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 faiths.
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 delusion.
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 "G-d'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.
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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
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 anti-Semitism.
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.
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.