Catching up on an item from the August 22, Fareed Zakaria GPS on CNN, host Zakaria -- formerly of Newsweek -- ended his show with commentary in which he ridiculously suggested that Americans who oppose construction of a mosque near Ground Zero could learn a lesson about tolerance from the terrorist group Hezbollah, and cited the group as being accepting of diverse religions – including Judaism – in Lebanon in light of the restoration of a synagogue in Beirut. Without informing viewers of the history of viciously anti-Semitic speech from Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah and other leading figures within the anti-Israel group, the CNN anchor quoted Hezbollah’s claim that, rather than being anti-Semitic, they are simply opposed to "Israel’s occupation of Arab lands." Zakaria:
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: Quote, "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.
But, as recounted by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), Hezbollah members not only desire to take over all of Israel which they consider to be occupied, but the group’s leader Nasrallah has been very direct in his anti-Semitic speech, once even declaring that if the Jewish people "all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide."
When the Israeli government and the terrorist group Hezbollah carried out a prisoner release agreement in which Israel released five Lebanese prisoners while Hezbollah released the bodies of two Israeli soldiers who had been killed, there was a substantial contrast in the way the broadcast network evening newscasts reported the story. While ABC’s Charles Gibson and Simon McGregor-Wood reported on World News that one of the prisoners, Samir Kuntar, had been convicted of the "vicious murder" of an Israeli man and his four-year-old daughter, and that upon release he was "greeted in Beirut as a returning hero," NBC and CBS both skipped over any details of Kuntar’s crime, and CBS’s Katie Couric even listed the prisoner exchange as one of several "glimmers of hope" in the conflict between Israelis and Arabs. Couric: "For the first time in years, there are some glimmers of hope in the Arab-Israeli stalemate -- a virtual cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, a prisoner exchange with Hezbollah, and the beginning of low-level talks between Israel and Syria."
CNN and FNC further detailed the brutality of Kuntar’s crime, and FNC noted his popularity among many in Lebanon. FNC’s Morton Kondracke: "What’s most disgusting is that the Lebanese performance, tens of thousands of people turning out to welcome home a terrorist who had killed a policeman, a civilian, and then bashed in the head of the civilian's four-year-old daughter. And he's being welcomed home as though he’s a national hero, with the president there, the prime minister there, the speaker of the parliament. This is supposed to be an ally of the United States, Lebanon. What it indicates is that Lebanon, that Lebanese politics is now owned by Hezbollah ... they have veto power over whatever the Lebanese government does, you know. Lebanon is close to being lost." (Transcripts follow)
On Sunday's "Late Edition," CNN's Wolf Blitzer aired a pre-recorded interview in which the CNN anchor asked one of the most irrational questions of the weekend, as he seemed to treat as credible accusations by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah that Israel was behind the recent assassinations of anti-Syria politicians in Lebanon. As Blitzer interviewed Walid Jumblatt, a member of the Lebanese parliament who is a "harsh critic" of Syria, the CNN host read a quote from the Hezbollah leader charging that "the hand that is killing is Israel's," and that Israel "has a sure interest in the assassinations." After Jumblatt scoffed that "that's the biggest joke that I've ever heard," Blitzer responded: "So you reject what Hassan Nasrallah is saying, that Israel is responsible for all of this?" (Transcript follows)
Blitzer had set up the interview with Jumblatt: "It's an extremely dangerous time for politicians in Lebanon. There have been a series of high-profile political assassinations, with many Lebanese blaming Syria's president, Bashar al-Assad, and his regime in Damascus. Walid Jumblatt is a leading member of the Lebanese parliament. He's a very harsh critic of Syria. I spoke with him here in Washington this week."