Will Journalist Group Ax “Helen Thomas Achievement” Award?

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DEARBORN, Mich.—The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Executive Committee will decide this Saturday on renaming the “Helen Thomas Lifetime Achievement Award,” reports Arab Detroit. Thomas, the 90-year-old veteran White House correspondent of Lebanese descent, resigned last June amid controversy after remarks she made on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which some interpreted as anti-Semitic. Thomas apologized shortly thereafter, but defended previous statements in a recent speech supporting first amendment rights.

Wayne State University (WSU), Thomas’ alma mater, recently discontinued their “Helen Thomas Spirit of Diversity in Media” award.

According to the report, Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, wrote Quill, the SPJ publication, to rename or discontinue it, writing “No academic institution or organization should want to be associated with an unrepentant anti-Semite and bigot.” Lloyd H. Weston, retired Chicago Sun Times editor, publisher, WSU alumnus wrote, “While I vehemently disagree with the opinions she has expressed about Jews and Zionists, I will defend, as long as I live, her right to express them.”