Obama Calls Thomas' Palestine Remarks 'Offensive'

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President Obama called White House correspondent Helen Thomas' recent controversial remarks about Israel "offensive," in a recent interview with NBC News.

"It's a shame, because Helen was ...really an institution of Washington," Obama said.

Thomas announced Monday through her employer, the Hearst News Service, that she was retiring effective immediately.

Her decision came after a Bethesda, Md., high school rescinded an invitation to the 89-year-old longtime Washington journalist to speak at its graduation after viewing her videotaped remark that Jews "should get the hell out of Palestine (sic)" and go back to Poland and Germany.

Tim Graham, director of media analysis at the Media Research Center, appeared on the Tuesday, June 8 edition of CBN Newschannel's Midday program to share his insights on the Helen Thomas controversy. Click play for his comments.

Thomas' comments, made during an interview on May 27 with Hearts Newspapers and aired on www.rabbilive.com, was widely disseminated on the Internet.

In an e-mail to students and parents, Walt Whitman High School Principal Alan Goodwin wrote that Thomas was being replaced as the keynote speaker.

"Graduation ceremonies are not the venue for divisiveness," Goodwin said.

Abe Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League issued a statement on Sunday, after Thomas posted an apology on her website.

"Her suggestion that Israelis should go back to Poland and Germany is bigoted and shows a profound ignorance of history," Foxman said. "We believe Thomas needs to make a more forceful and sincere apology for the pain her remarks have caused," he said.

In her posting, Thomas said she "deeply" regretted saying "Jews should get the hell out of Palestine," and her comments did not "reflect her heartfelt belief" that peace will come to the Middle East when "all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance."

Thomas, 89, who began her career in 1943 with UPI (united Press International), has been a White House correspondent since 1960.

Israeli Yoram Dori also responded to Thomas' statement in "an open letter to Helen Thomas," published in Monday's Jerusalem Post.

Click here to read Dori's letter.

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AP contributed to this report.

 

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