CNN’s Zakaria Presents Hezbollah as a Model of Religious Tolerance

by Warner Todd Huston | August 31, 2010 9:00 am

Remembering that CNN’s President Jon Klein has touted its down-the-middle coverage and claims it is situated in the “center” of American politics, on a recent episode[1] of Fareed Zakaria GPS, host Zakaria tried to claim that Lebanon’s terror group Hezbollah was some sort of model for religious tolerance. Someone should inform CNN that claiming Hezbollah is “religiously tolerant” is hardly a centrist position.

If we can discern “religious tolerance” in a group that says that the state of Israel should be wiped from the earth, then there is a new definition of “tolerance” that no one is aware of. But unbelievably here is CNN’s Zakaria coloring this murderous terror group as a “tolerant” organization.

At the end of his August 22 show, Zakaria turned to discuss the re-construction of a Synagogue in Beirut, Lebanon, a project that Zakaria claims proves how open minded and tolerant Hezbollah is towards Jews.

So why did this nation, often teetering on the brink of religious hostilities and hostilities with Israel, restore a Jewish house of worship? To show that Lebanon is an open and tolerant country.

And indeed, the project is said to have found support in many parts of the community, not just from the few remaining Jews there, but also Christians and Muslims and Hezbollah. Yes, Hezbollah — the one that the United States has designated a foreign terrorist organization.

Hezbollah’s view on the renovation goes like this. “We respect divine religions, including the Jewish religion. The problem is with Israel’s occupation of Arab lands … not with the Jews.” Food for thought.

The first question that so easily strikes when listening to Zakaria’s rosy assessment is contained in the second paragraph. If Lebanon is so open and warm to other religions, why is it that this Synagogue is wonderful not just for “the few remaining Jews there”? If Hezbollah and the state they control were so “tolerant” why is there only a “few remaining Jews” there? Why did those Jews leave if everything is so wonderful?

And of course the propaganda that Zakaria allows the spokesman for Hezbollah to babble, all about how they “respect divine religions including the Jewish religion,” is appalling.

Zakaria fails his viewers miserably to allow Hezbollah’s spokesman to dole out his lies without questioning it.

As the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) notes[2], “Hezbollah has not been shy about admitting that, in its view, Israel occupies not just the West Bank but also Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa and every other inch of its sovereign territory. ” The fact is Hezbollah is wholly intolerant of the existence of Israel.

As Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah put it in a Sept. 18. 2009 speech[3], “Historic Palestine, from the sea to the river, belongs to the people of Palestine and to the whole [Muslim] nation.” Israel, he elaborated, “is a usurper and occupation entity, aggressive, cancerous, illegitimate, and illegal presence,” and nobody is permitted to recognize its existence.

The Jewish state, he continued, must be “wiped out”:

[We] will never recognize ‘Israel.’ We will not work with ‘Israel.’ We will not normalize ties with ‘Israel.’ We will not surrender to ‘Israel.’ We will not accept ‘Israel’ even if the whole world recognizes it. Our faith, belief, and declaration will remain unchanged, that ‘Israel’ is an illegal presence [and] a cancerous gland, and must be wiped out of existence.

Nasrallah has a long history of denouncing Israel and the Jews and has repeatedly called for their elimination.

Additionally, Hezbollah has been linked to bombings and the murder[4] of Americans, Jews, and people of other religions at least as far back as 1982, some of these incidents happened in other countries, too. And many western nations have classified Hezbollah as a terror organization.

But to CNN and Fareed Zakaria, why those nice Hezbollah folks are the very modern model of religious tolerance, don’t you know?

Quite the “down-the-middle” position CNN has there, isn’t it?

  1. recent episode:
  2. notes:
  3. speech:
  4. Hezbollah has been linked to bombings and the murder:

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