CBS Segment Conflates Israel’s Security Barrier With Infamous Berlin Wall

A CBS Evening News segment on Jan. 1, 2018, Protecting the border, apparently politically motivated, likely left an unwarranted negative impression of Israel among many viewers by wrongly conflating Israel’s security barrier with the infamous Berlin Wall. “Whether it’s here [Berlin] or the security barrier the Israelis have built between them and the Palestinians or going back to the Great Wall of China, they [the Spitzer family] see all walls as monuments to political failure [correspondent Mark Phillips].”

The segment seems to have been prompted in part by the fact that Nov. 9, 2017 marked the 28th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. It had been erected in 1961, totally encircling West Berlin, by the Communist East German authorities to stem the tide of refugees attempting to flee East Berlin for the West.

CAMERA sent this message to CBS urging an on-air clarification reflecting the fact that the stated purpose of Israel’s security barrier is to prevent Palestinian terrorists from murdering Israelis. It includes less than eight percent of the West Bank. The barrier was constructed in response to the “al-Aqsa intifada,” the 2000-2004 Palestinian terror war in which more than 1,000 Israelis – Jewish and Arabs, more than three-fourths of them non-combatants – and foreign visitors were murdered by Palestinian terrorists crossing unimpeded from the West Bank. The barrier’s completion has contributed significantly to the roughly 95 percent decrease in lethal attacks from the area.

The entire segment, Protecting the border:

Jericka Duncan (CBS host): President Trump has signaled he’s willing to extend protections for young immigrants brought into this country illegally, but on one condition. Last week, he tweeted “there can be no DACA without the desperately needed wall at the Southern border.” But do walls really work? Mark Phillips went to Berlin to find out.

Phillips (CBS News Senior Foreign Correspondent at the Berlin Wall): At this point, you would have been in the car coming this way. If anybody knows anything about walls, it’s probably Hans-Peter Spitzner. So you would have approached Checkpoint Charlie? The first time Spitzner was at Checkpoint Charlie was when he and his daughter Peggy would be the last people to escape across the Berlin wall before it fell.

Spitzner: It was a great danger for us and I thought a thousand things; a thousand things were in my head.

Phillips: It’s a tourist attraction now. But from its building by the old East German regime in 1961, the wall was a death zone for almost three decades. While around five thousand people escaped across, through, over or under it, at least a hundred and thirty-nine died trying. Some death estimates run to well over a thousand. But Hans-Peter was desperate.

Spitzner: And this is the car [in which] I crossed the border.

Phillips: The car was owned by American GI Eric Yaw, now a family friend. With Spitzner’s wife Ingrid already in the West, allowed out for an aging aunt’s birthday, and with Peggy just seven years old at the time, Hans-Peter asked dozens of GIs with access to East Germany to smuggle them out. Only Eric Yaw agreed to hide them in his trunk.

Spitzner: And I said to him, you are now a member of my family.

Phillips: The Spitzners have strong views about walls, not just the Berlin example, now a living history lesson. Whether it’s here or the security barrier, the Israelis have built between them and the Palestinians or going back to the Great Wall of China, they see all walls as monuments to political failure. The Berlin Wall, of course, was different than all the others. The others were designed to keep people out and this one designed to keep them in. There is one thing they all have in common, though. Critics will tell you that when governments build walls, it’s a sign that something else isn’t working.

Peggy Spitzner: It’s always to keep someone in, to keep someone out, to keep someone from doing something. So it’s always a bad thing really and it’s always a monument of a problem.

Phillips: A monument that with a will can always be overcome.

Hans-Peter Spitzner: I say never again, never again, please.

Phillips (signing off): Mark Phillips, CBS News, Berlin.

CBS’ Protecting the border is remindful of a  CBS Evening News 2016 segment, introduced by former CBS personality Charlie Rose, which presented as news, an anti-Israel propaganda farce. CAMERA documented this in CBS News Plays the Palestinian Propaganda Game in Gaza. Numerous other such CBS News misinformation broadcasts have been documented by CAMERA.

Indeed, Israel has been victimized disproportionately by fake news purveyed by the dominant media as has been documented for decades by CAMERA.