CNN's Cuomo: 'Proportionality is a Big Part' of Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Cites Death Toll Disparity

The ‘blame Israel’ rhetoric from the mainstream media has shown no signs of slowing down. This time, on the July 15 edition of CNN’s New Day, host Chris Cuomo and CNN contributor Peter Beinart decried the unevenness of the war, citing high casualties on the Palestinian side while pointing to virtually nonexistent casualties on the Israeli side of the conflict.

Cuomo naturally led off his interview of Beinart with this statement: “Proportionality is a big part of this story always when there's conflict. Israel obviously has the advantage militarily...Now, on the other side from the Ministry of Health there, close to 200 deaths, 1,400 injured, many women, children, civilians, schools supposedly damaged. It takes us to the issue of proportionality. How does that play here?” [MP3 audio here; video below]

Beinart did concede that Israel does its best to warn civilians that rockets will be launched, but he rejected the effectiveness of such overtures, noting how “Gaza is a very heavily crowded place.” The former New Republic editor added that “when you launch all of these missiles...you’re gonna kill a lot of innocent people and that undermines Israel’s image in the world.” However, Beinart did point out Israel’s Iron Dome program and the inaccuracy of rockets coming from Hamas as an explanation of the death toll disparity.

The topic then moved on to whether a two-state solution would be possible given the latest tensions in the Middle East. Beinart suggested that the United States has “diminished leverage in the Middle East...because of the Iraq war.”

He claimed that with “Afghanistan almost falling apart, Iraq falling apart, Iran negotiations at a critical stage, Syria still totally out of control,” American influence would not be that great. None of the blame for this chaos was placed on the President, of course.

As we have seen in recent days, the liberal media consistently views the Israel-Palestine conflict through one lense, the one where Israel is ultimately responsible, viewed as the hostile aggressor and almost inevitably igniting conflict throughout the region. And despite mentioning the cease-fire that Israel had proposed to resolve the conflict – which was summarily rejected by Hamas – Cuomo and Beinart still hinted throughout the segment that Israel was more responsible for violence than the terrorist group.

The relevant portion of the transcript can be found below.

CNN
New Day
July 15, 2014
6:02 a.m. Eastern

CHRIS CUOMO, host: Proportionality is a big part of this story always when there's conflict. Israel obviously has the advantage militarily. Uh, yesterday, actually mistakenly reported that there had been deaths in Israel. None so far. Some reports of light casualties. Accurate?

PETER BEINART, CNN contributor: Right.

CUOMO: Now, on the other side from the Ministry of Health there, close to 200 deaths, 1,400 injured, many women, children, civilians, schools supposedly damaged. It takes us to the issue of proportionality. How does that play here?

BEINART: Right, well this is always the problem for Israel. Israel does send leaflets and phone people in order to get them to leave their buildings so as to try not to kill innocent civilians but Gaza is a very heavily crowded place and so when you launch all of these missiles, and there has been a very intense barrage by Israel, more intense than in previous conflicts, you're gonna kill a lot of innocent people and that undermines Israel’s image in the world. On the other hand, Israel has this very effective Iron Dome program and the Hamas rockets are very inaccurate and very primitive so every conflict like this, we've seen a huge disparity in death toll.

CUOMO: And reading a lot of the Israeli commentary on this. The question of don't forget who started this comes back. Is that a legitimate question to ask, and is the answer that Gaza started this, that Hamas started this?

BEINART: Well, it's always complicated. What happened, remember, go back to the kidnapping of these three Israeli teenagers. Benjamin Netanyahu accused Hamas and then launched a major operation against Hamas, including re-arresting prisoners who Israel had released. Hamas saw that as an unfair attack upon them because they claimed they weren't behind the kidnapping, at least not Hamas's central leadership. Israel had said they were, and that was the context that led us to this rocket fire so it's often hard to decide where to really begin.

CUOMO: But it's important because for a lot of our audience they are coming to this fresh.

BEINART: Right.

[...]

CUOMO: And on the other side, it had been that Hamas would look to the U.S. as having unusual leverage with Israel but now we have on both sides, trouble. Netanyahu says I don't think – in effect, I don't think a two-state solution is going to work. We're gonna hold on to the West Bank, and you have Secretary Kerry is saying I'm not going over there yet. What does this mean?

BEINART: We’re in an era in which the United States has diminished leverage in the Middle East.

CUOMO: Because?

BEINART: Because of the Iraq war, which weakened us, because we were not able to succeed in the peace process and also because were now trying to deal with all of these crises, just look at John Kerry's travel schedule, Afghanistan almost falling apart, Iraq falling apart, Iran negotiations at a critical stage, Syria still totally out of control and so America’s bandwidth is not that great and that's what you're seeing here as a problem as well.

CUOMO: So the idea that a two-state solution is off the table, do you buy that?

BEINART: Ah, this I think is a very important and underdeveloped – under-reported development. Benjamin Netanyahu's comments here saying on Friday that because of this Israel can never give back security control over the West Bank. I understand his concern, security concerns. There is a very frightening kind of regional implication right now, but if Israel is going to permanently control the West Bank, then you're going to have a one-state solution that as John Kerry and Barack Obama have both repeatedly said is either going to lead Israel to have permanent control over millions of people who lack citizenship and the right to vote or it's gonna bethe end of a Jewish state and that's a very grim scenario I think.

CUOMO: And does not sound like a peaceful one.

BEINART: And I think it will be a recipe sadly for future war.

Connor Williams
Connor Williams
Connor Williams is a contributing writer for NewsBusters.