A Lion in Daniel's Den

By Jim Davies.
Exclusive to STR
The abrupt termination of the distinguished, six-decade career of Helen Thomas, after she expressed her opinion about Jews on May 27th, has something fishy about it. There are layers of deception to be uncovered, and since nobody else has removed them, I will make the attempt. You read it here first.
Until that day, there had been no more highly respected member of the "White House Press Corps," that club of sycophants who faithfully convey to a grateful public such pearls of wisdom as may drop from presidential lips. She was the heir of Walter Cronkite--yet was no mere scribe; she has a mind of her own, and was expert in the art of posing tough questions to pompous people. Ten presidents knew better than to under-rate this acerbic reporter, and for 60 years she got away with it; possibly to convince the public that there is at least someone who questions authority.                       
She never really did that, though; her "tough" questions were all carefully inside the statist box. She would probe whether government policy was wise in the circumstances, but she never questioned whether government should have a policy at all, or even exist at all. I doubt whether she even dreamed of doing so; such a thought would be far too radical. In the splendid phrase used by George F. Smith in his Flight of the Barbarous Relic, she was concerned only with dirt, not with dynamite; locating dirt says the system should be cleaned up, whereas using dynamite zaps it altogether. It strikes the root.
Yet on May 27 she appeared to throw all her well-built reputation away, ending her career in disgrace. Why?
The occasion was a party in the White House and its garden, to celebrate "Jewish Heritage." The ground was thick with the children of Israel. There could not possibly be a mistake; if you harbored any anti-Semitic sentiment and were invited, this was the time to keep it strictly to yourself, for to do otherwise would be a gross discourtesy.
One of the guests was a Rabbi from New York called David Nesenoff, and he brought along his video camera. He posed her a few questions, there in the garden and with camera rolling, and Helen Thomas could not possibly have been unaware that her replies were on the record and could readily reach the world via YouTube. Later, Nesenoff wrote in The Washington Post that his questions were courteous and "gentle," and I'd agree with that--but judge for yourself; the 60-second bombshell is right here. Aware perhaps that Thomas is a critic of the Israeli state, he asked her what she thought about Jews.
In reply she said they should leave Palestine, which belongs to the Palestinians, and go back home.
"Oooh" said Rabbi Nesenoff, and in his Post article he observed that we now live in a "post-Oooh world." "Where?" he asked. To "Poland, and Germany, and America..." said this doyenne of Establishment journalism.
Thomas was quickly fired for her indiscretion, if that's what it was, after apologizing for having "crossed the line." But there was no evidence of remorse in the apology, no sign that she did not still hold the belief she had expressed. At age 89, she might well have crafted an apologia such as "I'm so sorry, what was I thinking, I must have suffered an attack of senile dementia." Or, "I was shockingly ill-mannered, I must have drunk too much Presidential champagne." But she didn't. She had merely crossed a line, said things that should have been left unsaid, wrongly uttered a shibboleth. Broken some unwritten rule.
Notice first that Thomas did not say that the State of Israel should never have been formed, in 1948, or that it should now be dissolved; I would have agreed with all of that, for I believe every State should be dissolved, that they are all gross affronts to the human right of each individual to own and operate his own life. I oppose the State of Israel, and those of Lebanon and Syria and Egypt and Iraq and Iran and France and Britain and the US of A. Scrap them all, I say, as soon as you possibly can, all the miserable 200-odd lot of them, for they place humanity in slavery, degradation and desperate danger. But, to send Jews "home" to Poland, to Germany? Not so fast. The German State slaughtered about six million of them, and the Polish one had reversed its traditional policy of tolerance. Today Jews may be welcomed in each, but they are strange places to call "home."
So Thomas was going way beyond opposing the US government's policy of support for the Israeli State--which has brought us so much grief--she was expressing disrespect for Jews per se--and she was doing it publicly, in a garden full of Jews, into a camera operated by a Jewish Rabbi. She must have had a purpose. What was it?
One possibility is that she had decided it was (at 89!) time to retire, and resolved to do so not quietly, but in a way that would be long remembered, crowning her iconoclastic reputation. That would fit. Yet if so, that reputation will be tarnished. It's all very well to go out with a bang, but her remarks on May 27 were seriously rude, hurtful to a lot of innocent people. So I doubt if that was all.
Another possibility is that she wanted, before fading from the scene as we all eventually must, to shock public opinion into recognizing that US policy towards Israel is a disaster that will bleed the country to death. If so, she chose a horrid way to do it, but may have left a valuable legacy; for it is indeed very high time to toss that policy on the scrap heap. If it doesn't lead to Armageddon, it will surely continue to ruin most of what Americans have achieved, by bogging us down into an interminable series of unwinnable and increasingly expensive wars.
So, let's pass over the ill manners and the probable wish for notoriety, and consider the view on its merits. Would the world be a better place if Jews quit Israel?
It would certainly have been a much more peaceful place if the State of Israel had never been formed. In the late 1940s, world opinion was deeply sympathetic to Holocaust survivors, and if they had made their individual ways to the land they believed God had given them, three millennia earlier, there is no basic reason why the indigenous Arab population could not have absorbed them. Jews have proven many times they are industrious and smart, so had they done that, I suppose it likely that after a few years they would have been playing a prominent part in the Palestinian economy. However, there were a couple of obstacles in the way of that peaceful development: firstly since 1919 the British had been exercising a "mandate" to "rule" in that land, and would not allow such spontaneous immigration; and secondly, the Jews wanted not just to live there but to operate a Jewish State. And that meant taking control--from the Brits, and from the Palestinian residents whom the Brits were supposedly protecting.
The British got the job because in 1917 their government had publicized the "Balfour Declaration" expressing support for the idea of a "Jewish national home" in Palestine. They worded it carefully; it did not refer to a "State" but to a "national home," a term left undefined. Zionists of that day certainly desired such a home, but not a State, which some felt might endanger Jews remaining in the Diaspora. In 1917 the Brits were desperately fighting Germans, and used the Declaration as a propaganda tool; they knew it would win them support among Jews everywhere; in the USA and Russia--but also in Germany itself. The Declaration was printed up in Yiddish and scattered over Germany so as to motivate Jews, especially those in the army, to favor the British cause. It was and is certainly popular among Jews, and was addressed to Lord Rothschild, who had at the time some influence in arranging financial support for the British war expenses. That's a factor that seems mysteriously to have been overlooked by the otherwise informative report on TotallyJewish.com.
I know of no direct evidence to prove it, but it's possible that this trick did have some of its intended effect on the loyalty of Jews in Germany to that State's cause. If it did, we have a most interesting chain of cause and effect:
- British politicians made a rash promise to help their urgent war aims
- German Jews accordingly became less loyal to their government, helping it lose the war
- later, Nazis blamed German Jews for back-stabbing in 1918 (this is fact, whether at all justified or not)
- those politicians later gained power and systematically exterminated millions of Jews, starting with German ones
- moved by the horrors of that Holocaust, world opinion favored dislodging Palestinians and setting up a Jewish State in 1948
- the Middle East has been a sizzling powder keg ever since and continues to destabilize the world
So in the end, Balfour's idea wasn't all that smart. But this is what happens, when otherwise intelligent people miserably fail, like Helen Thomas, to question the wisdom of having governments and states. Her exit from the journalistic scene was dirty, but not dynamic--as it might have been.
Would Jews be well advised to quit Israel? Rationally, that seems to me quite a good idea--and it would be a really good idea for them to make the choice rationally, instead of being influenced by sentiment based on religious myth or tribal culture. They are living in a State committed to maintain its existence as such while surrounded by hostile neighbors, one of whom has leaders who say Israel should be swept into the sea and who may shortly acquire nukes. I would not be eager to hitch my wagon to such megalomaniacs. In Rabbi Nesenoff's words, "where" to go? Oddly enough, Poland or Germany may not be bad choices. Poland has been hospitable to Jews for far longer than it was anti-Semitic, and in the light of the post-WWII publicity, it's likely to stay that way. Germany, likewise and more so; there was no more anti-Semitism there a hundred years ago than there was in France, Britain and America, but given the appalling record of 1933-45 which it has to live down, I'd say that Germany may be more hospitable a place for Jews to live, for the next lifetime or three, than any other country. Finally there is always America, which already has as many Jews as does Israel; although I'm not sure how far US government immigration policy has improved since the incident of the MS St. Louis.
But of course, it must always be an individual choice, not to be "sent" by anyone, nor influenced by what politicians do or say. And that was the central factor that Helen Thomas missed.

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Jim Davies's picture
Columns on STR: 243

Jim Davies is a retired businessman in New Hampshire who led the development of an on-line school of liberty in 2006, and who wrote A Vision of Liberty" , "Transition to Liberty" and, in 2010, "Denial of Liberty" and "To FREEDOM from Fascism, America!" He started The Zero Government Blog in the same year.
In 2012 Jim launched http://TinyURL.com/QuitGov , to help lead government workers to an honest life.
In 2013 he wrote his fifth book, a concise and rational introduction to the Christian religion called "Which Church (if any)?" and in 2016, an unraveling of the great paradox of "income tax law" with "How Government Silenced Irwin Schiff."


B.R. Merrick's picture

Jim, did any Iranian ruling elite actually say that Israel should be "swept into the sea," or was that a mistranslation, as I have been led to believe from what I have read online? My understanding was that the statement (if it's the one I remember from a few years ago) was incorrectly translated into English. The correct translation would have said that the current regime in Israel should be removed from the page of time, or some such thing. Were they referring to the government, or to Jews in general?

Paul's picture

"She must have had a purpose."

No. She's senile.

And good luck trying to get Jews out of Israel. Doesn't matter that the neighbors don't like it. What are you suggesting, they might nuke Tel Aviv? How long after that will Mecca and Medina exist? Will they nuke Jerusalem, their own holy city? There will be no nukes used in the Middle East.

Dave Ambleton's picture

It’s now official – there’s no actual shortage of Holocaust Survivors:
Quote from The Holocaust Industry by Norman G. Finkelstein of the City University of New York, published by Verso in the year 2000:
'The Israeli Prime Minister's office recently put the number of "living Holocaust survivors" at nearly a million.' (page 83)

At the end of the First World War, Germany was essentially tricked [see Paul Johnson A History of the Modern World (1983) p24 and H Nicholson Peacemaking 1919 (1933) pp13-16] into paying massive reparations to France and other economic competitors and former belligerent countries in terms of the so-called Treaty of Versailles, thanks to the liberal American President Woodrow Wilson. Germany was declared to be solely responsible for the war, in spite of the fact that ‘Germany did not plot a European war, did not want one, and made genuine efforts, though too belated, to avert one.’ (Professor Sydney B Fay The Origins of the World War (vol. 2 p 552)).

As a result of these massive enforced financial reparations, by 1923 the situation in Germany became desperate and inflation on an astronomical scale became the only way out for the government. Printing presses were engaged to print money around the clock. In 1921 the exchange rate was 75 marks to the dollar. By 1924 this had become about 5 trillion marks to the dollar. This virtually destroyed the German middle class (Koestler The God that Failed p 28), reducing any bank savings to a virtual zero.

According to Sir Arthur Bryant the British historian (Unfinished Victory (1940 pp. 136-144):

‘It was the Jews with their international affiliations and their hereditary flair for finance who were best able to seize such opportunities.. They did so with such effect that, even in November 1938, after five years of anti-Semitic legislation and persecution, they still owned, according to the Times correspondent in Berlin, something like a third of the real property in the Reich. Most of it came into their hands during the inflation.. But to those who had lost their all this bewildering transfer seemed a monstrous injustice. After prolonged sufferings they had now been deprived of their last possessions. They saw them pass into the hands of strangers, many of whom had not shared their sacrifices and who cared little or nothing for their national standards and traditions.. The Jews obtained a wonderful ascendancy in politics, business and the learned professions (in spite of constituting) less than one percent of the population.. The banks, including the Reichsbank and the big private banks, were practically controlled by them. So were the publishing trade, the cinema, the theatres and a large part of the press – all the normal means, in fact, by which public opinion in a civilized country is formed.. The largest newspaper combine in the country with a daily circulation of four millions was a Jewish monopoly.. Every year it became harder and harder for a gentile to gain or keep a foothold in any privileged occupation.. At this time it was not the ‘Aryans’ who exercised racial discrimination. It was a discrimination that operated without violence. It was exercised by a minority against a majority. There was no persecution, only elimination.. It was the contrast between the wealth enjoyed – and lavishly displayed – by aliens of cosmopolitan tastes, and the poverty and misery of native Germans, that has made anti-Semitism so dangerous and ugly a force in the new Europe. Beggars on horseback are seldom popular, least of all with those whom they have just thrown out of the saddle.’

Goodness gracious, Sir Arthur! What made you get out of the wrong side of the bed?

Strangely enough, a book unexpectedly published by Princeton University Press in 1984, Sarah Gordon (Hitler, Germans and the "Jewish Question") essentially confirms what Bryant says. According to her, ‘Jews were never a large percentage of the total German population; at no time did they exceed 1% of the population during the years 1871-1933.’ But she adds ‘Jews were over-represented in business, commerce, and public and private service.. They were especially visible in private banking in Berlin, which in 1923 had 150 private Jewish banks, as opposed to only 11 private non-Jewish banks.. They owned 41% of iron and scrap iron firms and 57% of other metal businesses.. Jews were very active in the stock market, particularly in Berlin, where in 1928 they comprised 80% of the leading members of the stock exchange. By 1933, when the Nazis began eliminating Jews from prominent positions, 85% of the brokers on the Berlin Stock exchange were dismissed because of their "race".. At least a quarter of full professors and instructors (at German universities) had Jewish origins.. In 1905-6 Jewish students comprised 25% of the law and medical students.. In 1931, 50% of the 234 theatre directors in Germany were Jewish, and in Berlin the number was 80%.. In 1929 it was estimated that the per capita income of Jews in Berlin was twice that of other Berlin residents..’ etc etc.

Arthur Koestler confirms the Jewish over-involvement in German publishing. ‘Ullstein’s was a kind of super-trust; the largest organization of its kind in Europe, and probably In the world. They published four daily papers in Berlin alone, among these the venerable Vossische Zeitung, founded in the eighteenth century, and the B.Z. am Mittag, an evening paper.. Apart from these, Ullstein’s published more than a dozen weekly and monthly periodicals, ran their own news service, their own travel agency, etc., and were one of the leading book publishers. The firm was owned by the brothers Ullstein - they were five, like the original Rothschild brothers, and like them also, they were Jews.’ (The God that Failed (1950) ed. RHS Crossman, p 31).

Edgar Mowrer, Berlin correspondent for the Chicago Daily News, wrote an anti-German tract called Germany Puts the Clock Back (published as a Penguin Special and reprinted five times between December 1937 and April 1938). He nevertheless notes ‘In the all-important administration of Prussia, any number of strategic positions came into the hands of Hebrews.. A telephone conversation between three Jews in Ministerial offices could result in the suspension of any periodical or newspaper in the state.. The Jews came in Germany to play in politics and administration that same considerable part that they had previously won by open competition in business, trade, banking, the Press, the arts, the sciences and the intellectual and cultural life of the country. And thereby the impression was strengthened that Germany, a country with a mission of its own, had fallen into the hands of foreigners.’

Mowrer says ‘No one who lived through the period from 1919 to 1926 is likely to forget the sexual promiscuity that prevailed.. Throughout a town like Berlin, hotels and pensions made vast fortunes by letting rooms by the hour or day to baggageless, unregistered guests. Hundreds of cabarets, pleasure resorts and the like served for purposes of getting acquainted and acquiring the proper mood..’ (pp. 153-4). Bryant describes throngs of child prostitutes outside the doors of the great Berlin hotels and restaurants. He adds ‘Most of them (the night clubs and vice-resorts) were owned and managed by Jews. And it was the Jews.. among the promoters of this trade who were remembered in after years.’ (pp. 144-5).

Douglas Reed, Chief Central European correspondent before WWII for the London Times, was profoundly anti-German and anti-Hitler. But nevertheless he reported: ‘I watched the Brown Shirts going from shop to shop with paint pots and daubing on the window panes the word "Jew", in dripping red letters. The Kurfürstendamm was to me a revelation. I knew that Jews were prominent in business life, but I did not know that they almost monopolized important branches of it. Germany had one Jew to one hundred gentiles, said the statistics; but the fashionable Kurfürstendamm, according to the dripping red legends, had about one gentile shop to ninety-nine Jewish ones.’ (Reed Insanity Fair (1938) p. 152-3). In Reed’s book Disgrace Abounding of the following year he notes ‘In the Berlin (of pre-Hitler years) most of the theatres were Jewish-owned or Jewish-leased, most of the leading film and stage actors were Jews, the plays performed were often by German, Austrian or Hungarian Jews and were staged by Jewish film producers, applauded by Jewish dramatic critics in Jewish newspapers.. The Jews are not cleverer than the Gentiles, if by clever you mean good at their jobs. They ruthlessly exploit the common feeling of Jews, first to get a foothold in a particular trade or calling, then to squeeze the non-Jews out of it.. It is not true that Jews are better journalists than Gentiles. They held all the posts on those Berlin papers because the proprietors and editors were Jewish’ (pp238-9).