The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) will be honoring veteran White House correspondent Helen Thomas with their “Lifetime Achievement Award” at the group’s 16th annual fundraising banquet.
Now 90, Helen Thomas covered the White House from Presidents John F. Kennedy through Barack Obama. Thomas was forced into retirement in June after she was captured on tape making offensive comments about Israeli Jews at a Jewish heritage event at the White House on May 27.
Though CAIR will be honoring her on October 9, spokesman Ibrahim Hooper told The Daily Caller that the award is for her career in its entirety. “We didn’t make the comments. We don’t support the comments. We have nothing to do with the comments,” Hooper said.
“She made offhand remarks, she apologized for them, and we’re giving her a lifetime achievement award for her lifetime of achievement as a nationally-recognized journalist, as I said, whose many decades of service to the profession of journalism should be what she is recognized for, not some offhand remark that she apologized for,” Hooper further explained.
Hooper could not remember the names of any other journalists who had won the award in the past.
Tariq Ramadan, an Islamic Studies professor the Bush administration banned from traveling to U.S. in 2004 and who was only recently was permitted entry, will be the evening’s keynote speaker and Mo Amer, from the comedy group Allah Made Me Funny, will entertain the crowd.
Below is the transcript of the interview Thomas gave with Rabbi David Nesenoff which prompted her resignation in June after it was posted online:
Rabbi David Nesenoff (RDN): Any comments on Israel? We’re asking everybody today, any comments on Israel?
Helen Thomas (HT): Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine.
RDN: Oooh. Any better comments on Israel?
HT: Remember, these people [the Arabs – ed.] are occupied and it’s their land. It’s not German, it’s not Poland…
RDN: So where should they go, what should they do?
HT: They – go home.
RDN: Where’s the home?
HT: Poland. Germany.
RDN: So you’re saying the Jews go back to Poland and Germany?
HT: And America and everywhere else. Why push people out of there who have lived there for centuries? See?