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Does Helen Thomas Hate Jews?

charleslb
Posts: 4,740
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11/16/2010 11:16:49 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
In recent months a living legend of political journalism, a venerable icon of the news biz, Helen Thomas, has been harshly denounced for some outspoken comments she's made that are radically critical of Israel and its military. She's had charges of being a hatemonger hurled at her and been ridiculed for being a cranky old person (which is fairly clearly ageism!). Right-wingers of course have long had it in for Ms. Thomas and have latched on to her opinionated utterances about Israel to provide themselves with ammunition they can use to snipe at her.

Among other things, Ms. Thomas has said something to the effect that Jews could take a big step toward reducing terrorism by removing themselves from Israel and thereby robbing terrorists of one of their main hot-button issues. This, according to her detractors, combined with the fact that her family emigrated from northern Lebanon, convicts her of being a disgusting anti-Semite. Let's explore these carping conservative condemnations.

Well, I suppose it's conceivable that Helen Thomas has issues with Jewish people because she's of Middle Eastern descent. But it's also arguable that jumping to the conclusion that she's anti-Jewish because of her Lebanese background may actually be anti-Arab. The same brickbat of racism that's being aimed at Ms. Thomas could easily ricochet back at her accusers. Yes, perhaps those reading racism into Ms. Thomas' views on Israel are projecting their own racist mentality.

Let's not suspect someone of racism out loud unless and until he/she makes an overtly racist remark. Ms. Thomas' opinion that Jews could help abate conflict in the Middle East by getting out of Israel is provocative but not necessarily anti-Semitic. Back during the era of apartheid many blacks in South Africa felt that whites should simply get out of Africa. This wasn't merely a racist sentiment that blacks were harboring, it was due more to resentment about how they had been repressively treated by whites. If someone of Arab ancestry makes the statement that Jews should get out of Israel he may simply be expressing justifiable resentment about the unkind treatment that's been visited on Palestinians by the state of Israel. If Ms. Thomas' heritage has colored her views perhaps it's merely colored them with legitimate resentment, not vile racism. (And oh yeah, taking the Israeli Defense Force to task for its brutality by comparing it to Nazi Germany may be a weak rhetorical move but it doesn't constitute anti-Semitism.)

Let's not be too quick to play the race card against Ms. Thomas and those of Arab extraction who are critical of Israel, lest we fall into the error of prejudicially pigeonholing people and their views by their ethnicity. This is another way of inadvertently falling into the sin of racialism. Let's make a point of keeping race out of non-racial political debates unless someone takes an explicitly racially biased position.

If we do start speculating too freely about the possibility that someone's perspective might be determined by his/her national origin, religion, or other identity where do we draw the line? Do we speculate that American Jews who are staunchly supportive of the so-called war on terror just hate Muslims and want to see the US help crush Israel's enemies? If Obama signs a piece of civil rights legislation do we speculate that he did so because he's half black rather than attributing it to his sense of justice and decency? Where does one get off the slimy slope of racially psychoanalyzing people's viewpoint?

Someone's stance on an issue may very well be racially motivated, but unless he/she comes out of the closet as a bigot we should refrain from pettily conjecturing that our opponent in a debate is guilty of such inner ugliness.

As for solving the Arab-Israeli conflict, I think South Africa provides a model of hope. For decades black activists and white "security" forces fought an intense internecine war that generated a great deal of mutual antagonism, bitterness, and malice. Both sides resorted to methods that opened them up to charges of terrorism, both sides had ample reason to fear their enemy. And the repression and racism that blacks had been subjected to certainly entitled them to seek retribution after they got their hands on the reigns of political power. But putting an end to the fighting, recognizing blacks to be citizens with a right to political representation and civil liberties, and sharing power led to reconciliation not to a massive bloodbath of revenge against whites.

Perhaps if Israel did likewise with the Palestinians, if they were fully and equally integrated into Israeli society, if their dignity and rights as human beings were sincerely respected, perhaps this would lead not to the extinction of Israel but to its transformation into a more just society. I don't agree that Jews should all undertake a new exodus or Diaspora and leave Israel, but perhaps if Israel ceased to be a "Jewish state" and became a state for everyone, Jew and Arab, with roots in that land the result would be peace with honor for both sides.

If Israel included the Palestinians in its democratic process and they "took over" in Eretz Israel in a nonviolent democratic fashion, well, instead of Palestinians engaging in a post-war orgy of vengeful violence against Jews maybe we'd see an outcome very much like what occurred in South Africa. Which means not a perfect situation with everyone holding hands and singing kumbaya, but no genocide either. If Israelis can stand up and own some responsibility for the hostility of the Muslim world, and if they look to the South African model and find the courage to follow it maybe they can finally live in the country of their ancient origins without fear of being exterminated by their Arab brothers and sisters.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
Caramel
Posts: 855
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11/18/2010 6:58:59 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
I'm not too familiar with the history of Israel; I understand that at some point 50-60 years ago there was great unrest in the region and the US et al. stepped in and created a state for the Jews... I understand that the option for a state shared by the different peoples of the region was considered and rejected. I think the recent turmoil, which is set to go on indefinitely, is a good indicator that our efforts have failed to bring peace and stability to the region. I have studied the environmental/economic factors in the area and I can say that it is interesting that we, basically a bunch of privileged kids with unchecked opinions, would discuss their fates so whimsically. Many people in the Gaza Strip pay most of a day's wage just to be able to procure a bucket of clean water. I don't think people generally understand just how bad things are over there; it's bad enough that we should bee discussing some major changes and I think that can logically only entail the dissolution of Israel. Right-wingers are so obsessed with keeping them there... Why don't we donate Texas to them and rename it New Israel?
no comment
Cerebral_Narcissist
Posts: 10,806
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11/18/2010 10:05:30 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
Jews =/= Israel.
I am voting for Innomen because of his intelligence, common sense, humility and the fact that Juggle appears to listen to him. Any other Presidential style would have a large sub-section of the site up in arms. If I was President I would destroy the site though elitism, others would let it run riot. Innomen represents a middle way that works, neither draconian nor anarchic and that is the only way things can work. Plus he does it all without ego trips.
InsertNameHere
Posts: 15,699
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11/18/2010 1:23:44 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 11/18/2010 6:58:59 AM, Caramel wrote:
I'm not too familiar with the history of Israel; I understand that at some point 50-60 years ago there was great unrest in the region and the US et al. stepped in and created a state for the Jews... I understand that the option for a state shared by the different peoples of the region was considered and rejected. I think the recent turmoil, which is set to go on indefinitely, is a good indicator that our efforts have failed to bring peace and stability to the region. I have studied the environmental/economic factors in the area and I can say that it is interesting that we, basically a bunch of privileged kids with unchecked opinions, would discuss their fates so whimsically. Many people in the Gaza Strip pay most of a day's wage just to be able to procure a bucket of clean water. I don't think people generally understand just how bad things are over there; it's bad enough that we should bee discussing some major changes and I think that can logically only entail the dissolution of Israel. Right-wingers are so obsessed with keeping them there... Why don't we donate Texas to them and rename it New Israel?

In some instances the people in Gaza are really not as bad off as many people make them out to be. There are some of the highest childhood obesity rates(or maybe it was obesity rates in general) among Gazans. As for living in poverty, much of that is likely due to Hamas spending most of the money on weapons to attack Israel with. If Hamas truly cared about their people they would be helping them rather than just constantly shouting "Death to Israel" and firing rockets. So in the end, Free Gaza...from Hamas.
Zetsubou
Posts: 4,933
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11/18/2010 1:48:31 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 11/18/2010 6:58:59 AM, Caramel wrote:
I'm not too familiar with the history of Israel; I understand that at some point 50-60 years ago there was great unrest in the region and the US et al. stepped in and created a state for the Jews... I understand that the option for a state shared by the different peoples of the region was considered and rejected. I think the recent turmoil, which is set to go on indefinitely, is a good indicator that our efforts have failed to bring peace and stability to the region.
Late History of the Southern Levant
America did zit. The British Empire has a protectorate named the "British Protectorate of Palestine" It compasses of Modern Day Syria, Israel, Lebanon and Jordon. Google for a map. It has been British since the land were ceded from the Ottoman(Turk) Empire in the mid 19th Century. In 1945 something happened concerning this guy called Hitler and the Nazis, this event left Britain very poor(Blitz). Within the following 20 years after 1945 the British Empire ceded and let go of it's colonies or protectorates destroying the British superpower. It created the Modern Islamic states you see today, but with sightly different names, flags and boarders. Israel was split between places of Jewish and Islamic populations in 1947 just before the British left. I suggest you look up the map, as the country was literally a spotty patchwork with lines cutting West(Jew) and East(Islamic) parts of major cities. Two hours after the creation of the state - Egypt, Jordan, Palestine, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon all declared war on Israel or "the Jews". Jewish Israel with the support of an airforce and weapons single handedly won the 20 to 1 man war. Israelis remember it as their independence day and the first time they had a state that respected their rights in over 2000 years. The Islamic states signed a cold peace and have been aiding terrorists or declaring "war" on Israel since. After the war, Israel mopped up id est annexed their captured territories.
I have studied the environmental/economic factors in the area and I can say that it is interesting that we, basically a bunch of privileged kids with unchecked opinions, would discuss their fates so whimsically.
Well, it's worth reading the History and Demographics first, lol.
Many people in the Gaza Strip pay most of a day's wage just to be able to procure a bucket of clean water. I don't think people generally understand just how bad things are over there; it's bad enough that we should bee discussing some major changes and I think that can logically only entail the dissolution of Israel. Right-wingers are so obsessed with keeping them there... Why don't we donate Texas to them and rename it New Israel?
The people of Gaza receive aid form Israel more than another state, the people of Israel care they really do, it's hard when the people you help raise their 3 year old children hate you.

Even if you wanted to you can't dissolve of Israel.
'sup DDO -- july 2013
Zetsubou
Posts: 4,933
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11/18/2010 1:52:45 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Please watch this documentary, it's played in schools in England all the time. It is, like always, slightly pro Palestine but claims to be neutral. It is honest, however.

Death in Gaza -

Part 1 - http://video.google.com...#
Part 2 - http://video.google.com...#

Just watch a part and then complete it another time if you stop. The Arabic subtitles are censored but it's not too bad.
'sup DDO -- july 2013
gavin.ogden
Posts: 1,729
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11/19/2010 2:01:14 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 11/18/2010 1:48:31 PM, Zetsubou wrote:
At 11/18/2010 6:58:59 AM, Caramel wrote:
I'm not too familiar with the history of Israel; I understand that at some point 50-60 years ago there was great unrest in the region and the US et al. stepped in and created a state for the Jews... I understand that the option for a state shared by the different peoples of the region was considered and rejected. I think the recent turmoil, which is set to go on indefinitely, is a good indicator that our efforts have failed to bring peace and stability to the region.
Late History of the Southern Levant
America did zit. The British Empire has a protectorate named the "British Protectorate of Palestine" It compasses of Modern Day Syria, Israel, Lebanon and Jordon. Google for a map. It has been British since the land were ceded from the Ottoman(Turk) Empire in the mid 19th Century. In 1945 something happened concerning this guy called Hitler and the Nazis, this event left Britain very poor(Blitz). Within the following 20 years after 1945 the British Empire ceded and let go of it's colonies or protectorates destroying the British superpower. It created the Modern Islamic states you see today, but with sightly different names, flags and boarders. Israel was split between places of Jewish and Islamic populations in 1947 just before the British left. I suggest you look up the map, as the country was literally a spotty patchwork with lines cutting West(Jew) and East(Islamic) parts of major cities. Two hours after the creation of the state - Egypt, Jordan, Palestine, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon all declared war on Israel or "the Jews". Jewish Israel with the support of an airforce and weapons single handedly won the 20 to 1 man war. Israelis remember it as their independence day and the first time they had a state that respected their rights in over 2000 years. The Islamic states signed a cold peace and have been aiding terrorists or declaring "war" on Israel since. After the war, Israel mopped up id est annexed their captured territories.
I have studied the environmental/economic factors in the area and I can say that it is interesting that we, basically a bunch of privileged kids with unchecked opinions, would discuss their fates so whimsically.
Well, it's worth reading the History and Demographics first, lol.
Many people in the Gaza Strip pay most of a day's wage just to be able to procure a bucket of clean water. I don't think people generally understand just how bad things are over there; it's bad enough that we should bee discussing some major changes and I think that can logically only entail the dissolution of Israel. Right-wingers are so obsessed with keeping them there... Why don't we donate Texas to them and rename it New Israel?
The people of Gaza receive aid form Israel more than another state, the people of Israel care they really do, it's hard when the people you help raise their 3 year old children hate you.

Even if you wanted to you can't dissolve of Israel.

Thank you very much for that very concise, and accurate description of the situation.
gavin.ogden
Posts: 1,729
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11/19/2010 3:34:54 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
She may or may not hate Jews, but she definitely does not like Israel. Had she used a little more couth, she might still have a job, and would not be rebuked by so many. Freedom of speech is great, but there are still consequences. She has paid the piper for her's.
gavin.ogden
Posts: 1,729
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11/19/2010 3:35:25 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
She may or may not hate Jews, but she definitely does not like Israel. Had she used a little more couth, she might still have a job, and would not be rebuked by so many. Freedom of speech is great, but there are still consequences. She has paid the piper for her's...
MikeLoviN
Posts: 746
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11/19/2010 7:05:30 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
First, hating Jews as a group is not a legitimate form of resenting the state of Israel and is never justifiable. That said, criticizing Israel =/= Antisemitism, and I ridicule people who think otherwise, like I'm about to ridicule your post (though not in its entirety).

At 11/16/2010 11:16:49 AM, charleslb wrote:
Let's not suspect someone of racism out loud unless and until he/she makes an overtly racist remark. Ms. Thomas' opinion that Jews could help abate conflict in the Middle East by getting out of Israel is provocative but not necessarily anti-Semitic. Back during the era of apartheid many blacks in South Africa felt that whites should simply get out of Africa. This wasn't merely a racist sentiment that blacks were harboring, it was due more to resentment about how they had been repressively treated by whites. If someone of Arab ancestry makes the statement that Jews should get out of Israel he may simply be expressing justifiable resentment about the unkind treatment that's been visited on Palestinians by the state of Israel.

Now, this is one of the most ridiculous things I've ever heard. Let me summarize your logic for you: "If the people who have wronged me happen to be members of an identifiable group, then I'm justified in hating the entire group and anybody associated with it (because generalizing is sooo much easier)".

If I happened to have been robbed on 7 separate occasions, each time by someone who was black, would I be justified in saying that all black people should just get out of America? I mean they do contribute a disproportionate percentage of crime.

I sure hope the answer is "No".

So then what's the difference? The difference is that my example simply doesn't fit with your smugly preconceived, uber-liberal, anti-Republican, socialist mindset.

Sure does explain a lot though. Your blanket use of the term "conservatives", sweeping generalizations you make about anyone who disagrees with you (*cough* Libertarians *cough*). Really, I've yet to see you start a thread that doesn't in one way or another boil down to "conservatives = bad, people who hate conservatives = good". Quite frankly, I think that you would have never even bothered with the issue of Israel if it wasn't a stereotypical Republican cause.

But let's get to the meat of the issue here.

People who cry "Anti-Semite!!" at anyone that resents Israeli policy make the generalization that since Israel is a "Jewish state" then any detractors are anti-Jewish by virtue and therefore must hate all Jews.

You, on the other hand, say that many people who claim to hate Jews really harbour a legitimate resentment of Israeli policy and are therefore justified in making statements and actions that would otherwise be deemed racist by any civil society.

You don't hesitate to point out the obvious idiocy of the former position, and yet you simply reverse their generalization and think it's just fine and dandy. Tell me, does it hurt to be so blind to your own hypocrisy?

If Israel included the Palestinians in its democratic process and they "took over" in Eretz Israel in a nonviolent democratic fashion, well, instead of Palestinians engaging in a post-war orgy of vengeful violence against Jews maybe we'd see an outcome very much like what occurred in South Africa. Which means not a perfect situation with everyone holding hands and singing kumbaya, but no genocide either.

You mean like seizing land from ordinary citizens who never did anything wrong, simply because they were white, and handing it over to someone else for nothing other than the fact that they're not white? Maybe they're not killing anybody, but I would hardly call that an example to follow.