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CNN, you’ve got some explaining to do

So let me follow the logic and get this straight: Israel can, according to foreign reports, send a team into Tehran to eliminate an arch-terrorist from the IRGC with no collateral casualties and no trace of the team left behind, but, apparently, they ‘deliberately’ killed a reporter in the midst of a firefight in Jenin, leaving forensic ‘evidence’ no one but the PA has seen, stirring a firestorm of protest and ‘expert’ testimony from sources who have falsely maligned and accused Israel in the past. So what are they? Super ninjas, or incompetent fools led by people who chose to do something so damaging in this public manner when they clearly had the capacity to do any other way? To what end? What kind of idiot thinks up this scenario? The kind steeped in conspiracy theories and antisemitism like the PA and their fellow travelers, in this case #CNN. That’s what kind.

Shireen Abu Akleh’s death is a tragedy. If as is possible – maybe even likely – an Israel bullet killed her, there should and must be accountability within the IDF’s investigatory structure – which would be helped if the PA cooperated or at least shared data on the bullet.

What is also tragic, if predictable, is the manner in which the PA is using this to create essentially another Mohammed Al Durra blood libel, as well as the continuing willingness of media outlets like #CNN to be active participants in that libel. The open source investigative cooperative #bellingcat, which has developed much credibility in recent years, has concluded it was likely an Israeli bullet – but they have not made the malign, illogical and nonsensible accusation CNN and the PA have.
Advocates for Israel, as well as friends and supporters of Israel who have been saddened or discouraged by this litany of accusation, should consider that our adversaries will use ANYTHING, including the tragic death of one of their own media personalities, to advance their agenda. At its heart, an accusation like this is based on the same conspiratorial thinking as those around William of Norwich or Simon of Trent. Those evil Jews will act even against their own best interests because they are bloodthirsty, and there is no other explanation for tragedy other than Jewish intentionality.

But wait, you might respond. The UN itself says that 55 journalists were killed in 2021 in war zones. Several more have been killed over the last 3 months in Ukraine. And yet, from what I can tell, this is the only death among them the Security Council has condemned. Why? What is different here? There is only one answer that makes itself readily apparent. But some of us are still reluctant to confront the likelihood, if not certainty, that antisemitism motivates too many people, and especially too many who shape the way in which all of us see the world.

We’ve seen it before, haven’t we? Ein Chadash Tachat HaShemesh. There is nothing new under the sun, as it says in Ecclesiastes.

So I think we need to turn the question around: We need to confront conspiratorial blood libel in the media and ask: Explain the logic of your accusation. Convince us that you are not simply another Jew-hating inciter amidst a long line of them stretching back to antiquity. Chris Licht is the new CEO at #CNN. If you are reading this, reach out to him and demand answers. If you live somewhere with anti-hate laws, consider taking #CNN and any outlet which echoes their blood libel to a Human Rights Commission, or Federal Communications regulator, and make them answer for it.

Above all, it’s past time to stop playing defense, and take the initiative. What are you going to do?

About the Author
Ari Rosenblum is the CEO of the Jewish Federation and Foundation of Rockland County. A senior professional with experience at several leading Jewish institutions, Ari has written, lectured and educated on Israel advocacy, anti-Semitism, and Jewish thought for over 20 years. He lives in New York. Views expressed in this blog are his alone.
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