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Critics said her Kristallnacht commentary “erased Jews from the story of their annihilation” to score “cheap headlines”

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Critics cite decades of antisemitic and anti-Israel coverage by Christiane Amanpour and CNN in condemning their latest distortion of the persecution of Jews in Germany (Screencap ‘Amanpour’ episode)

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CNN International anchor Christiane Amanpour has apologized for comparing US President Trump’s term in office to Kristallnacht in a telecast last week.

Her outrageous statement at the beginning of her eponymous program on November 12 linked the anniversary to Kristallnacht to the modern-day political activities and policies of Trump. She carefully crafted her remarks to avoid mentioning that it was Jews who were targeted by a coordinated violent Nazi assault across Germany. 

”This week 82 years ago, Kristallnacht happened,” Amanpour said in the monologue. “It was the Nazis’ warning shot across the bow of our human civilization that led to genocide against a whole identity, and in that tower of burning books, it led to an attack on fact, knowledge, history and truth. After four years of a modern-day assault on those same values by Donald Trump, the Biden-Harris team pledges a return to norms, including the truth.”

This caused a firestorm of protest, with the government of Israel, through Diaspora Affairs Minister Omer Yankelevich, telling CNN president Jeffrey Zucker that Amanpour had to make an “immediate and public apology” for the “unacceptable comparison”.

“We find hereby the false equivalence made between the actions of a sitting US president and the atrocities of the Kristallnacht pogroms which were carried out by the Nazis eighty-two years ago belittling of the immense tragedy of the Holocaust,” Yankelevich wrote.

Amanpour, notorious for her three decades of distortion and derision of Israeli and Jewish public affairs, tried to salvage CNN’s position before boycotts were called for.

“I observed the 82nd anniversary of Kristallnacht, as I often do – it is the event that began the horrors of the Holocaust. I also noted President Trump’s attacks on history, facts, knowledge, and truth. I should not have juxtaposed the two thoughts,” she said at the start of her program Monday.

“Hitler and his evils stand alone, of course, in history. I regret any pain my statement may have caused. My point was to say how democracy can potentially slip away, and how we must always zealously guard our democratic values,” added Amanpour.

About 24 hours later, Yankelevich issued two versions of a statement on Twitter accepting the gesture, with subtle differences between the two audiences – domestic and American – being addressed. While both referred to ‘apologizing is a great virtue’, for Israeli audiences there was one message and for Americans a more nuanced one. 

For the internal Israeli audience who overwhelmingly supported Trump, a message telling them she had called on CNN to take action over the Kristallnacht comparison.

The other message in English to Americans, was much more toned down and nuanced, recognizing that with the inevitable transition of power Trump wouldn’t be seen as favourable by the 70% of American Jews who voted for Biden. So his name wasn’t mentioned, and CNN was referred to as a partner in fighting antisemitism. Her letter to Zucker had raised exactly that point, saying Israel expects CNN to be “partners in the global effort to combat this dangerous illness, not to fan its flames.”

Israel’s consul-general to Atlanta, Anat Sultan-Dadon, had also written a letter to CNN demanding Amanpour apologize.

“The use of the 82nd anniversary of Kristallnacht by Amanpour for the purpose of this comparison is an affront to the memory of the Holocaust, those who perished and those who suffered through these unimaginable atrocities,” she wrote to Richard Davis, executive vice president of News Standards and Practices.

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Hillel Neuer, the executive director of UN Watch, was at the forefront of human rights and media figures who assailed Amanpour and the network on Twitter and other platforms.

“Never before in the history of U.S. news networks did a journalist distort the Holocaust for political purposes as Amanpour just did on on CNN & PBS. No, @camanpour, the Nazi genocide was not “an attack on fact, knowledge, history & truth. They murdered 6 million Jews. Say it.”

A leading author and journalist unleashed a thread insisting, “It is futile to ask/demand @CNN to fire Amanpour and it is ridiculous to ask her for an apology for her Holocaust denying slander of @realDonaldTrump. For decades, CNN has lied about Israel and Palestinian terrorism.”

Caroline Glick, a columnist for Israel Hayom and Newsweek, went on to claim, “For decades Amanpour has legitimized the murder of Israelis (and) has thrived because her hatred for the Jewish state is considered “sophisticated” in her little, sick bubble of Western elitists who have spent the past 70 years pretending that anyone could have been Nazis — especially the Jews.”

Focusing on Amanpour’s insulting characterization “that Kristallnacht was the start of the genocide of an ‘identity group,’” Glick pointed to the use of “’Identity group’ not ‘the Jewish people.’ She is effectively maintaining the collaboration by erasing the Jews from the story of their annihilation.”

Israeli Diaspora Affairs Minister Omer Yankelevich wrote to CNN president Jeffrey Zucker that star anchor Christiane Amanpour had to make an “immediate and public apology.” (Omer Yankelevich Facebook)

Glick concluded with a stark recommendation not to accept an apology, but to evict CNN from Israel.

“Instead of demanding an apology, the @IsraelMFA should shut down @CNN’s offices in Israel, strip its reporters’ credentials. The only way for Israel to properly fight anti-Semitic media organs is by refusing to accept them on their own terms. Amanpour is not a reporter. She is an anti-Semitic propagandist. @CNN isn’t a news organization. It’s a propaganda tool that is used against Israel by design.”

In the opinion of Lahav Harkov, “Amanpour calls Kristallnacht an ‘assault on fact,’ which is, in of itself, an assault on fact.”

The diplomatic correspondent and Senior Contributing Editor of The Jerusalem Post tweeted “It was an assault on Jews and an opening chapter to the genocide of the Jews of Europe. This statement minimizes the Holocaust and amplifies its denial, @camanpour”.

Harkov noted, “This reminds me that during the Second Intifada, there was a popular bumper sticker in Israel that said “CNN lies” on it. It was immortalized in the era’s popular “Bumper Sticker Song.”

Marty Gold is the Editor-in -Chief of TheJ.ca. Known for investigative reporting, he has specialized in covering municipal and provincial politics, and a wide range of sports and entertainment, in newspapers, magazines, online, and on his first love, radio. His business and consulting experience includes live events and sales, workplace safety, documentary productions, PR, and telecommunications in Vancouver, Los Angeles and across Canada, and as a contestant on CBC-TV Dragons Den.

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

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