The executive committee of the Society of Professional Journalists has recommended that the organization retire a lifetime achievement award named for Helen Thomas. The recommendation issued Jan. 8 by the national journalists’ group, based on anti-Zionist remarks made by Thomas, will be sent to its board of directors within 10 days.“While we support Helen Thomas’ right to speak her opinion, we condemn her statements in December as offensive and inappropriate,” the executive committee said in making its recommendation.On Dec. 2, in a speech to an Arab-American group in Dearborn, Mich., Thomas, 90, said that Congress, the White House, Hollywood and Wall Street “are owned by the Zionists.” The remarks raised fresh concerns about the sincerity of an apology for her remarks last summer to a video blogger that Jews “should get the hell out of Palestine” and “go home” to Poland, Germany and the United States. The Society of Professional Journalists decided not to change the name of its Helen Thomas Lifetime Achievement Award after those remarks. ”The Society for Professional Journalists, established in 1909, granted Thomas its first lifetime achievement honor in 2000.
“Helen Thomas brought shame to the journalism profession; the Society of Professional Journalists restored its honor,” Elan Steinberg, vice president of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants, said in a statement released Sunday.