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Wayne State ends Helen Thomas Award

Dec. 4, 2010 at 8:17 PM
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DETROIT, Dec. 4 (UPI) -- Wayne State University in Detroit has decided to stop giving the Helen Thomas Spirit of Diversity in Media Award, citing what it calls her anti-Semitic remarks.

Thomas, a long-time White House bureau chief for United Press International and one of Wayne State's best-known alumni, retired recently as a Hearst columnist. That was after she was recorded saying Jews should "get the hell out of Palestine."

At a diversity conference Thursday in Dearborn, Mich., Thomas, the daughter of Lebanese immigrants, said she stood by what she had said earlier, The Detroit News reported. And she added to it.

"Congress, the White House and Hollywood, Wall Street are owned by Zionists," she said. "No question, in my opinion."

Wayne State began giving the Thomas award more than 10 years ago. But officials say that it is being retired.

"As a public university, Wayne State encourages free speech and open dialogue, and respects diverse viewpoints. However, the university strongly condemns the anti-Semitic remarks made by Helen Thomas …," the school said in a statement published by the Detroit Free Press.

"The controversy has brought a negative light to the award, which was never the intent of the award," Matthew Seeger, interim dean of the College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts, told the News.

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