US in grip of Israel lobby, Helen Thomas alleges

21 March 2011

Former White House reporter Helen Thomas,90, has said she knew exactly what she was doing when she said on camera that Jews "should get the hell out of Palestine." In an interview with the men’s magazine ‘Playboy’, she stated: "I knew I’d hit the third rail. You cannot say anything about Israel in this country. But I’ve lived with this cause for many years. Everybody knows my feelings that the Palestinians have been short-changed in every way. Sure, the Israelis have a right to exist – but where they were born, not to come and take someone else’s home. I’ve had it up to here with the violations against the Palestinians. Why shouldn’t I say it? I knew exactly what I was doing – I was going for broke. I had reached the point of no return. You finally get fed up."

Thomas had told a video blogger at the White House last May, that Jews “should get the hell out of Palestine” and “go home” to Poland, Germany and the United States. The comments cost her her job as a columnist for the Hearst Newspapers. In the interview, Thomas also told contributing editor David Hochman, who is Jewish, that "everybody is in the pocket of the Israeli lobbies, which are funded by wealthy supporters, including those from Hollywood. Same thing with the financial markets: there’s total control." Hochman reported that Thomas cried when asked what people would say when they write her obituary, and that she said she knew it was going to say "anti-Semite" instead of "reporter."

Last week, Thomas reportedly told a national conference of campus journalists that President Obama owes her an apology for his criticism of her comments about Israel at the White House. "Her comments were offensive," Obama had said in a TV interview, adding: "It's a shame because Helen's someone who has been a correspondent through I don't know how many presidents, was a real institution in Washington, DC.”  At the time, Thomas apologized for the comments, but has since reiterated the same sentiments in several public forums. "I want an apology from the president," she said during a session of the annual spring convention of College Media Advisers in New York.

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