Though Helen Thomas spent decades as a press icon, her reputation seems to have been destroyed overnight. I do not condone her remarks, but I do think we should be defending her right to express her opinion, especially when her job was . . . to express her opinion.
For those just catching up, last week, Thomas, the 89-year-old newspaper columnist, White House press corps fixture and trailblazing female journalist said she thought Jews should get out of Palestine. When pressed further, she said they should go "home" to Germany and Poland.
She was the first female officer of the National Press Club, the first female member and president of the White House Correspondents Association, and the first female member of the Gridiron Club. She covered every U.S president from Eisenhower to Obama, paved the way for other women -- and doesn't deserve to exit the public stage this way.
Our national discourse has become so highly charged that apparently you can't say anything critical of Israel without being labeled anti-Semitic, though in order to achieve effective policy and an actual peace in the Middle East, we have to be able to talk about the issue without fear of being attacked.
Does Helen Thomas' fall add to intimidation of those who hold dissenting views on the Middle East or other issues? To me, her forced retirement suggests that even opinion columnists still cannot discuss Israel and Palestine openly.
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