Commentary Magazine


Helen Thomas Defends Palestinian Suicide Bombers in Playboy Magazine

Veteran reporter Helen Thomas turned up in Playboy magazine this month (fully clothed, don’t worry) as part of her ongoing anti-Semitic publicity tour.

The former “dean” of the White House Press Corps sat down for an interview (link is to the Sun Herald’s summary) about her recent controversy. First she weighed in on the aftermath of her remarks about Israel last May (“I went into self-imposed house arrest”) and her views on the situation in the Palestinian territories (“the Palestinians have been shortchanged in every way”). But then the interview took an uglier turn.

“Of course I don’t condone any violence against anyone,” said Thomas, when asked about Palestinian terrorism against the Israelis. “But who wouldn’t fight for their country? What would any American do if their land was being taken? Remember Pearl Harbor. The Palestinian violence is to protect what little remains of Palestine. The suicide bombers act out of despair and desperation.”

Thomas also took a shot at Holocaust-remembrance programs, insisting that Jews exploited the memory in order to persecute Palestinians. “There’s nothing wrong with remembering [the Holocaust], but why do we have to constantly remember? We’re not at fault,” said Thomas, adding, “Do the Jews ever look at themselves? Why are they always right? Because they have been oppressed throughout history, I know. And they have this persecution. That’s true, but they shouldn’t use that to dominate.”

And in case there’s anyone out there who’s still unsure about Thomas’s true feelings toward the Jewish people, she clarified them later in the interview.

“[The Jews are] using their power, and they have power in every direction,” she said. “Power over the White House, power over Congress. … 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.”

Thomas then looked at the interviewer and asked, “You don’t deny that. You’re Jewish, aren’t you?”

The 90-year-old reporter’s worldview, in fact, seems to be clouded with an obsession over who is a Jew. When asked about her views on Congress, Thomas simply listed off the names of Jewish lawmakers and intoned that they would be anti-Arab. “Do you think [Chuck] Schumer and [Rep. Ileana Ros-] Lehtinen — whatever her name is — in Florida are going to be pro-Arab?” she asked. “No. But they’re going to be very influential. Eric Cantor, the majority leader of the Republicans, do you think he’s going to be for the Arabs? Hell no! I’m telling you, you cannot get 330 votes in Congress for anything that’s pro-Arab. Nothing.”

Thomas’s comments are indicative of an extremely disturbed and damaged person. But even as she shoots off textbook anti-Semitic canards, she vigorously denies that she’s anti-Jewish.

“I think they’re wonderful people,” she says of the Jews. “They had to have the most depth. They were leaders in civil rights. They’ve always had the heart for others but not for Arabs, for some reason. I’m not anti-Jewish; I’m anti-Zionist.”

Not everyone who calls himself an anti-Zionist is anti-Semitic. But there are many, many anti-Semites, like Thomas, who hide behind the façade of anti-Zionism. And the fact that she was able to do this while in the spotlight for so many years makes one worry for the state of the media.