Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Biased CNN "Warriors" Crosses the Line

Jonathan S. Tobin

Critics of religion like to claim that the source of most of the
world's ills can be traced to believers who wage wars in the name of
their distorted fanatic faiths. Indeed, this thesis has led to a spate
of new books advocating atheism and deriding religion in the past year.

Needless to say, critics of this trend have pointed out that the vast
majority of the deaths incurred by conflicts in history's bloodiest
century -- the twentieth -- were caused by fanatical non-believers in
traditional faiths in the name of their Communist, Maoist and Nazi

But it must be admitted that violent religious extremists are, at this
moment in time, the primary threat to the peace of the world . The only
problem with this unpleasant fact is that the opprobrium rightly aimed
at the perpetrators of this faith-based violence cannot be neatly
distributed across the board to practitioners of the three major
monotheistic religions.

Though present-day Jews and Christians are not all saints, there is no
getting around the fact that neither of those religions has sprouted a
contemporary movement aimed at world domination to be achieved by
terror and war. That honor is reserved for the Muslim faith , among
whose adherents Islamist terror movements have found a home in the
mainstream of its culture.

Not all Muslims are Islamists. Most American Muslims are nothing of the
kind. But the notion that supporters of Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas,
Islamic Jihad and other assorted anti-Western and anti-Jewish terror
movements are a tiny minority in the Arab and Muslim world is a

But in this age of political correctness , to single out one group for
the sins of a large number of its members is considered unfair and
perhaps even racist. So, instead, we are asked to pretend that there is
an intrinsic connection or even symmetry between Christian, Jewish and
Muslim extremists.

That was exactly the premise of a widely heralded three-part series on
CNN last week. Titled "God's Holy Warriors," and fronted by famed
international correspondent Christiane Amanpour, it was a tryptich
across the globe to highlight the danger from Jewish, Muslim and
Christian extremists who are all given the same treatment and air-time in the guise of even-handedness.

Thus, by its very structure of equating the three different situations, the series was nothing short of a brazen lie.

Though all parts of the series were problematic, the first of the
series, devoted to threat from extremist Israeli Jewish settlers and
the entire network of support for the State of Israel in this country,
was as classic an example of a dishonest piece of biased programming as
anything that has been broadcast on a major network.

Though a tiny fraction of the settlement movement, which itself
commands the support of only a fraction of Israelis, have committed
isolated acts of violence, the notion that this group is in any way
analogous to Al Qaeda is nothing short of bizarre. If anything, Jewish
settlers and ordinary Israelis living inside the pre-1967 borders have
themselves been the victims of the intolerance, fanaticism and violence
of their Muslim neighbors.

That the broadcasts' view of international law on the question of the
legality of the Jewish presence in the territories is one-sided is an
understatement. A strong case can be made that the Jews living in those
places have every right to do so. Moreover the idea that their living
in these places constitutes the primary obstacle to peace in the Middle
East is nothing short of fantastic especially given the events of the
last several years which have shown how disinterested the Palestinians
are in peace with Israel no matter where its borders are.

Even worse, the show seemingly accepts the discredited canard of
Israeli and American Jewish control of American foreign policy put forth by such risible figures as former president Jimmy Carter and
academic John Mearsheimer whose views were treated with respect rather
than journalistic skepticism.

As such the worldwide news network lent itself to a line of argument
that has rightly been termed a modern intellectual justification for

But no matter what one's view of the settlers, the main problem with
the series cannot be explained away. Extremist Muslims are a threat to both peace and the West. But a few right-wing Jews are no threat to anyone and are, if anything, among the primary victims of Muslim terror.

As for Evangelical Christians, who were the targets of Amanpour's third
program, most American Jews may disagree with most of their political
positions but, to date, they have launched no terror attacks nor do
they plan any. Any analogy between them and Islamists is the figment of
Amanpour's fevered imagination. If anything, their main sin, in the
eyes of many Western apologists for the Islamists, seems to be their
support of Jewish victims of Arab terror.

CNN cannot be allowed to get away with this sort of despicable bias. Decent persons of all faiths need to speak out against this network and to make sure that it, and its arrogant star Amanpour, are made to hear of our outrage at every possible opportunity and in every way possible, including the use of economic leverage by both sponsors and viewers.

Jonathan S. Tobin is executive editor of the Jewish Exponent in
Philadelphia. He can be contacted via e-mail at:

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