White House: Columnist's remarks on Israel 'offensive and reprehensible'

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday that comments made by a long-time White House reporter and columnist were "offensive and reprehensible."

Helen Thomas remarked in video posted to RabbiLive.com that Jews in Israel should "get the hell out of Palestine" and "go back home to Poland, Germany, America and everywhere else."

The comments were made during a White House event on May 27 celebrating Jewish heritage.


Gibbs said during his daily press briefing that Thomas, who was absent from Monday's briefing, "should and has apologized."

Many pro-Israel advocates have said the 89-year-old Thomas should be dismissed, or at least suspended, from her duties as a columnist. Thomas's speaking agency, Nine Speakers, resigned Sunday evening over the remarks.

Gibbs said Thomas's comments don't reflect the attitudes of "certainly most of the people in [the briefing room] and certainly not of the administration."

Thomas has covered the White House for decades now, and served as the first female president of the White House Correspondents' Association (WHCA).

While she left her reporting duties and became a columnist, Thomas still sits in the prized front-and-center seat in the White House briefing room, a seat assigned by the WHCA. That association is said to be meeting Monday morning to determine what, if any, action should be taken.