Ms. Nasr explained that her respect did not mean a whole-hearted endorsement of everything Mr. Fadlallah stood for -- including his claims that the Holocaust was exaggerated and his desire to exterminate the Jewish state. Rather, she believed that Mr. Fadlallah had, with regards to women's rights, been forwarded a more moderate vision of Shi'ite Islam that condemned "honor killings" and abuse against women. To call him "progressive" on women's rights would be a gross exaggeration, but he was perhaps notably less retrogressive, and grading on a curve I guess that counts for something. And I don't doubt that Ms. Nasr is being totally honest in stating that her feelings of respect stemmed from these issues.
But it doesn't obviate the tiny detail that the organization he was affiliated with, you know, wants Israel to be annihilated (and possibly wants me, personally, dead as well*). As Ms. Nasr admits, Mr. Fadlallah was marginalized in Hezbollah because he was too aggressive in demanding that Hezbollah focus solely on destroying Israel. Given that, I'm frankly stunned by the reaction in some liberal quarters to the news -- essentially alleging that this was kowtowing to a requirement in the media that all figures by biased in favor of Israel. "Bias", here, means a requirement that one not praise folks actively wishing for Israel to be obliterated. That alone demonstrates just how far the plaintive whine about how "the Israel Lobby" suppresses all dissent has extended itself. Why, you can't even praise folks who want to see Israel completely destroyed, and who think its completely okay to murder Israeli civilians (and possibly Jews worldwide), without facing their wrath. Oh, the muzzling! Oh, spare me.
Hezbollah generally, and Sayyed Fadlallah particularly, promote a radical anti-Semitic and anti-Israel agenda which is quite well-known. It is not whitewashed just because Fadlallah supports some
And yes, it's pretty clear that CNN (and other media giants) have a bevvy of rather appalling figures on their payrolls. It's obviously a blot on CNN that it hired someone who referred to a Supreme Court Justice as a "goat f@$king child molester", but I hardly think a universal reduction in standards is the way to solve the issue. I likewise think anyone who thinks Palestine should not exist does not deserve a place on CNN, and certainly not in a senior position in CNN's Mideast desk. If such people are currently working in such a position at CNN, they should step down as well (make me a list -- I'll sign a petition). But it isn't right to ask Jews to play the sacrificial pawn in your media wars. If your progressivism means ignoring equal Jewish rights, it ain't progressivism to me.
* From the New Yorker article:
On the killing of Israeli civilians, Fadlallah said, "In a state of war, it is permissible for Palestinians to kill Jews. When there is peace, this is not permissible." He does not believe in a peaceful settlement between two states, one Palestinian, the other Israeli; rather, he favors the disappearance of Israel.
"We are against the killing of Jews outside Palestine," Fadlallah said. "Unless they transfer the war outside Palestine." When I asked if they had, Fadlallah raised an eyebrow, and let the question go unanswered.