Last week, in a very controversial conversation in which she challenged the treatment of Palestinians by Israelis, and said Israelis should leave Palestine and go home.
Over the weekend, although she apologized, the speakers agency that had represented Helen Thomas dropped her. Right wingers, like Ari Fleisher, former Bush press secretary, called for her to be fired, as huffingtonpost.com reported,
Today, Monday, Robert Gibbs stated, according to the Washington Post,
"She should lose her job over this," Fleischer said in an email. "As someone who is Jewish, and as someone who worked with her and used to like her, I find this appalling."
"She is advocating religious cleansing. How can Hearst stand by her? If a journalist, or a columnist, said the same thing about blacks or Hispanics, they would already have lost their jobs."
"Those remarks were offensive and reprehensible," Gibbs said, noting that Thomas has apologized. Her sentiments "do not reflect certainly most of the people here and certainly not those of the administration."Thomas, of Lebanese descent, has a reputation of being critical of Israel and recently challenged the Obama administrations response to the Israeli killings on the Gaza headed flotilla.
Her employer, Hearst corporation, issued the following announcement:
Helen Thomas announced Monday that she is retiring, effective immediately.UPDATE:
Her decision came after her controversial comments about Israel and the Palestinians were captured on videotape and widely disseminated on the Internet.
Thomas later issued a statement: ''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.''
Thomas will mark her 90th birthday on Aug. 4.
One commenter suggests she start a blog-- a great idea. And hopefully organizations that valued and still value her long history as a fighter for the truth will invite her to speak for them.