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Virtual Talmud


‘God’s Warriors’ Flunk Out

Honest Reporting gives Christiane Amanpour and CNN a C- for her reporting of the six-hour series “God’s Warriors,” in which she looks at religious fundamentalism in Judaism, Islam and Christianity. However, I would give her and her producers an F.
As a former journalist myself, I am not sure what upset me more: Amanpour playing ominous “bad guy” music only under the interview with a pro-Israel fundamentalist minister and in reference to AIPAC. Or her equating the one Israeli fundamentalist who, in 1984, tried to bomb a Palestinian girl’s school (but was shadowed and arrested by the Israeli police before he could do any harm) with the popular and numerous terrorists who planned, participated in, and support the murder of innocent people around the globe–specifically in England, Israel, and the United States. Terrorists who are funded and protected both by our Arab allies and our enemies like Syria and Iran.


Yes, we Jews do have our fundamentalists and some of them are very scary. Israel bravely took on its fundamentalists last year when they pulled out of Gaza. Israel could do more to confront them in the West Bank as well. But there is no equivalence between the threat Jewish fundamentalists present in Israel or around the world compared to the threat that the world wide Islamist revolution is presenting to Western democracies. The best proof is that there are no Jewish suicide terrorists attacking Muslims, or anyone else, around the world. The same cannot be said of Muslim fundamentalists. But the viewer would not know that based on Amanpour’s report.
A complete list of the inaccuracies and editorializations I found would take up pages. Phyllis Chessler identifies some of the most blatant problems in the series.
I agree with CAMERA’s observation that, “While in reality Jewish “terrorism” is virtually non-existent, the program magnifies at length the few instances of [Jewish] violence” comparing it to “violent jihadist Muslim campaigns” when indeed there is no such comparison “either in numbers of perpetrators engaged or in the magnitude of death and destruction wrought.”
What is most dangerous about the inaccuracies in Amanpour’s series is that she masks the real dangers that Islamic fundamentalism presents to the West and, by comparison, demonizes all religious fervor. She feeds a growing trend to see all religion as the cause for war and violence in the world, rather than offering a thoughtful and thought provoking way to see religious faith as distinguishable from the hate-filled, violent fundamentalists who would hijack it.
I expected better from CNN. If you did, too, let CNN know about it. Hopefully it will be more careful next time it takes on an issue that deserves the best, rather than the worst, of investigative journalism.



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Victoria

posted August 29, 2007 at 2:18 pm


It is the murdering of the Innocent Humans by other humans. It is the disrespect for human life. They are not just murdering one human life, but that human’s posterity, therefore, they are condemn by themselves for murdering generations and that is their sentence of life, where their conscious accuses them every micro-second of their lifes for ever.
Let’s pray to The Creator, God Almighty for forgiveness and let’s do this everyday. Hopefully, we shall receive, forgiveness, and we will all be able to reconciliate with God.
Sincerely,
Victoria



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Greg

posted August 29, 2007 at 6:32 pm


I watched all three hours and I thought that the segments were not about terrorism, but rather the blend of tactics used by those who believe that they have a direct line to G-d in trying to bring about political and social change. In that regard, the Muslim show was the most condemnatory. By the way in reading the credits, it appeared that most of the producers were Jewish.



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senlin

posted August 30, 2007 at 9:29 am


I agree that the program was not extremely well done, although I don’t think I’d go as far as Alana Kornfeld (by the way, is Ms. Kornfeld a new contributor, or rabbi??). My main issue with the series was that I was confused about what exactly it WAS trying to say or show. I felt like it was trying to show SOMETHING about religious people and religious extremism, but not entirely coherently. The vagueness of the whole project, with Amanpour only throwing in small, not-very-helpful intros and conclusions, probably was the main reason so many people are either outraged or in disagreement about the series’ message.



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Jan Green

posted August 30, 2007 at 11:20 am


I watched all 6 hours, well until the last day when it became totally unwatchable.
I am Christian, but my daughter and son-in-law are Orthodox. I found little understanding on night one, the second (Moslem) night, it seemed like she was “sleeping with the enemy”, and by the third night (Christian) I didn’t even recognize my own religion, and consider myself well versed in the Gospel.
In my opinion, the series failed miserably.



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LJ Harker

posted August 30, 2007 at 11:44 am


After watching the series, I was left with a feeling of confusion and dis-satisfaction. If you look deeply into ANY religion, you will find some very ugly truths, perversions and extremes. And after reading comments from many sites (including this one) what disturbs me most is the reaction from the tribes and the X-tians. X-tianity has so many “skeletons” in their closets we hear about strangeness and perversion of their “word” every day in the media. And while we as a people have been able to keep most of our dirty laundry from being aired, there are many (if not as many) instances of violence and abhorrent behavior within Israel as well. The reaction has been “not us” “only a few instances” and “we aren’t as bad as THEM”…when the finger points, where are the other three fingers pointing?
Don’t get me wrong, bad journalism is bad journalism…and this wasn’t the best of reporting by any means and I don’t think it would have mattered what the subject was. Poor writing, poor producing, poor editing…



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Marian Neudel

posted August 30, 2007 at 12:13 pm


My husband and I were appalled by the Jewish segment. Eventually we simply wrote it off as just one more instance of “most dangerous nation” syndrome. Although we don’t claim to be as literate about Christian fundamentalism, we could only conclude that Amanpour’s coverage of it was no better than her work on Judaism. We didn’t bother watching the Muslim segment, so cannot comment on it. But given the enormous amount of advance publicity and expense that went into the trilogy, we were disappointed. This is a subject that deserves a lot more serious examination, and I hope somebody somewhere actually bothers to provide it.



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Anonymous

posted August 30, 2007 at 1:08 pm


The interesting thing were the Jews working on the show. Undoubtedly they were secular/reform and this is just another way for the secular/reform to attack the Orthodox. Oh well, we know who’s dying out.



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ME

posted August 30, 2007 at 1:43 pm


I felt the reports were sincere and unbiased and were supposed to come
from a secular standpoint, nothing ethically wrong with that.
so far some of the comment appear to be coming from perhaps a somewhat
biased approached to the programs…maybe not.
I believe Amanpour is unbiased atleast in her approach to these programs and is fair in her reporting.
The program set out to capture ‘extreme’ philosophies’ in regards
to these 3 religions, if anything the more moderate facets of these
religions wer not givin enough time…but I personall dont feel that
the progrms setout to do that anyway…I give her an overall ‘A’
if a grade even be needed…thank you.



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Adeniran Coker

posted August 30, 2007 at 1:48 pm


The CNN program is “F” Product nothing new by Christy Amanpour but semantics. The Program for The Islam, Jewish and Christianity is a wash out.



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the rationalist

posted August 30, 2007 at 2:18 pm


Dear Ms. Kornfeld,
I thank you for your post, although I do have some issues with what you say. Before I begin, however, I would just like to say to LJ Harker I agree with much of what you say. Thank you.
Now, Ms. Kornfeld, you take issue with Ms. Amanpour’s equating of Jewish extremists with Muslim terroritsts; why is this? Terrorism is terrorism. The only difference between Israleli terrorism and a group like Hamas is one of degree only. Both are groups that measure a good day by how many innocent people they kill. In that respect, on a one to one basis, both are equally dangerious; there are simply more members of Hamas than these radical Jewish groups.



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Stanley A. Holland

posted August 30, 2007 at 2:50 pm


Most of us who are literate are aware that extreme philosopies exist mot only in religion but in the full spectrum of human thought and action. When these thoughts are translated into violence we have problems which we have been aware of for eons before this series was ever hatched; so in fact it tells us nothing. What we would like to know is why such action exists in relion at all and why the degree and number of violent incidents is so much greater in Islam than it is in either judiasm and christianity.



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Lisa Schneider

posted August 30, 2007 at 3:41 pm


When any religious group is unwilling or unable to examine the darkest aspcts of that religion they cease to true and relevant. I found the report disturbing and accurate. Did it portray a balanced view of Judaism? No, but then that was not the point of the program. The point of the program was to display the dangerous fundamentalisms that lie within three of the worlds most prominant religions. It seems disingenouus of us as Jews to ask other moderate members of religions to speak to radical and dangerous proponents of religion if we are unwilling to do so ourselves. It is easy and immature to simplay state the reporting was biased and cast it off as yet another example of how the world doesn’t recognize our strife.This will always place us and keep us in the role of perpetual victim. Rather, it would be a shining example to the world if we were to confront our radical and dangerous selves, acknowledge what we are all capable of, and deal with them in a manner respectful of the Torah. Rather than blamming truth for being truth, we can show the world how to face up to our own truth and bring peace to the world.



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George Crossley

posted August 30, 2007 at 3:47 pm


I for the life of me cannot equate the murder of Israeli Children on a School bus back when I was a visitor to Israel in 1982. The continuos dialogue of hate coming from the Muslim Community saying the nation has no right to exist. Israeli Citizens who our blown out of their homes and those who lose their lives via kutasha rocket attacks back then as well as last year and Israel simply defending itself. It just doesn’t compute. CNN was biased and unfair. A fair report would put everything in context. You cannot compare apples and oranges any more then you can compare Muslim extremists with a nation fighting for its very life



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Maureen Schwartz

posted August 30, 2007 at 4:20 pm


I agree 100% with George Crossley! CNN should be ostricised for allowing this programme to air. Ms Amanpour is a great disappointment and I can only think that she must have received handsome payment for the series!!! Let us watch something positive on TV – but then that doesn’t appeal to audiences!!!!



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Ganapatikamesh

posted August 30, 2007 at 4:25 pm


As a Hindu who has Jewish, Muslim, and Christian friends I have found that each of them has been outraged by some part of the series “God’s Warriors” on CNN. I almost can’t believe I watched the same show. I found the show very interesting. And despite the fact that she assumed that we were well aware of Islamist terrorism so they didn’t cover it as much, she did highlight terrorism done by Christians and Jews at one time. Pointing out the fact that there are extremists, or have been extremists, at one time or another in each of the faiths. The book mainly followed a lot of the information found in the book “The Battle For God” written by Karen Armstrong. Although the book spends more time highlighting each area and trying to really get you to understand how fundamentalists of the three religions think about the modern world and why it is that they either turn towards isolationism or have turned political…and in some cases radical extremists. While I’ll admit that the show assumes that the viewer is well aware of Muslim terrorism and assumes you know something about the three religions (thus they just assume the audience is smart), it seems that my Jewish friends are upset about the Jewish part of the show, my Christian friends are upset about the Christian part of the show, and my Muslim friends are upset about the Muslim part of the show. And yet I remind them that the show was about the fundamentalists in each of their religions and was giving us a history of that fundamentalism and how it has been reflected, thus not talking about them and the way they practice their religion. More profoundly I realized, as a Hindu, just how influential these three religions are in the world. Though Hinduism is the third largest religion in terms of number of adherents, it does not have the same power that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam do in our world today. That’s probably why they didn’t bother to add Hindu fundamentalists, Buddhist fundamentalists, etc that also exist in the world. And I realized how even though Israel holds no importance as a holy place or sacred site to me, because these three religions hold it, and the city of Jerusalem, with such sanctity that I should atleast pay a lot more attention to what is happening in these three religions and in that place.
After watching the entire series my only ending thought wasn’t “did they show this group as being more extreme than the others”, but instead was “do the people in these three religions realize the very important responsibility they hold over peace for so much of the world?” As a Hindu it’s a profound question that I have to ask because the very actions of these three religions can profoundly effect the world I live in, either for the positive or the negative. When I posed the question to my friends they all said that they hadn’t ever thought about how Judaism, Christianity, and Islam effect other religions in the world and how their internal struggles either within the religion or between the religions effects so many other people outside of the very religions they practice. This made me sad since as a Hindu one of the duties every Hindu has is to take responsibility for all of humanity…regardless of our differences. I guess I just assumed that all the other religions in the world felt the same responsibility.



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Sara Diamondstein

posted August 30, 2007 at 9:23 pm


I as a jew am appalled at the biased presentation done by Ms. Amanpour. I have been watching her closely over the last couple of years and find both she and CNN to be consistant in their biased approach especially when it comes to Israel. History leaves no doubt in the minds of honest thinking people that Israel has shown herself to be a country that has tried over decades to establish peace with her neighbors. Sure, we do have FEW extremists in our midst however, they are caught and prosecuted by their own unlike her neighbors who calls terrorists honorable. What Ms. Amanpour and CNN are doing is nothing short of fanning the fires of hate and, we all know where that concept leads to. In my opinion this is criminal. CNN and all news programs have a responsibility to report honestly and accurately. I am
extremely disappointed knowing that this responsibility is not taken seriously by our news media.



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Anonymous

posted August 31, 2007 at 12:39 am


i agree with you. as someone who is trying to live as a christian, i felt thet her report favored terrorists and was aimed at inciting them further by trying to make Jewish people who want a homeland look dangerous.terrorism committed by anyone is among the worst af sins-in any faith. as far as the christian segments, they were merely silly and insulting .



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misspublico

posted August 31, 2007 at 1:09 am


We should not be shocked by the biases against Israel because the Bible says these things will happen.
As long as those who love the only true and living God the God of Israel remains faithful Israel will get through this just fine. It will be difficult at first but God is always for those who love Him by keeping His commandments.
CNN and all those who hate Jews and others will pass away but the Jews and the God of the Jews cannot pass away because He says so. Look at history and remember the Jews are still here and all the nations and regimes who tried to destroy them have passed away.
So we should not despair or join them in their hate.The Jews are proof of the existance of a true God and some people hate that because they love their sin and false gods. After all that’s been done to the Jews they’re still here and that’s an indicment againse them and prove how much they hate their own creator. Shame on them.



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vijaya babu

posted August 31, 2007 at 6:22 am


As to the comment posted by Mr.GanapathiKamesh, I want to reply, that the responsibility of a Hindu, he menitioned in that towards humanity, I request him to check the history and the present times also, what is being practised in Hinduism, that the people belong to Castes other than Forward Castes, there is a descriminitation and un-touchability. It is known to all the backward castes. But, they are afraid of pointing it out, because they will be targeted, even the Bacward caste people who are educated and highest positions in the Society or in the Offices,etc. Then what humanism he was talking to, so called Hinduism’s responsibility towards it. Coming to the Programm on CNN ‘God’s Warriors, what Mr.Misspublico has mentioned is correct. People should first know whome they are worshipping whether the Creator or the Created. All these things happen as prophecied in the Bible.



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Joseph . E

posted August 31, 2007 at 6:24 am


Quote ” Yes, we Jews do have our fundamentalists and some of them are very scary. Israel bravely took on its fundamentalists last year when they pulled out of Gaza. Israel could do more to confront them in the West Bank as well. ” ,
The writer support the transfer of that segment of Israel citizenry ,
If the writer perceives religious fundamentalism as a hate-filled , violent threat against the west ,
If the writer perceives religious fundamentalism as hijacking religion ,
Then let him prove that his description of religious fundamentalism applies to the Israel citizenry residing in Judea and Samaria including those forcefully transferred from Gush Katif , Homesh ect,,, ,
Let the writer proves so about that Israel citizenry segment and not just thru an example or two not representative of the overwhelming majority of the said Israel citizenry ,
Let the writer prove so and not just thru the non-existent Jewish suicide terrorists ,
Or could it be that to induce a support for his political view of transfer , the writer exploit a pattern and mislead more or less the same as Amanpour’s one ,



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Bob

posted August 31, 2007 at 11:35 am


there is no equivalence between the threat Jewish fundamentalists present in Israel or around the world compared to the threat that the world wide Islamist revolution is presenting to Western democracies
If you mean there is no equivalence in numbers, you’re right — there are far more on the Muslim side. But there is an equivalence of immorality. Cold-blooded murder is cold-blooded murder, regardless of religion or political motivation. A fundamentalist Jew who wants to murder innocents to defend his homeland is just as evil as a fundamentalist Muslim who wants to blow up a building in New York to “defend” his people from “the Great Satan”.
It will be a great day when both sides give up the blood-lust and take a page from Dr. King or Gandhi, and realize that moral victory — and eventually political victory — will only come from NON-violence.



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Fran

posted August 31, 2007 at 12:04 pm


I actually thought Ms Amanpour did an excellent job. I don’t think she was being critical about religion or trying to show any religion in a bad light. I think she was taking a small minority from each religion who gives a bad name to all religion and hijakes their religion in the name of G-d for their own agenda. It wasn’t a comparison or a look at who is worse or better. I personally felt it was objective and fair. Her report showed the amazing similarities in thinking and desires of these particular groups. It actually open my eyes and gave me some important insights into the motives and fears that each of these group have. As a liberal Jew, it helped my better understand some of their fears. Obviously, the way they go about in resolving there agenda is destructive and self serving, but hopefully, her report will give rise to discussion and alternatives to address these issues.



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laura t mushkat

posted August 31, 2007 at 4:05 pm


Have yet to read the comments on this one! I did read the text of the article.
All I have to say ins puh-lease! Jews know what we are like-read the Bible! Thank goodness CNN did not go that far back!
The aim of the program was to show the non-mainstream people who would live and die for their beliefs and believe others who do not do as they do are dispensable or at least need to be converted.
Personally as a Jew I thought they did a very fair job.
Laura



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