I slogged through one episode of Christiane Amanpour's CNN series Warriors for God last night, this one on Israel's Holy Warriors, those awful religious settlers in the occupied territory. I tried to count the number of times the word "occupied" was used, and it was many dozens by the time I turned away.
By devoting two hours each to Jewish, Muslim and Christian warriors for God, it is clear that the message of this series is that all fundamentalism is bad and the Muslim version is no worse than the others. But Muslims do lead in the all important murder, suicide bombing and terrorism counts.
In last night's show, there were so many lies, it is hard to know which to point out. George H.W. Bush and James Baker are identified as heroes for resisting the all-powerful Israel lobby AIPAC on the issue of settlements, or as Amanpour calls them "illegal settlements in the occupied territories" by denying loan guarantees for Israeli housing construction. (Professor John Mearsheimer is extensively interviewed to support the claim of the lobby's great power). But even Bush and Baker are seen as caving-in on loan guarantees eventually, demonstrating the lobby's power. .
Nonsense! Rabin was elected Prime Minister in mid 1992, replacing Yitzhak Shamir, and was far more conciliatory on the issue of settlements than Shamir had been. Bush was way behind in the polls at the time, and doing terribly with Jewish voters, and looking to do some deal with Israel after Rabin's election so as to improve his election prospects . It was Rabin, however, and not Bush, who caved-in and agreed to slow down the settlement building and allow offsets to the loan guarantees for any housing built in the territories (excuse me, the "occupied territories"). And for the record, it is not as if the Russian immigrants were moving to the West Bank or Gaza in any case (maybe 2% were). That was a straw man: the guarantees were to build housing for the new Russian immigrants within the green line, not for settlement expansion, as Amanpour falsely claimed. .
Another whopper was the supposedly terrible plight of the Palestinian "refugees" dispersed to make way for the plaza adjoining the Western Wall in" the old city" section of Jerusalem. Amanpour utters not a word about how for 19 years, from 1948 to 1967, the Jordanians used Jewish graves on the Mount of Olives as latrines, or how they destroyed all the synagogues in the old city, and that they prohibited Jews from praying at their holiest sites. And for good measure Amanpour interviews one Jewish woman who works with Evangelical groups and spins her comments to suggest that Jews are craftily using the support of Evangelical Christians for Israel for their own nefarious reasons - to expand settlements in the occupied territories (let's get that word in again) and steal Palestinian land. Amanpour is married to James Rubin, who was Madeline Albright's press secretary when she was Secretary of State. She has a long history of hostility to Israel.
All those Jews lauding how wonderful Bill Clinton was on Israel and who are certain that Hillary will be too, should not forget the cold shoulder Clinton, Albright and Rubin offered to Bibi Netanyahu in his three years as Prime Minister from 1996 to 1999. Clinton proved he could get along with an Israeli leader from the left, and could be hostile to one from the right (much like Bush the elder who warmed to Rabin, but loathed Shamir). Is this a measure of friendship to Israel? The current President Bush was a friend of Ariel Sharon when much of the rest of the world treated him like a war criminal.