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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Helen Thomas receiving Arab "courage" award tonight in Washington

The Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee is honoring an anti-semite tonight for her "courage":

The Detroit News reports:
Protests are expected today in Washington, D.C., when an Arab-American group honors Helen Thomas, the Detroit-raised journalist whose long career ended this year when she made inflammatory remarks about Israel.

Thomas, 90, is set to receive a "courage in journalism" award today by the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.

She resigned in May from Hearst News Service after telling an interviewer that Jews should "get the hell out" of the Palestinian territories and go to Germany, Poland or the United States. 

"By honoring Helen Thomas, who is clearly an anti-Jewish bigot, that makes a mockery of the ADC's ludicrous claim that the ADC fights discrimination," said Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, a New York group organizing the protests.
Of course, Thomas didn't say that Jews should get out of the territories, she said they should get the hell out of Palestine, which obviously includes Israel in her mind (she didn't say they should go to "Israel" - to her, Israel is part of Palestine populated by Polish colonizers.)

More interesting is exactly when she was slated to receive this award. There was a Mehdi award winner in 2009 - Ray Hanania - but the one before that was in 2002. I could find no news of a nomination process for the 2010 award as there was in 2009.

It seems clear that her award, and probably the idea of offering the award altogether for 2010, was decided after her anti-semitic remarks, not before. Certainly the people who decide on the award didn't feel that Thomas was deserving of such an award for "courage" in the years 2003-2008 when they decided to forgo the awards altogether.

Her "courage in journalism" award seems to be for a single act of "courage:" telling the world that she wants all Jews to be driven out of Israel.

The ADC says:
ADC National Board Chair, Dr. Safa Rifka, states, "It is befitting to have this award presented at the Gala celebrating the achievements and courage of Helen Thomas. Like Dr. Mehdi, Ms. Thomas is a courageous pioneer who is proud of her heritage and pursues the truth."

ADC President, Sara Najjar-Wilson, stated that, "No one deserves the Courage in Journalism award more than Helen Thomas. Helen's unwavering dedication to her work, love for her country, and courage in asking the tough questions that no other person dared ask, are a source of pride to all Americans."
It appears that mainstream Arabs - ironically, especially the Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee - are not the least bit embarrassed by Thomas' bigotry, and in fact they are celebrating it under the rubric of suddenly calling her "courageous."