CNN’s ‘Jerusalem: City of Faith and Fury’ Seems to Play Into False Narratives

Honest Reporting recently caught CNN using a graphic of the Dome of the Rock in a tweet promoting a video about the Jewish kings Saul, David and Solomon.

When I first saw their tweet, my reaction was that I am actually glad they show this – it is a reminder how the Jewish temples were here before the Muslims built their mosques upon their ruins!

In truth, the video is not just about the Jewish kings, but is rather promoting their series about Jerusalem called Jerusalem: City of Faith and Fury. So Honest Reporting is not entirely on point here. However, when I actually saw the video – not just the screenshot – it does seem to show the Dome of the Rock being there at the time of the Jewish kings.

Perhaps that snippet is misleading and is showing a time way after the Jewish kings – but I still suspect this series won’t be doing the Jewish people any favors, if this preview is anything to go by:

When David kills Goliath around 1000 B.C., this puts him on the path to become king over the 12 tribes of ancient Israel. Once he does, David takes Jerusalem as his capital city by force.The walled enclave was built in a region called Canaan, territory “the Israelites believed God gave to them as the land that they were to inherit,” University of Iowa religious studies professor Robert Cargill explains. According to Biblical text, a native population called the Jebusites were already residing in David’s chosen capital, and as a result his conquest of Jerusalem is still debated today, adds historian and author Simon Sebag Montefiore.

This seems to be playing into the bogus “palestinian Arabs were descended from the Canaanites/Jebusites” narrative.

Fast forward to 1947, and the narrative seems no less biased:

“In 1947, the United Nations votes for the creation of a Jewish state and a Palestinian Arab state in Palestine, and they draw an incredibly unrealistic partition of the country,” says historian Simon Sebag Montefiore. The plan was opposed by Arabs, because to them partition would mean that “Palestinians who fall in what would become the Jewish state would be suddenly aliens in their own land,” explains Tufts University senior lecturer Thomas Abowd.

This is actually not true and makes it sound like the Arabs were really dealt the short end of the straw, which they weren’t (the Jews got way less land under the plan). It also omits mention of the violent Arab reaction, including calls for a holy war against the Jews.

Another example: The events leading to the Six Day War are “yada-yada”-d:

Tightly wound tensions erupted again almost two decades into Israel’s statehood as a series of escalating confrontations led to the Six-Day War of 1967.

So while I have not actually seen the series, all indications are it is not going to accurately portray the history of Jerusalem.


David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media

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