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Helen Thomas and the Heavy Price - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The price that former White House correspondent Helen Thomas paid for her statement rejecting the concept of Zionism was an exit from journalism. The veteran journalist is an outstanding example of how a serious and responsible journalist should act, and she has met and grilled a succession of US president’s from John F. Kennedy to current US President Barack Obama. Thomas always sat in the front row [at the White House press briefings] and she was always ready with a question.

Helen Thomas views about Israel and the Zionist ideology were captured on camera, and this interview was initially broadcast on the “rabbilive” website, before it was posted on YouTube. In this interview, Thomas said that the Israelis should “get the hell out of Palestine. Remember, these people are occupied and it’s their land. It’s not Germany, it’s not Poland.” After making these comments, she resigned from writing her column which is syndicated by Hearst Newspapers.

With a wry laugh, I am able to recall a number of similar incidents in our Arab world, such as when it was announced that a senior official had committed suicide by shooting himself in the back four times, or when it is said that a senior official has resigned from his post “for personal reasons.” Helen Thomas finds herself today in the same unfortunate situation as she was pressured to resign from her position by the major publisher that she worked for. Despite her professionalism and gravity, her frank and public apology for her comments, and her history as a long serving and accomplished media figure, this was not enough to save her career in the end. This is because Thomas wronged the Jews, and this represents the ultimate mistake in the world of media and politics. However double standards persist and the public in the west do not express regret with regards to the shameful insults hurled at Arabs and Muslims by figures in the US Christian right such as Pat Robertson, Jerry Farwell, and Franklin Graham, or by media figures such as Joe Klein, William Safire, and Bill O’Reilly. Even high-profile politicians and military commanders have slandered Arabs and Muslims and have not been forced to resign or even apologize for this.

Arabs and Muslims will forever live in apprehension and fear so long as they are continued to be regarded as inferior people whose land and reputation are open to slander.

Yes, Israel does pose a serious threat to Arab – Muslim relations with the West, for so long as Israel is regarded as the Promised Land, it must also be dealt with as being part of Jewish – Christian heritage, and so will not be dealt with as a modern state that has broken laws, pacts, and international agreements, and is subject to punishment like any other country. There will never be a fair and just atmosphere of trust between the Arabs and Israelis so long as this persists.

The entire issue, in the first place, represents duplicity in the standards and moral authority governing the relations between countries and their people, and it is this which makes slogans of equality, freedom, justice, and human rights, incomplete and devoid of any real meaning or nobility. This is because such slogans are strongly imposed upon some parties, while completely ignored and deified by others, and these new injustices have been brought about by the superpowers of the new era.

Israel’s fascism is being supported by tyrannical powers that are extremely influential around the world. The perpetual failure in dealing with Israel’s fascist arrogance only serves to generate more fury and feelings of injustice. The intelligent in the US should reconsider the price of this total surrender to and blind support of Israel, which is something that comes at the expense of the noble meanings and great values upon which America was founded. In its dealings with Israel, the US is presenting an image that is far removed from this. Helen Thomas is just the latest victim of this distorted logic.

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi is a businessman and prominent columnist. Mr. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al-Takreer on Al-Arabiya, and in 1995 he was chosen as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum. He received his BA in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa.

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