He Said It: Walter Rodgers on Israel

Walter Rodgers, CNN’s Jerusalem Bureau Chief, was interviewed by Israeli-born journalist Shoula Horing of radio station KCXL on December 11, 1997. His observations about Israel and the Middle East are troubling insight into the roots of the distorted message he regularly broadcasts.

Rodgers: If you look at the history of the conflict there have been so many lies and distortions. For example, the Israelis say, "Jerusalem has been our undivided capital for 4,000 years." That’s garbage. The Romans destroyed it and took it away in the year 70 AD. The Phoenicians had it. The Greeks had it. The Romans had it. The Egyptians had it. This hasn’t been an Israeli capital for 4,000 years. I read history. Thank you very much. I practically have my doctorate in it….

Rodgers: And the Palestinians have been very badly humiliated. You’ve got to have a spirit, a willingness as I said, to forgive and to move beyond the past and go forward. Put the past behind you. I don’t see that forward looking spirit… Part of the Egyptians’ problem in establishing a warm peace with Israel is they’re afraid of Israel. They’ve been beaten by Israel over and over again in wars. They’ve been humiliated. Until you can help them out of that sense of humiliation you’re not going to have a warm peace….

Rodgers: So, I would not even think of comparing Israel’s record toward conquered peoples with the Americans’ because the Americans’ was far more magnanimous and far more generous. Count the Marshall Plan dollars and then show me what Israel has poured into any Arab area that is the equivalent thereof.

Horing:But Israel is so little. They don’t have money.

Rodgers: Don’t buy that. Israel is a superpower. It has a huge nuclear stockpile. It has a huge chemical and biological warfare stockpile. It has 4,000 tanks. More than anybody else around. It has the sixth largest air force in the world. It has a huge army. Everybody here is in the army. Don’t tell me Israel is a little country….

Horing: But most people will say from 1948 until 1967 [the Arabs] had all these territories. Why did they continue to attack Israel? Why didn’t they go to the partition?

Rodgers: Let’s talk about that. Of those wars — three major wars. How many did Israel start and how many did the Arabs start?

Horing: 1948 after the partition six Arab countries invaded Israel.

Rodgers: Just give me the numbers.

Horing: 1948,

Rodgers: Who started that?

Horing: The Arabs.

Rodgers: Of course, but Israel was quietly preparing for the whole time. The Israelis were anticipating and that’s why they won in 1948. Because they were better prepared for a war. Now, you look at ’67. The Israelis started that. ’73 the Israelis did not start but they benefitted from it enormously. Look again at 1982 Operation Peace for Galilee as the Israelis call it. The Israelis started that on a totally false pretense. So Israel has started more wars that the Arabs started with Israel …

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