No one is out there defending Helen Thomas’ remarks, but I’ve heard some people cut her some slack because of her age. I think that’s completely unwarranted. For one, as a reporter, she is capable of clear thought. She hasn’t “lost it”—well, not anymore than she had already. Actually, Helen Thomas’ old age actually makes what she said worse.
Last night, Jon Stewart laid into her for her comments, including comparing her to Racist Elmo. Watch the video below:
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Thank You, South Carolina – The Race to Replace Disgrace|
Stewart made one point that stayed with me. He said that Thomas “was like 20 when it [the Holocaust] happened.” You’d think he was exaggerating for comedic effect, but he actually wasn’t. She was born on August 4, 1920. That means that she was 19 when Germany invaded Poland. If anyone should understand why so many Jews went to Palestine and why the modern state of Israel was born, it should be someone who lived during the Holocaust and was old enough to fully grasp it.
Thomas actually goes one step further than advocating the destruction of Israel. She wants an end to the Jewish presence there.
This isn’t to excuse anyone of any age that doesn’t understand the impact of the Holocaust on the Jewish people and calls for their removal from their Holy Land. But naturally, as time goes by (even though WW2 really wasn’t that long ago), people forget the lessons learned. They think it was just an absurd episode in history, never to be repeated.
But people of Thomas’ age can’t even rely upon that poor excuse—they lived then and were old enough to hear about the pain and see that it wasn’t just an absurd episode in history, but that the people of that time were the same as we are now. We haven’t changed much, and the factors that enabled Hitler’s rise still exist today. No one knows this better than those who lived it. Helen Thomas lived it—but still is spouting rhetoric that even the majority of those of us who were born decades after the Holocaust find very offensive. Her age isn’t an excuse; in fact, it only further indicts her.