High School Cancels Speech by Helen Thomas

She agrees to skip commencement talk after complaints

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 7, 2010 2:02 AM CDT | Updated Jun 7, 2010 5:00 AM CDT

(Newser) – Helen Thomas has agreed to back out of a commencement speech at a Washington DC high school following complaints by students and parents. The veteran White House correspondent has come under fire for an interview in which she said Jews should "get the hell out" of Israel and go back to Germany and other countries where they came from. If Thomas had appeared at Walt Whitman High School there would have been "a lot of people booing her off the stage," one Whitman parent tells the Washington Post.

"It would be an embarrassment." The school had received emails from parents and students suggesting that the appearance be canceled. "One worries about freedom of speech," but "the biggest concern is this is the kids' day, and nothing should be a distraction," said the president of the school board. Former Bush press chief Ari Fliescher has called for Thomas to be fired.

Helen Thomas asks White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs a question during his daily briefing at the White House in Washington earlier this year.
Helen Thomas asks White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs a question during his daily briefing at the White House in Washington earlier this year.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
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Helen Thomas says Jews should "get the hell out" of Israel in this now-infamous interview.   (rabbilive)

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Graduation celebrations are not the venue for divisiveness. - Alan Goodwin, principal
of Walt Whitman High School

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