The venerable White House correspondent Helen Thomas, who died in July, was Mark Mondalek’s grandmother’s cousin. He says his interviews in 2011-2012 with Thomas, an Arab-American who resigned under pressure in 2010 because of comments she made about Israeli Jews, were the last she ever gave. At Middle East Monitor.
Some excerpts, focusing on the Israeli influence in American politics, LBJ’s ignoring the USS Liberty attack in an election year, Obama’s taking insults from Netanyahu, Israel trying to get us into an Iran war, etc. Re my headline, I’d note that no foreign country can sustain this degree of influence in our politics for so long, 44 years, without Americans waking up. It’s happening.
Q. The fight against terrorism has taken an interesting turn with regards to its shift toward places like Yemen and Pakistan now, too.
HT: Pakistan is a mess. Pakistanis protected bin Laden. Nobody knew where he was, baloney. They killed him. They should never have killed him.
Q. If they took him alive they could have maybe humanised him within the rule of law.
HT: Right. But they didn’t want him to be humanised, that’s for sure. They killed him. They had no right to do that. Under international law? Just to have these guys come and shoot him? The U.S. has lost its honour. They have no honour. They have no right to go kill people in their own country. They went into a foreign country and killed a man.
Q. What are your thoughts on Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech before Congress on May 24, 2011, in which he declared that “Israel will not return to the indefensible lines of 1967?”
HT: Congress demeaned us. They disgraced us. And Obama was disgraced, totally. He deserves it. [He was] scared to death.
Q.Why does Obama deserve it?
HT: He let these people insult us. We were insulted. He was scared. You don’t alienate [the Israelis] when you have an election coming up. He should have stood up for what’s just and said, “Look, I don’t like an aggressor.”
Q. It’s impossible to avoid coming back to the Six-Day War over and over again, isn’t it?
HT: Abba Eban went to the Pentagon a weekend before the Six-Day War started and got the maps for 25 airfields in the whole Arab world and they killed them all, they bombed them all. That’s how dirty the U.S. was. They gave them maps from the Pentagon. The U.S. has been rotten. I’m sorry. It’s been rotten.
Q. Then in the aftermath of the war-
HT: Well, the U.S. was helping the Israelis and has helped them with planes, with the money, with everything–with all the intelligence. And then when they bombed the USS Liberty in bright sunlight with the sun shining and there was no mistaking the American flags flying everywhere, they bombed the American intelligence ship. They killed 34 people and one sailor finally got to a phone to SOS the American fleets just barely nearby, they were coming to the rescue, and LBJ [Lyndon B. Johnson] called them off, called off a rescue for the people on the Liberty. He was running for election.
Q. What did they have to gain from that?
HT: LBJ thought he had a lot to cosy up to with the Israelis.
Q. But what did the Israelis get out of it then?
HT: Oh, they could wipe out an intelligence ship. Information. We had it all. We damn well knew what was happening in the Middle East. We betrayed ourselves. We betrayed every Arab. We allowed the Israelis to win that war and it was so rotten. And they killed our own people. People who are survivors of the Liberty are still damned mad. LBJ called off any rescue and the ships had to go back because he wanted to win an election and he wanted the Israelis to be on his side. He betrayed the world. He betrayed the U.S., in my opinion. He betrayed his own people. He saw his own people being killed–Americans being killed–and the Israelis were killing us. There was no mistake. It was bright sunlight, American flags flying.
Q. What do you think about the fear that the Arabs will lose interest in the Palestinian cause?
HT: They don’t have many people standing up for the Palestinians. People don’t understand their plight. The Arabs haven’t done enough for them. They don’t fight, long as they’re comfortable. But the cause is great and they’re very righteous. The Jews have no right to come from nowhere and say, “This is my home, God gave it to me.” Rabin said, “Where’s the deed?”…
Q. When is the next…
HT: Invasion? Iran. They’ll bomb Iran as soon as it gets the bomb.
Q. Does it matter if a Republican or a Democrat is in office?
HT: No. The Israelis have the influence over both parties. They put their money in both parties.
Q. Talk from Israel on a “pre-emptive” strike on Iran continues on unabated, also. Oh, yeah, they’re still building up, aren’t they? But the thing is, the U.S. has never told them to shut up. Get the hell out of it. Well, I hope that they don’t win. I hope that the Israelis don’t get us into this war.
Mondalek is a Detroit-area writer and contributing author at Boiling Frogs Post and is working on a book about the life of Helen Thomas. Here he is on Twitter.