In the wake of widely condemned anti-Semitic comments by long-time White House reporter and Hearst newspaper columnist Helen Thomas, Hearst heiress Victoria Hearst is demanding that the corporation bearing her family’s name fire Thomas immediately.
“She has poured mud all over my family’s name,” Hearst told WND. “I’ve never heard any Hearst family member make an anti-Semitic remark, and none of them would be in agreement with Helen Thomas.”
Thomas, on hand for a Jewish Heritage Celebration held at the White House May 27, told Rabbi David F. Nesenoff on camera that Jews should “get the hell out of Palestine” and “go home” to “Poland, Germany and America and everywhere else.” (Watch video below)
Following the resulting uproar and demands she be terminated, the 89-year-old Thomas – often called the “dean of the White House press corps,” having covered every president since Eisenhower – tried to back away from her comments by issuing a written apology: “I deeply regret my comments I made last week regarding the Israelis and the Palestinians,” she wrote, adding they “do not reflect” her “heart-felt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance.”
While Thomas believes Jews should “get the hell out” of Israel, Victoria Hearst is a staunch supporter of the Jewish State. As founder and director of Praise Him Ministries and Ridgway Christian Center in Ridgway, Colo., according to her website Hearst “loves Israel and the Jews”:
She has been to Israel many times and helps Mayor Ron Nachman of the city of Ariel in Judea and Samaria with certain projects. She also assists the Jews of Gush Katif who lost their homes and livelihoods when they were forced out of Gaza in 2005. Victoria believes that all Christians need to support Israel and the Jews’ right to the land as God promised in the Bible.
Thomas has been employed by Hearst Newspapers as a columnist since 2000, writing on national affairs and the White House. Although Victoria Hearst does not serve in any official capacity at the Hearst Corporation and therefore has no formal clout, she says Thomas’s remarks are a stain on both her family name and the company.
“If I were running the company,” she said, “I would have immediately suspended Helen Thomas from her duties, and put out a statement saying, ‘We wholeheartedly condemn what she said. The Hearst Corporation and the Hearst Family do not condone anti-Semitism in any way, shape or form. And we demand a heartfelt apology to the Jewish community around the world.'”
Victoria Hearst is the youngest of five daughters of Catherine Campbell Hearst and Randolph Apperson Hearst, who was one of five boys of the legendary William Randolph Hearst. Starting with one newspaper, the San Francisco Examiner, Hearst built a vast media empire that included newspapers, magazines, radio stations and a movie company, as well as ranches, mines and timber. The spectacular “Hearst Castle,” located on 80,000 acres in San Simeon, Calif., remains a popular tourist attraction.
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Reaction to Thomas’s remarks on Israel have been widespread and negative.
WND Editor and CEO Joseph Farah, a long-time Hearst newspaper executive at the Los Angeles Herald Examiner before the days of the Internet, said in a recent column about Thomas: “Can you imagine in 2010 any other media or political figure getting away with saying Jews in Israel should go back to Germany and Poland? It’s stunning. It’s breathtaking. It’s flabbergasting. This is a first-rate, raw-boned, dyed-in-the-wool Jew-hater. And she represents the Hearst Corp.”
Even the agency that has long represented Thomas, “Nine Speakers,” has dropped her, saying, “in light of recent events, Nine Speakers is no longer able to represent Ms. Thomas, nor can we condone her comments on the Middle East.”
And former Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer told the Huffington Post: “She should lose her job over this. As someone who is Jewish, and as someone who worked with her and used to like her, I find this appalling.”
UPDATE: Upon news that Helen Thomas is retiring in the wake of her comments on Israel, Victoria Hearst is urging Hearst Corporation CEO Frank Bennack to “make a public apology to the Worldwide Jewish Community, assuring the Jewish people that the Hearst Corporation is not anti-Israel.”