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Christians in Israel

In 2012 I wrote letters objecting to the CBS 60 Minutes story about Christians in Israel and a column by Fareed Zakaria.  My response and letters follow: 



I am writing to express my outrage over the extremely biased reporting in the recent story by Bob Simon on 60 Minutes about the status of Christians in Israel.


All of the individuals interviewed on the program, with the exception of Ambassador Michael Oren (who was ambushed) clearly had a bias against Israel.  It is telling that Mr. Simon and CBS chose to shine a light on Israel’s supposedly negative treatment of Christians while ignoring the true threat to Christians in the Middle East – their declining numbers and the harsh discriminatory measures they face in the Muslim countries.  It is fair to ask why CBS does not do a story about the treatment of Christians in Saudi Arabia or Egypt or Iraq to name a few of the countries whose treatment of Christians is particularly despicable and deserving of critical attention.


It is most revealing that Mr. Simon would say that in all of his years of reporting, no one had ever asked to have a report he was working on squelched.  This is so inconceivable that with that statement alone his credibility is shattered.  Throughout his career, Bob Simon has sought to portray Israel negatively.  It is obvious that he and the 60 Minutes team had already drawn their conclusion before they did their program.


* * * * * * * * * * * * * **


Dear Mr. Zakaria,


As Daniel Moynihan famously stated, “everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.”  Two comments in his May 10, 2012 column reveal his consistent animosity towards Israel’s current Prime Minister.


He states that Bibi refused to enter into a coalition with Tzipi Livni in 2009.  The reality is that it was Livni who spurned the offer and overtures and left the negotiations, as she thought the nation would be better served by being in the opposition rather than in the government.  Leaving aside his other pejorative references and other negative mischaracterizations, he also said that Mr. Netanyahu has done nothing to move towards a two-state solution.  Courageous public statements, first in Israel, then in the US Congress, and subsequently in the United Nations have made it amply clear that he has called for direct negotiations with the Palestinians to achieve a two state solution.  Unfortunately, because of enablers such as Mr. Zakaria who distort the facts, Palestinians have been led to believe that they have more to gain by staying away from the table than in coming to sit down and negotiate with Israel.


Also published on Medium.


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Stuart Weinblatt

Rabbi Stuart Weinblatt is the President of the Rabbinic Cabinet of the Jewish Federations of North America. From 2009 - 2014 he served as Director of Israel Policy and Advocacy for the Rabbinical Assembly.
Rabbi Weinblatt is the rabbi of Congregation B'nai Tzedek in Potomac, Maryland, a vibrant Conservative synagogue of 650 families he founded in 1988, along with his wife and a handful of families.