CNN’s God’s Warriors at war with truth

CNN’s God’s Warriors at war with truth Jerusalem Post ^

8-26-07 R. Marvin Hier

West of Delancey http://blogcentral.jpost.com/index.php?cat_id=&blog_id=63: CNN’s God’s Warriors at war with truth Posted by Rabbi Marvin Hier

A day prior to the airing of Christiane Amanpour’s six-hour CNN documentary entitled God’s Warriors, I was one of four clergymen to be a guest on Larry King Live to discuss the issue of fundamentalism in today’s world. The interview on Larry King was pre-recorded in mid-July and none of the participants had seen the six-hour documentary because it was still being edited. Now that I have seen it, I sent the following critique to the producers of God’s Warriors.

1. MORAL EQUIVALENCY – There is no moral equivalency between some 200 Israeli fanatics prone to violence and tens of thousands of Palestinian terrorists whose acts are endorsed by the elected government and a significant portion of the population. The failure of the documentary to clearly make that distinction skews the facts and conveys the false impression allowing people all over the world to conclude that there IS a moral equivalency between the number of Palestinian terrorists and Jewish terrorists – this is a complete distortion. More importantly, the largest terrorist group responsible for much of the unrest in the Middle East, Hamas, got a free pass from CNN in God’s Warriors and is not even mentioned in the documentary’s segment on Islam.

2. JEWISH LOBBY – CNN spends much time describing the strength of the “Jewish Lobby” in Washington. But what do supporters of Israel active on the Hill have to do with a documentary focusing on the power of religion? Indeed, many of those defending Israel on Capital Hill are, in fact, secular Jews. Furthermore, if you are going to talk about powerful lobbies, why not give equal time to the enormous power of the Arab Oil lobby?

3. SECURITY FENCE (Hamas Wall) – The consultants of the documentary make a point of showing the security fence that now separates the Palestinians from the Israelis. Palestinians interviewed explain the hardships they face and call the fence an “apartheid” wall. Nowhere is there a mention of the wide consensus of support for the security fence amongst all Israelis, left and right, including Israel’s Supreme Court, which has sanctioned the fence because, without it, the suicide bombings would continue unabated, something NO society can tolerate. Indeed, the terrorist groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad are the real architects and designers of that fence.

4. FIGHTING TERRORISM – God’s Warrior’s makes mention of the fact that the few Jewish terrorists described in the film were all arrested by the Israeli government and sent to jail for their crimes. Yet, they ignore the fact that Palestinian officials have never convicted Palestinian terrorists. Had they done so, there would be no need for a security fence.

5. SIX DAY WAR – The documentary spends a lot of time on the Six Day War and emphasizes how Israel decided to attack the Old City during the War, which changed the status quo forever. But God’s Warriors fails to explain how or why the Six Day War started. It hides from its audience the fact that Egypt blocked the Straits of Tiran (an international waterway), an act of war under international law, denying all shipping to Israel and that the Arab States, including Jordan, which controlled the Old City, brought their armies to the border. Had they not taken those actions, the Six Day War would have been averted. By ignoring all that and instead focusing on Israel’s attack on the Old City, God’s Warriors guides its audience to the conclusion that the purpose of the War was Israel’s intention to grab the Old City of Jerusalem.

6. SHARON – The documentary is critical of Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount, which enraged Muslims and allegedly started the Second Intifada. It also mentions his “responsibility” in allowing Lebanese Christians to massacre Muslims at Sabra and Shatila. Yet, it ignores his critical decision to unilaterally withdraw from Gaza in an attempt to jump start the peace process. Nor does it mention the Palestinian response to the withdrawal – the election of Hamas – a terrorist organization dedicated to the destruction of the State of Israel – as the new Palestinian government.

7. TEMPLE MOUNT – The documentary fails to emphasize that the Muslims, to whom Israel gave the authority to administer the Temple Mount, strongly discourage any Jew from coming there despite the fact that it is the holiest site in all of Judaism (whereas, the holiest sites in Islam are, in fact, Mecca and Medina). On the other hand, the Western Wall, which is under Israeli control, regularly welcomes visitors of all faiths.

8. RELIGIOUS LEADERS – CNN presents the senior Imam in charge of the Al-Aksa Mosque on the Temple Mount, who explains the site’s holiness to Muslims. But rather than interview the Chief Rabbi of Israel to describe the sacredness of the site for Jews, CNN contents itself with allowing an extremist layperson to explain the importance of the Temple Mount to Jews. Where is the fairness?

9. TWO STATE SOLUTION – God’s Warriors ignores the origins of the Arab/Israeli conflict: the Arab refusal to accept the 1947 United Nations Partition of Palestine, which called for both a Jewish state and an Arab State. The Jews accepted the plan – the Arabs rejected it. Had the Arab world accepted the two-state solution then, much of the bloodshed would have been averted. There’s a lot of talk about settlements, but no talk at all of the consistent Arab policy from 1948 until 1978 to make no compromises with Israel.

10. A HUMAN FACE ON TERROR – God’s Warriors keeps mentioning the “despair” that many Arabs feel, as if that is a justification for the insane behavior of honoring people as martyrs because they murdered innocent civilians they never knew. Why patronize terrorists and even humanize them if we are going to allow the conversation to be dominated by their despair? The parents of these terrorists should be confronted with the simple truth that despair has existed throughout time – that billions of people throughout history have felt pain without reverting to mass murder. Following the defeat of Nazism, the Holocaust survivors were also in despair. They lost their families, but they didn’t resort to killing innocent civilians as a way of alleviating their pain. Neither did the 750,000 Jews expelled from Arab countries following the 1948 War – they too, did not become suicide bombers.

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