When I heard the call to "Move Over AIPAC: Building a New US Middle East Policy" I immediately became one of over 100 organizations to endorse it ; but I didn't commit to attend the event until I learned that journalist Helen Thomas was to be the keynote speaker.
By the time I booked my flight, Ms. Thomas had been "disinvited" because of the pressure from a few particular people who had still not gotten over her flaming honesty expressed on 27 May 2010, in a courtyard at the White House.
As "life is what happens while you are making other plans" [John Lennon] their shortsightedness lead to one of the highlights of my 57 years of life.
Copyrighted Image? DMCA
eileen fleming with Helen Thomas-her new best friend of the old Fourth Estate
20 May 2011, I enjoyed an evening with
Ms. Thomas and was introduced to my new favorite aperitif; a mix of
Lemoncello and strained raspberry juice which was followed by an
dinner prepared in the home of Ms. Thomas's friend and assistant,
Michelle Cohen, who is in the middle of Rich Forer and Helen Thomas:
Only because of my new best author friend, Richard Forer, was I even invited to that dinner!
Ms. Thomas had recently reviewed Rich's book, " Breakthrough: Transforming Fear Into Compassion -- A New Perspective on the Israel-Palestine Conflict."
Ms. Thomas wrote, "People need to be informed so we can make good decisions regarding our involvement in the Middle East, and ultimately support the right governments. Forer offers a viewpoint that is not available in the mainstream" I admire Forer's courage to not being silent. He openly shares his personal transformation, and encourages the reader to be willing to "assess one's beliefs with honesty and to follow wherever the facts lead'. The truth cannot be silenced." 
This member of the New Fourth Estate-Internet muckraker and activist reporter not only admires Ms. Thomas for her truth telling, I contend that she is in the same league with Edward R. Murrow.
In 1958, Murrow warned that as television became more about entertainment and not about shows of enlightenment, this republic would be dumbed down; but only an informed and engaged citizenry can preserve a democracy, which thrives on dissent!
During Jewish Heritage Month in 2010, in a courtyard at the White House, blogger and Long Island Rabbi David Nesenoff approached Ms. Thomas and introduced her to two young boys with him who were interested in a career in journalism.
Nesenoff asked, "So what do you think of Israel? Got any advice? Go for it" as he pointed his camera at Ms. Thomas like a "jackknife" and she readily replied, "They should get the hell out of Palestine."
In an interview with Playboy, Ms. Thomas elaborated, "I knew I'd hit the third rail. You cannot say anything about Israel in this country. But I've lived with this cause for many years. Everybody knows my feelings that the Palestinians have been shortchanged in every way. Sure, the Israelis have a right to exist--but where they were born, not to come and take someone else's home. I've had it up to here with the violations against the Palestinians. Why shouldn't I say it?" 
Copyrighted Image? DMCA
eileen fleming with Ms. Thomas who is sporting her Palestinian flag bracelet and one of the saints.
Flashback to John Lennon:
In the summer of 1966, it was reported that John Lennon made a comment to a friend and reporter that the Beatles were more popular with my generation than Jesus was.