I was surprised as anyone by the Helen Thomas video that came out the other day showing the veteran White House correspondent saying that the Jews should "get the hell out of Palestine," and she wasn’t talking about the occupied territories. She said they should go back to Germany. One hears this type of comment in Palestine, too; I reported it from my Gaza trip a year back.
The silver lining here is that Thomas, who is an Arab-American, was expressing maximalist feelings, and if you’re going to denounce her maximalist impulses, then it is only fair to expose maximalist policies on the other side. Ari Fleischer says that Thomas is in favor of "religious cleansing." Well what is happening now– not just in angry people’s heads– but on the ground in Sheikh Jarrah and al-Walaje and so forth? That’s a maximalist policy. Yes Arabs opposed Partition, but so did Jewish maximalists, and who has had the hammer for the last 63 years? And which side repeatedly defied international law, and Harry Truman too, when it came to letting the non-Jewish refugees of ’48 return to their homes following their cleansing?
It’s one thing to say that Palestinians want to push Jews into the sea. And yes, some surely do. But who actually got pushed into the sea? The Palestinians in Jaffa, during the ethnic-cleansing of that Arab city. There are now Israeli art galleries in the old stolen Arab homes there. That land’s beauties must be shared.