Olbermann Makes Anti-Helen Thomas Rabbi ‘Worst Person’ Nominee, But Not Helen Thomas
On Wednesday’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann included Rabbi David Nesenoff – famous for exposing Helen Thomas’s anti-Semitic beliefs in a video of her posted on his Web site – for inclusion in his "Worst Person in the World" segment because Rabbi Nesenoff’s site also includes a video which the MSNBC host viewed as being racist toward Mexicans.
As he explained who Nesenoff is, Olbermann also misstated the severity of Thomas’s declaration that Israeli Jews should "get the hell out of Palestine," as many in the pro-Palestinian movement consider all of Israel to be part of "Palestine." But Olbermann suggested that she was only referring to Israeli Jews who live in settlements in the Palestinian territories: "Runner up, Rabbi David Nesenoff. He is the man who precipitated the end of Helen Thomas’s career, got the video of her saying Israelis in settlements in Palestine should go home to Poland and Germany and the U.S. It was sad. It was narrow minded. I can`t defend it. On the other hand, Rabbi Nesenoff doesn`t exactly have clean hands."
Notably, the Countdown host had passed on featuring Helen Thomas in his "Worst Person" segment for her anti-Semitic remarks, explaining on Monday that he was thinking of "reluctantly" including her in that night’s "Worst Person" list but chose not to because she had resigned from her position at Hearst. Olbermann, on Monday, introducing the "Worst Person" segment: "But first, with a thank you to Helen Thomas for doing the right thing and bowing out before I had to reluctantly put her out this list, get out your pitchforks and torches, time for tonight`s 'Worst Persons in the World.'"
Also of note, Rabbi Nesenoff is currently posting on his Web site examples of anti-Semitic hate mail – laced with profanity – that the site has received since outing Thomas’s anti-Israel comments. Nessenoff reports, "We received over 25,000 pieces of hate mail."
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Wednesday, June 10, Countdown show on MSNBC:
KEITH OLBERMANN: Runner up, Rabbi David Nesenoff. He is the man who precipitated the end of Helen Thomas’s career, got the video of her saying Israelis in settlements in Palestine should go home to Poland and Germany and the U.S. It was sad. It was narrow minded. I can`t defend it. On the other hand, Rabbi Nesenoff doesn`t exactly have clean hands. On his Web site, he posted a video of himself doing a weather report, delivered in a really bad Hispanic dialect that is flatly racist. This would be the rabbi on the left.
RABBI DAVID NESENOFF, PLAYING A CHARACTER WITH MEXICAN ACCENT: That’s a really nice map. Last time I saw a map like that I was an immigration officer with three gringos down on the Mexican border.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: God bless America.
NESENOFF: My friend, God blessed America. But he`s sure not looking out for Mexico. I haven`t seen God down there in a long time.
OLBERMANN: An opinion writer had to retire from opinion writing because she gave an opinion. Shouldn`t a man of God have to retire from being a man of God when he starts insulting some of God`s children?