During an interview with Joy Behar last night, Helen Thomas made it clear that she was standing behind her statements that Israeli Jews should “go back” to Germany and Poland. However, she did make a couple of additions to the list of countries that Jews should “return” to, such as Russia and the United States.
“They’ve been free ever since,” said Thomas, referring to the Jews after the Holocaust. “They didn’t have to go anywhere really, because they weren’t being persecuted anymore, but they were taking other people’s land.”
A visibly uncomfortable Behar then asked Thomas whether she considered herself anti-Semitic – and got something less than a clear answer. “Hell no. I’m a Semite. Of Arab background,” said Thomas. “[The Jews are] not Semites. Most of them are from Europe.”
The former White House reporter then launched into a tirade against the Israel lobby. “We have organized lobbyists in favor of Israel,” she said. “You can’t open your mouth. I can call the president of the United States anything in the book, but if you say one thing about Israel … you’re off-limits.”
Asked whether she had any regrets about making her controversial statement last spring, Thomas said her only regret was that “everybody misinterpreted it.”
“You have the Ari Fleischers and the Abe Foxmans distorting everything,” said Thomas. “So I certainly knew that and I should have kept my mouth shut probably.”
After insisting that her statements weren’t insensitive, the journalism veteran launched into a rambling diatribe about Palestinians being “pushed from their homes” in the middle of the night.
Watch the full clip here if you wish. Though you could probably hear a more rational and pleasant perspective on Middle East policy from a ranting homeless person at a bus station.