In an April 10 interview with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayeh focusing on Israeli-Palestinian violence, CNN’s chief international anchor Christine Amanpour referenced the deaths of three Israeli Jews and that of a 15-year-old Palestinian boy:

“We have a young 15-year-old Palestinian boy who’s been shot and killed by security – Israeli security forces. We also have the mother of two sisters, Israeli British sisters. They were killed in a shootout, and now the mother has died of her injuries.”

The suggestion that the Israeli Jews were armed and had been shot in an exchange of gunfire with Palestinian gunman caused an uproar, and Amanpour subsequently apologized:

“On April 10, I referred to the murders of an Israeli family: Lucy, Maia and Rina Dee, the wife and daughters of Rabbi Leo Dee. I misspoke and said they were killed in a ‘shootout’ instead of a shooting. I have written to Rabbi Leo Dee to apologize and make sure he knows that we apologize for any further pain that may have caused him.”


The problem remains that if Amanpour acknowledges that the Dees were murdered, why would she now think that it would have been appropriate to have described their deaths as having come as the result of a shooting, with no further context, when she said the 15-year-old Palestinian was “shot and killed by security – Israeli security forces.” Did she speak out of a belief that all Israelis are properly considered combatants?

We may soon find out: There is talk of a defamation lawsuit against Amanpour and CNN to be brought by Rabbi Leo Dee, the husband and father of the murder victims, on the grounds that they were defamed by the suggestion that they were armed. Alan Dershowitz, a famed Jewish lawyer and activist, has volunteered to represent Rabbi Dee for free.

Libel and slander cases are notoriously difficult to make, and a loss might well encourage further anti-Israel reporting. Mr. Dershowitz insists, however, that the elements of a successful lawsuit are present here, and it’s time Ms. Amanpour and her bosses at CNN – who have often reported negatively on Israel in the past – should be called upon to explain themselves in a forum where they don’t get to call the shots.


Previous articleIs it proper to give your children a phone/smartphone? If so, what age makes the most sense?
Next articleLearning The Ropes