Fareed Zakaria spoke last Sunday on CNN — on his weekly program Fareed Zakaria GPS — with his usual haughty display of what he considers to be the great wisdom he regularly presents to his audience. The would-be secretary of State told his viewers this:
And now for the “Last Look.” With all the talk about places of worship and where they do and don’t belong, I wanted you to see this. This is the Magen Abraham synagogue. It’s not in Miami. It’s not in Tel Aviv. It’s in Beirut. That’s right, Beirut, Lebanon.
The synagogue is just now emerging from a painstaking restoration project. When the repairs began over a year ago, the temple was literally a shell of its former self. 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. Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. I will see you next week. Stay tuned for “Reliable Sources.”
If you insist on seeing his delivery, you can watch it here.
This reminds me of nothing less than the famous phony documentary the Nazis made about Theresienstadt as they were creating this showplace concentration camp to try to fool the world, to show everyone how good they were to those Jews they were actually sending to the death camps.
As the Jewish site linked above explains:
Hitler, the world was to be told, had built a city for the Jews, to protect them from the vagaries and stresses of the war. A film was made to show this mythic, idyllic city to which his henchmen were taking the Jews from the Czech Lands and eight other countries. Notable musicians, writers, artists, and leaders were sent there for “safer” keeping than was to be afforded elsewhere in Hitler’s quest to stave off any uprisings or objections around the so-called civilized world. This ruse worked for a very long time, to the great detriment of the nearly two hundred thousand men, women and children who passed through its gates as a way station to the east and probable death.
Now, in our own time — as the organization CAMERA accurately reveals — Zakaria’s claim that “Hezbollah respects the Jews and is merely opposed to Israel’s occupation of Arab lands” dramatically misinformed viewers about the radical and anti-Semitic nature of the Lebanese terror group.
Hezbollah has repeatedly made clear not only its opposition to Israel’s very existence, but also its contempt for Jews.
As Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s chief, said on Al Quds International Day last year:
[Al Quds Day] is the day of all Palestine from sea to river. It is the day of the Palestinian and Arab detainees remaining in the occupation prisons. It is the day of the Palestinian refugees displaced whether inside Palestine or abroad. Al Quds day is the day of patient, resistance, besieged Gaza. Al Quds day is the day of Palestinian resistance of all factions and movements. It is the day of the Lebanese, Arab and Islamic resistance. It is the day of every resistant, withstander, survivor, and fighter in the face of the Zionist scheme in our region. Al Quds day is the day of the Ummah, a reminder to the Ummah of its historical and religious responsibilities in parallel.
It is a day, he makes quite clear, for vowing to destroy Israel. Judaism, he tells his audience, clearly stands for the end of Israel’s existence, which is only a creation of the Zionist conspiracy. Citing the Quran, he says:
As for the criminal and murderous limb of Abraham’s progeny, who killed the prophets, spread corruption in the land, and committed atrocities and sins… these were not given any promises to start with for promises to be withdrawn. They were not given promises from the onset. It is found in the Old Testament and in history books, that after Moses brought the Israelites across to the blessed land of Palestine, they began to worship the calf and idols, disobeyed God, hurt and conspired against his prophet and his brother Aaron. Consequently, God ordered them out to wander through the desert for 40 years, away from the reaches of their land.
So, no promises were made to them.
His beliefs could not be more clear. Is Mr. Zakaria familiar with this passage in his speech?:
First: Historic Palestine, from the sea to the river belongs to the people of Palestine and to the whole nation.
Second: It is impermissible for anyone and no one has the right, whoever he may be, whether Palestinian, Arab, Muslim or Christian, no matter who it is, regardless of the claims of representation anyone makes, whether representation claims of historic legitimacy, revolutionary, popular, legal or constitutional, no one in this world is entitled to give up a grain of soil from the land of Palestine, nor a drop of water from the waters in Palestine, nor a single character from the name of Palestine.
Third: the “Israeli” entity currently existing on the land of Palestine is a usurper and occupation entity, aggressive, cancerous, illegitimate and illegal presence.
Fourth: It is impermissible for anyone, whoever they may be, to recognize this entity, grant it legitimacy or recognize an existence for it.
Fifth: Collaboration and normalization with “Israel” are forbidden sins. All scholars, Islamic reference authorities are in consensus about this, and anyone that says otherwise, let him step forward and present his case.
These principles and constants are unalterable by time, circumstances, conditions, strengths or weaknesses at all.
At another time, CAMERA reminds us, Nasrallah was quoted in Lebanon’s Daily Star saying that if the Jews “all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide.”
Writing in The New Yorker some years ago, Jeffrey Goldberg called Hezbollah “the most successful terrorist organization in modern history.” And he went on to write that a Lebanese Shiite scholar named Amal Saad-Ghorayeb has advanced what in Lebanon is a controversial argument: that Hezbollah is not merely anti-Israel but deeply, theologically anti-Jewish.
Her new book, Hezbollah: Politics & Religion, dissects the anti-Jewish roots of Hezbollah ideology. Hezbollah, she argues, “believes that Jews, by the nature of Judaism, possess fatal character flaws.” The organization, she adds, holds “a real antipathy to Jews as Jews.”
I assume this means that the supposedly informed Zakaria is not familiar with the reporting and analysis of Jeffrey Goldberg. Of course, we know that this is not the case.
Somehow, he has obviously chosen to disregard what he probably does know, in order to score cheap shots and make Hezbollah seem more tolerant than the United States. They allow a synagogue to be restored; most Americans oppose and are trying to stop a mosque from being built near Ground Zero. For Zakaria, the Hezbollah controlled Lebanon is more tolerant than the democratic United States.
This “insight” of his is supposed to be “food for thought.”
So please. Flood the CNN network brass with protests, demand they correct his crude hosanna to a group our own government condemns as terrorist, and ask that others be invited on to correct the horrendously false impression he gave to viewers. You can reach CNN by linking to its complaint site.
And finally, as the current incarnation of the almost defunct Newsweek seeks to rebuild itself after being bought by billionaire Sidney Harman, we got the bad news that Zakaria has already jumped ship and moved immediately to the still surviving Time, which last week did its best to paint Americans as crude Islamophobic zombies.
Now, its subscribers will have to read his words along with the already anti-Israel and anti-neocon screeds of Joe Klein. Perhaps in another year, with such an august group of pundits, Time too will need to find another Sidney Harman to save them.