BPW Foundation's Women Misbehavin' Blog

Well behaved women never make history

Maybe That Is the Lesson

Posted by gansie on June 8, 2010

I’ve long known that Helen Thomas was not the biggest fan of Israel. Israel can be hard to love. Israeli leaders take the tough line. Often violent.

It’s also more than a country though. It’s an idea. It’s a safe haven. For me, it’s a place I need to exist. Many, many members of my family were killed in the Holocaust. And I need to know that if another tyrant came after Jews there is a place I could go. To be safe. A place that would protect me and my family.

Now, of course, people can disagree with Israel.  Even one of my feminist heroes.

Helen Thomas retired from her job yesterday over some incredibly insensitive remarks about Israel and Jewish people.  And while I’m struggling with what she said, I’m also thinking about the role of journalists today.

Like ice cream, the news now comes in flavors. Do you want your oil spill coverage with a topping of right wing anger or left leaning outrage? Is it fair she felt she had to retire when Fox News anchors spew awful, racist lies about our president everyday – and get paid for it?


I’m saddened. I’m saddened this trailblazer’s career had to end like this. I’m saddened a woman with such tenacity—at age 89—will be remembered for her hurtful, anti-Semitic words, and not for her brave career. I’m also saddened she thinks like this.

But maybe Jezebel writer Irin Carmon is right. We no longer need only Thomas. She was the first. But now we have a few more women at the top. A few more women we can look up to. So maybe that is the lesson here.


One Response to “Maybe That Is the Lesson”

  1. joyinhome said

    I think that as a journalist, Helen Thomas should have the same first amendment rights as the aforementioned hate-spewers of FOX News, talk radio, skin heads, KKK, etc. I think that it is easy for people to dismiss her career in light of her statement, which they have wanted to do anyway.

    I also think that Helen has had intimate knowledge over the years of this raging war of Israel and Palestine (and this country’s involvement) and the recent attack on that ship carrying aid was enough for her.

    I believe she knew full well the weight of her words. And people can disagree, but I think she had the plight of Palestinians in mind when she made it, rather than malevolent feelings toward Jewish people.

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