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A bad finish to a good run

Helen Thomas' sudden retirement as a White House columnist is appropriate given her recent offensive and bigoted statements on Israel.

On May 27, during a White House celebration of American Jews, Thomas was asked if she had any comments on Israel.

"Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine," she can be heard replying in a video widely seen on YouTube.
And go where?

"Go home," Thomas said. "Poland. Germany. And America, and everywhere else."

Jews have been living in what is now Israel and the occupied territories for thousands of years. The "home" Thomas suggests was where millions of Jews were systematically slaughtered just decades ago. Even after the defeat of the Nazis, Jews who tried to return "home" faced anti-Semitism and violence.

The remarks have been denounced by White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, the Anti-Defamation League, and many more across the political spectrum.

Thomas, 89, has made a career out of being the brash journalist in the front row of the press room who shows no fear when it comes to making press secretaries, presidents, and even her colleagues cringe. She arrived on the scene with John F. Kennedy in 1961, working for the wire service United Press International. She became a columnist for Hearst 10 years ago.

As a columnist, she was entitled to her opinion. But not a selective use of the facts. Or a front-row perch in the White House from which to spread bigotry.