VIDEO - Veteran White House correspondent Helen Thomas has announced she will be resigning her post following comments she made, telling Jews to leave Israel and return to Europe, CNN reported Monday.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs was asked at his daily briefing with reporters about President Barack Obama's reaction to Thomas' remarks. Gibbs called them "offensive and reprehensible."
Thomas, a columnist for Hearst Newspapers, has apologized for comments that were captured on video by an interviewer for the website http://www.rabbilive.com. In the May 27 video, Thomas says Israelis should "get the hell out of Palestine," suggesting they go to Germany, Poland or the US
"She should and has apologized," Gibbs said. "Because obviously those remarks do not reflect certainly the opinion of most of the people here and certainly not of the administration."
Thomas had been scheduled to speak at a June 14 suburban high school graduation, but Principal Alan Goodwin wrote in a Sunday e-mail to students and parents that she was being replaced.
"Graduation celebrations are not the venue for divisiveness," Goodwin wrote.
Thomas wrote on her website that "I deeply regret my comments I made last week regarding the Israelis and the Palestinians."
She added: "They do not reflect my heart-felt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance. May that day come soon."
The national director of the Anti-Defamation League, Abraham H. Foxman, said Sunday that Thomas' apology did not go far enough.
"Her suggestion that Israelis should go back to Poland and Germany is bigoted and shows a profound ignorance of history," Foxman said in a statement. "We believe Thomas needs to make a more forceful and sincere apology for the pain her remarks have caused."
Former Governor of Alaska and GOP Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin took advantage of the controversy to censure the media.. On Twitter, Palin wrote, "Helen Thomas press pals condone racist rant? Heaven forbid 'esteemed' press corps represent society's enlightened elite; Rest of us choose truth".
Thomas, 89, began her long career with the wire service United Press International in 1943, and started covering the White House in 1960, according to a biography posted on her website. She became a columnist for Hearst in 2000.