First published in THE INTELLECTUAL CONSERVATIVE
“God’s Warriors” Disappoints
By Maurice Ostroff | View comments
The CNN special omitted from its six hours many experts in the field, leaving serious viewers more confused than before.
At the conclusion of the widely advertised CNN TV series God’s Warriors, dealing with the intersection between religion and politics, Christiane Amanpour said she tried to explain the phenomenon of millions of people who know how to make the world right but feel ignored.
While she certainly deserves an A+ for her professionally conducted interviews in seven countries over eight months, the documentary barely earns a C- for its explanations. The six-hour program leaves serious viewers more confused than before.
Each of the three two-hour programs suffers from excess length, due mainly to irrelevancies. Former President Carter, for example, enjoys the privilege of freely advertising his book in two of the series, but contributes nothing to the main subject.
Amanpour does not hesitate to inject her own views, demonstrating occasional lack of knowledge. For example, when an Israeli settler said, “God says Jews must live in Hebron,” Amanpour interjected that the West Bank was designated by the UN to be the largest part of an Arab state. Not only is this statement factually incorrect, it is out of context. Amanpour is evidently unaware that all Arab states rejected UN partition resolution 181, to which she evidently referred, and that the West Bank was included in the area designated for encouragement of Jewish settlement by the Balfour Declaration and even endorsed in article 6 of the British mandate.
One of the most misleading aspects of the program was the use of the very few isolated incidents of Jewish terror attempts over the past 15 years to create the false impression that a Jewish terror movement exists on a par with the violent worldwide jihadist phenomenon of indiscriminate death and destruction. For example, she interviewed Yehuda Etzion, who was convicted and imprisoned for involvement in a foiled bomb plot way back in 1984. Unlike some Islamic states, Israel acts vigorously against attempts to engage in terror and those very few Jews who did make attempts have been severely punished.
The relevance of religious extremism to the so-called Jewish lobby in the USA is flimsy indeed. Nevertheless, Amanpour found time to allow Jimmy Carter, as well as Professor Mearsheimer, to expound their controversial views which have been criticized by experts. In a six-hour program, there is no excuse to claim that lack of time prevented the presentation of these extremist views in their proper context by quoting authoritative contradictory opinions. Nor is there any excuse for attacking a Jewish lobby, without presenting the context as a natural part of the general lobbying scene in the USA like the ACLU and the very powerful, well-funded Arab lobbies.
The repeated references to settlements as illegal exposes a biased outlook. Obviously, the most reliable sources from whom to seek clarification are the persons who played key roles in drafting the relevant resolution 242, namely British Ambassador to the UN, Lord Caradon, American Ambassador, Arthur Goldberg, and US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, Eugene Rostow. All have agreed that settlements are legal. In an interview in the Beirut Daily Star on June 12, 1974, Lord Caradon stated: “It would have been wrong to demand that Israel return to its positions of June 4, 1967 because these positions were undesirable and artificial.”
Professor Julius Stone, one of the twentieth century’s leading authorities on the Law of Nations, concurred that the Jewish right of settlement in the territories is equivalent in every way to the right of the existing Palestinian population to live there.
What must deeply concern everyone interested in maintaining Western democracy is the danger that this widely advertised documentary diverts attention from the real threat of Jihad, by equating it with non-violent religious movements. A warning early in the program by Ed Husain — who said he was brain-washed to believe in a religious duty to kill innocent people on the basis of religion — is unfortunately diluted later in the program. As a former member of the radical group, Hiz Ut-Tahrir, he describes it as a group of individuals across the world dedicated to overthrowing every single Arab government and every single Muslim government, and setting up an expansionist global state in the Middle East and a launch pad for creating an Islamist empire.
They operate openly in large numbers on university campuses to this day, and openly admit they intend to establish an Islamic empire ruled by fundamentalist Islamic law, Sharia.
Sorely missing from the entire series is any mention of the basic motivator of Islamic violence, the incitement to hatred emanating from state media as well as openly from mosques, not only in Arab countries but under the noses of European and British governments. As human beings, can we be unperturbed by the indoctrination of infants to become suicidal Warriors, as shown in an interview with a three-and-a-half-year-old girl broadcast on Iqra?
It is unforgivable that in this documentary, which could serve to create a better understanding of the violence generated by religious zealotry, the authoritative voices of many experts in the field were omitted. The program would, for example, achieve greater credibility had Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz been interviewed as a foil to Mearshheimer.
Among others who would have added authoritative insight into the subject are Brigitte Gabriel, who lectures nationally and internationally about terrorism and who has issued an Urgent Warning to the West, Professor Salim Mansur, the Muslim writer and Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Western Ontario, Steven Emerson, the internationally recognized expert on militant Islamic terrorism and national security, and Dr. Khaleel Mohammed, the Islamic law specialist and professor of Religion at San Diego State University.
1. I found the three-part, six-hour series, God’s Warriors repetitive and tedious to watch. While the material is comprehensively treated efforts at creating understanding were disappointngly shallow.
Most publishd criticisms have been valid though also tending towards circumlocution. For this reason, I found Ostroff’s analysis refreshingly concise and to the point.
Comment by robert1492 | August 31, 2007