Drew Zahn - Helen Thomas, the former "dean" of the White House Press Corps who lost her position over a string of anti-Semitic comments, is interviewed in the April issue of Playboy, renewing her criticism of Israel and Jews in "control" of America.
"[The Jews are] using their power, and they have power in every direction … power over the White House, power over Congress," Thomas told Playboy Contributing Editor David Hochman. "Everybody is in the pocket of the Israeli lobbies, which are funded by wealthy supporters, including those from Hollywood. Same thing with the financial markets. There's total control.
"It's real power when you own the White House, when you own these other places in terms of your political persuasion. Of course they have power," Thomas continued, then addressed Hochman: "You don't deny that. You're Jewish, aren't you?"
The 90-year-old journalist was a correspondent with United Press International for 57 years, an opinion columnist with Hearst Newspapers for 10 years and the senior White House reporter, covering every president since Eisenhower, until damaging comments last year pushed her to retirement.
Thomas resigned in June after telling a rabbi on camera that Israelis should "get the h--- out of Palestine" and "go home" to "Poland, Germany and America and everywhere else."
Though Thomas published an apology for her statements last year, writing, "I deeply regret my comments," Thomas expressed a different sentiment in her interview with Playboy:
"I knew exactly what I was doing – I was going for broke. I had reached the point of no return. You finally get fed up," she told the magazine. "I finally wanted to speak the truth."
Part of that "truth," Thomas told Playboy, is her claim that Israel is perpetuating its people's victim-of-the-Holocaust status to escape criticism over wrongdoing against the Palestinians.
"The slaughter of Jews stopped with World War II. … They were liberated since then. And yet they carry on the victimization," Thomas told the magazine. "American people do not know that the Israeli lobbyists have intimidated them into believing every Jew is a persecuted victim forever – while they are victimizing Palestinians."
She continued, "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. … [The Palestinians] are incarcerated and living in an open prison. I say to the Israelis, 'Get out of people's homes!' ... I mean, they're living there and these people want to come and take their homes and land and water and kill their children and kill them."
Still, Thomas insists, she doesn't hold any hatred for the Jewish people.
"Oh, I know what they're going to say: 'anti-Semite.'… The truth is, I don't hate anybody. I care deeply about people. I care for the poor, the sick, the lame, the harmed, those who've been treated unjustly," she told Playboy. "I think [the Jews] are wonderful people. They had to have the most depth. They were leaders in civil rights. They've always had the heart for others but not for Arabs, for some reason.
"I'm not anti-Jewish," she explained, "I'm anti-Zionist."
Thomas, therefore, explains why she blames Israelis for Palestinian terror attacks:
"Of course I don't condone any violence against anyone. But who wouldn't fight for their country? What would any American do if their land was being taken? Remember Pearl Harbor," Thomas told Playboy. "The Palestinian violence is to protect what little remains of Palestine. The suicide bombers act out of despair and desperation. Three generations of Palestinians have been forced out of their homes – by Israelis – and into refugee camps."
Following her comments last year, made on the White House lawn during American Jewish Heritage month, President Obama criticized Thomas' statement, supporting her departure from the White House press corps.
"Her comments were offensive," Obama said. "It's a shame because Helen's someone who has been a correspondent through I don't know how many presidents, was a real institution in Washington, D.C. But I think she made the right decision. I think those comments are out of line, and hopefully she recognizes that."
Earlier this week, however, Editor & Publisher reports, Thomas told a national conference of campus journalists from College Media Advisers, "I want an apology from the president."
"I also heard from Jimmy Carter," Thomas revealed. "He called a few weeks later. Basically he was sympathetic. He talked about the Israelis in the Middle East, the violations. It was very nice of him to call, but I don’t want to get him into trouble."
She also reiterated her statements that Israelis should leave homes occupied by Palestinians prior to 1948, only this time suggesting they come to the U.S., rather than "go home" to "Poland, Germany and America and everywhere else."