Back in 1948, liberals were excited when President Harry Truman took to whistle-stopping and scorching the "do nothing 80th Congress" run by Republicans. "Give 'em hell, Harry," they cried. They loved it, too, when Harry recognized the State of Israel, just eleven minutes after it proclaimed independence. Liberals cared a lot about Israel's precarious existence back then.
No more. Just this week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was heckled at a convention of "progressives" in Washington. How could progressives not approve the most liberal, most radical Congress in history? Well, they threw things and yelled at Madame Speaker: "Stop Funding Israeli Terror!" Wait a minute, Israeli terror? The whole world could see how the Israeli commandos were set upon by lead pipe-wielding "peace activists" when they tried to board that Turkish ferry that was running the Israeli blockade of Gaza.
Is it "terror" to try to stop rockets from being smuggled into Gaza by Iran to its clients, Hamas?
Progressives apparently think so. Don't be confused by terminology. A "progressive" is what liberals call themselves when Americans get wise to what liberals want and what liberals do. It's a little like saying rattlesnake tastes like chicken, though. Pretty soon, it ruins your taste for chicken, too.
We know what progressives think of Israel. Helen Thomas was bounced from her front-row perch in the White House press pool this week. She told partiers at an Israel-friendly event that Israel should "get the hell out of Palestine," that the Jews there should "go home to Germany and Poland." Well, after an embarrassingly slow burn, the fuse her incendiary comments lit finally exploded. She was, in quick succession, dumped as a graduation speaker in liberal Montgomery County, dropped as a Hearst columnist, and ejected from her front-row seat in the White House press room. That's quite a week.
The marvel is that it took so long. Helen Thomas has been giving Israel hell for decades. Israel is the only nation on earth that she wants to see expunged. Lots of people think Iraq and Jordan are artificial entities, unreal "states" created in an afternoon in Winston Churchill's Colonial Office back in the '20s. Many people would agree with the Egyptian diplomat who said his was the only nation in the Arab Middle East. The rest, he said, "are tribes with flags."
There are many sensible people who never thought cobbled-together dictatorships like Yugoslavia or the Soviet Union made sense. There are even some liberals who argue that Quebec should be allowed to say "adieu" to the Canadian Confederation. We've never heard hell-raising Helen expound on any of these issues. No, the only nation on earth whose eradication she ever called for is Israel. The only people she wants to "get the hell" out of there are the Jews.
So how come we are only now hearing about all of this? Why is it just last week we saw photos on Drudge of Thomas being hugged by President Obama and offered a plate of birthday cupcakes?
If she had been notoriously anti-gay or anti-black, would the White House press corps have partied with her? Would they party with David Duke? No, but as Brit Hume noted, Helen Thomas has been spewing her anti-Semitism for decades. Brit should know. He had to sit next to her for many of those years. (Isn't that worth a Presidential Medal of Freedom?)
It's pretty clear that Helen Thomas' virulence was indulged by a liberal press corps that thinks it's OK to line up against the Israeli government. They are those "right wing" politicians, those disagreeable people in Jerusalem who just happen to have to consider the lives and liberty of seven million surrounded, endangered Jews. The Israeli government doesn't have the luxury of indulging such shrill criticism.
The Helen Thomas episode is only underscored by the progressives heckling Madame Speaker at a progressive lunch, demanding an end to U.S. support for Israel. Let's all hope that all Americans who care about Israel take note of who their real friends are. The times they are a-changing.
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