.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

CNN's and Amanpour's biases

I have no real intention of wasting two hours of my life watching the "even-handed" CNN show, "God's Jewish Warriors", which is meant to show that Jews deciding to live in parts of historically Jewish land are morally equivalent to, say, Muslims bombing children. But we do have a transcript, and here are only a few of Christiane Amanpour's problematic pronouncements from just the first couple of sections:
SHISSEL: We have the Holy Land. It's where God says this is where the Jews has to live.

AMANPOUR: But it is also Palestinian land. The West Bank -- it's west of the Jordan River -- was designated by the United Nations to be the largest part of an Arab state.
The UN's designation does not make it Palestinian land any more than the Balfour Declaration makes all of Palestine Jewish land. Amanpour's logic means that much of Israel itself within the Green Line is "Palestinian" Arab land. Subtle bias to be sure but she is basing Arab claims on what is effectively a moot point.
AMANPOUR: Preventing a Palestinians state is precisely the point for right-wing settlers. They want Israel to annex the occupied land permanently, but not give the Palestinians who live there full democratic rights.
No, it is the Arabs who want to make a state based on denying others' rights. The Jews want to make a state based on their right to have a state. There is a big difference, and Amanpour is conflating Arab goals with Jewish ones. The Palestinian Arabs never showed a real desire for a state there when Jordan held it.
AMANPOUR: The impact of God's Jewish warriors goes far beyond these rocky hills. The Jewish settlements have inflamed much of the Muslim world.
So is the reason they are bad because they cause Muslims to be upset? Amanpour just gave Arabs and Muslims carte blanche to riot and murder because "inflaming" them is something to be avoided at all costs. This is not an argument against settlements, it is an argument to accept Muslims as irrational players who must be appeased no matter what they demand.
AMANPOUR: And, although the number is small, there are terrorists -- Jewish terrorists, including some who would even kill Palestinians children.
Saying "the number is small" doesn't mean that she won't devote much of her show to them - what appears to be an entire 15 minute section. The power of watching the video will overwhelm the words she speaks, and she knows that.
AMANPOUR: As a young man, Porat studied to become a rabbi. At morning prayers, he straps on Tefellin, leather boxes containing handwritten verses from the Torah. And he recites an affirmation of faith that dates from the middle ages.

PORAT (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Every day, I say these words: "I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the Messiah."
Thus neatly associating all religious Jews with religious terrorists, by showing this strange ritual and enforcing religious Jewish "otherness" to her worldwide audience.It was from here, according to Muslim scripture, that the Prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven around the year 630. But Hebrew scripture puts the ancient Jewish Temple in the same location, destroyed by the Romans in the year 70.This is not in Muslim "scripture." It is a purposefully erroneous interpretation. Comparing a provable myth with a proven fact is incredibly dishonest.
For the next 1,900 years, even the last remnant of the temple known as the Wailing Wall, or the Western Wall, was lost to the Jews.

(on camera): But the 1967 War changed all that, when Israel ordered its army to capture the Old City. The soldiers entered here, through the Lion's Gate. It's a short distance to the sacred sites.
Another lie - Jews lived in Jerusalem the entire time except when Jordan expelled them in 1948. By not mentioning that fact she absolves Arabs from one of the biggest crimes of 1948.(Plus, there are other remnants of the Temple in Jerusalem.)
BARNEA (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Let's put it this way, I've always liked my sandwiches and my omelets with ham...
(later)
(on camera): What did you think when you saw not just the Wall but the Mosque?

BARNEA (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): It made a big impression.

AMANPOUR: Holy?

BARNEA: Holy. Yes, sure.
Amanpour chooses an anti-religious secular Jew to describe a Muslim place as "holy" - she puts the words in his mouth! - to weaken the emotional case that Jews have for the Temple Mount and make the Jewish claim seem arbitrary and unimportant.
AMANPOUR: But to Yakov Barnea, it was a military victory pure and simple.

BARNEA: I don't know nothing about God in this matter of fighting.
Of course, in 1967, most secular soldiers and Israelis were incredibly affected by Israel's recapture of the Old City. Amanpour will never say that Barnea is the fringe element in Israeli society - by implicit definition, Jews who feel emotions about Jerusalem are the crazy ones.
THEODOR MERON: You can justify a lot of things on grounds of security, but you cannot settle your population in occupied territories. AMANPOUR (on camera): No doubt in your mind?

MERON: No doubt.

AMANPOUR: No wriggle room in the law?

MERON: Not really.
Notice that she doesn't interview any legal scholar who disagrees. Since she found an Israeli to say what she "knows" to be true, that's all the research that this topic needs.

The other sections of the show are predictable - interviewing Jimmy Carter and John Mearsheimer about that all-powerful Jewish lobby which, as far as I can tell, has nothing to do with the premise of the show; a bit about Christian Zionism which is similar, and then the set pieces of real, honest to goodness Jewish "terrorists" who pretty much have not killed anybody but who talk about it. Obviously that is the highlight of the show.


Some biases are subtle and some explicit; but they are undeniable. Comparing this show with the Muslim episode will show the biases far better, as certainly they will bend over backwards to minimize the widespread support of terror in the Muslim world even as they maximized supposed Jewish support for terror in this piece of journalistic garbage.

UPDATE: Blogs commenting on this travesty include Mystical Paths, Discarded Lies, Debbie Schlussel, Atlas Shrugs, Dhimmi Watch, Boker Tov Boulder, and Kevin and Patrick. Plus Sharon Cobb and The Atheist Jew, Cheat Seeking Missiles and Seraphic Secret.

Seraphic Secret tried to count the number of times Amanpour said "God's Jewish Warriors" - according to the transcript, the number is 60.