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"My heart is in the east, and I in the uttermost west." — Yehudah Ha-Levi

CNN: G-d’s Warriors

Posted by lchaimlover on August 22, 2007


amanpour 440 cnn

For the next few nights, CNN’s Christiane Amanpour is presenting a special presentation called “G-d’s Warriors”. Each night’s documentary focuses on one of the three major monotheistic religions: Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. The series over all is receiving a great deal of media attention from Larry King to Joe Scarsborough for various reasons. The Chicago Tribune called it flawed.

This evening was the first presentation of “G-d’s Jewish Warriors.” The show is a critical look at the extremist settlers who have settled in Hebron and the West Bank. A good deal of the episode dealt with right wing (settlers and Jewish terrorists) and left wing (Jimmy Carter and John Mearsheimer) extremists, with very little moderate opinion (but then again the show does deal with extremists). It reviews terrorist acts after the Six Day War to assassination of Yitzak Rabin to the attempt to blow up the Dome of the Rock.

Personally, I found the show very interesting, with a good deal of history, and amazing footage of the disengagement. I recommend watching it, if only because you need something new to argue about. There is a particularly juicy bit that makes AIPAC look a bit like a Jewish conspiracy agency.

The episodes on Islam and Christianity will be airing Wednesday and Thursday at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. Check local listings.


21 Responses to “CNN: G-d’s Warriors”

  1. I hope the decent people of this country recognize this ridiculous series for the affront to reason that it is.

    violent Jihadis = West Bank settlers = anti-abortion activists. right. I don’t even think the violent Jihadis would sign on to this ridiculous equation. this is an example of when so-called “even-handedness” is taken to the absurd extreme.

    if Ms. Amanpour, a Christian refugee from the Islamic Republic of Iran, actually believes this crap, as opposed to merely attempting to produce sensational programming, then the fact that she has excelled to such heights in her profession is a serious indictment of said profession.

  2. Oyster said

    Right on, Benny. Couldn’t agree more.

    I am disgusted by this further lumping of Judaism in with Christianity and Islam. As if there are so many Jews in the world. They should be going by religions with the highest body-counts. In that case, the show should focus on Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity. This is related to my pet-peeve: when people say “Judeo-Christian”. WTF does that mean?! If it something that they have in common, then it should really be Judeo-Christo-Islamic. Otherwise, Judaism has been on the receiving end of Chrstianity’s ignoble & bloody march through history for centuries. A few decades does not a trend reversal make.

    Why is Jimmy Carter listed during the Jewish extremist session? Please tell me he hasn’t converted!

  3. Oyster said

    Oh, and we aren’t one of the three “major” monotheistic religions. And who said that there are only three?

    Perhaps in terms of prestige in Western societies, but not by the numbers. By population, the Sikhs or the monotheistic denominations of Hinduism would beat us hands-down.

    Perhaps they meant the Abrahamic religions?

  4. AaronfromWG said

    Jewish terrorists pose a threat to world stability. All 3 of them.

  5. Oyster said

    Ha! Good one, Aaron! 🙂

  6. minsky said

    By last count, neither Sikhs nor Hindus are monotheistic. Sikhism, a blend of Islam and Hinduism, stirred up by a Sai Baba, doesn’t cut it, and Hinduism, is paganism at its best.

    I think Judeo-Christian is a misnomer, but not for the same reasons as you guys. The issue in Israel, is Judeo Christo- Islamic. No doubt. But Western society is not Islamic, but precisely Judeo-Christian, in many many more ways than Islamic is Judaic, or Christian.

    I haven’t seen this series, and I imagine I should, but I doubt its central thesis. I maintain that Islam plays a particularly deleterious role in these conflicts, and that radicalism, is not the issue.

  7. Eesh Tzadik said

    The series is an examination of religious fundamentalism and how it cuts across religious boundaries. I find it curious that many of the Jewish people that I have discussed the show with immediately take a defensive stance, as if our shit doesn’t stick too! Yes, you are right, there probably aren’t as many Jewish terrorists as there are terrorists from some other religions, but that doesn’t make their actions any less abhorrent (and let’s not forget there aren’t nearly as many Jews. A more interesting metric would be the crazy/sane ratio by religion). Narrow-minded belief without reason is a dangerous thing, no matter if you call yourself a Christian, Muslim, Jew or Republican.

  8. AaronfromWG said

    religion 101: Ethnic Religion vs Universal Religion

    Christianity and Islam are universal religions, meaning anyone can join at any moment just by changing their beliefs. Because anyone can join it creates a tendency for these religions to try and spread to gain influence and power. It is no coincidence that both these religions grew and spread in a large part through violence and oppression.

    Judaism and Hinduism are ethnic religions, meaning you are born into it and conversion is hard to impossible and discouraged. Jewish and Hindu extremists are those people fighting for historically Jewish or Hindu land that has been encroached on by Muslims.

    As long as Universal religions exist they will threaten ethnic religions with both violence an missionaries. These days Christians primarily use missionaries which I don’t like but its not as bad as the ethnic cleansing strategy that Muslims have used on Indians, North Africans, Armenians, Assyrians, Jews, and even many Muslims who are not Muslim enough(Darfur).

    Class dismissed.

  9. AaronfromWG said

    My point is that wanting to live in Hebron(“Jewish radicals”) is not equal to wanting to take over the world(“fundamental Muslim belief and goal”)

  10. minsky said

    Of interest, is the Atheist Manifesto by Onfray. Its hypothesis is sounder than either Harris’, Hitchens, or Dawkins. He tackles the Universalism mentioned by AronfromWG, as intrinsic to the Old Testament, and hence to Christianity and Islam…. but of Judaic origin.

    Granted that we do not actively seek out converts in Judaism, we maintain higher standards, and our “radicals” are somewhat different from theirs, as you pointed, they are also differences between Muslim shachids and Christian missionairies, the former being harder to deal with, since they are generally into hardcore.

    But, I must agree with some portion of Onfray’s hypothesis. If radicals are the problem, then these radicals share one trait: literalism.

    Presently, literalism dominates maintream Islam. Being muslim and not reading the Koran literaly, is apostasy. Islam has and will continue to have, problems dealing with modernity, hating it as long as it clings to the cowboy-exploits of its founder.

    Christian literalists, exist in America’s bible belt. They are detrimental to the nations present foreign policy, in my view. Their ignorance is exploited by some clever televangelists. They are weirdos who get worked up over abortion, creationism, and the Rapture. These guys suck, a monkey wrench in the wheels of an already panting democracy. Plenty to blame them for.

    About Jewish literalists. I am stuck here. Any ideas?

    As for Hindus. Are they an ethnic religion. I find this a fascinating question. I heard some ISKCON members complain when mistreated in India, and I think there was an ethnic twist to it. What exactly do you find ethnic in Hinduism?

  11. AaronfromWG said

    The word India is derived from European explorers mispronunciation of Hindu(hindians). Hindu identity is received at birth and hence you can’t convert. A non-Hindu technically can choose to birth a Hindu child and raise the child as a Hindu & if the Hindu community accepts this then the child is considered Hindu. There are a few small sects of Hindus that will convert people but its rare and frowned upon by the wider Hindu community.

    P.S. 2000 years ago almost all religion was ethnic or tribal.

  12. chutzpaleh said

    Just a point of fact… Sikhs today are monotheistic. I have a Sikh stepfather, and officially asked a shayla (halachic query) – According to the rabbis I asked (if you want to know who exactly, please email me) Sikhs are considered a monotheistic, non avoda-zara religion. I actually think that’s mentioned in one of those major kiruv books that I never read. Rabbi Tatz, maybe?

    Sikhism may have come out of another polytheistic religion, but so did Judaism.

  13. Friar Yid said

    But Western society is not Islamic, but precisely Judeo-Christian

    The issue, as I understand it, is over exactly what the term means when Americans use it. Very often it seems to be tossed around rather cavalierly by defenders and/or members of a largely Christian status-quo, whose knowledge about Judaism seems fairly limited. If push came to shove they would probably say that the “Judeo” comes from the fact that Christianity was influenced by Judaism. Fair enough, but that essentially means America is really Christian, and the Judeo bit is them throwing us a bone or giving themselves a pat on the back for giving a nod to their ideological roots (sort of). As a liberal Jew who would prefer (largely Christian) cultural Conservatives just chill out, I for one don’t really see the advantage of them trying to lump us in with them. I mean, I suppose it’s more advantageous in the event Pat Robertson ever takes over that he thinks Jews are worthy of participating in government (as opposed to Hindus), but other than that I’d really rather he just stop talking about us entirely.

    I found the broadcast interesting, though not particularly enlightening. Anyone who’s read Ehud Sprinzak or Robert Friedman already knows about the settler movement, though I thought it was a bit odd that Amanpour chose Gersom Gorenberg as her Israeli field guide- Gorenberg is quite knowledgeable, but the book he just finished writing (and which she plugged multiple times) was all about PRE-67 settlements approved and legitimized by the LABOR governments- instead she seemed to take the easy way out by going back to the mystical semi-radicals like Hanan Porat and (the more radical) Yehuda Etzion.

    As to the question of whether it’s legitimizing Islam by default by stressing commonalities between the 3 Abrahamic religions… hard to say. I definitely think a wider scope would have been useful, and it was disappointing that in 2 hours, Amanpour really didn’t dig very deep (only too common with cable news documentaries, though). And I found the AIPAC stuff boring, frankly. It raised some interesting questions, but it didn’t really have any meat to it. And in the interests of fairness, it would have been nice to have a counter-point to Carter (just as it would have been useful to have one to, say, Dov Hikind).

    The overall effect I came away with from the Jewish doc (and I’m obviously biased, knowing more about the subject than Amanpour, much less her average viewer), is that there is potential danger within the settler movement, which occasionally rears its head (and she covers those incidents pretty well- Jewish Underground bombings, Amir, Goldstein, Bat Ayin), but on the whole, most of the settlers she talks to didn’t come off, to me at least, as murderous, just a bit weird. I can see why it might make some Jewish viewers annoyed, but the righteous outrage I’ve seen on this topic elsewhere ’round the blogosphere seems totally out of proportion.

  14. minsky said

    I don’t mean to nag, but Hinduism may be ethnic by inertia, not codification. Numerous Hindu conversion societies exist (wikipedia)

    Vedanta Society
    Self-Realization Fellowship
    Arya Samaj
    Parisada Hindu Dharma

    When members visit the subcontinent and run into issues, maybe its India’s lack of experience with Western ingenues romanticising its poverty and dharma/karma/inga that lends Hinduism an exclusive character?

    Wikipedia does clarify that there are indeed two positions related to conversion to Hinduism, of which the Supreme Court follows the later. Wikipedia has a list of famous converts:

    I know, wikipedia can’t be trusted anymore, especially with all the hindu revisionsim.


    As for Sikhs. I am aware they are monotheist, avowed, so how can they recognize everyone elses’s g-ds?

    Doens’t this make them henotheist?

    Why do they have dharma?

    Do they have reincarnation?

    When did they nominaly announce their monotheism? Judging by the experience of other religions, monotheism generally entered into their lexicon as a result of pressure from Jesuit missionairies or Muslim exhtortionists.


    The Judeo in Christian. It can be abused, as Evangelicals do, and some AIPAC members are all too happy about it.

    But there is also the reality, that these are two religions which are modern, for the most part, and whose fate is intimatelly Western. You can’t seperate modernity, Christianity, Judaism, and the West.


    AS for the doc. Any film that is going to speak in terms of tripartite religiuos fundamentalism touching upon the Jerusalem issue, is plainly stupid.

    Zionism was not religious, and still isn’t for the most part. It was and is a religion of sorts, but Judaism is not zionism. Judaims is the weak link here.

    If Amanpour wants to talk about religious fanaticism, she should focus on Saudi Arabia, and Alabama. If she wants to talk about Israel, she should first read a primer or something.

  15. AaronfromWG said

    I get my info about Hindus from professors of religious studies at San Jose State University and the books they assigned me to read. As far as:
    Vedanta Society
    Self-Realization Fellowship
    Arya Samaj
    Parisada Hindu Dharma

    These groups are to Hinduism what messianic Jews are to authentic Judaism. Unaccepted by the norm and for good reason.

    As for using info on Wiki, two can play by that game:

    “A few sects of Hinduism promote the possibility of “becoming a Hindu” (or a Brahmin), but their stance does not meet with wide acceptance in Indian society.”

  16. Oyster said

    Minksy wrote: Muslim shachids and Christian missionairies, the former being harder to deal with, since they are generally into hardcore.

    … pornography? j/k

    Yes, every group has their extremists. But all I’m saying is that in a ranking of extremist religious groups around the world, Jewish extremists would have a piss-poor standing.

  17. Oyster said

    Friar Yid wrote: Fair enough, but that essentially means America is really Christian, and the Judeo bit is them throwing us a bone or giving themselves a pat on the back for giving a nod to their ideological roots (sort of). As a liberal Jew who would prefer (largely Christian) cultural Conservatives just chill out, I for one don’t really see the advantage of them trying to lump us in with them.

    Right on! Couldn’t say it better myself.

    The flip-side of this problem is one that I experienced at Berkeley: leftist groups, when attacking conservative Christian influence in the US, used the term “Judeo-Christian” to refer to this problem. I found it very offensive, considering that my peeps were being persecuted by the Christians for centuries. Don’t you bundle me with their shit!

    I didn’t catch your ‘Bat Ayin’ reference. Expound, perchance?

  18. Oyster said

    Eesh Tznius wrote: as if our shit doesn’t stick too!

    Read Minsky’s latest post. Jewish scientists have discovered teflon laxatives!

  19. minsky said

    The only thing radical about Jews is our intelligence.


    About the hindus. Honestly, I didn’t know they had such problems.

  20. squeedle said

    I saw the ads for this on CNN.com and I was so unimpressed that I didn’t even bother watching.

    Really this just illustrates that the greatest catalyst for evil in the world is ignorance. And a big mouth.

  21. Friar Yid said

    Oyster- Bat Ayin info .

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