Critics of religion like to claim that the source of most of the world's ills can be traced to believers who wage wars in the name of their distorted fanatic faiths. Needless to say, proponents of this trend have pointed out that the vast majority of the deaths incurred by conflicts in one of history's bloodiest centuries — the 20th — were caused by fanatical nonbelievers in traditional faiths in the name of their Communist, Maoist and Nazi faiths.
But it must be admitted that violent religious extremists are, at this moment in time, the primary threat to the peace of the world. The only problem with this unpleasant fact is that the opprobrium rightly aimed at the perpetrators of this faith-based violence cannot be neatly distributed across the board to practitioners of the three major monotheistic religions.
Though present-day Jews and Christians are not all saints, there is no getting around the fact that neither of those religions have sprouted a contemporary movement aimed at world domination to be achieved by terror and war. That honor is reserved for the Muslim faith, among whose adherents Islamist terror movements have found a home in the mainstream of its culture.
Not all Muslims are Islamists. In fact, most American Muslims are nothing of the kind. But the notion that supporters of Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other assorted anti-Western and anti-Jewish terror movements are just a tiny minority in the Arab and Muslim world is an utter delusion. Still, in this age of political correctness, to single out any one group for the sins of a large number of its members is considered unfair, and perhaps even racist. So instead, we're asked to pretend that there is an intrinsic connection or even symmetry among Christian, Jewish and Muslim extremists.
That was exactly the premise of a widely heralded three-part series on CNN last week. Titled "God's Holy Warriors" — and fronted by famed international correspondent Christiane Amanpour — it was a triptych across the globe to highlight the danger from Jewish, Muslim and Christian extremists who are all given the same treatment and airtime in the guise of evenhandedness.
Thus, by its very structure of equating the three different situations, the series was nothing short of a brazen lie.
Though all parts of the series were problematic, the first of the series, devoted to threat from extremist Israeli Jewish settlers and the entire network of support for the State of Israel in this country, was as classic an example of a dishonest piece of biased programming as anything that's been broadcast on a major network.
Though a tiny fraction of the settlement movement, which itself commands the support of only a fraction of Israelis, has committed isolated acts of violence, the notion that this group is in any way analogous to Al Qaeda is nothing short of bizarre. If anything, Jewish settlers and ordinary Israelis living inside the pre-1967 borders have themselves been the victims of the intolerance, fanaticism and violence of their Muslim neighbors.
Even worse, the show seemingly accepts the discredited canard of Israeli and American Jewish control of American foreign policy put forth by such risible figures as former president Jimmy Carter and academic John Mearsheimer, whose views were treated with respect rather than journalistic skepticism. As such, the worldwide news network lent itself to a line of argument that has rightly been termed a modern intellectual justification for anti-Semitism.
CNN cannot be allowed to get away with this sort of despicable bias. Decent persons of all faiths need to speak out against this network and to make sure that it, and its arrogant star Amanpour, are made to hear of our outrage at every possible opportunity and in every way possible, including the use of economic leverage.