As a Jew myself, I was shocked to see this show. It was not a bad thing at all!
I was suprised and applaud PBS for letting us know Muslims and Arabs groups are not the only terrorits out there. Every religion, and civilization had terrorists. And people (especially Jews) need to face that Jews can be terrorists! Palestians have to live with this constant fear of death, and fear. They are murdered by my own, ruthlessly. God help us all!
los angeles, caifornia
Firstly, I am impressed by your ability to gather such information on such a hot topic and interview some of the people responsible for the continued hatred in this part of the Middle East.
In the times we live in, these times of war, it is important to remember that in any one conflict there is no one who is wholly right or wholly wrong. Israeli forces and extremists have committed their share of atrocities just as the Palestinians have.
I can imagine how living in the dark and depressing environment on either side of the line could convince people that the only way out was to stoop to acts of unthinkable violence, such as using a chemical filled trailer to blow up a school of little girls or sending a suicide bomber into a temple in an effort to kill all the people therein.
Quite possibly the most heinous thing about this particular conflict is not only the fact that the majority of the killings are perpetrated against unarmed non combatants, but that both sides claim that they are justified by Holy writ in their actions when both texts preach peace and respect for life above all else.
This ‘Holy War’ as it is seen by both sides, lost all semblance of divinity the moment that man raised his sword against man in anger and clamed his will to be the will of his god.
How can a just god look kindly on such unjust actions.
The remarks of several commentators on this list demonstrate the high level of ignorance and bias against anything that is remotely critical of anything having to do with Jews or the State of Israel—including Jewish terrorists. Indeed, the great bulk of honest reporting in this piece comes directly from the mouths of several Kahanist leaders and members, who show, undeniably, that they are interested in their own form of Lebensraum and a Final Solution whatever it takes.
And, I continue to be amazed with people who insist on using the word "Semitic" or "anti-Semitic" for all things having to do with the Jewish people. In fact, most Semites are non-Jews, i.e. all Arabs, as well as many who live in North and NE Africa, as well as NW Asia.
Bravo PBS FRONTLINE! I am glad you had the guts to pursue a project that was not in keeping with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's agenda for U.S. Middle Eastern policy. Your next program should follow the history of militaristic-zealot groups in the former British-administered Palestine (both Jewish and Arab) in the 1920s, 30s, and 40s. The evidence will no doubt show that there is a long and recent history of this type of behavior by not only Arab extremists, but Jewish ones as well. The Kahanists are not a modern anomaly of the settlement withdrawal plans or any other fair and balanced arrangement made voluntarily between an increasingly progressive Israeli government and Palestinian leaders.
Saint Louis, Missouri
This program is a piece of propaganda disguised as an honest reporting. distinction between defender and attacker by telling the story starting from the middle. For example, if you would start telling the story of the WWII from 1944, omitting the Battle of Stalingrad and the Battle over London, then the behavior of Red Army in Germany or bombing of Dresden by Allied Forces will look very “extreme”. By the same token the movie does not tell you about Sbarro Pizzeria in Jerusalem. It does not tell about Delfinarium disco in Tel-Aviv. There is nothing in the movie about thousands of Jews killed by Arab Extremists in the 100 years since the Jewish Zionist Enterprise had begun.
Neither does the movie mention the fact that 5 millions Jews in Israel are standing against 500 millions of Arabs united in their desire to drown all Jews in the sea as the polls in Arab countries tell.
The Jewish “Extremists” of today are not so different from the admirable Jewish pioneers that built the roads and dried the swamps in the nineteen twenties, created against all odds Israeli Army and State and fought five victorious wars against overwhelming Arab force.
Ironically, In spite of the efforts of the authors to present the “settlers” as dangerous villains, they come through as people of tremendous energy, decent, noble, loyal, ready to sacrifice and persevere. God Bless them.
I didn't know Frontline was anti-Semitic until now.
In your Tuesday, April 5, presention "Settlers in Gaza and the West Bank" you constantly called Jews living on the West Bank Terrorists and Extremists and a threat to peace.
Fact: Over 1,500 innocent Jews have been ruthlessly murdered by Arab Terrorists over the past three years in Israel while the number of Arabs murdered by Jewish terrorists for that same period was 0.
Frontline can be added to the long list of history's Jew-haters and Jew-baters.
silver spring, maryland
If you're going to include the most recent developments on the ground (namely, the Gaza withdrawl), at least paint an accurate picture. The documentary states in the opening that basically the only people opposed to Sharon's Gaza withdrawl plan are crazed fanatic Jewish extremists.
While the Kahanist settlers definitely represent the most dangerous and outspoken opposition to the Gaza plan, there are in fact many Israelis who oppose the plan on non-religious grounds, such as: 1) it could be interpreted as an award for terrorism, 2) it demands no equal concessions on the Palestinian side, and, finally, 3) it creates a dangerous precedent for future peace dealings (for the reasons mentioned above). These are all important points that should not be overlooked in the context of the Gaza plan.
Oak Park, IL
These people are terrorists. They also contradict themselves. They say they follow the teachings of the torah, thou shall not kill! There are some other ones about being kind to your neighbors as well. They might want to refer to them for future reference.
As for Jews being for Jews. Yes to an extent. But we are humans first and foremost. These people scare me as do the right wing christian groups in the USA and the Islamic fundamentalists.
New York, NY
Everyone is hearing but not comprehending the prophetic aspects of these so called "settlers" and how it is upsetting the peace process. According to the scriptures there won't be any peace until it is all over. The prophet Daniel forsaw the time he called, "The times of Jacob's trouble." Blessed are you oh Israel, your time is coming! Those settlers as you call them are heralding those times, the end of the age is coming!
My blood ran cold as I listened to the religious extremists in "Israel's Next War." I am a secular humanist, but as a Jewish woman I have strong cultural feelings for our heritage.
I absolutely abhor the fact that they stand behind the Torah as their justification for their actions when it suits them. Actually, there is a prayer that says, "It is a tree of LIFE to those who embrace it"--not a call to death or murder.
It also suits them to make up their own rules: they claim that the Torah calls for revenge, and one of the extremists claimed that Jews should take "two eyes for an eye, teeth for a tooth." But the Torah advocates that a punishment fit the crime--one of the first tenets of civilization in the world (Hammurabi?). Thus, their "piety" is suspect to me. As one letter writer said, they make a mockery of Judaism. Their belief that Israel should be a theocracy, and their constant invocation of "god's will", have nothing to do with self-defense or protecting Jews. They are bigots and fanatics with delusions of grandeur, pure and simple. They appear to be as angry with Israelis as they are with the Palestinians, if not more so.
The proof that they are not interested in protecting or defending Jews per se was revealed in the comment by one that their mission "is like fighting the Hellenists." This comment was especially chilling to me as a secular Jew, although it was glossed over in the show. The reference is to the Macabees who believed that the Jews in their community were not sufficiently pious and religiously orthodox, and so picked a fight with the assimilated secular community: Jews murdering Jews. (I would have been one of their victims for my spiritual beliefs).
Where have we heard such a call for "holy war" in recent times? From Osama bin Laden, whose gripe with the Saudi government is that Saudi Arabia is "not Islamic enough" to suit him. Just as the Saudi government was paid for their earlier support of him with terrorist attacks, the Israeli government is in for some reckoning of its own for its earlier coddling of the religious extremists and their illegal settlements.
And was anyone else reminded of Pol Pot declaring "Year Zero" upon hearing the diatribe about how wonderful this heaven on earth will be when the Kahanists "rebuild the Temple"?
Part of the truth is shown at one of the US Media.
But I have one question about these people, as we saw many of them who lived in the US, and have many people and organizations that support them here....
Where are the FBI, Attorney general, and other US Institutions? Or they have only one eye that targets Arabs & Muslims
log angeles, CA
FRONTLINE's editors respond:
In the section of this FRONTLINE web site called "Among the Extremists," there is a link to the U.S. Treasury Dept. site page on "terrorist" organizations whose property and transactions are blocked. Kahane groups and their aliases are on this list.
Having lived in the West Bank city of Hebron for three years as a human rights worker, I think the documentary you showed about the settler extremists was accurate. The footage spoke for itself as did those interviewed. I have spoken with some of the people the documentary showed and they said many of the same things to me that they did on camera. People are well aware of the things that the Palestinian groups like Hamas do because it is on the news here often, but few ever hear about the settler extremists. Thanks for making things a little more balanced.
These people are even scarier than the Muslim extremists. Just confirms for me what dangerous and delusional people religions spawn.
As one woman commented immediately after the WTC attacks, "If this was done in God's name, why bother to believe in God at all?"
I would like to believe that this program was as well recieved nationally as it was in my little apartment. I believe you have done a very brave thing by showing that terrorism does not merely wear the face of Islam.
Terrorism is rampant whenever fundamentalism reigns supreme in people's ideaologies. In my mind, this program proves that we need to rethink the problem in the middle east, not as terrorism, not as religious idealism, but as fundamentalism, plain and simple. Whether secular or religious, fundamentalism is the only belief system that can truly create terrorists.
Thank you for your courage.
Notably absent from this program was a careful estimate of how many people there are in this "small" group of religious zealots who are willing to kill Palestinian civilians. This is a critically important piece of information. After watching this piece, I think that many viewers will come away with the impression that it is in the tens of thousands; indeed one viewer writes that "they sound a lot like the Taliban and we know what they did to Afghanistan".
But I suspect the real number in this fringe lunatic group is in the dozens or low hundreds, and that they enjoy virtually no support from anywhere in the Israeli political spectrum. The program insinuates a (by now grotesquely familiar) moral equivalence to Palestinian terrorism, as if the number and kind of atrocities were similar and as if public support (consistently 60-70% approval among Palestinians) were comparable. This is a very shoddy distortion of reality.
New York, NY
FRONTLINE's editors respond:
In his interview with FRONTLINE that is published elsewhere on this site, the film's producer Dan Setton had this to say about the estimated numbers of militant Jewish religious zealots:
"...QUESTION: How many people are we talking about -- those who think the country should be exclusively Jewish?
SETTON: Latest polls show that 30% of the people in Israel support the idea that the land belongs exclusively to the people of Israel, to the Jews, and that the state should be exclusively Jewish.
QUESTION: Can you break down this 30% into smaller groups?
SETTON: Think of it as a pyramid. At the very bottom is the foundation, the ideology. At this bottom level you get to those who believe that Israel should be inhabited by Jews only, that the Arabs should find another place to live in. Go higher and you have less people, but more determined ones, who say something should be done to reach that goal. At the very top are the people who are willing to do something about this themselves, to take some action to escalate events, to help bring about the final biblical redemption. They are a small minority, but it only takes a few to change the course of history. We saw what happened when one man assassinated Prime Minister Rabin [Yigal Amir]. It stopped the peace process, changed its course. It took a while until it was resumed again. This was a very traumatic event that is still fresh. It has not been forgotten."
The program you aired about Israeli extemist groups was interesting. However, I think you should give equal time to describing the exteme Palestinian groups.
The group you spoke of certainly does not represent a majority in the hope for peace between the Israelis and the Arabs
West Orange, NJ
FRONTLINE's editors respond:
Among FRONTLINE's programs over recent years that have dealt in full, or in part, with Palestinian extremists and Islamic extremists and their terrorist threat, are the following reports:
Al Qaeda's New Front Jan 2005
House of Saud Feb 2005
Son of Al Qaeda April 2004
In Search of Al Qaeda Nov 2002
Shattered Dreams of Peace June 2002
The Siege of Bethlehem June 2002
Battle for the Holy Land April 2002
Inside the Terror Network Jan 2002
Trail of a Terrorist Oct. 2001
Hunting Bin Laden 1999
I was in Israel in 1995, on a 3-week graduate course in Jewish Theatre. The phenomenon of Jewish religious extremism was going on then, too, and likely long before that.
The 'problem' isn't just Jewish religious extremism, though, or Arab religious extremism for that matter. The problem is religious extremism. Period. ANYBODY'S religious extremism. Everywhere and anywhere you encounter it, in whatever form or philosophy, it spells nothing but trouble. Proponents of and adherents to religious extremism can justify ANYTHING, any behavior, no matter how reprehensible, because of course it's 'god's will.'