03 December 2010

Helen Thomas continues to speak her mind

I introduced readers of this blog to Helen Thomas in April of 2008 (biography at the link), blogged one of her confrontations with Obama in June of 2009, and linked to her final interview as a press corps member in June of this year.

Although she is now retired, she has not stopped being outspoken. 
Thomas, who grew up in Detroit the daughter of Lebanese immigrants, was in Dearborn today for an Arab Detroit workshop on anti-Arab bias... In a speech that drew a standing ovation, Thomas talked about "the whole question of money involved in politics."

"We are owned by propagandists against the Arabs. There's no question about that. Congress, the White House, and Hollywood, Wall Street, are owned by the Zionists. No question in my opinion. They put their money where their mouth is… We're being pushed into a wrong direction in every way."

Asked by the Free Press how she would respond to those who say she's anti-Semitic, Thomas said:  "I'd say I'm a Semite, What are you talking about?

"We all know the Arabs are much maligned. They are automatically terrorists. I was called the Hizballah at the White House, Hamas, and everything else. But I never bowed to those kinds of slurs because I know who I am. I'm an American."

"Seven years of war now with Iraq. They did nothing to us. They are totally innocent, and they were just demonized. I'm not saying Saddam Hussein wasn't a terrible man. But how many thousands of Iraqis did you kill, for what reason?… They've never explained the war. No weapons of mass destruction. No ties to Al-Qaeda. What is this? Why are we killing those people. And why are we there?"

Thomas said she's proud of her Arab roots, but stressed that she's fully American.  "I never felt hyphenated. I never felt I was an Arab-American. I felt I was an American," she said.

At the end of her speech, Thomas spoke about bias against Arabs and then recalled the words of a rabbi at Martin Luther King's 1963 civil rights march on Washington D.C., when he made his, I Have A Dream speech. Thomas said that the rabbi, who survived Nazi concentration camps, told the crowd "the greatest sin of all in the Nazi era was silence."

"And so we have to speak up for our rights, even at price, even at a cost."

Addendum Dec 4: As a result of this speech, Wayne State University has announced that it is discontinuing their Helen Thomas Spirit of Diversity Award.

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