Blunt, irascible, argumentative. Those words have long been used to describe Helen Thomas, the grande dame of the White House press corps, particularly in recent years as her questions became less and less coherent. Now, a career spanning 10 presidencies and nearly half a century has come to an end over her own terrible answer to a question about Israeli-Palestinian relations.
FOR THE RECORD:
Helen Thomas: A June 9 editorial about the former columnist's suggestion that Jews should "go home" referred to Poland and Germany as "the countries that exterminated their families." Because Poland was occupied by Nazi Germany during the Holocaust, it would have been more accurate to say "the countries where their families were exterminated." —
After decades as a reporter for United Press International, Thomas had become a columnist for Hearst Corp. She was known as a liberal and as a critic of Israel, and certainly could have contributed to a healthy debate about Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories or U.S. policy in the Mideast. But that's not what she did in a short videotaped interview in which she said that Jews should "get the hell out of Palestine" and "go home" to Poland and Germany. Whatever her intentions, the remarks were deeply offensive to Jews, who heard her to be saying they should return to countries that exterminated their families. On Monday, Thomas issued an apology and resigned.