Did you enjoy ‘Lynch-an-Elderly-Female-Journalist-for-Israel Day’?

Israel-First’s media shills moved quickly to destroy another defenseless target in the form of the octogenarian journalist, Ms. Helen Thomas. Too bad she had not been on a relief boat, they could have just shot her in the head.

Let me say, that I carry no brief for Ms. Thomas. Listening to her consistently Liberal-biased questions at the White House was always a trial and often migraine inducing. But the liberal and conservative journalists who formed a lynch mob after she said the Israelis should “get the hell out of Palestine” and “go home to Germany, Poland, and America” shows the complete unity of the “unbiased” U.S. press corps when it comes to the topic of Israel. Ms. Thomas was hung because Israel’s interests required her hanging — no debate about U.S. support for Israel is permitted among Americans — and the media’s Israel-First U.S. citizens (or do they carry Israeli passports, too?) eagerly did the lynching.

About this event, people should read a story by Howard Kurtz called “Out of Questions” in the Washington Post (8 June 10). Kurtz says Ms. Thomas’s “hostility toward Israel has been no secret inside the Beltway,” which seems to mean the mass of Israel-First journalists with whom she shared a profession resented her opinion of Israel but lacked the manliness to confront her. They waited for a skulking Long Island Rabbi and his candid camera to set up Ms. Thomas and then slither home to put the tape on his website. They then piled on like the girly-men they are. For her fellow journalists, of course, Ms. Thomas’s views toward Israel were biased and hate-filled, whereas their own abject fawning over Israel is the way God planned things, and anyone who disagrees is preordained to get kicked by the boot the U.S.-citizen Israel-Firsters lick.

With his own skewering of Ms. Thomas, Kurtz adds quotes from a couple more first-team, Israel-First grovelers who had stepped to the plate to take swings at Ms. Thomas. From the so-called conservative side, the National Review’s Jonah Goldberg claimed “She’s [Ms. Thomas] always said crazy things,” insinuating Ms. Thomas always has been an enemy of Israel and/or that you have to be crazy not to love Israel and want America to fight its wars. From the liberal camp came the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg saying that “Helen Thomas offered the official Hamas position” — apparently accusing Ms. Thomas of being a terrorist is part of the lynchers’ toolkit. Kurtz finishes by quoting the New Republic’s Jonathan Chait who wrote in 2006 that Ms. Thomas was prone to “unhinged rants” such as asking “Why are we killing people in Iraq? Men, women, and children are being killed there. … It’s outrageous.” One would think it hard to judge this as a rant in that half of all Americans in 2006 were asking the same question. But then again the Iraq War was waged to protect Israel’s interests at the cost of thousands of dead Americans, and so, for Kurtz and Chait, anyone who questions the wisdom or cost of the Iraq war clearly is “ranting.” For all these Israel-First shills the bottom line is “Free speech be damned when it comes to Israel.”

Now, there is no reason that anyone should agree with Ms. Thomas’s words about Israel, or even pay any attention to them. But there is no basis for or justice in the way she was treated for speaking her mind. Having your ears seared and your stomach turned by things you do not want to hear is what free speech is about. Until the 1970s America’s public square was a wide open, raucous, intelligent, and fun. Today, however, it is hedged around by hate-talk police like Mr. Kurtz, et al who think if they can suppress the speech they find offensive and lynch the offenders we will have a much better world, or, more likely, a world which they in their genius approve.

Well, they are wrong. Efforts to suppress free speech, as in Ms. Thomas’s case, always backfire on the society they are mistakenly meant to perfect. That is why the Founders — who knew man cannot be perfected — wrote the First Amendment, and why they manfully absorbed attacks on themselves that far surpassed in venom anything that Ms. Thomas said about Israel. Anti-free speech efforts — like those the Israel-First fifth column specializes in — may for a time quiet people who prefer to avoid public vilification by the media’s lynching teams, but over time they will only harden minds and hearts. Indeed, the debates the hate-speech police and their laws mean to prevent will inevitably resurface in a more dangerous form, for when all issues cannot be openly, frankly, and even harshly debated and settled in the public square, violence always ensues.

Finally, in case you wondered who calls the shots in Washington, did you notice that neither the president, his cabinet, nor a single one of the 535 members of the federal legislature said a word in support of Ms. Thomas’s right to say what she thinks? Didn’t all these U.S. officials swear to “preserve, protect, and defend” the U.S. Constitution? Well, maybe they are just following orders.

Author: Michael F. Scheuer

Michael F. Scheuer worked at the CIA as an intelligence officer for 22 years. He was the first chief of its Osama bin Laden unit, and helped create its rendition program, which he ran for 40 months. He is an American blogger, historian, foreign policy critic, and political analyst.