It has been widely publicized (not least by me) that veteran White House reporter Helen Thomas has recently resigned amid uproar and condemnation over her comment that Israeli Jews should “get the hell out of Palestine.”
Thomas’ critics accused her of anti-Semitism. They would have moral standing to issue such a condemnation if they were as scrupulous in condemning the equal calls for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from the 1967 Occupied Territories; something that is often voiced by American politicians and pundits on both the right and the left.
But, of course, American standards are as such that any hint of anti-Semitism (and that what this is; Thomas may just be anti-Israel or she may also be anti-Semitic) are rightly met with criticism and calls for resignation, but anti-Arab prejudice is either treated with indifference, at best, or at worst with great endorsement.
And that’s where Howard Stern comes in. I know Stern is a buffoon who should not be taken seriously, but he is a current of American culture and his comments do speak to the ingrained prejudice in the U.S. His Stern on Thomas:
“Maybe you should go home,” howled Stern in response to audio of the Helen Thomas interview. “Maybe you should go back to where you came from. Maybe you should go to Lebanon now that we don’t need you anymore as a reporter. You big fat cow. I like that she thinks she’s from America so she’s where she is. She’s where she’s supposed to be. She should go back to Lebanon. I don’t know why she’s here. She’s occupying America with her big, fat ass.”
According to Stern, Thomas is not a really American because her parents were born in Lebanon. Never mind that Thomas was born in the U.S., but according to Stern (who himself is the grandchild of European Jewish immigrants) the very idea that the Arab-American Thomas would consider herself America is laughable because Arabs apparently can never be true Americans and are occupiers, no less. And he condemns her alleged bigotry while stating his blatant own without any reservation or irony.
And this guy is considered the rebel in the country! What a joke!