Jewish groups mad about initial reports on anti-Islam film
Iraqi protesters burn Israeli and U.S. flags during a protest Thursday. The U.S. ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens, and three others were killed during a protest outside the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Tuesday.
September 14th, 2012
03:00 AM ET

Jewish groups mad about initial reports on anti-Islam film

By Lateef Mungin

(CNN) - Jewish groups are upset that the initial reporting about the anti-Islam movie known as "Innocence of Muslims" depicted the film as being financed by a group of Jewish donors.

The groups say the reporting was irresponsible and even dangerous.

"We are greatly concerned that this false notion that an Israeli Jew and 100 Jewish backers were behind the film now has legs and is gathering speed around the world," Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League said Thursday. "In an age where conspiracy theories, especially ones of an anti-Semitic nature, explode on the Internet in a matter of minutes, it is crucial for those news organizations who initially reported on his identity to correct the record."

The Simon Wiesenthal Center also blasted the early media coverage of the story.

The center said Thursday it is "deeply troubled that the project was initially falsely and widely depicted as a project of an American- Israeli and that the $5 million was raised by 100 Jews. We remain deeply worried that those initial media reports are being used by Islamist extremists to further fan the violent anti-Semitism that is a part of that sub-culture of hate."

The crude film has stirred violent protests in Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia, Morocco, Sudan, Iran, Iraq, Israel and the Palestinian territories. Mobs attacked the U.S. Consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi this week leaving the ambassador and three other Americans dead.

Initial reports including one in the Wall Street Journal that the filmmaker was a 52-year-old Israeli-American from California named Sam Bacile and that Jewish donors had financed his film.

In the Wall Street Journal report early this week, the filmmaker said the film "was a political effort to call attention to the hypocrisies of Islam."

On Thursday, multiple media agencies, including CNN, seemed to get closer to the true identity of the filmmaker and the financing for the troubling film.

Federal officials now believe the man behind the film is Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, who was convicted in 2009 of bank fraud. Media staked out the man's home Thursday and a friend said he is in hiding.

A production staff member who worked on the film told CNN that he believed the filmmaker was a Coptic Christian. The production staff member, who did not want to be identified, said when the two spoke on the phone during production, the filmmaker said he was in Alexandria, Egypt, raising money for the film. There has been a long history of animosity between Muslims and the minority Copts in Egypt.

Though the truth about the film's backing seems to be emerging, some say it took too long for reporters to begin investigating the filmmakers claims.

"There were at least seven obvious reasons that 100 Israeli Jews could not have been behind this crappy video," said Rob Eshman, editor-in-chief of the Los Angeles-based Jewish Journal. "Right from the beginning there were so many red flags and it is the media's job not to just parrot the story but to really find out if it is true."

The amateurish production of the film was one of the biggest clues that it could not be backed by millionaires of any faith, Eshman said.

"It looks like it was made with 29 dollars really," Eshman said. "In the grand scheme of things this is not a tragedy compared to the people who are losing their lives in Libya, but it could have led to more tragedies. The (initial) news that it was Jews behind the film should have never been reported in the first place – it feeds into people's prejudice."

- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Islam • Israel • Judaism

soundoff (896 Responses)
  1. Iola Sturgeon

    Megatron is the founder of the Decepticon uprising and their most feared leader. Bob Budiansky, the writer for the Marvel Comics series, stated that originally Hasbro took issue with the name, saying it sounded too frightening. Budiansky responded that as the lead villain, that was the point. Hasbro later agreed with his reasoning, and approved the name "Megatron".';-'

    Talk to you later <http://caramoan.ph/

    July 9, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
  2. gilpizano

    The funny thing is that the flag pictured is supposed to be a US flag I hear, but since the US flag has 50 stars, the one pictured is not the flag of the United States of America. So they are not really burning the USA flag at all! Lol!

    November 29, 2012 at 8:00 am |
  3. Sarfraz

    the jewish group want destroy the peace of world they did try to push the world on the way of third world war they know batter then Muslims. Muslims no compromise on the respect of Muhammad (PBUH) even we lose our lives. this kind of things will destroy them very soon and in this situation these people also lose every thing which want live on this planet with peace & love so every single person have to condemn this shame full act for the peace of the world

    September 17, 2012 at 4:54 am |


      October 10, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
  4. aj

    Its still not clear why this con–man tried to pin this on jews; why the attacks were on 9/11; how it was that some of the attacks were meticulously carried out with military style precision. We need to put this guy under a magnifying glass and figure out if there were any ties with Moslem extremists bent on attacking the west.

    September 17, 2012 at 1:00 am |
  5. What the Hell ?

    How do all these people have internet to watch this ?

    September 16, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • AISHA


      September 21, 2012 at 7:23 am |
    • Pete

      BAHAHAHAHA! Awesome!

      October 22, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
  6. jed

    My head hurts!

    September 16, 2012 at 4:49 am |
  7. Keyser Soze

    Why some people in this thread continue blaming Jews or Israel for any of this BS movie? Anti Semitism surely ignore facts ..

    September 15, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
  8. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things,

    September 15, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • hal 9000

      I'm sorry "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but you assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book might help you overcome this problem:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...
      by the Alzheimer's Disease Society

      September 15, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
  9. Atheism is Great for Kids and Grown-Ups Too!

    It's really best for all people including children to have an agnostic approach to god, and an atheistic approach to all religion. It keeps things simple for kids, and lets them be all that they can be. They just need to be taught that some things, like all religion, were just made up by salesmen and politicians from long ago**; and that other things, like god, we really don't know a damn thing about.

    Atheists have strong minds and don't need a religion. Sometimes, religious folk run and hide their misdeeds within their religion (and by doing so, they disserve society). Sometimes, religious folk are easily offended when someone mocks their make-believe characters – and, as we can see they can get really CRAZY!

    Religions are just big old evil clubs – each trying to out do each other and inspiring hate and division along the way (disguised as love).

    So instead of praying to make-believe people, get a good cup of tea and go on and sit down and collect your damn thoughts. My goodness.

    ** (yes, charlatan spam started long before the Bible; what would make you think it hadn't?)

    mama kindless

    September 15, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
  10. JohnWV

    Israel fervently wants us to attack Iran. An American movie so enrages Muslims that they attack us. Wow, that's clever work even by Netanyahu's standards. No way did all the usual suspects (Israel, AIPAC, Mossad, Jewish money) not make this happen. The Jewish groups doth protest too much.

    September 15, 2012 at 6:30 am |
    • Mik

      And why would jewish groups proudly claim responsibility for it? It was "Sam Bacile" himself who told the wall street journal, which is pro israel, that he was a jew and that 100 jews financed the movie. According to you, jews control the media, so how come not only the "jewish" filmaker but the "jew controlled media" both printed the erroneous claim about 100 jews being behind the movie?

      September 15, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • roadrunner1712

      There is no question in my mind that Israel and neo con Americans were the catalysts for this. This is regardless of whatever fabrications come out of the media as to who did it. I can add 2 + 2 + 4. I think they're trying to throw the election to Romney. The right is talking about leading from behind or whatever phrase they use but you've got Netanyahu basically thinking he can direct American foreign policy. The actions of Israel and Netanyahu need to get more unbiased attention from the American media so that the average person in the street understands what is going on. What – we can't say these things? We better be able to say these things.

      September 16, 2012 at 12:16 am |


      October 10, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
  11. Kang Tut

    Yeah, we wouldn't want anyone to think that some Jews have ever made films that portrayed Muslims in a stereotypical and bigoted way, would we?
    *cough* hollywood *cough*

    September 15, 2012 at 5:48 am |
  12. atheists are bunch of cowards and gutless jerks

    The man behind it is a closet atheist and the movie was secretly funded by atheists' cult. Its real intent was more than plain ridicule and insult of Mohammed and Islam but rather not less than creating war and chaos between all religions. And they are now starting on of the 3 Major religions(Christianity, Islam, Jewish).

    It's their long-time obsession to topple down and end religions of all sorts. But they don't have enough numbers to do it. They are just a drop in a bucket even in the non-believers segment.

    It's now their design to stir-up one or a couple of the major religious group to anger to make them (all religions) anihilate each other that they (atheists) will prevail in the end.

    I just hope that all our muslim brothers will be enlightened that they may discern things in a brighter perspective that they will not be used by atheists to further their evil agenda.

    September 15, 2012 at 4:45 am |
    • hal 9000

      I'm sorry "atheists are bunch of cowards and gutless jerks", but all of your assertions are unfounded. I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book might help you overcome this problem:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...
      by the Alzheimer's Disease Society

      September 15, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • Pete

      "stir-up one or a couple of the major religious group to anger to make them (all religions) annihilate each other that they (atheists) will prevail in the end."

      Well,.. if thats all it takes..?

      October 22, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
  13. m.s.mohamed ansari

    public not fool i no Iran your team

    September 15, 2012 at 3:09 am |
  14. Dog1727

    Watched the video
    Cheap, amateurish, a hateful collection of irresponsible nonsense.
    The purpose of it obviously to insult,disrespect and incite.
    The makers obviously knew the prophet is not to be portrayed in any form and wished to cause as much anger and trouble as possible.
    It is a cowardly attempt to make such trash and not explain in any context what it's purpose is.
    I suppose the producers and backers of this nonsense have an understanding of consequence as they were too frightened to put there names to it.

    September 15, 2012 at 12:39 am |
    • YoozYerBrain

      @ Dog1727

      So? Your point? The responsibility is still on the perpetrators, not the film makers. All they ended up doing was holding up a mirror to the islamic/abrahamic hypocrisy play that's taking humanity down. All those who react are responsible. The piece of trash film could've just been laughed at by mature, responsible, thoughtful people. No. The agents provacateurs, priest/politicians that keep that region in poverty are the ones to blame. And by the way, you don't think there was something already set up by them for that date? Cuz I got a bridge to nowhere I'll sell ya...

      Personal responsibility is my point. Don't let the hate-mongers (priests/right-wing politicians) control you! By the way, I'm not a lefty, I just happened to notice that, mainly, hate-speech is promulgated by jingoistic, nationalistic, ie right-wing, blowhards from whatever country.

      Remember- yoozyerbrain, that's what it's there for!

      September 17, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • Pete

      YoozYerBrain is right.

      Regardless of how offensive this "Movie" was. the reaction makes its point perfectly clear.
      Mob Mentality, lack of deductive reasoning, quick to violence.
      Over a MOVIE..
      People were killed, cars and embassies burned over a movie...

      October 22, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
  15. Gengeoergewashington

    The filmaker was proven to be a israeli agent, and investigators are witholding his name along with the list of jewish donors and banking transfers they recovered, Tim
    e to annihilate israel and deport ALL jews who are our biggest threat

    September 14, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • safuri

      antisemites are bunch of cowards and gutless jerk

      September 22, 2012 at 2:59 am |
    • Pete

      you, are and idiot..
      He is egyptian, and raised Muslim.
      and he hates you. and thats between you and him.
      Leave Governments out of it, Leave America out of it, leave Jews out of it.
      ONE OF YOUR OWN made an offensive movie.
      without MY permission, without ANYONE'S permission.

      Look in the Mirror, look at your reaction.
      Take some personal accountability for YOU!
      This Unsanctioned Movie causes Muslims to MURDER??
      It was a Movie. ONE mans opinion.
      NOW YOU HAVE THE WORLDS ATTENTION for over reacting to nothing..

      October 22, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
  16. Reality


    1.5 million Conservative Jews and their rabbis have solved the problem:

    To wit:

    origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482 NY Times review and important enough to reiterate.

    New Torah For Modern Minds

    “Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.


    Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell.

    Such startling propositions – the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years – have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity – until now.

    The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine doc-ument.

    The notion that the Bible is not literally true "is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis," observed David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to "Etz Hayim." But some congregants, he said, "may not like the stark airing of it." Last Passover, in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue, Rabbi Wolpe frankly said that "virtually every modern archaeologist" agrees "that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way that it happened, if it happened at all." The rabbi offered what he called a "LITANY OF DISILLUSION”' about the narrative, including contradictions, improbabilities, chronological lapses and the absence of corroborating evidence. In fact, he said, archaeologists digging in the Sinai have "found no trace of the tribes of Israel – not one shard of pottery."

    September 14, 2012 at 11:56 pm |

      You keep spreading nonsense. What's your gig, dude?

      September 15, 2012 at 12:48 am |

      Digging in the wrong place, AKA fishing out of the wrong side of the boat.

      September 15, 2012 at 7:43 am |
    • Reality

      origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482 . Must reading from the NY Times.

      September 15, 2012 at 8:52 am |
    • safuri

      it means Christianity is fake religion .
      good for you

      September 22, 2012 at 3:03 am |
  17. Iqbal Khan


    September 14, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
    • Mik

      You know that "brother nathaniel" is not opposed to zionism because he likes muslims, he is opposed to zionism because a convert to orthodox christianity, he doesn't like jews because in orthodox christniaty they believe jews crucified jesus and that their covenant is nullifies? "brother nathaniel" supports the russian genocide against chechen muslims incw russians are orthodox christians like him

      September 15, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.