I met Thomas some years ago; she is definitely someone who shoots from the hip, and she has, for quite some time, been in a position where she could do so. She has generally asked tougher questions, on the Middle East as well as many other issues, than other reporters because she has had virtually guaranteed access to the White House.
I have enormous respect for the work she’s done as a journalist. But I have absolutely no sympathy on her for the
reaction her remarks have garnered. They were offensive and inappropriate. Her apology, which I believe was sincere, didn’t really address the offensive content of what she said.
Some, like Think Progress’ Matt Duss, have pointed out that similar comments regarding Palestinians have not garnered serious criticism. He’s right. Still, I do believe that while anti-Arab and anti-Muslim bigotry remains shamefully tolerated in the US, had Thomas’ comments been directed at African-Americans, women, or other groups in this country who have made some progress in fighting discrimination, she would have been in just as much trouble.
In any case, there was a great outcry, and Thomas, who could be argued to be the premier serious female reporter in the country, has retired as a result.
In Israel, the premier woman journalist in the country went a hell of a lot farther, in a premeditated, rather than an impetuous fashion. And there is hardly a peep in response in her home country.
Caroline Glick is well-known to readers of right-wing e-mail lists, and of course, of the Jerusalem Post, where she is the deputy managing editor and a regular columnist. She is also a fellow at the extremist neoconservative Center for Security Policy in Washington.
Glick herself is an extremist, and even those who agree with her (and who would, of course, not refer to her as an extremist) would have to agree that she situates herself well to the right of the current Israeli government. And that’s all well and good; she’s an op-ed writer, and she is certainly entitled to her opinions.
But at her web site, Latma, Glick has raised her vitriol to a whole new level. In a video overflowing with racism, a group of Israelis satirize the Israeli attack on the Gaza flotilla. You can see it for yourself at the link above, if you can make it through the whole thing.
In a most contemptible fashion, almost every trope of bigotry is on display in the video, which features the contention that the massive suffering in Gaza is all an elaborate fabrication. For a quick rundown of this “fabricated” suffering, check out B’Tselem’s summary of conditions in Gaza.
This level of cruelty is truly astonishing. Even if one contends that the Gaza blockade is a necessary security measure (see my earlier article for why it has the opposite effect), it is appalling to see fellow Jews laughing about it. And don’t we know all too well the offense in denying such things?
In any case, this is Glick, and from her work, such radicalism and hate speech is not surprising, even if this goes farther than she has in the past.
No, the real concern, the real question is where is the Israeli outrage? We wouldn’t expect it from the government, of course. In fact, the Government Press Office e-mailed the video to journalists and later apologized, saying it had been done in error. That is unlikely to say the least. Mark Regev, the Prime Minister’s Office Spokesman said “I called my kids in to watch it because I thought it was funny. It is what Israelis feel. But the government has nothing to do with it.”
The courageous blog, Coteret, run by Didi Remez, blasts the video and all it represents. But in the mainstream Israeli media and commentary, there is nothing. This blatantly hateful and racist video is perfectly acceptable in Israel.
Glick, on her blog, magnifies her hypocrisy by spending a great many words blasting Thomas for her offensive remarks. By doing so, of course, Glick undermines legitimate criticism of Thomas—when a racist as rabid as Glick accuses someone else of bigotry, it will make the uninitiated wonder.
Thomas may have indeed revealed an animosity she had kept hidden. Or maybe she was just incensed over Israel’s recent behavior.
In any case, she didn’t express her prejudices in a premeditated fashion. She didn’t work on scripting, casting, filming and distributing a hate video.
Glick’s racism is clear and shameful. The reception from Regev and the resounding silence of most of Israeli society is an even greater obscenity, and the much bigger cause for concern.
What is Israel becoming that there can be so much acceptance of such hate? And what message are they sending to those, like myself, who have worked for years to support Israel and seek peace for it?