomas. This Helen Thomas story just gets better (and by better, I mean worser and more depressing)

  368. 368
    Torridjoe says:

    John, she’s not Arab, she’s culturally American at this
    point–so what “Arabs” refer to the PT as, is probably less important than how Beltway lefty elites refer to it.

    Is it possible, plausible that Thomas was speaking of having Israel basically pick up and leave because of decades-old dispute around Israeli settlement? Sure, I guess so. But as a highly savvy politico, it just seems unlikely. It’s kind of like demanding whites leaves the US–an ideological argument is easy to make, but it’s so politically and logistically untenable that you’d have to be fishing in extraordinarily abstract waters.

    By contrast, is it plausible she was referring to current status and conflict, recognizing a) the recognition of a “Palestinian Authority” and b) the violations of sovereignity being committed by Israel? In other words, is it more likely for Thomas to have said something that most non-Jews/non-Americans agree with, that they don’t belong in the PT and should leave?…or that they should leave Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, something only serious haters would say aloud? Occam whispers “the former” to me.

  369. 369
    eemom says:

    @t jasper parnell:

    The Nazis really were horribly evil beyond belief.

    See, this just PROVES you are indifferent to the suffering of the Palestinians.

    /knee jerk off

  370. 370
    eemom says:

    @And Another Thing…:

    yeah, probly means I’m one o’ them anti-Semitic Israel supporters longing for the Rapture. Damn you’re good.

  371. 371
    t jasper parnell says:

    @eemom: Not sure I follow. I am not for minute saying you cannot compare and contrast and I am not for a minute saying you can compare and contrast. It is, I think, important that when we do are comparing and contrasting or not comparing and contrasting that we at least get the facts straight.

    Speaking for myself only, also too, I have looked at the Israel situation and history till the world looked flat and the onliest thing I am confident in saying is that it is much more complicated that anyone lets on.

  372. 372
    And Another Thing... says:

    @eemom: That’s your fantasy, not mine.

  373. 373
    LT says:

    @And Another Thing…: Uh, don’t think so. Yiddish is very old, and it became the common language of Ashkenazi Jews all over Europe before they went elsewhere. And it was for many, if not most, their main language.

  374. 374
    reliapundit says:

    @geg6:

    fasle.

    propaganda.

    gazans not starving.

    none.

    and egypt has them quarantined too.

    WAKE UP, AND SMELL THE TRUTH!

  375. 375
    Jrod says:

    @reliapundit: So Amnesty International is just an anti-semitic propaganda outfit, eh?

    You’re right, though, that Egypt is guilty too. How about the US stops giving both nations billions of dollars?

  376. 376
    El Cid says:

    @reliapundit: Egypt does have them quarantined too. Largely on Israel & the U.S.’ demand, but not entirely.

    But, yes, Gazans are starving. Measurably. That is, if you count severe malnutrition, stunted growth, wasting, and anemia among children as “starving”, which probably most people would, rather than simply starving = death. Which people with the capacity to record the situation on the ground empirically conclude. As opposed to liars.

  377. 377
    And Another Thing... says:

    @LT: I totally agree that it is an old language and it has a rich creative cultural history. My post was in reaction to John who in making an observation about the origin of the word anti-semite, stated that the Jews didn’t speak a semitic language, that they spoke Yiddish. My point is that they also spoke Hebrew, whether or not it was the “main” language for most.
    I don’t know what the utility was of his point of arguing that Jews spoke an Indo-European language rather than a semitic one, but I still think that it was stupid/misleading/seriously incomplete.

  378. 378
    And Another Thing... says:

    @El Cid: p.s. I have especially enjoyed your commentary. Thx

  379. 379
    eemom says:

    During a typical week in May, Israel allowed in 637 truckloads ferrying 14,069 tons of food, medicine and other supplies.

    Frustrated at its inability to convince critics that there is no crisis in Gaza and no need for emergency aid, Israel tried sarcasm late last month as the flotilla went to sea.

    “The Government Press Office is pleased to bring to your attention the attached menu and information for the Roots Club and Restaurant in Gaza. We have been told the beef stroganoff and cream of spinach soup are highly recommended,” read a recent press release, with the elaborate menu attached.

    Gazans readily admit they are not going hungry.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/.....0060204691

  380. 380
    eemom says:

    block quote fail, the whole thing is a quote.

    I’m not saying this is the whole story. This is what I read and what I based my statements on that Gazans aren’t starving. I don’t pretend to be an expert on the place.

    I maintain that whatever the whole truth is, it is obscene to compare Gaza to the Warsaw ghetto.

  381. 381
    DavidTC says:

    John, she’s not Arab, she’s culturally American at this
    point—so what “Arabs” refer to the PT as, is probably less important than how Beltway lefty elites refer to it.

    Yup. As I said, she said ‘occupied’. Occupied is how people describe Gaza and the West Bank, to differing levels. Hilariously, John actually came out and said that she would have called the ‘Occupied territories’ if meant them…which, um, duh, she did, at least the occupied part.

    ‘Occupied’ isn’t even a slightly reasonable way to describe what Israel is doing to the lands that are actually part of Israel. Occupation is governance by a third party. It’s an actual legal term.

    By contrast, is it plausible she was referring to current status and conflict, recognizing a) the recognition of a “Palestinian Authority” and b) the violations of sovereignity being committed by Israel? In other words, is it more likely for Thomas to have said something that most non-Jews/non-Americans agree with, that they don’t belong in the PT and should leave?…or that they should leave Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, something only serious haters would say aloud? Occam whispers “the former” to me.

    Correct. A lot of people apparently don’t even appear to know that some entity called ‘Palestine’ exists. (Well, technically, it’s the ‘Palestinian National Authority’, but it’s also ‘United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland’ and the ‘Commonwealth of Virginia’…no one uses the full name of political entities.)

    Whether or not it’s a ‘country’ or not depends on how you define ‘county’, but let’s call it a ‘non-sovereign nation’ for now, and it does exist. Really and truly. It has a treaty with Israel, it has national boundaries, it has elections. One ‘district’ of it, the West Bank, elected Hamas, remember, people? Who held this election if not Palestine? Magical election elves? Was it an internet poll?

    It is a real political entity. Normal people refer to it as ‘Palestine’. A lot of people seem to be lacking the basic knowledge it exists. Helen Thomas, OTOH, does know such an entity exists, and that Israel is occupying parts of it in violation of the treaty they both signed.

    And, yes, arguably Palestine is in violation of some of the treaty also, but that is not what’s being argued here…what’s being argued is, inexplicably, what someone would mean when they said ‘Palestine’, like we’re all total morons who use meanings other than actual named political entities.

    Which, like I said, I think is happening because a lot of people here are total morons who don’t know such an entity legally exists.

    Strangely enough, these are probably the same idiots who, last week, were arguing that Israel could board civilian ships headed to Palestine because it was ‘at war’ with Palestine. Which is just as nonsensical (Palestine is still being administered by Israel!) but in entirely the opposite direction of Palestine existing as a sovereign nation!

  382. 382
    And Another Thing... says:

    @reliapundit: That’s a great pleading – Egypt does it too. and HAMAS ARE THUGS.
    Now can we move on. The Israeli blockade is about more than just weapons. Read the list.

    http://www.gisha.org/UserFiles.....281%29.pdf

    This is about punishing people, and a lot of the items are about rubbing peoples’ noses in it, every day.

  383. 383
    Michael D. says:

    You guys got played. And by this jackass, running around doing Mexican impressions in his spare time. Does anyone still want to try to pretend she was suggesting people be time-warped back to Auschwitz? Or that her pleasantly offering advice to Jewish students was horrifying anti-Semitism at work? Anyone?

    Very disappointed in this post. Helen Thomas told Jews to go back to a place where they hardly had a wonderful time historically.

    Apparently, the only person who got played here was you. And by Thomas and her defenders.

    Not classy.

  384. 384

    @eemom: LOL , see you’re still fighting the lonely fight with factless feckless ideologues. The inmates now run this asylum, reading recent threads. Not worth it imo, like scooping the oil out of the Gulf with a soup spoon. Carry on.

  385. 385
    And Another Thing... says:

    @eemom: I’m not familiar with the restaurant cited in the WaPo article. I recall being in China in 1979 and being able to eat wonderful Chinese or western cuisine in the Beijing Hotel or the Peace Hotel. At the time, the Chinese weren’t starving, they were eating spinach, rice, peanuts, noodles and rarely meat.

    My reaction to the Israelis using a menu to bolster their claims about food were analogous to Neo-cons in the US using menus from Gitmo to say things were just fine there.

    Given the unemployment rates in Gaza, one could wonder about what people can actually buy. The blockade prohibits fishing poles and nets, irrigation pipe systems and other agriculture products, so yes, color me suspicious.

    One of the first Charlie Roses after the flotilla episode discussed the blockade items, and Rose had to literally drag info out of the Israeli representative…the consciousness of guilt.

    These days the only rational stance is skepticism of BOTH sides. What’s really cool is that what with the intertubes you can easily look this stuff up.

  386. 386
    Michael D. says:

    John is becoming a reflexive liberal. If a liberal someone says something controversial and conservatives pile on, he feels the need to push back, no matter HOW stupid what the liberal said was.

    Thomas said something completely out of line and conservatives piled on (for good and bad reasons) and John, reflexively, is defending her.

    John is the one who is getting played by wingnuts on the right who couldn’t wait for people like him to start defending Thomas.

    Good going!

  387. 387
    And Another Thing... says:

    @General Egali Tarian Stuck: Have missed you.

  388. 388

    @Michael D.:

    John is becoming a reflexive liberal.

    Easier to be a shark in the shark tank, whichever one you land in.

  389. 389
    Thomas Helen says:

    Boo hoo. The left has made taking stuff out of context and raising a ruckus about it an art form over the years. Helen Thomas was one of the leaders in that charge. The favor has been returned.

  390. 390
    El Cid says:

    @eemom: This is true. I should probably pay much more attention to a Washington Post reporter talking to a few Gazans saying nobody’s going hungry and seeing restaurants and stores that are full rather than any authority capable of gathering public health statistics.

    I’ve been to Mexico. In the same town, I could visit really nice restaurants and full stores, and I also could have visited people on some hillsides not too far away who were trying to scratch out anguished crops on a mountainside and among Mexican social data institutes would measure levels of malnutrition and illnesses related to severe poverty. In the town, people had microwaves, and TV’s, many had cars or had money to ride the microbuses. In the hills, not many did.

    I mean, really, what sort of crazy person would think this convincing?

    “The Government Press Office is pleased to bring to your attention the attached menu and information for the Roots Club and Restaurant in Gaza. We have been told the beef stroganoff and cream of spinach soup are highly recommended,” read a recent press release, with the elaborate menu attached.

    There are elite restaurants in Kinshasa. There are also people going hungry. I heard they served chicken dishes with two vegetables at Guantanamo — a nice Republican fellow read out the menu. During the Great Leap Forward, Mao and others dined at impressive restaurants in Beijing while millions starved to death.

    These are idiotic repetitions of Israeli policy booster talking points in the guise of enriching the view of Gazan life.

    I’m going to listen to the World Health Organization, among the agencies actually on the ground distributing food aid to a population increasingly dependent upon it, and not a walk-through by a Washington Post reporter.

    This from an Israeli Jewish writer in the Jerusalem Post.

    So rest assured, Palestinians in Gaza are getting enough calories. But there are serious problems of malnutrition, mainly as a result of a lack of protein in their diets – the main source of protein was fish, but because of the coastal blockade and Israeli fears of smuggling weapons via the sea, fishermen are not allowed to go out to where the fish can be found. There are also serious health problems as a result of the water, which is not fit for human consumption.
    __
    Because of the tunnel-based economy there are no real shortages in Gaza, but with some 70% unemployment, people do not have the money to purchase those goods. The only group not hurt by the siege is Hamas and its supporters.

    This is exactly what I pointed out earlier — the famines in Ethiopia were during a time when food production was near normal levels, but the poorest had no access to it because they couldn’t buy it. This is part of what won Amartya Sen the ‘Nobel prize’ in economics — for reversing long-held assumptions about what caused and worsened famines.

    But I suppose someone could have walked down a street in Addis Ababa looking at restaurants and full stores and even grain houses and not seeing starvation.

    They’re lacking protein and hence malnutrition and anemia among children and pregnant women, they can’t fish to supplement their diets, the water isn’t fit for human consumption, and they’re too poor to buy what goods are imported.

    Yeah. Sounds like a real fucking paradise. Gimme some of that cream of spinach soup.

  391. 391
    El Cid says:

    @And Another Thing…: Telepathy.

  392. 392

    […] Cole defends Helen Thomas, meanwhile a Kuwaiti journalist defendsIsrael’s […]

  393. 393
    LD50 says:

    @And Another Thing…: I know a person who is otherwise very sane and sensible who approvingly posted an article saying that things must all be just fine in Gaza because some Hamas bigwig just had an olympic-sized pool installed. Sure. The existence of rich people in a place proves that poverty is non-existent there. Sure.

    Anyway, that was when I blocked him from my Facebook feed.

  394. 394
    Avedon says:

    @LT:

    When the Troubles were more troublesome, I don’t remember IRA sympathizers proposing that Irish Protestants go back to Scotland.

    You don’t remember because nobody told you – but, trust me, they did. And they weren’t only IRA sympathizers, they were often just ordinary Irish Catholics (and their American cousins), who may have hated the IRA but still wished “the English” would get out of Ireland. Even a lot of English people felt the same way.

    And while I never heard a South African specifically say that the whites should go back to Europe, I’d be astonished to learn that they did not. Hell, there are still Brits swearing at the Normans.) It’s what people do. And it was not at all unusual to hear people who supported South African blacks suggest that the whites should get out.

    There’s nothing special about people suggesting that the Jews ought to stop pretending they own parcels of land to which they are not entitled and have a right to displace and even murder the current inhabitants. What’s odd is hearing “liberals” who pretend to have learned the lessons of Nazi Germany suggesting transfer and consequent mass murder of Palestinians because they happen to want to be home.

  395. 395
    LD50 says:

    @eemom:

    I maintain that whatever the whole truth is, it is obscene to compare Gaza to the Warsaw ghetto.

    Why? Because I said so, that’s why!

  396. 396
    Corner Stone says:

    @Michael D.:

    Very disappointed in this post. Helen Thomas told Jews to go back to a place where they hardly had a wonderful time historically.

    Apparently, the only person who got played here was you. And by Thomas and her defenders

    God. Further proof that Cole has no freakin judgment when picking new FP’ers. You and Mmonides are peas in a pod.

  397. 397
    El Cid says:

    @LD50: The Warsaw ghetto was much worse than Gaza. Much, much worse. A scale of death astoundingly larger. Starvation more in the ‘leading straight to death’ sense, tens of thousands or more quite rapidly. And later they discovered they were to be sent to death camps, prompting an uprising and a complete murderous crushing.

    Gaza’s a starving-in-the-sense-of-malnutrition and cholera and unsafe water hellhole, and Israel isn’t hesitant about killing a thousand or so Gazan civilians when they feel like it even while Hamas is honoring a 26 week ceasefire, but the Warsaw ghetto was many, many levels deeper in hell. Basically all residents killed, indirectly via starvation, directly through shooting and burning in the crushing of the uprising, or deported to death camps to be industrially murdered there.

    It doesn’t help so much to anyone in Gaza to hear it, wandering among the utter devastation and impoverished children with stunted growth, but on a historical scale, there really is a difference. Likewise to an Israeli Jewish family with a member blown up by a rocket launched with virtually no guidance and no care as to where it lands, it doesn’t help to point out that far fewer Israelis than Palestinians have died in violence.

  398. 398
    LD50 says:

    @El Cid:

    The Warsaw ghetto was much worse than Gaza. Much, much worse. A scale of death astoundingly larger. Starvation more in the ‘leading straight to death’ sense, tens of thousands or more quite rapidly. And later they discovered they were to be sent to death camps, prompting an uprising and a complete murderous crushing.

    I know all that. What I object to is eemom calling us anti-semites for pointing out the analogies.

    The parallels between the German lebensraum theories and the Israeli hardliners’ attitude to the West Bank are considerably closer. For a nation largely founded by people who were living right there in Poland when all that went down, it’s ironic.

  399. 399
    flataffect says:

    Nobody got played. Who is Helen Thomas to say that Israel is not the home of Israelis most of whom were born there?

    Should she go back to Lebanon? That’s what America stands for, all right.

    We live in the world as it is, not the way we think it should have been, and if she doesn’t get that, she shouldn’t be in a position of respect and honor in this country. If she had her way, there would be no Jews in Israel and it would on its way back to economic stagnation and a haven for more terrorism in the world. Hamas and Hezbollah would be fighting for control and involving all the neighboring states as well.

    I think the most hideous part of that clip is its banality. “Oh, yes, tell those kids to go into journalism. It’s a wonderful career, but go back to Auschwitz to do it.” And it’s OK, because she’s of Arab extraction, and, you know, racism by Arabs is excused, because it’s part of their religion.

  400. 400
    El Cid says:

    @LD50: I think the more absurd and idiotic statement is to call the use of the term “concentration camp” for Gaza “anti-Semitic,” because if one were really curious about the degree of anti-Semitism involved in the phrase “concentration” camp the magic Google machine can provide information on the usage of the phrase throughout history, and I know I’d want to check on such a thing first.

    Comparisons to the Warsaw Ghetto do terribly downplay the vastly greater scale and immediacy and finality of suffering by the Jewish inhabitants there, but it’s not inherently anti-Semitic.

    I don’t think it’s inherently anti-Semitic when I hear people talking about how anti-smoking laws are ‘just like the Nazis’, but it is a terrible comparison.

  401. 401
    Rob Miller says:

    @Jay B.: Really? I can’t imagine how you would come to that conclusion.

    I merely point out the inherent Jew hatred in Helen Thomas and her apologists had to say.

    -Rob-

  402. 402
    Rob Miller says:

    @El Cid: Except for Iranian Grad missiles and certain other heavy weapons, El Cid.

    Those are too large to come through tunnels.

  403. 403
    CreativeAnarcy says:

    I’ve listenned to that interview stem to sterm 4 times now. While she’s 90 and her voice isn’t super clear, I’ve never heard her say “Jews” “Ovens” “Nazis” or “Holocaust” people who are inferring these thigns were meant should really stop looking to pundits one one side or the other for an education. Thomas mentioned 4 Countries, two of them were places where Jewish people got a really bad hand dealt to them, one was a country where Palestinians got prison raped. The fourth makes arguably the word’s finest Pizzas. She didn’t mention Austria or Switzerland even through Jews in those countries were also ethnically clensed during WW2. She mentioned the countries where the bulk of the founders of Isreal are generally believed to have come from. What did she say that was so offensive? She has an opinion about how a dispute should be resolved. Really it wouldn’t matter if that opinion was that Palestinians should move on. Any opinion other than both sides should stubbornly pursue and agenda of brutal civilian attacks is the wrong opinion appearently.

    The Isreal/Palestine conflict needs to be resolved, not for the wounded side to be given what they deserve, not so that peace will reign, not for political stability in “the region”. It needs to end so that someone can have an opinion about something other than celebrity news without being a Zionist or an Anti-semite. If I were Thomas and some jackhat wet-behind-the-ears attaboy asked me what I thought about Isreal, I would have told him that I think we need to NUKE the whole region in a desperate bid to reduce the population of people who have way too much sand in their panties.

  404. 404
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Rob Miller: It was clear to me when I realized her initials were Helen Irene Thomas, Lebanese Emigre Reporter. How could we have all been so naive these last 90 years???

  405. 405
    Sgt. Jrod and his Howling Commandos says:

    @Rob Miller: If you think that the Palestinians are getting fucked over, you’re inherently a jew-hater.

    And you assholes wonder why playing “the boy who cried anti-semite” isn’t working anymore. You ever consider that you’re maybe overdoing it a bit?

    I mean, it’d be awfully swell if I could criticize a nation for doing something insanely stupid without being accused of being just like Hitler, only 1000000000 times worse.

    Of course, when I was making far, faaaaaar more scathing criticisms of what the US was doing, I was called an America hater then, too. It’s the first trick anyone pulls when they know they’re supporting unconscionable bullshit.

  406. 406
    Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people) says:

    @flataffect: Of course racism is the only reason a Lebanese person or immigrant of Lebanese descent might have any animosity towards Israel. The Sabra and Shatila massacres and Ariel Sharon’s role in them (he was demoted from being minister of defense as a result) engendered tons of goodwill with the Lebanese. There were warm and fuzzy feelings towards Israel all around Lebanon in the wake of the 2006 bombardment.

    I grew up in an African country that had thousands of Lebanese immigrants because things were truly fucked up in the ’80s as a result of the civil war there.

    Helen Thomas was baited into making a foolish and ugly statement. She apologized. Everyone has piled on, she’s lost her job, been abandoned by her former colleagues and branded the second coming of Hitler.

    Some poster made a comment that while her parents were Lebanese, Thomas is American (the implication being that she should have lost interest in the goings-on in the Middle East). I have adult cousins born and raised in the U.S. who keep track of everything that goes on in their parents’ home country even though they are Americans. Migrating doesn’t mean that you forget everything about where your family originally came from.

    From stories my parents told, I have an understanding of the humiliation that colonized people feel at being helpless in their own land, of having someone on a different continent draw boundaries and determine who goes where without sparing a thought for the effect of those arbitrary lines on real human beings’ lives. I have a great deal of sympathy towards people with similar experiences. And what I’ve realized is that very few Americans will ever understand that feeling and so it’s impossible for some to empathize with Arabs in Palestine, Lebanon, etc. Understanding the history and the very real grievances of both the Israelis and the Arabs is necessary for any country trying to broker a lasting peace. While most people in the US know the terrible events of World War II and what the Germans did to the Jews, very few know anything about how Palestinians ended up having the largest stateless population in the world/no officially recognized country to call home. Even fewer care. And the British, Germans and others who messed stuff up are not the ones dealing with the long-term consequences of their actions.

  407. 407
    TenguPhule says:

    This thread has been broken by an open strikethough.

    Thanks a lot, Madruth!

  408. 408
    brantl says:

    @MMonides: It seems pretty clear to you, because you’re mindreading, Kreskin. What was inherent in what she is saying is that Israel needs to stop expanding at the expense of the people of Palestine and Gaza. There, I can mind-read just as well as you, and it seems to me, obviously better.

  409. 409
    brantl says:

    @demimondian: If you read Cohen, you really are dumber than a box of rocks.

  410. 410
    El Cid says:

    @Rob Miller: So would be MiG fighters, and submarines, and helicopters. Those wouldn’t fit through tunnels either.

  411. 411
    virginia says:

    I understand, John Cole, that you will never ever be mine but I have to say it: I love you. I really really do. Helen is old and obviously tired but many of us would love to see Bibi N and his playmates pushed aside and a true sense of good faith effort extended to hapless Gaza. It may very well be that some sustained exposure to Turkish-Euro sophistication will actually help the Palestinians become more effective advocates. I certainly hope so. What’s happening there is criminal.

  412. 412
    ThoughtfulReader says:

    The issue which everyone ignores is that she is of Arab background, and the opinion she states is a common one among the Arab populations who have been forcibly occupied by Israel.

  413. 413

    FIRST, PLEASE FIX THE SCREWED UP FORMATTING. I will try again.

    Mnemo

    > Helen Thomas is Lebanese-American—her parents immigrated here from Lebanon. I have a feeling that she might know a bit more about the history of the region than you do,

    Sure, facts versus feelings… The FACT is that she made an untrue statement about the origins of the Isrealis, that just happened to line up with leading anti-semitic lies.

    especially from the Arab perspective.

    Orrr, maybe she is just blinded by bigotry born out of a sense of ethnic identity. You know that happens, too.

    John

    > Yeah, the Arabs were offered a non-contiguous state on 45% of the land, even though they had 67% of the population. Does that really strike anyone as fair?

    Given that the arabs in “Palestine” continually massacred the jews who were there, their grand mufti going as far as to ask Hitler to open a death camp in Jerusalem… yes, that sounds very fair.

    Jrod

    > So Amnesty International is just an anti-semitic propaganda outfit, eh?

    Amnesty international holds isreal to standards that no other country is held to. You decide for yourself what to think.

    El Cid

    > But, yes, Gazans are starving.

    No, they are not. Food and other humanitarian supplies get through. And any and all suffering on the part of the Gazans is their own stupid fault. They thought they could put hamas in charge and no one would have a problem with it? Well, they can accept the consequences of their own actions.

  414. 414
    Kryptik says:

    The only thing I have left to state here is that I’m disappointed in the reflexive ‘Critical of Israel = Anti-Semite’ mindset I see here, even amongst some of the ardent lefties here. Why? Because I’m sure said people were inundated with the kind of ‘Critical of Bush’s America = Anti-American Terrorist Lover’ bullshit used to cow critics in this country. It’s the same mindset, used to crowd out legit criticism by conflating it with a hatred of a group or abstract, so as to dismiss everything. It’s a strawman of impenetrable proportions.

  415. 415

    let me try to fix the html thing myself, again.

    test.

  416. 416
    RoseHunter says:

    I totally agree with Helen Thomas and do think she was ‘set up’ by AIPAC.

  417. 417

    kryptik

    Oh, give me a break with the whining.

    jews go home is template anti-semitism. Its not merely criticism.

    And whining that anti-Semitic views are being oppressed by… their overwhelming unpopularity is just lame.

    and i find it very rich coming from the very same lefties who claim that opposition to any of obama’s policies is racism.

    the fact is that there is a significant contingency of people who want to genocide the jews. like as in, the government of Gaza, the West Bank and Iran, for starters. they barely make any effort to hide it. Now to be fair, helen thomas merely wants ethnic clensing by migration, which is not quite as monstrous but still pretty bad. in both cases, it is obviously anti-semitic. And Thomas has a right to be an anti-semite. but she doesn’t have a right to be employed by anyone else, or to get a free seat in the white house press room. so she is out on her saggy a–, good riddance.

    Yeah, we were played. The left was, played, tricked into supporting an anti-semite for years. and some of you still are.

  418. 418

    […] to rid the government of Jews. Now along comes Helen Thomas who dared to utter these words to : You Got Played Now that Helen Hitler Thomas has been forcibly retired, more video of the interview miraculously […]

  419. 419
    hareli says:

    @MMonides:

    Well, millions and millions of Christians and Muslims and Roma were massacred in WWII, and in far greater numbers. They’re in Russia, Poland, and Germany today, aren’t they.

    And there are more Jews in Germany today than ever.

    And native Americans went back onto the land they were massacred on. In fact, we signed treaties to keep them there.

    So your point is?

  420. 420
    stevieb says:

    Are you Jewish, though?

  421. 421
    stevieb says:

    That’s crap. She said exactly what she meant. All of Palestine is occupied by Zionist Jews who hate them and want them dead. Who can argue with that?

    I’m sure you’ll try(yawwwn)….

  422. 422

    […] on this for the infamous video that got Helen Thomas into trouble. Click on this for an undoctored version of the […]

  423. 423
    El Cid says:

    @Aaron Worthing: There’s a difference between empirical facts, which demonstrate that Gazans are “starving”, i.e., suffering the consequences of malnutrition, especially protein deficiencies, mostly because poor people have no incomes with which to buy anything, and your spin on the situation.

    If you want to add your interpretation that it’s their own damn fault for whatever reason, fine, but who gives a shit what your opinion is? Those aren’t facts. That’s just your repetition of PR bullshit.

  424. 424
    Sgt. Jrod and his Howling Commandos says:

    @Aaron Worthing:

    Amnesty international holds isreal to standards that no other country is held to. You decide for yourself what to think.

    That’s bullshit. They report on every humanitarian crisis they know of. So sorry that they found one in Gaza, but they’re not obligated to pretend otherwise so they don’t hurt the fee-fees of assholes who can’t stand to hear that Israel is not the most perfect nation ever conceived.

    Remember when American assholes claimed that Amnesty was an anti-American organization because they reported on the atrocities being committed by Americans? Was that holding America to a higher standard, or was it reporting the plain goddam facts?

  425. 425
    me says:

    I think the Palestinians should get the hell out of there too, Wasn’t that originally the land of the Canaanites?

    Point is, everybody lives on territories where others once lived, it is a fact of life, get over it. Some of your thinking, then America is occupied territory. England too. So is much of France. And Russia is, as well. There are other, many other, examples throughout the world.

  426. 426
    Not Having It says:

    What is pissing me off about this is to see Jewish people so wound up over Thomas’s comments because they’ve been raised and steeped in this idea that they are the world’s eternal victims and special above all other people.

    It takes moral courage for a Jew to criticize their own kind and see things for what they are. Israel as a nation and government is as evil as South Africa was. It’s hypocritical to run around talking about tzedakah and joining every cause out there that’s trying to make the world a better place and then try to justify the genocide against the Palestinians.

    And p.s. I’m from a Jewish background so I know of which I speak. I’m sick of this ingrained false sense of superiority we’re raised with that everyone else is supposed to bow down to.

    p.p.s. Furthermore, where does it say in the U.S. Constitution that we have the right to not be offended? What I care about is the 1st Amendment, not that I or anyone else doesn’t get their precious feelings hurt. Thomas had a right to say what she did and I applaud her morality and courage in asking the tough questions she asked — nay, for ALL the tough questions she’s been asking of our anointed “leaders” for decades.

    p.p.p.s. This Helen melodrama is all a big distraction from the fact that the Israeli IDF MURDERED nearly 20 people and injured dozens more.

  427. 427
    Not Having It says:

    @Aaron Worthing: Your entire ignorant statement is effectively nullified by the fact that you don’t even know the correct definition of a Semite. Helen Thomas is a Semite because she is an Arab, an ethnic Lebanese.

    Ashkenazic Jews are not Semites. And don’t try to lecture me on the different Jewish “types” out there because my heritage is Sephardic.

    The only “Jews” that are Semites are Mizrahi Jews, who, racially speaking, are considered (and correctly referred to) as Arabic Jews.

    I’m aware that shortly after Israel was founded, and the curfuffle entailed and the Palestinians were robbed of their land (which had already been colonized and controlled by the British), surrounding nations kicked out their Jews and told them to live in Israel, so Israelis are not all Ashkenazic. But would Yemen, Iraq, Egypt, Tunisia, etc. kicked out their Jews had Israel not founded itself by force and dispossessed the Palistinians?

    Bottom line: calling a real Semite and anti-Semite because she is opposed to genocide is a flimsy comment at best; intellectual and moral dishonesty at worst.

  428. 428
    harkin says:

    lol @ someone with a Tina Fey quote falsely attributed to Sarah Palin as a subtitle claiming someone else got played.

  429. 429
    plucky says:

    @DavidTC: @Not Having It:

    “p.p.s. Furthermore, where does it say in the U.S. Constitution that we have the right to not be offended?”

    Why are you talking about the 1st Amendment is being violated? The government didn’t fire or censure her, she retired. The 1st Amendment doesn’t enter into it.

  430. 430
    peacelily says:

    The propagandists have her using the word “Jews” but she didn’t. But to call her an anti-Semite is ignorant! Her parents were Lebanese Semites! A semite also includes Palestinians, Syrians, Iraqis, Egyptians, and not all Jews by any means – many came from the Khazars around the 17th century. Furthermore, Judaism is not a religion and there is no race of Jews – anyone can become a Jew and most Jews of today are converts. Go convert and claim some land for the duped US taxpayer to give to you (not God, the US). It apparently works.

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