(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari)
The condemnation of Helen Thomas for her statements last month on the Israelis is, or should be, a referendum on the longstanding state of foreign affairs between the United States and Israel. The state of affairs hasn't changed one iota since Israel became a state in 1948: Turning a blind eye to Israel's war crimes and terrorist acts, even when US servicemen are slaughtered by the dozens, covering up said war crimes and terrorist acts and even generously giving Israel $3 billion annually to subsidize said war crimes and terrorist acts.
That's why it's savagely amusing to see the rank hypocrisy on the part of the American press establishment and watching them break their pencil necks fleeing from Helen Thomas, the redoubtable doyenne of White House correspondents, as if she had a suicide vest strapped to her torso. Her speaker bureau dropped her as a client. The reliably craven nonentity Craig Crawford abandoned a project with her. Robert Gibbs has publicly condemned her while admitting that he wasn't speaking for the President. And Hearst Syndicate obviously showed barely enough patience with Thomas to offer just enough time for her to make a hasty exit with no fanfare.
What Olympic-class hypocrites.
If Thomas's line of questioning sounded more like political science debates and heckling instead of legitimate questions from a respected syndicated columnist, it should have been taken as a referendum in itself of her growing frustration over not getting answers from an endless parade of press secretaries ranging from Pierre Salinger and Bill Moyer to Tony Snow and Robert Gibbs. Being of Arab descent, Thomas was also understandably frustrated by America's inexplicable turn the other cheek policy regarding Israel.
If Thomas' challenges to the power elite to provide explanations for invasions, occupations and wanton murder sounded pro-Arab, then perhaps, instead of nailing her upon the cross, we ought to examine why, although the answer is obvious: Since 9/11, Arabs and Muslims have suffered infinitely more than Jews. Neither the Jews nor the Israelis need our or anyone's pity and whatever pity they'd earned since the Holocaust has long since worn thin.
The hypocrisy comes in when one remembers even in the abstract the Obama White House's infinite tolerance and even deference toward the nation's most unhinged right wing lunatics who called Senator then President Obama a terrorist sympathizer, a Muslim, a fascist, a Socialist, a Communist, an illegal alien and openly wished for him (and America) to fail.
Helen Thomas wasn't attacking the administration or the character of the President or attacking members of the First Family. Helen Thomas was merely saying in an unguarded moment what many true liberals were thinking but didn't have the chutzpah to say out loud: That the Israelis (not the Jews) ought to get out of Palestine, the Northern Ireland of the Middle East.
It was a classic Gotcha moment recorded for loving posterity by a group of pro-Israel amateurs now reveling in their 15 minutes of fame (Note to Live Rabbi: The coast is clear in Eastern Europe, the home of millions of Jews. The concentration camps, gas chambers and ovens have long since stopped operating.).
Helen Thomas never accused anyone of being a terrorist simply for showing concern for the mass slaughter of innocent Arabs. She also never grossly misquoted anyone.
Helen Thomas never wished for the President to fail.
Helen Thomas never broke her own personal rule to never go after the President's children.
Helen Thomas never beat the war drums for any administration and spreading rumors about fictional WMD's.
Helen Thomas never outed a covert CIA agent with impunity.
I could go after every right wing lunatic and pro-Israel apologist for much more despicable remarks that were made with complete impunity, remarks that stood unchallenged by the Obama White House and the ten other administrations covered by Helen Thomas in her half century of covering our nation's seat of power. But time forbids.
The redoubtable Thomas, once a person who commanded respect from all until Obama's brain-damaged predecessor held his last presser, is now herself behind a redoubt of another sort. She's now replaced Jim Joyce, Tony Hayward and Lloyd Blankfein as the most hated person in America for simply speaking the truth: That the Israelis ought to leave Palestine and stop using Hamas as an excuse for committing war crimes and starving the Palestinians to death in their slow-motion genocide. The woman who provided America with countless Gotcha moments has now been toppled from her hard-won perch with a single Gotcha moment from a group of pro-Israeli amateurs.
And there's something very, very disturbing and infuriating about that.