Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Praise from CNN - Ugh!

My friend from America forwarded me an email that includes a video clip of CNN's coverage of the Haiti earthquake. http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/world/2010/01/18/dnt.cohen.haiti.patients.dying.cnn.html In this particular clip, the CNN reporter is stunned by the Israeli field hospital, which is the most advanced at the earthquake site, and includes a medical lab, pharmacy, x-ray center, and operating room. She is amazed that Israel's Search & Rescue, Armed Forces and doctors came from "the other side of the world" to save Haitian lives. In the CNN clip, Israel's facilities are repeatedly lauded while America's inadequate response is criticized. American aid personnel repeat, "I'm embarrassed to be an American."
My friend and everyone forwarding the clip are so thrilled that CNN finally has something good to say about Israel.
Praise from CNN? I don't want it and I surely don't need it.
Flashback: Unwanted Praise
The CNN clip reminds me of another sort of clip, a short meeting more than three millenia ago, between our forefather Jacob and his father-in-law Lavan. Lavan was a thief, a liar, an evil man, who swindled Jacob into years of work under the most difficult conditions.
When Jacob finally hastens to return home with his wives and children, Lavan chases him and finally overtakes him.
Lavan approaches Jacob, and says, "It is in my power to do you all harm, but the G-d of your father addressed me last night, saying, 'Beware of speaking with Jacob either good or bad.'"
Now, what's that all about?
The immortal commentator Rashi states, "G-d warned Lavan not to speak [even of doing good] to Jacob, because the good of the wicked is bad to the righteous. Righteous people despise any benefits they may derive from the wicked; their benefits are not truly good."
Throughout the years, CNN has been anti-Semitic and hateful to the Jewish nation. It has used every occasion possible to distort the truth when it came to Israel. And now suddenly, CNN is praising Israel for its chesed, one if the foremost characteristics of the Jewish people.
Haiti, Turkey, Sri Lanka, India, Greece, Kenya, Rwanda...
Why does Israel run around the world saving lives? Because we are bnei rachamim - sons of merciful ones. It is in our national DNA to show chesed to our brethren and the stranger. (The IsraAID site, http://www.israaid.co.il/idf_print.asp , will give you a clear picture of the countries Israel has helped throughout the years. Unfortunately, many of these nations have voted against us in the UN, have said terrible things about our nation, have acted to us scornfully, and yet we have never denied our life-saving aid to anyone.)
Some people say that our rescue efforts around the world make the nations more sympathic to Israel. I have my doubts, but I understand why others might think so. This week the Israelis delivered a baby in their Haitian field hospital. The mother named the baby, "Israel." Who knows, maybe at least we are changing people one baby at a time.
But CNN?? Don't be fooled by today's praise. Lavan never changed. Neither will they.


  1. Hi Sharon,
    There are several points I would like to address. First of all, it doesn't matter what "CNN" thinks. There is no such thing as CNN. There is just the doctor from Harvard, the reporter, and the people whose lives are being saved. If CNN happened to be the organization that supplied the camera, mikes and reporters, it makes no difference. You can even say,"All the more so." If an organization that consistently bashes Israel can report such an amazing event which makes us look like miracle workers (which we are) then it is probably even true. I think this came out when either the reporter or doctor exclaimed, when asked how such a small country like Israel which is half way around the world could have created such an amazing hospital, said, "I cant explain it."
    The other point is that, regardless of who is reporting this event, it is something that should be reported, for many reasons, some of which have to do with the people who already love Israel- it reminds us that we are people of chessed, and chessed feels good, not just to the people being helped, but also to the people helping. And the rest of the world can see us as role models, which is what we are meant to be, "A light unto the nations." What Israel is doing in Haiti is exactly what we are supposed to be doing, guiding the world in correct behavior. That is why G-d created television, cameras and microphones, to broadcast this message around the world. Not so that anyone will like us. But so everyone will try and become like us.

  2. A very prominent Rav, Harav Pam once told me,"It is better to get a slap from a father than a compliment from an enemy."
    Let them keep their praise and let us live!!!!!!!