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Free Speech, Helen Thomas, Zionism, and Illegal Aliens

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We like to think that we in the United States enjoy the right of free speech. But that right exists only to a point.

Say the "wrong" thing, and you will find yourself fired, ostracized, calumnified, your house egged, your life threatened.

Don't take free speech too seriously.

Those in the spotlight learn, most of them most of the time, to NOT speak their minds, to water down their opinions to conform to that which is politically acceptable, at least to the home crowd.

In the aftermath of the Israeli military attack on an aid ship bent on breaching the Gaza blockade, Helen Thomas was asked her opinion. She said, "The Jews need to get the hell out of Palestine" or words to that effect. Not a smart answer, though definitely a heart-felt one. Many of us felt a similar outrage.

And Thomas is now paying the price for candor. She may even find herself ostracized by the White House.

No, it does not pay to offend Jewish Americans or their sympathizers. We can see from the pressure coming to bear against Thomas exactly where the power lies in this country, and it appears al-Quaida is correct that our government and institutions are underlain by Zionism.

I am not really anti-semitic. In fact, I was pro-Israeli until the 1967 U.S.S. Liberty incident.

What I am opposed to are divided loyalties on the part of American citizens. We are now vitally concerned about divided loyalties--where an American has loyalties to an Islamic cause or foreign power. We have never been concerned about the divided loyalties of Jewish Americans.

There are so many hypocrisies here:

That a people subjected to the most incredible discrimination and policies of extermination should in less than a generation go from one side of the barbed wire to the other; from oppressed to oppressor; from inmates of concentration camps to keepers of such camps (though I want to make clear that it is still far better to be a Palestinian or Arab in Israel than a Jew in Nazi Germany);

That the United States should react so strongly to the attack on the U.S.S. Cole -- 17 men killed, 39 injured -- while sweeping under the rug the attack by Israeli armed forces on the U.S.S. Liberty -- 34 men dead, 174 injured; or that the U.S. government should exhibit a luke warm response to the Israeli attack on a humanitarian ship running the blockade--there is no consistency here;

That we Americans feel such sympathy for Jews who illegally (for the most part) invaded an occupied ancestral homeland while we are so opposed to illegal immigration by Mexicans to lands that we stole from Mexico 180 years ago!

So many ironies.

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