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

Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.

"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."

Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).

Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

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, Hanania 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. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.

The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.

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Ray Hanania