Helen Thomas Insists She is Not Anti-Semitic- Such Accusations are ‘Baloney,’ ex-White House Reporter Says
In a radio interview, former White House correspondent Helen Thomas acknowledges she touched a nerve with remarks about Israel that led to her retirement. But she says the comments were “exactly what I thought,” even though she realized soon afterward that it was the end of her job.
“I hit the third rail. You cannot criticize Israel in this country and survive,” Thomas told Ohio station WMRN-AM in a sometimes emotional 35-minute interview that aired Tuesday. It was recorded a week earlier by WMRN reporter Scott Spears at Thomas’ Washington, D.C., condominium.
Thomas, 90, stepped down from her job as a columnist for Hearst News Service in June after a rabbi and independent filmmaker videotaped her outside the White House calling on Israelis to get “out of Palestine.” She gave up her front row seat in the White House press room.
She has kept a low profile since then.
“(It was) very hard for the first two weeks. After that, I came out of my coma,” said Thomas, who was mostly reared in Detroit.
Asked whether she’s anti-Semitic, she responded, “Baloney!” She said she wants to be remembered for “integrity and my honesty and my belief in good journalism” and would like to work again.
Spears said Thomas granted him the interview because the two had developed a friendship during previous interviews she had done with the station.
Their discussion also touched on current politics, particularly on women.
Thomas described Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as “a hawk.” “I thought women in politics would have more compassion, be more liberal,” Thomas said.