06-08-10 Helen Thomas a victim of American media bias

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Helen Thomas a victim of American media bias
By Ali Younes –
– Truth must be said; Helen Thomas, the 89 years old dean of White House correspondents is more courageous than the president of the United States, and most members of congress, when it comes to speaking the truth about Israeli treatment of the Palestinians, and about the extremist Israeli policies in the Middle East. Thomas who covered the White House since President Dwight Eisenhower was in office over 50 years ago, was forced to resign from her job as a columnist of Hearst Corporation when she was accused of “anti-Semitism” for allegedly saying an “anti-Israel comments”

During a “Jewish Heritage celebration” held at the White House on May 27, Helen Thomas, was approached by one of the anti-Palestinian rabbis and a blogger who asked her “what does she think of Israel” a question she responded to by saying “get the hell out of Palestine”.

The blogger-Rabbi then used clever verbal gymnastics to extract “incriminating evidence” and had her say “Remember, these people are occupied. And it’s their land. Not Germany. Not Poland.” He then asked her where should those Israelis go, Thomas answered “Go home”

“Where’s home?” The Rabbi asks.

“Poland. Germany.” She responded.

Helen Thomas answered the questions right, but the so called mainstream media and Israel supporters in this country, shamelessly pounced on this 89 years old lady who will be 90 in August and accused her “anti-Semitism” where in fact she was not. Helen Thomas did not say or mean that Jews should leave West Jerusalem, Haifa, Yafa, Tel Aviv, and Nazareth and to go back to Germany or Poland, as the perception the media gave of the story.  The context of her words was, in fact, a reference to the occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem that Israel has been on occupying since 1967.

Helen Thomas statement does not differ much from the official US policy that holds the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem as illegal.

A year ago, president Obama went to Cairo and delivered a historic speech addressed to the Arab World promising “a new beginning” between America and the Arab and Islamic World. The Thomas affair proves that the new beginning that Obama promised the Arab World with is almost impossible to start when the US foreign policy in the Middle East places Israel over and above every other consideration. Any criticism of Israel, as this unfortunate event shows, is met with a vicious pro-Israeli “lynch mob” who is armed with pre-packaged and ready-to-use indictments of “anti-Semitism.

For most people in the Arab World, the perception of the US is that it is a country that subsidies the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands, and supports Israel no matter what Israel does. Supporting this perception, most recently, is when President Obama and his administration refrained from condemning Israel over its killing of an American citizen and nine other Turkish citizens on “Free Gaza” flotilla that aimed to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza.

The ominous effects of Helen Thomas forced resignation from her job will further cow the mainstream media from criticizing or questioning Israeli policies in the Middle East. It will also serve as a chilling reminder that the US media is not really free.

Ali Younes is a writer and Middle East analyst based in Washington D.C. he can be reached at: ali.younes@charter.net. He is a co-host of the new online debate program The Opinion Makers at www.TheOpinionMakders.com.)

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and Columnist who began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He covered Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992 (Mayor Daley to Mayor Daley) and has expanded to writing for newspapers around the world focussed on Middle East and American politics.

Hanania loves to write about American Arabs in politics, and focuses on Arab life in America.

Currently, he writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com. He writes on American politics for the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News newspaper and the Reporter Newspapers. He also writes for the online websites TheArabDailyNews.com and NewsAmericaNetwork.com (Illinois News Network at IllinoisNewsNetwork.com).

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hanania began in journalism as an activist publishing Chicago’s first English-language American Arab Newspaper “The Middle Eastern Voice” from 1975 through 1977. In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. In 2004, he published “The National Arab American Times” monthly newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East ethnic food stores in 48 American States.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Hanania also has written news, features and Opinion Columns for Al Jazeera English, the Jerusalem Post, YNetNews.com, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News, Regional News and Palos Reporter newspapers in Chicagoland. Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.

Hanania is Palestinian Christian from prominent Bethlehem and Jerusalem families. His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.

His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania

Email him at: RGHanania@gmail.com