But where Burgundy is funny pompous (I don't know how to put this, but I'm kind of a big deal. People know me. I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany) and funny-misleading (Discovered by the Germans in 1904, they named it San Diego), Amanpour is pompous, ponderous and misleading.
Amanpour misled viewers during coverage of the recent memorial service for former South African President Nelson Mandela that was held in Johannesburg. She drew what was supposed to be a key lesson from Mandela's leadership applicable to an intractable conflict of today. Not Syria's civil war, not Iraq's civil war nor any number of other bloody internecine conflicts, but to the Palestinian Arab conflict with Israel:
CNN's Christiane Amanpour
As one who's covered so much conflict around the world, you can't help but really, really internalize this notion that without the kind of forgiveness that Mandela was able to exhibit, that's not just something nice. It's not just something between, you know, classroom bullies. It is the quintessential element of conflict resolution. It is a political tool. Forgiveness is a political tool to get over what seems to be intractable conflict. I honestly can't help but think right now about Israel and the Palestinians
At this point, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo interrupted, interjecting: Israel, who doesn't have leadership here today. Amanpour, attempting to correct Cuomo, claimed that Israeli President Shimon Peres was present but not Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
And what does that mean, by the way?, asked Cuomo. Amanpour didn't pass up an opportunity to pontificate, falsely likening Israel to apartheid South Africa:
Fictional anchorman Ron Burgundy
Well, the president is the head of state, and he's come. But nonetheless, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is under so much, you know, pressure these days and probably feels to a great extent that his country is isolated in the same way that apartheid South Africa was isolated. But this is how you get over those intractable conflicts, by understanding the story of the other, by having a political process of resolution that is not just about domination or zero-sum game. Mandela knew there was no Africa for the blacks if it meant Africa without the whites. It was not possible.
First, Amanpour misleads viewers about the Peres appearance since he was not in South Africa. Israel was represented by a delegation of five Knesset (parliament) ministers led by the speaker of the Knesset.
Amanpour is superficial and na´ve about the Arab conflict with Israel. The Palestinian leadership has violated most provisions of the Oslo Accords (the current peace treaty) from the beginning including the anti-incitement and anti-terrorism clauses. Netanyahu's calls for a negotiated two-state solution have been met by a Palestinian leadership that rejects Amanpour's Mandelaism about understanding the story of the other. Moreover, the Palestinian Arabs, like the 22 Arab countries, refuse to recognize Israel as the Jewish state. They believe that while it's fine to have several Arab nations, one Jewish nation is one too many. Typically, Amanpour invokes the apartheid Israel canard while ignoring the fact that Palestinian leaders insist on not a single Jew in any new Palestine.
So, Amanpour is up to her old and obvious tricks smearing Israel and Jews, just as she infamously did during a 2009 CNN special titled Generation Islam in which she falsely implied that the villains were not the Islamists who rule Gaza, teaching hatred of Christians and Jews, and attacking Israeli civilians with suicide bombers and thousands of rockets. Instead, for Amanpour, the aggressors were the Jews of Israel, for supposedly oppressing the Palestinian Arabs.
Likewise, Amanpour's threepart 2007 special God's Religious Warriors grossly exaggerated the influence of a tiny group of Jewish extremists on the West Bank, compared American Christian fundamentalists to the Afghanistan Taliban, and praised Egypt's extremist Muslim Brotherhood.
The inescapable conclusion that Amanpour has not figured out is that what the Arab-Israeli conflict has so far been is an existential conflict rather than a solvable territorial dispute and in the Middle East, the villains are the Islamists. So, just as Burgundy comically and habitually misunderstands so many things, Amanpour is apparently destined never to understand the news about Israel and the Middle East.
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Myron Kaplan is a senior researcher for the Boston-based Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA).