Saturday, December 4, 2010

The alma mater of journalist Helen Thomas will not bestow an award that had been given in her name

The decision was made after the 90-year-old scribe made more controversial comments about Jewish people. Wayne State University, which Thomas graduated from in 1942, said in a statement that the school will no longer give out the Helen Thomas Spirit of Diversity in the Media Award. "Wayne State encourages free speech and open dialogue, and respects diverse viewpoints," the school's statement said. "However, the university strongly condemns the anti-Semitic remarks made by Helen Thomas during a conference yesterday." Thomas abruptly retired earlier in 2010 from her position as a White House columnist for the Hearst media chain after she told a rabbi that Israel should "get the hell out of Palestine." She also said Jewish people should leave Israel and go home to "Poland, Germany ... and America and everywhere else." Then, at a diversity conference in Dearborn, Michigan, Thomas voiced her opinion on Jewish people in the United States. According to the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News, she said, "Congress, the White House and Hollywood, Wall Street are owned by the Zionists. No question." Zionist is a term used to describe those who pushed for the creation - and today champion the current state and future existence - of modern-day Israel. As Thomas' comments circulated, the Anti-Defamation League issued a statement urging all schools and groups to take back any honors they've given to Thomas, saying she "clearly, unequivocally revealed herself as a vulgar anti-Semite." The Detroit native, who is of Lebanese descent, was long known for her strong opinions and was seen as a pioneer for female journalists.

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