Obama and Thomas - AP - August 4, 2009
Helen Thomas with US President Barack Obama in 2009. Photo by AP
Text size

The alma mater of longtime journalist Helen Thomas announced that it was dropping a diversity award named for her due to anti-Semitic comments.

Wayne State University, which awards annually the "Helen Thomas Spirit of Diversity in the Media Award," cited comments last week in which Thomas said the White House, Hollywood and Wall Street are owned by Zionists.

Thomas blasted their decision to drop the award, telling the Detroit Free Press for a story on Monday that the school was making a mockery of the First Amendment.

The Congress of Arab American Organizations in Metropolitan Detroit also condemned the decision on Tuesday and said that opposing Zionism isn't anti-Jewish. It says Wayne's move endangers its ties with the Arab community.

The global Jewish community service organization, B'nai B'rith International, applauded Wayne State for their decision, saying that her latest comments proved that earlier anti-Semitic comments "were not just a one-time slip of the tongue."

"Wayne State was right to challenge Thomas and her fueling an old, hateful, and damaging stereotype of Jews," the B'nai B'rith statement concluded. ‬

Thomas resigned in June as a Hearst Newspaper columnist after she said Israelis should get out of Palestine.

She's the daughter of Lebanese immigrants and worked many years for United Press International.