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Jun 7, 2010 1:08 PM by Melissa Canone

Journalist Helen Thomas Retires Following Remarks She Made About Israel

WASHINGTON (AP) - Longtime Washington journalist Helen Thomas
abruptly retired Monday as a columnist for Hearst News Service
following remarks she made about Israel that were denounced by the
White House and her press corps colleagues.
The 89-year-old Thomas, dean of the White House press corps, has
long been a fixture in Washington and has been lauded as a
pioneering journalist who has covered presidents since 1960.
Known for her confrontational questioning, Thomas apologized for
comments that were captured on video and have spread widely on the
Internet. On the May 27 video, Thomas says Israelis should "get
the hell out of Palestine," suggesting they go to Germany, Poland
or the U.S.
Hearst announced her retirement, effective immediately, shortly
after White House press secretary Robert Gibbs called her remarks
"offensive and reprehensible."
The White House Correspondents Association also issued a rare
statement, calling her comments "indefensible."
"Many in our profession who have known Helen for years were
saddened by the comments, which were especially unfortunate in
light of her role as a trail blazer on the White House beat," said
the statement, signed by journalists who are officers of the
association.
Thomas had been scheduled to speak at the June 14 graduation of
Walt Whitman High School in the Washington suburb of Bethesda, Md.,
but Principal Alan Goodwin wrote in a Sunday e-mail to students and
parents that she was being replaced.
"Graduation celebrations are not the venue for divisiveness,"
Goodwin wrote.
Thomas wrote on her website that "I deeply regret my comments I
made last week regarding the Israelis and the Palestinians."
She added: "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."
The national director of the Anti-Defamation League, Abraham H.
Foxman, said Sunday that Thomas' apology didn't go far enough.
"Her suggestion that Israelis should go back to Poland and
Germany is bigoted and shows a profound ignorance of history,"
Foxman said in a statement. "We believe Thomas needs to make a
more forceful and sincere apology for the pain her remarks have
caused."
Thomas began her long career with the wire service United Press
International in 1943, and started covering the White House in
1960, according to a biography posted on her website. She became a
columnist for Hearst in 2000.

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