On a recent TV show, Joy Behar gave former White House correspondent Helen Thomas a chance to apologize for her Anit-Semitism and re-join the human race. But Helen refused to admit that she is Anti-Semitic, claiming that she is a Semite herself. What in the hell was she talking about? It was quite clear that Joy Behar obviously didn’t understand what Helen meant when she said she was a Semite.
The word Semite refers to a language group, just as the word Aryan refers to a language group. The word Semite does not mean Jewish, just as the word Aryan does not mean German.
As a native of Lebanon, Helen Thomas is a member of an ethnic group (Arab) that is in the Semite language group. The Jewish descendants of Abraham were Semites who spoke Hebrew. As God’s Chosen people, God gave the Hebrews “The Promised Land,” which is now Israel. The Palestinians are also the descendants of Abraham and they have lived for thousands of years in Palestine; they refuse to leave what they consider their homeland. Today’s Jews are 90% Eastern European Jews or Russian Jews or Ashkenazi Jews, or whatever you want to call them. The original descendants of Abraham are called Sephardic Jews.
Helen Thomas does not consider the Jews in Israel to be Semites and she thinks they should not be in Palestine. (Look at photos of Netanyahu and Helen Thomas side by side and you will understand what she is talking about.)
Helen Thomas made an insensitive remark when she was interviewed on camera last year by a rabbi. She said that the Jews should “Get the hell out of Palestine.” As she tried to explain to Joy Behar, Helen thinks that the Jews do not need a country of their own because they are not currently being persecuted. Helen thinks that the Jews in Israel should go back to where they came from, which is “Germany, Poland, and America.” To the Jews, this remark was an extreme insult because, after Germany tried to kill all the Jews, this is the last place that they would ever want to go.
The term Anti-Semite was first used back in the 1870s when the “Jewish Question” was being discussed. The Germans called their genocidal plan to kill all the Jews “The Final Solution to the Jewish Question.” So what was the “Jewish Question?” The Question was: Should the Jews live separately in their own state within a state, or should they assimilate in the country where they lived? The “Anti-Semites” wanted the Jews to assimilate instead of living separately in a Ghetto or a “Jewish Quarter” which amounted to a state within a state with its own flag, its own language and its own laws.
The idea that the Jews should have their own country started back in 1896 when Theodor Herzl, a Jewish journalist in Vienna, started the Zionist movement by writing a book called “The Jewish State,” which advocated the unification of all the Jews in their own country, preferably in Palestine. In 1897, the World Jewish Congress met for the first time in Switzerland to make plans for a Jewish state. In that same year, the Germans in Austria-Hungary formed a “Pan-German” political party which called for a German country with nothing but Germans — no Jews or Gypsies or any other ethnic group allowed.
Hitler was from Austria and he became a “Pan-German” by the age of six because his father was a big supporter of Pan-Germanism. Hitler was not an Anti-Semite; he did not want the Jews to assimilate. Hitler wanted the Jews to get the Hell out of Germany and form their own country somewhere else.
By 1882, the original German state of Austria had grown to be a multi-ethnic empire called Austria-Hungary; it included the territory which, after World War I, became the independent countries of Austria, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Romania, and one third of the new independent country of Poland. (The Poles had lost their independence in 1795 when Prussia, Austria and Russia divided the former country of Poland.)
So it was in 1882 that the idea of the German ethnic group having a country of their own started when an Austrian politician named Georg Ritter von Schönerer first came up with the idea of Pan-Germanism, which was the concept of the unification of all ethnic Germans into one country in Europe with one leader.
Between 1815 and 1871, Germany was not a united country; it was a Confederation of independent states, as opposed to a united country with a Federal government. This caused Germany to fall behind in the quest for world power during this period. There is a German expression which says that the Germans came too late to history.
At the time that Schönerer first conceived the idea of Pan-Germanism, the German state of Prussia, led by Chancellor Otto von Bismark, had recently united the independent German states into the second German Reich (Empire) in 1871. (The first German Reich, called “the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation,” had ended in 1806.) The King of Prussia, Wilhelm I of the Hohenzollern family, became the German Emperor or Kaiser of the second German Reich. He was crowned on January 18, 1871 in the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles in Paris, after the German state of Prussia defeated the French in the Franco-Prussian war, which was started by the French in 1870.
As a result of winning the Franco-Prussian war, the Germans took back Alsace and Lorraine, two German states which had been held by the French since they were annexed in the 17th century, several years after the devastation of the Thirty Years war had rendered the Germans powerless. Alsace and Lorraine are rich in iron ore, which the Germans needed, since they had no other source. Losing Alsace and Lorraine was a great humiliation for the French, especially because the Germans immediately began to Germanize the former German province, ordering that the German language should be used in the schools. This fostered a desire for revenge, which the French finally got when the Allies effectively destroyed Germany by imposing the harsh terms of the Treaty of Versailles which were dictated to the Germans by the “Big Three” (Great Britain, France and America) following World War I.
During World War I, with only the Austrians as allies, the Germans claimed that they were fighting for their right to exist as a world power and their right to expand, while the British, French and Russians, and eventually Americans, saw it as the militaristic Prussians trying to take over the world. The British had conquered one fourth of the earth’s surface back in the days when aggression against other countries was considered a legitimate way to expand; the British Empire was then the world’s greatest superpower and the British intended to keep it that way.
When the Germans tried to catch up with France and Great Britain, beginning in 1871, this led to a show-down which resulted in World War I, after the British, French and Russians became allies in secret treaties that excluded the Germans. The British, French and Russians believed that Germany had to be prevented from ever becoming a world power. This was what led to two World Wars.
After World War I, Palestine became a British protectorate and the British policy was to limit the number the European Jews going to Palestine. That’s why Hitler began sneaking Jews into Palestine in 1934. Edwin Black wrote a whole book about the Germans sneaking Jews into Palestine, so look it up for yourself. It was this early emigration of German Jews to Palestine that paved the way for the country of Israel. But it was the Holocaust that finally convinced the British and Americans that the Jews needed a country of their own.
The Jews are currently safe in their own country where they are not likely to suffer another genocide. Helen Thomas doesn’t agree with the concept of the Jews having their own country because she thinks the Jews are not currently being persecuted, so they don’t need a country of their own. But that could change, so America supports the idea of the Jews having their country in what used to be Palestine.