CNN’s Chief International Correspondent and Anchor, Christiane Amanpour, in her broadcasts dealing with the Middle East, often misleads viewers through her selection of guests and interaction with them. This was the case in the February 11 program dealing with the new U.S. Middle East peace plan.
The guests were Husam Zomlot speaking for the Palestinian Authority (PA), and Ehud Olmert, a former prime minister of Israel (2006 to 2009), presenting his view. Amanpour interviewed Olmert and Zomlot separately, allowing the Palestinian to rebut the Israeli’s comments but not vice versa.
Amanpour’s introduction negatively characterized the plan,
[President] Donald Trump claims it is a win-win for both sides, the ultimate deal. But much of the rest of the world says it heavily favors one side, Israel, and violates decades of international laws and norms on the issue. The Palestinians have flatly rejected it, as their President Mahmoud Abbas told the U.N. today.
Amanpour omitted information about the favorable response to the peace plan by Middle Eastern countries traditionally hostile to Israel. The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a think tank based in Washington, D.C., reported that,
Arab reactions so far are divided into three groups: qualified supporters, opponents, and silence. Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, and Morocco are among the supporters, though with various significant reservations; Jordan, Palestine, Iraq, Tunisia, and Algeria are among the opponents… The silent group includes some of the North African states, with the significant and contrasting exceptions of Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria. The others, including Libya and Sudan, voiced a muted response if any, as they are currently experiencing major political transitions and economic difficulties.
Amanpour’s habit of trying to lead Israelis to affirm her views
Amanpour welcomed Olmert with this question, which underscored just how unrepresentative of Israel’s position she expected her Israeli guest to be:
I just need to ask you first and foremost, it is quite extraordinary that you would come all the way to New York to speak essentially on behalf of the Palestinian Authority and rejecting this plan …
Olmert corrected Amanpour:
I didn’t come to speak on behalf of the Palestinian Authority nor did I come especially because I agree with the argument the Palestinian Authority is making. I’m not part of it. I was not connected in any way.
But Amanpour persisted in trying to lead the guest into condemning the plan accepted by his country’s leadership. Later Olmert again refuted Amanpour:
I’m sorry, I didn’t come here to be the adviser of President Abbas and I don’t think that it would be appropriate for me to do it.
And he pointed out,
The two-state solution is an essential part of the peace plan of President Trump. There are many things there which are unacceptable to the Israelis, as well as to the Palestinians. But this one basic fundamental principle is at the core of this plan … there is something where to start and this is something that the Palestinians will have to decide whether they want to do it or not.
And so the interview went.
Amanpour tried unsuccessfully in 2019 to lead Israeli guests into condemning their government’s aims or actions. Failing to take the bait were film director Gideon Raff and former Mossad agent Daniel and Itzhak Perlman, famous violinist.
And only two weeks previously, Amanpour interviewee Jared Kushner, President Trump’s senior advisor, objected to her line of questioning about the peace plan he helped to develop. “I’ll be honest with you, it’s very difficult to do a remote interview with you, where you’re going to assert all these different things as facts without giving me the chance to respond to things that are not correct.”
Amanpour facilitates propaganda
Unchallenged by Amanpour, Zomlot spouted vituperation, including:
I’ll tell you the truth. The so-called Trump plan, which is not a plan, by the way, and I read it for the fifth time, I think it’s tantamount to a war crime or crime against humanity. Lawyers will have to study this, will have to study the amount of hatred, racism, segregation … in this plan that I think implicates all of those who wrote it… We will double down on our demand for state sovereignty, independence, freedom, the right of our refugees. We will double down on our ability to impose our rights on the ground.
The phrase “the right of our refugees” refers to a Palestinian demand that millions of Arabs (nearly all of whom have never lived in Israel) immigrate to Israel with the goal of eliminating the Jewish state.
For the several years that Amanpour has reported on Israel, a particular narrative has dominated. For example, CAMERA documented in 2010 how Amanpour has “an impulse to smear Israel … inject[ing] mention of Israel and its alleged myriad faults.” A long list — going back to 1996 — of Amanpour’s misreporting about the Jewish state is found on CAMERA’s Amanpour page.
So Amanpour’s viewers should be wary.