Helen Thomas controversy topic for lecture

Rabbi David Nesenoff

David Nesenoff, who filmed the video exposing the anti-Semitic and anti-Israel views of longtime White House correspondent Helen Thomas, will speak Sunday, Jan. 6 at 7 p.m. at Congregation Young Israel.

The lecture, “To Catch an Anti-Semite,” will kick off Chabad of Tucson’s 2013 lecture series.

Nesenoff, ordained as a Conservative rabbi, filmed Thomas at a May 2010 White House reception for Jewish Heritage Month, asking the dean of the White House Press Corps if she had any comments about Israel.

Her response, that Jews should “get the hell out of Palestine” and “go home” to Poland and Germany, led to across-the-board condemnation. Thomas, then 89, ultimately resigned from Hearst newspapers.

The video, viewed close to 2 million times on YouTube.com alone, thrust Nesenoff into the limelight, with interviews by the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN and Fox News. He also received 25,000 pieces of hate mail, including several death threats.

The video also shed light on Nesenoff’s work as an advocate for anti-bias and tolerance. In the 1990s, he counseled youth who had committed bias crimes and was a consultant to the U.S. Department of Justice in the Denny’s Restaurant racial discrimination case.

A filmmaker and musician, Nesenoff is the author of “David’s Harp,” a collection of satire, humor and commentary.

In Tucson, he will speak about his encounter with Thomas and explore hate crimes, media bias, cyber-hatred — and how to cultivate a community of tolerance and respect.

Admission is $18 in advance or $25 at the door. RSVP at www.ChabadTucson.com/Nesenoff, 881-7956 or info@chabadtucson.com.