CNN does not have a great reputation for a fair and balanced coverage of events involving Israel. Ten years ago, Israeli hip-hop group HaDag Nachash released a song called Shirat HaStikar. The song’s lyrics include the lines that were found on bumper stickers throughout Israel, namely “CNN Mishaker” – “CNN lies”. I don’t think anyone could have fathomed ten years ago just how true that line would prove to be.
On November 18th, 2014, American Israeli Rabbis Moshe Twersky (ז״ל), Calman Levine (ז״ל), and Aryeh Kopinsky (ז״ל), British Israeli Rabbi Avraham Shmuel Goldberg (ז״ל) and Druze first responder Zidan Saif (ז״ל) were killed during morning prayers at a synagogue in Har Nof, Jerusalem by Abed Abu Jamal and Ghassan Muhammad Abu Jamal. These two Palestinian cousins attacked the Israelis with meat cleavers, axes and a gun. The first headline I witnessed from CNN read “Two Palestinians Killed”; the next said “Four Israelis Two Palestinians Killed”; and later, the story would also read that this attack took place in a mosque.
One month later, on December 21, 2014, over 700 Jewish teenagers from around North America gathered in Atlanta, Georgia, for United Synagogue Youth’s (USY) 64th annual international convention. During our convention, on December 22, after a study session about the concept ואהבת לרעך כמוך (Ve’ahavta L’ereacha Kamocha) – “love your neighbor as yourself” – I joined roughly thirty other USYers and staff in a conference room of the Omni hotel to listen to representatives from CNN, which has headquarters right next to our convention center. We gathered to learn about a modern application of this concept to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.