Tom Usher wrote or added | Helen Thomas had it in mind that those Zionists should get out of Palestine who can't change their minds but still want to, and do, take more Palestinian land rather than acknowledge the gross injustice of it all. I know she didn't mean that Jews who are willing to live as good neighbors and who don't support ethnic cleansing, etc., should be penalized for the acts of other Jews who without cause, run extremely roughshod over unarmed Palestinians in and out of Gaza and including little children, the pregnant, and the old and infirmed, often resulting in death, murder, and destruction that can hardly be called accidental, justified, or legal under international or even Israeli law. She was not talking about all Jews. It was not an anti-Jew statement but an anti ethnic-cleansers statement. Everyone who knows about the ethnic cleansing knows it and knows she's right about it too.
Steven Baudoin: The article raises some valid points - there certainly are those who seem to believe that Israel can do no wrong. No one knows what was in Thomas' mind, maybe what she meant was something different. But what she said was not subtle, "They [the Jews] should get out of Palestine." It was very simply anti-semitic, and a journalist has to know that.
Sayyeda S Ja'fri That's the problem right there. They are illegally occupying another land and to simply point that out is anti-semitic? It is this label which has been used to guilt people into silence. Thank God people are on to them now and are choosing to criticize Israel openly without fear or apprehension.
The only thing Helen Thomas did wrong was retract her valid statement.
Steven Baudoin: Sayyeda, I gather from your comment and your profile picture that you don't look forward to a peaceful resolution of the situation in Palestine. In the real world, you know, the one we live in, Israel is not going to abandon the holy land, any more than the US will give the Native Americans back all their land. We can argue the morality of these things, but it isn't going to happen. The best we can do is try to address injustices that currently exist and work out an arrangement that is tolerable to everyone.
Sayyeda S Ja'fri: Steven, for a long time I did have faith in a sustainable peace agreement between the two. And yes, sadly I am well-aware that Israel is not going anywhere, that's the tragic reality we all have to face. However, my profile picture depicts the utter dismay and disappointment many of us are now harbouring towards Israel due to its own brutal policies and atrocious criminal acts. Its blatant disregard for international law and basic human values is converting even its own supporters (let alone fence-sitters) into Palestinian advocates. Of course I wish to see the violence desist and peace prevail. But it is the Palestinians who have been wronged and whose land has been encroached upon - so yes, I hold their interests in priority over those of Israel.
I say they should get out of Palestine (somewhat a figure of speech but still serious), and I'm not being anti-Jew by saying it. However, I qualify it.
The Palestinians should be gracious, merciful, forgiving, generous, hospitable, and willing to reconcile and share land as integrated, next door neighbors.
The Zionists should rather have simply been Jews moving to Palestine with all those attributes I just mentioned in mind to be exhibited toward the people already there.
I do not believe that Helen Thomas would disagree with the bit of what I've written here. I've heard her speak at length on various issues, and she has never struck me as having a racist or ethnically bigoted bone in her body. She has struck me as being fed up, exasperated, frustrated, and deeply disappointed and all rightly so.
She's opposed to Zionism and neoconservatism and trampling on human and civil rights at home and around the world. So am I. I think you are too, Steven.
Being in favor of the Zionism of Herzl and Jabotinsky is no better than having sided with P. W. Botha.
I agree with Sayyeda that Helen should not have retracted. She should have fleshed it out and kept the topic alive for as long as it could maintain its legs. I'm opposed to caving into people who deliberately take wrong what other people mean whether on the right or left or whatever.
However, at 89, perhaps she just looked at what it would take and didn't think she could maintain the pace or energy level necessary to cope with the stress brought on her by rabid obfuscators and war-crimes facilitators.
Steven, the racist Zionists can not be allowed to have their way anymore than it would be right to have been looking the other way about South Africa all this time. It's our way or the highway, as they say. The Zionists can change and join the non-racist world or be weakened by boycotts, divestments, sanctions (which I don't support if they will starve people), and all the other things associated with being a pariah.
It's time that the Zionists are treated as no more or less deserving than any other ethnic group or people. If they want to continue acting the way they have been, then they'll face progressively stronger countervailing reactions not just from Muslims but from a very wide and growing group around the world.
The momentum is with liberating Gaza and the occupied territories. Once the pushback has the Zionists going backwards for the first time since they came into being, there will be no turning it back. The Zionists will have to give in to sanity. I pray they do for everyone's sake.
Zionists taking backward steps will be visible shortly. They are cracking. I recommend that you not speak or write in ways that reduces the mentality that will bring them to that state sooner rather than later. They need to feel a wave. You need to be a part of it even while you don't have to be for "driving" them off militarily.
As you know, I am a total pacifist. That said, whether Sayyeda is or not cannot alter my position that the Zionists must stop what they are doing and roll all the way back to humanity that I described at the beginning of this comment.
Steven Baudoin: I have said before that Gaza's choice of Hamas was a bad move. Hamas is just a unhelpful in the cause of peace as is Netanyahu. I don't know Helen Thomas personally, only as a colorful character. It is unfortunate that she didn't retire before making such an insensitive comment - she should have known how it would play in the press.
I agree that it is a good thing for people to start questioning Israel's policies, instead of giving them an automatic pass on everything they do. Although it is their fight, the US is in a position to apply pressure in terms of our support of Israel, which Obama has shown signs of doing. It is also my opinion that Israel's policy in Gaza is doing nothing to lessen support for Hamas.
You are ignoring that all Helen had to do was explain in some detail, just as I've done. My statement isn't insensitive, yet I've said the same thing she did. It's not insensitive. It's truth-telling. People who love the truth aren't offended by it. People who love the truth learn from it and are grateful that anyone cares enough to speak it to them so they can correct their ways. The Zionists are wrong you know.
Also, where's the sensitivity for the Gazans who lost 1,300+ people with over 300 of those being unarmed children? Where's the sensitivity over the Goldstone Report findings on behalf of those Palestinians? Goldstone and the major human rights groups in the world found that the IDF had used human shields (their soldiers admitted it — I've heard them) and also had instructed their soldiers to kill indiscriminately — shoot anything that moves. They targeted schools, hospitals, ambulances, energy plants, sewage treatment plants, and UN facilities (food banks too) that were clearly marked and that of course the Israelis knew were UN facilities long before Operation Cast Lead. They claimed Hamas was using those places to fire rockets, but all of that was shown to have been false propaganda for the naive and gullible, mostly FOX News watchers and the like. They also used white phosphorus in a clearly illegal manner and then lied about having done it.
All of that was on top of their gross attack on Lebanon where they showered the place with millions of cluster bomblets supplied to them by the US, who allowed that to go on for weeks at the end before Israel withdrew. That too was claimed retaliation when it was Hezbollah that was attempting to get Israel to release prisoners that Israel should have let go long before. Also, exactly who crossed over into whose territory first was in dispute but surely not reason enough for Israel to declare war on Lebanon. Anyway, even while Israel did the most damage, they received a rude awakening. The weapons-technology gap has lessened greatly, and Hezbollah is very disciplined and organized.
They attacked Gaza more on account of wanting to gain back an image of invincibility (deterrence) than to stop the unexploding, unguided, home-made rockets.
Also, Hamas was abiding by the ceasefire. It was clamping down on other groups that were firing very occasional rockets. During that time, there were a total of somewhere between 11 and 14 rockets [the Israelis claim there were more than that, but I don't trust the Israeli numbers because the Israelis have been caught lying red-handed so many times before], none of which were from Hamas by the way. No Israeli died from any of those either. That was over a period of many, many months, from June 18-19, 2008 to November 4-5, 2008. Also during that time, Israel was to have let up on the checkpoint restrictions in terms of allowing in the same volume and type of goods as before the restrictions had gone into place.
It is my understanding that Israel never allowed more than 25% of that regular flow and that it got down to as low as below 10% for extended periods. They also were entering Palestine and Gaza where they were taking people indiscriminately and imprisoning them while also knocking down businesses (especially food related) and even orphanages. The so-called settlers were firing live rounds at the Palestinians trying to work their fields. The Israelis also were still holding some 9-10,000 prisoners (still are), none of whom have had benefit of a fair trial. Finally, Israel entered the territory and killed a hand full of Hamas men in order to touch off the greater attack (Cast Lead). As a pretext, Israel claimed Hamas was digging a tunnel into "Israeli" territory so they could take another IDF member as prisoner for an exchange, but there was no tunnel under Israeli territory. You will note that nothing more was ever said about the "tunnel." The Israelis never "discovered" it or showed it or filled it in or anything else because it didn't exist.
Further concerning Hamas, they've said many very reasonable things. They are certainly no less valid than was Sinn Fein, and the day the British decided to accept negotiations with them before Sinn Fein disarmed or pre-agreed to anything, was the beginning of bringing some peace to the area. So, Israel is full of crap about Hamas being impossible to talk with. Anyway, Irgun and the Stern Gang were big terrorists, and Israel still practices state terrorism. What was Operation Cast Lead if not a huge exercise in trying to strike terror into those from whom the Zionists have stolen nearly all the land those Zionists now call Israel.
As for the American Indians claim to the whole of this continent or Hemisphere and would we all have to leave to honor that, the answer is that neither the American Indians nor the Palestinians are monsters who would make even the repentant poor of America or the poor of Israel (and there is poverty in Israel even while there are Israeli billionaires) pick up everything and try to go back to wherever. The Palestinians are no less generous than are the Blacks of South Africa who did not force all Whites to leave after the Truth and Reconciliation process. The indigenous Bolivians didn't kick out all the Europeans upon winning the Presidency and majority in their legislature. The Zionists don't want us knowing the history of Northern Ireland or South Africa or anywhere else. They just want what they want, which is to go right on ethnically cleansing to steal more land.
Besides, there are plenty of non-Indian Americans who want much better for those Indians. Rather than spending trillions on wars, the US could have fixed all the problems at home long ago. We just have greedy, selfish creeps running things is all. It has ever been so, but the people are dupes.
The policies and practices of the United States government were disgusting. They were never called for. The Indians in general were more honorable by a long shot. They certainly were not beyond reason. They were doing very well right on the East Coast until the greedy pigs amongst our fellow Whites, Steven, decided to disinherit those Indians. It was racism against them, just as enslaving Blacks from Africa was racism. Of course, the worst of the Whites didn't mind enslaving their fellow Whites either.
I don't look upon Hamas as much different from Sitting Bull or Geronimo for that matter. I don't advocate violence, but if it's ever justified, Sitting Bull and Geronimo were certainly that, relative to those they fought anyway.
Hamas gets a bad rap because its roots are somewhat in the Muslim Brotherhood flowing out from Egypt. Well, those brothers are opposed to the puppet dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak. Look at how Mubarak has done the bidding of Israel while he has also clamped down on those who would vote him out of office in free and fair elections.
No, the Gazans voted for Hamas so they could vote to show that they were fed up and weren't going to cave in. They want their land back, most of which was stolen after the holocaust where in we all denounced the land grabbing of Hitler, who only wanted living room and only wanted ethnic cleansing and only advocated killing them all who would dare to fight back in the slightest. It sounds so Zionist and Talmudically rabbinical, doesn't it.
The Zionists are fond of the neocon appeals to never appeasing the potentially up-and-coming rival. Well, then it's time to stop supporting the Zionists, let alone appeasing them.
You need to stop pointing your finger at the victims, Steven, but rather turn around and shine your spotlight on the Zionists and their extremely violent, covetous, and very depraved ways.
Sayyeda S Ja'fri: Very well-said, Tom. Thank you. :)