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Errors in CNN's "G-d's Jewish Warriors" Noted

Boston-based watchdog group CAMERA calls Amanpour's report "most biased and shoddy feature on US television" - and cites several factual mistakes.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 8/28/2007, 12:39 PM

CAMERA - the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America - has published a detailed, scathing attack on the two-hour television program "God's Jewish Warriors."

CNN's Christiane Amanpour is the creator of a three-part CNN television series entitled "G-d's Warriors."  The segment on Jews is the "most poisonously biased and factually shoddy feature to air on mainstream American television in recent memory," writes CAMERA's Executive Director Andrea Levin - and supports her claim with examples and refutations.

Levin begins by attacking the basic premise of the series, which purports to examine how Jewish, Christian and Muslim religious beliefs impact on the Middle East and the world.  It is "deeply false," she writes, to equate "Jewish (and Christian) religious fervency with that of Muslims heard endorsing 'martyrdom,' or suicide-killing.  There is, of course, no counterpart among Jews and Christians to the violent jihadist Muslim campaigns underway across the globe... To demonstrate the supposed threat of Jewish fundamentalism, the few cases of Jewish terrorism - a handful spanning decades with each one overwhelmingly denounced by Israeli society and with those involved arrested, tried and jailed - are elaborated on at length and cast as a profound peril."

Illegal, Illegal
Levin then focuses on Amanpour's repeated emphasis on the Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria and their supposed illegality - implying that just as extremist Moslems endanger the world with their terrorism, so do the Jews with their  "settlements."  

"Throughout," writes Levin, "Amanpour hammers the claim that Jewish settlements violate international law, and she seeks to paint this position as a universally accepted view with a lopsided parade of like-minded commentators. [However,] many legal scholars argue these communities are, in fact, legal... Such experts include Meir Shamgar, former Israeli Supreme Court Justice, internationally renowned legal scholar Professor Julius Stone and Former Under Secretary of State Eugene Rostow, among others. But not one scholar of this viewpoint is given voice in a two-hour feature largely devoted to decrying settlements and their residents."

Levin then moves on to Amanpour's presentation of US presidents speaking against the Jewish towns. "Ronald Reagan [is seen] making a tangential comment framed as agreeing" that "substantial resettlement of the Israeli civilian population in occupied territories, including East Jerusalem, is illegal," Levin writes - while in fact, Reagan did not agree at all.  Levin quotes Reagan, based on a February 1981 New York Times story, as having said explicitly, "I believe the settlements there... they're not illegal."

More Errors
Others of the report's errors and deceptions noted by Levin:

* Jimmy Carter, whose recent incendiary allegations against Israel have been extensively debunked, declares that no Member of Congress could vote against aid to Israel "and hope to be reelected." Amanpour does not remind him or the viewers of the numerous Members who have opposed aid to Israel and have been repeatedly reelected, including Senate Majority leader Robert Byrd and more than a dozen Representatives.

* Amanpour claims that former Pres. Bush opposed loan guarantees for Israel but collapsed under the weight of Jewish pressure and backed down. In fact, however, when Yitzchak Rabin was elected prime minister, he offered concessions that satisfied the Administration - such that it was Israel that back-tracked, not Bush.

* Amanpour declares that "the 40-year tug of war over Jerusalem began when Israel bulldozed the Arab neighborhood next to the Western Wall and built a plaza where Jews now pray." Levin: "Obviously, the modern battle over Jerusalem "began" 60 years ago when the Arabs attacked in 1948 to destroy the newborn state of Israel, seizing the eastern side of Jerusalem, including the Jewish quarter of the old city. Every Jew was expelled or killed and all synagogues destroyed. Thereafter for 19 years, no Jew could pray at the Western Wall, and Christians had limited access to their holy sites."

"CNN needs to correct every error and slander against Israel and its American supporters," Levin demands. "More importantly, it needs to air an accurate and contextual documentary on these subjects, just as lavishly funded and promoted as Amanpour's, that will set the record straight."

Another CAMERA article comparing the "Warriors" programs on Jews and Muslims notes that while the former was heavily devoted to "the influence of pro-Israel activists in America, ... Amanpour utterly neglected to report on the powerful Oil Lobby, primarily Saudi-backed, and numerous other Muslim organizations seeking to influence American public opinion and foreign policy decisions."

Four Times More
CAMERA notes fascinatingly that Amanpour "harps on the phrase 'Jewish warriors,' repeating it 20 times in the first episode," while mentioning "Muslim warriors" only four times in the second program. "Why does she utter the words 'Jewish warrior' five times more often than 'Muslim warrior' when violent Muslims have inflicted thousands of times more death and destruction in the world than violent Jews have?"

Furthermore, "There was a noticeably gentler and more cordial tone toward Muslim extremists, in contrast to the often snide and hectoring tone displayed toward pro-Israel Americans and Israeli settlers."

"Amanpour included two apolitical segments with appealing devout Muslim women," CAMERA wrote, "who talked about why they wear a head covering and how Islam enriches their lives. No such apolitical segment about devout Jews appeared in 'God's Jewish Warriors.'"