Helen Thomas, long-reigning queen of the White House press, resigned on Monday, a week after telling Jews to "get the hell out of Palestine" and return to Poland and Germany, where 70 years ago 6 million Jews were exterminated in the Nazi genocide.
"Those remarks were offensive and reprehensible," said White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs on Monday.
Gibbs felt it necessary after President Barack Obama's recent criticisms and demeaning behavior aimed at Israel to add that Thomas' views "do not reflect certainly most of the people here and certainly not those of the administration."
Senior members of the White House Correspondents Association issued their own statement condemning Thomas for her "outrageous and offensive comments." In brighter days she had been the first female president of this organization.
Where did her shocking views, denounced by many as anti-Semitic, come from?
Thomas is a hard-core left-liberal. The socialist political left — from Stalin to Hitler — has always been infected by an especially toxic, virulent strain of anti-Semitism.
If you want to learn more about this, read a book by one of the left's most articulate voices, the editor of Tikkun Magazine Rabbi Michael Learner.
That 1992 book, which should be must reading for honest journalists, and should be updated by Rabbi Lerner to include the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the Democratic Party's links to Muslim money, and more — is "The Socialism of Fools: Anti-Semitism on the Left."
Helen Thomas, 89, is also old. At Ohio State University researchers have found that brain changes in the elderly often cause a decline in inhibitions.
This could be why aging relatives, as well as aging journalists, sometimes blurt out controversial (and politically incorrect) things that younger people might be reluctant, afraid, or too polite to say.
As I've written in National Review and elsewhere, this research should prompt the Truly Politically Correct to show "sensitivity to the insensitive," recognizing that Thomas and other senior citizens may be suffering an age-related mental condition that is in effect a biological disability.
But there may be another explanation.
Helen Thomas is an Arab-American. Her parents were immigrants from Lebanon. Her mother's maiden name was Rowady. Thomas was raised in the Greek Orthodox faith of her parents Mary and George Thomas (originally Antonious).
In June 2006 Thomas told John Akouri in an interview with Lebanese Monthly: "Being Lebanese is very much a part of my life. I consider myself lucky and I am very glad to have come up in two cultures."
The March/April 2006 Saudi Aramco World celebrated Thomas as the most prominent Arab-American journalist, citing her many honors and achievements.
"For her own part," it added, "Helen Thomas says that, while she's glad to be Americans of Arab descent winning journalism prizes, she would prefer simply to see more bylines with Arab names.
"So she has one instruction for newcomers: 'Get into the game!' she says."
One famous journalist privately gave her opinion of Thomas to me several years ago: "She's a stone anti-Semite."
I never socialized with Thomas when I was a young reporter in Washington, D.C., and hence can judge this tree only by her fruit.
"I deeply regret my comments I made last week regarding the Israelis and the Palestinians," Thomas wrote Monday on her website.
"They do not reflect my heart-felt believe that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance. May that day come soon."
"We believe Thomas needs to make a more forceful and sincere apology," said Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, "for the pain her remarks have caused."
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