On January 27, 1998, Yehuda Bauer, Director of Research at Yad Vashem, concluded his Holocaust commemoration address at the Bundestag in Germany with the following:
“Thou shalt not be a perpetrator.”
“Thou shalt not be a victim.”
“And Thou shalt never, but never be a bystander.”
It is remarkable that Bauer saved the strongest admonition for bystanders.
On Friday May 27, at the White House Jewish Heritage Celebration, Helen Thomas, the “dean” of the White House Press Corps, answered a journalist’s request for an opinion on Israel:
“Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine. Remember, these people are occupied and it’s their land…not German and not Poland.”
“So, where should they go?”
“Go home. Poland, Germany.”
“So, you think the Jews should go back to Poland and Germany?”
“And America and everywhere else.”
Helen Thomas is a perpetrator. Perpetrator, because the most important aspect of the War Against Israel is the war to erode American support for Israel, the war for public opinion. As in Vietnam, the press in America will bring about the fall of Israel and the annihilation of her people long before and more surely than those seeking the physical destruction of the Gaza blockade.
In spite of this, Helen does not fully explain the “why” of the Holocaust. Within hours of Thomas’ Reichstag-worthy revelation, the video evidence circled the globe. It is safe to assume that the people who come in daily contact with Helen knew what she said.
These journalists and reporters, as every educated American, have seen pictures of the Holocaust; they have probably looked in horror at images of the selection at Auschwitz, the mass-shootings in Ukraine, the portraits of Eichmann and Mengele. This contemplation probably led to self-reassuring oaths that, “Had I been there, I would have resisted. I would have spoken out. The Nazis were evil monsters. How could this have happened?”
Certainly, the White House Press Corps is full of those who have thus reacted to the Nazi Holocaust. And yet, they will sit down to dinner with Helen Thomas. They will continue to say, “Good Morning” to her and will treat her like an icon worthy of respect. She will stoop in her throne in the Press Corps galley. She will not be shunned in the halls of the White House, and senators and representatives will still curry her favor or, at the very worst, attribute her rant to notorious spunk.
This is why the Holocaust happened. A dozen average men and women weighed their careers against the consequence of protest and permitted the penetration of respectable society by anti-Semitism. The looming destruction of Israel is not to be attributed to hate-filled sectarian ideologues like Thomas, but to the reporters and journalists who will avoid nasty personal consequences, and refuse to treat her with the utter contempt she merits. If ever Eichmann and Mengele and Goebbels deserved to be shunned as enemies of civilization, then likewise, a woman pretending to exemplify investigative excellence while suppressing the truth of the Jews’ tri-millennial claim to a homeland in the Holy Land, ought to be ostracized by anyone with a conscience.
The path to the first Holocaust was that of politically justified anti-Semitism. Hitler began his crusade against the Jews under the pretext that they had caused, through self-interest, the defeat of Germany in the First World War. We, fleeing precipitously towards a Second “Final Solution,” witness a similar attempt to disguise racial hatred of the Jews as dissenting political opinion. We hear words such as “occupation, apartheid, human rights violations,” only because they camouflage an embarrassing, crass hatred. Penetration of respectable society by this “classy, political” anti-Semitism is the first step to genocide.
The choice to become a bystander faces each member of the White House Press Corps. Together, they should demand Helen Thomas’ expulsion from their midst, if they wish to retain their integrity and honor.
Should authorities refuse, for the obvious reason that anti-Semitism has been given the green light (no pun intended) by the example of the administration, then it is the personal responsibility of each member to treat the “Queen” and her supporters as they claim they would have treated the last batch of selectors who favored deporting the Jews to their “homeland” in the ovens of Poland.