Via Politico, Hearst Newspapers columnist Thomas issued a statement today: "I deeply regret my comments I made last week regarding the Israelis and the Palestinians. They do not reflect my heart-felt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance. May that day come soon."
Michael Calderone at Yahoo! News reports that a second half of the Thomas interview is yet to come from Rabbi David Nesenoff and his site RabbiLive.com, and the first half was delayed while the rabbi's 17-year-old webmaster son finished his finals:
Although she's apologized, Nesenoff said Thomas should do more, and "the only way to fix it is to become a poster child for tolerance and non-hatred."
Next, Nesenoff said that in a day or so, he'll release part two of the interview, but was tight-lipped about what else Thomas said that day.
"Part two will be very interesting to watch," he said, adding that Thomas is in it "100 percent" of the time.
Here's how Calderone relayed that the rabbi actually sat on the big scoop for a week:
On May 27, Nesenoff attended the Jewish Heritage Celebration at the White House with his son Adam and a friend of Adam's. While walking across the front lawn Nesenoff and the boys saw Thomas, and decided to ask her about her thoughts on Israel.
Nesenoff, speaking Monday with Yahoo! News, said he didn't know about Thomas's strident views on Israel but approached the 89-year-old journalist for an interview because she "is an icon of the White House." So when Thomas responded, and suggested Jews leave the dispute lands for Germany or Poland, the rabbi said he was "shocked."
Even though Nesenoff had the story, he still need to get it online. But Adam, the webmaster for RabbiLive, had to get through finals first. "So we waited, and of course, during the waiting of it, the flotilla happened," Nesenoff said, referring to the deadly siege of a Gaza-bound ship last week.
The video was posted online last Thursday night, and since, has been viewed more than a million times on YouTube. The ensuing controversy over Thomas's remarks has raised questions about whether Thomas should keep her seat in the briefing room or even her job at Hearst Newspapers.
Nesenoff said that Hearst has "got to get rid of her," adding that he's spoken with the newspaper chain since the video aired.
"I was contacted by Hearst, and I'll just say that I'm interested in continuing the conversation with them and interested in putting my advice into the mix," Nesenoff said.
For a summary of liberal and vicious eruptions from Mount St. Helen, see this post from Rich Noyes.
Plus: "She has poured mud all over my family's name," Christian evangelist Victoria Hearst told World Net Daily. "I've never heard any Hearst family member make an anti-Semitic remark, and none of them would be in agreement with Helen Thomas."