Call me a cockeyed optimist, but the Helen Thomas storm may have a silver lining. To find it, the White House and the rest of the anti-Israel crowd must see Islamic radicals for what they are.
Consider what Thomas said: Jews should "get the hell out of Palestine" and go home to "Poland, Germany and America."
Most Americans were appalled and, at age 89, she immediately retired. Even President Obama weighed in, saying her comments were "offensive" and "out of line."
All well and good--except for the strange double standard the incident reveals.
What Thomas said matches exactly the official position of Hamas, Hezbollah and every Islamic radical in the world. They all say Israel does not belong in the Mideast and Jews must go elsewhere.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wanted a referendum to decide if Israel should be moved to Europe, Canada or Alaska. He called the Holocaust a myth, but said if it really happened, a Jewish state should be located in Europe to punish Germany, not in the Mideast among Muslims.
It's a gruesome calculation, historically inaccurate about everything, including ancient Jewish roots in the Mideast. Yet Thomas gets denounced for saying it, while the White House woos and flatters those who act on it and aim to wipe Israel off the map.
That's the potential silver lining. If Obama were suddenly to apply the same standard to Israel's real enemies as he does to a bitter old woman's bigotry, he'd have the basis for a new Mideast policy, one with a reasonable chance to succeed.
We're far from that now. For even as Obama joins the chorus against Thomas, he simultaneously demands that Israel make concessions to Hamas in hopes the terror group will choose peace. He voted "yes" at the U.N. Security Council on a morally equivalent resolution that condemned the "acts" that led to nine deaths in the Gaza flotilla, without recognizing Israel's concern that the ships could have contained military equipment for Hamas to use against Israel.
Indeed, some on the boat were armed, and radio intercepts have someone telling Israeli soldiers to "go back to Auschwitz" and "don't forget 9/11." Can Obama really expect Israel to lower its guard against such barbarians?
Yet John Brennan, his counterterrorism czar, recently referred to Jerusalem by its Arabic name, Al-Quds, called Hezbollah "a very interesting organization," and said the United States hoped to build ties with "moderate elements" of the terror group.
And don't forget the decision to drop any reference to "Islam" when discussing terrorists.
Even assuming good faith, all these moves add up to a fundamental misreading of the enemy and explain why Israel feels abandoned by America. Its enemies sense Obama's weakened support and are looking for their own Final Solution, raising the likelihood of war.
It's also the sort of environment that gives anti-Semites like Thomas a license to spew their venom.
At some point, Obama must begin to take Islamic radicals at their word. They want Israel gone, and Iran wants the bomb for that purpose. They want sha ria, Islamic law, to be the law of every land. They don't want compromise.
The moment he accepts these truths, Obama will have no choice but to shift gears on Israel. He will have to acknowledge its enemy is our enemy, and that Israel is our ally for strategic and moral reasons. Finally, he will stop demanding Israel risk its existence for a fantasy.
If that moment comes sooner because of Helen Thomas, so much the better.
Michael Goodwin is a New York Post columnist and Fox News contributor. To continue reading his column, click here.
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