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Sunday, June 20, 2010

What Helen Thomas really meant

Rabbi David Nesenoff, who asked former White House correspondent Helen Thomas an innocent question and got an unexpected answer last month, recounts the moment in the Washington Post (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
Then I asked: "Any comments on Israel? We're asking everybody today." Like saying a password to enter a new, secret place. "Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine," she replied, and "go home" to Poland and Germany. We were in.

The gentle give and take has now been broadcast, transcribed and thoroughly dissected. However, a strict transcription misses the accuracy of the audiovisual. Only in the director's cut, the video, are the nonwords, the sound, the noise, the true reaction. And that was my "oooh."

"What were you thinking when you said 'oooh,' rabbi?" asked Fox News, as did many of the other national and international media outlets that probed and jabbed for my innermost thoughts. Well, I was thinking "oooh." Oooh. Most heard it the first time. Certainly during the multitude of reruns, "oooh" became part of the song. It was a response by a rabbi to Thomas's comments, and it was from my soul.


She didn't say that the blockade was unjust, or that aid was not getting to Gaza, or that there was a massacre on the high seas, or that East Jerusalem is occupied, or that the settlements are immoral . . . and get out and go back to West Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa and Eilat. No. This was not the two-state solution. This was get the hell out and go back to the places of the final solution, Poland and Germany. The Jew has no connection with the land of Israel.

And why? Because, as Thomas went on to explain to me, "I'm from Arab descent." That's it? That's all you got? Do we all travel with only our parents' stereotypes to guide us, never going beyond them to get to a peaceful destination?

In the past weeks I have relived this moment over and over, on television and radio, in newspapers and blogs. I've listened to a constant stream of commentary. And my sharpest impression is this: Where before I saw a foggy anti-Israel, anti-Jewish link, it's now clear. This feeling is not about statehood. It's about an ingrown, organic hate. It's a sentiment that bears no connection to history, dates, passages or verses. Erase the facts, the dates and the lore. Erase the Jew. Incredibly, even the Nazis said to the Jews, "Go home to Palestine." But Thomas and a babbling stream in our world and country dictate to Jewish people to "go home to Poland and Germany." Yeah, I said "oooh."
If Helen Thomas, who is 'from Arab descent' but has lived all of her nearly 90 years in the United States still has that kind of reaction, what do you think a 'Palestinian,' a Lebanese, a Syrian, a Jordanian or an Egyptian who still lives in the region would answer to the same question Helen Thomas was asked? Is it possible - no, likely - that for them too, it's about ingrown, organic hate? I would venture to say yes, it is.

Until that ingrown, organic hate can be overcome (an unlikely event given that it is passed down from generation to generation through state-controlled media and mosques), there is nothing that will bring peace to this region.

Read the whole thing.


At 6:38 PM, Blogger Sunlight said...

Have you read Ayaan's books Infidel and Nomad? This youtube link has a bunch of interviews with her. Her books are available unabridged in her own lovely voice at audible.com (and you can listen on your iPod). I've listened to Infidel and now I'm in the middle of Nomad. She actually has some ideas for addressing Islam in the U.S. and Europe. But, unfortunately, her ideas will take a very long time to bear substantial fruit and won't help Israel's situation over the next months.



At 9:28 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

They imbibe the anti-Semitism on their mother's milk. It should be pointed out Helen Thomas is a Christian Arab. Most of them hate Jews viscerally. Now imagine the reaction among Muslim Arabs and you get the picture.

What could go wrong indeed

At 9:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

norman, that isnt true

copts do not hate jews.

many christian lebanese begged for israel to help them

israel abandoned them, the same way america abandoned the south vietnamese

im still waiting for someone to ask ms thomas why her family left the jewel of the arab world

what we may end up finding is just another self hating person who now identifies with the persecutors of her own family


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