Wednesday, June 09, 2010

ADC applauds Helen Thomas for her legendary service,

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ADC Thanks Ms. Helen Thomas for Legendary Service 

Washington, DC | June 9, 2010 | |  Helen Thomas, 89, Dean of the White House Press Corp, and lauded as a "Pioneer Journalist" and Trailblazer for female journalists," apologized for her May 27, 2010, response when she was asked "Any comments on Israel...?" and she responded "Tell them to get the [] out of Palestine." Upon further prodding, Ms. Thomas stated that "Remember these people are occupied and it's their land..." and those who are the occupiers should "...go home" to "Poland, Germany...And America and everywhere else."

In her apology, Ms. Thomas wrote:  "I deeply regret my comments I made last week regarding the Israelis and the Palestinians.  They do not reflect my heartfelt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance.  May that day come soon."

The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) thanks Ms. Thomas for her legendary service, and acknowledges Ms. Thomas' apology.  ADC believes that Ms. Thomas should be judged on her "50-plus years of probing journalism, and not on a 30-second sound bite," as stated by Mr. Zool Zulkowitz, who represents American Jews defending Ms. Thomas.  Mr. Zulkowitz further said that, "We are clear what Helen Thomas meant to say, which is that Israel should cease its occupation of Palestine..." And, as Mr. Paul Jay wrote: "Not all criticism of Israel is anti-Semitism...Helen Thomas' isn't."

As President Obama recognized in his historic address in Cairo on June 4, 2009, the Palestinian people - Muslims and Christians - have endured the pain of dislocation for more than 60 years.  "Many wait in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and neighboring lands for a life of peace and security that they have never been able to lead.  They endure the daily humiliations - large and small - that come with occupation.  So let there be no doubt:  The situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable ..."

It is our hope that other journalists would rise in Ms. Thomas' place and espouse her courage in asking the hard questions.  As Ms. Katrina Vanden Heuvel wrote yesterday in the Washington Post: "...isn't there room for someone who made a mistake, apologized and wants to continue speaking truth to power and asking tough questions?"   We certainly hope so.  We also hope that we will continue to celebrate Ms. Thomas' lifetime of courageous, frontline journalism; and that she will not be intimidated by the recent hateful accusations or deterred from her insightful questioning and reporting.  

Contact: Sara Najjar-Wilson, President 

NOTE TO EDITORS: The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), which is non-profit, non-sectarian and non-partisan, is the largest Arab-American civil rights organization in the United States. It was founded in 1980 by former Senator James Abourezk to protect the civil rights of people of Arab descent in the United States and to promote the cultural heritage of the Arabs. ADC has 38 chapters nationwide, including chapters in every major city in the country, and members in all 50 states.

The ADC Research Institute (ADC-RI), which was founded in 1981, is a Section 501(c)(3) educational organization that sponsors a wide range of programs on behalf of Arab Americans and of importance to all Americans. ADC-RI programs include research studies, seminars, conferences and publications that document and analyze the discrimination faced by Arab Americans in the workplace, schools, media, and governmental agencies and institutions. ADC-RI also celebrates the rich cultural heritage of the Arabs.