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Rabbi vs. Helen Thomas

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Rabbi David Nesenoff, who recorded the late Helen Thomas saying Jews should “get the hell out of Palestine,” recalls his chance encounter with the veteran UPI reporter at the White House in 2010.

She was a journalist for 60 years, and I was a journalist for 60 seconds; I figured it was time we met. So we stopped her and exchanged pleasantries. Although my cameras were in the White House, I had my small Flip video camera on me, and I started filming. She looked directly into the lens and gave some rather gracious advice about journalism: “You’ll always keep people informed and you’ll always keep learning.”

I was waiting until later in the day to shoot my Israel question at the guests of the Jewish celebration, but something made me fire one round a little early. “Any comments on Israel?”

Hashgachah pratit, divine providence. The ultimate Creator of this story, and all stories, placed in my camera the video snippet that would aid Israel and change my life. “Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine,” she said.

If I was in a back alley in New York and a skinhead said that to me, we would probably rumble. But we were at the White House, she was 89 years old, and, if you’ve seen my photo, I’m the skinhead. The whole thing was very confusing.

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