Helen Thomas Interviewer: I Got 25K Hate Emails

Helen Thomas
CBS/ AP
This story was written by WCBS' Rob Morrison.

Twenty-five thousand hate mails and counting.

That's what a New York rabbi and filmmaker said he has in his email.

And it's all because he captured those controversial comments from long-time White House journalist Helen Thomas.

CBS 2 HD sat down with Rabbi David Nesenoff on Wednesday night for a one-on-one interview.

Four days ago Long Island's Nesenoff launched his new website, rabbilive.com, with the now-infamous comments from legendary journalist Thomas.

Nesenoff: "Any comments on Israel? We're asking everyone today."

Thomas: "Tell 'em to get the hell out of Palestine."

Thomas apologized and then retired. Since then, Rabbi Nesenoff said the hate mail has been pouring in.

"As we're talking here, right now, the email are like a ticker tape. It's been like this for a week, going, going, going," Nesenoff said.

Try 25,000 and counting -- messages like:

* "The Jews need to go home just like the filthy illegals that plague America, same (expletive)."

* "I know your type you gentile hating Jew boy. Come and face me turd. I'll smash u under my boot."

* "Hitler was right. Time for you to go back in the oven."

Most of the senders didn't even bother to hide their email addresses.

"These are people that feel very mainstream about anti-Semitism and hate. They feel so proud of it. There is an arrogance about it. There is no shame," Nesenoff said.

As for his interview with Thomas, he said he was shocked to think a seasoned correspondent could be so unprepared around a rolling camera.

"You and I right now I know there's a camera here. I know I'm talking to you. I know at some point something I'm saying will be broadcast somewhere," Nesenoff said.

But as a man of faith he trusts it's happening for a reason.

"Man makes plans and God laughs. There's another power out there that's leading us and it's not done. We're still going. There will be shalom. There will be peace," Nesenoff said.

Peace, he said, born from intolerance and hate.

Rabbi Nesenoff admitted to feeling a bit daunted by all the attention he's receiving, both positive and negative. After the Thomas incident he said he's been asking for advice and on Wednesday Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel told him, "Don't lose courage ... gain courage."

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