Journalist Helen Thomas still making waves
Helen Thomas may have retired from her role as journalist, but the former queen of the White House press corps is still managing to cause trouble.
In recent weeks, a planned sculpture of Thomas -- to be created by artist Susan Tinsley McElhinney -- has provoked grumblings from various political groups around the country. The debate centers on whether Thomas, 90, deserves to be honored after she made inflammatory comments concerning Jews and Israel that precipitated her hasty resignation in June.
Among her comments -- which were captured on video and widely disseminated online -- are that Jews should "get the hell out of Palestine" and ought to go home to Poland, Germany and other countries.
The sculpture is set to go on display at the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, Mich. (Thomas is of Lebanese descent, and hails from Michigan.)
On Thursday, the Detroit Free Press reported that a Holocaust survivors group is opposing the museum's decision to include the statue among its displays. The group, called the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants, stated that the "campaign to honor Helen Thomas with a statue is a moral taint on the Arab American National Museum."
The museum is working to raise money to finance the creation of the statue. Organizers are looking to raise pledges of $10,000 by Sept. 10. As of Friday morning, the campaign has received $2,805 in online pledges.
Thomas resigned from her job as a columnist at Hearst Corp. soon after her comments hit the Internet. The company issued a statement from Thomas stating, "I deeply regret my comments I made last week regarding the Israelis and the Palestinians. They do not reflect my heart-felt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance. May that day come soon."
-- David Ng
Photo: Helen Thomas, with a preliminary design for a statue of her that is planned for the Arab American National Museum. Credit: Arab American National Museum