Answering Andrew Sullivan on Helen Thomas

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Andrew writes:

... on the Rick Sanchez question, I appear to be more hardline on anti-Semitism than Jeffrey Goldberg. Jeffrey thinks the only person of all these who deserved to get fired was Helen Thomas. See her on-video offense here. She didn't say anything anti-Semitic. She said something anti-Zionist.

Andrew sees a very bright line separating anti-Semitism from anti-Zionism. I see it as substantially less bright. Helen Thomas was fired for saying that the Jews of Israel should move to Europe, where their relatives had been slaughtered in the most devastating act of genocide in history. She believes that once the Jews are evacuated from their ancestral homeland, the world's only Jewish country should be replaced by what would be the world's 23rd Arab country. She believes that Palestinians deserve a country of their own, but that the Jews are undeserving of a nation-state in their homeland, which has had a continuous Jewish presence for 3,000 years, and has been the location of two previous Jewish states. This sounds like a very anti-Jewish position to me, not merely an anti-Zionist position. Compared to the words of Rick Sanchez, Helen Thomas's statements on Jews seem far more serious and offensive.

By the way, I haven't responded yet to Andrew's post, "The Evolution of Goldblog," because it makes some substantive and valid points and I want to think through it some more, and I have a hard time thinking about the peace process in airports, for some unknown reason, and I'm spending a lot of time in airports this week. 

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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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