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. Al Hussein

    Jews may not have mocked our Prophet through this one movie, but they might as well have. They are enjoying this.

    September 14, 2012 at 9:26 am |
    • Steve

      No, you are looking for an excuse

      September 14, 2012 at 9:27 am |
    • Yarfor the first donkey

      You mean by depicting him as he was? Yep, gotta say I'm enjoying it.

      September 14, 2012 at 9:30 am |
    • Parfin Woodell

      Al Hussein

      Sorry dude, i watched the movie,
      it is inflamatory, but it is also truthfull.
      Guess muslims cant handle the truth.

      September 14, 2012 at 11:18 am |
  2. steve

    This is complete BS. The movie sucks, and its ONE OF THOUSANDS of movies or videos that make fun of religion. Yes there are thousands of antisemitic, anti-jewish, anti-christian, anti-god, and you can go on and on. Kids in Gaza and Saudi Arabia have textbooks that depict non muslims as monkeys! HERE'S THE POINT! The militants caught the American's with their pants down on the most obvious day in the year. Thats is what I don't get. Also, you have to blame the militants and governments of these muslim countries for stirring up their own people into a MINDLESS MOB. It is truly a pity and shows the lack of education, and how hopeless life is for these people to take to the streets like barbarians! The only thing sadder is the fact that the US doesn't call it for what it is...BS! and even sadder is the unnecessary loss of life! WHO CARES ABOUT THE MOVIE!!!

    September 14, 2012 at 9:25 am |
  3. PrimeNumber

    This isn't likely to happen, but maybe Muslims should handle this kind of stuff the way Christians do in the US. When movies like "The DaVinci Code" and "The Last Temptation of Christ" were released, where were the movie theater firebombings or the killings? When protesters gathered outside Chick-fil-A restaraunts, the employees offered them water. Without a reaction from targeted groups, irresponsible people in the media would feel ignored – a terrible blow to the ego of movie makers and media goons.

    Technology or religion or economics, in the hands of unthoughtful people, will be used to create catastrophe. Human nature.

    September 14, 2012 at 9:21 am |
    • lth290

      Muslims in the US do react to this kind of stuff like Christians in the US do. It has less to do with religion and more to do with poverty and education. Please think before you speak.

      September 14, 2012 at 9:40 am |
    • catholic engineer

      @ith290 I don't think I expressed myself properly. Nevertheless, thank you for your polite reproof.

      September 14, 2012 at 10:25 am |
  4. Yarfor the first donkey

    The cowardice of Sam to say he was Jewish too, doesn't say much for coptics, I used to pity them, now they've lost my sympathy. They owe Jews and apology. Not to me mention Jewish film makers are slightly more skilled. Indiana jones and the pimple of Islam is my fav film.

    September 14, 2012 at 9:21 am |

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

    1. Simon Wiesenthal was a Jewish Supremacist bigot.
    2. If they don't like the reports then blame the Egyptian who pretended to be Israeli, not the media for reporting what he said.

    September 14, 2012 at 9:21 am |
    • Yarfor the first donkey

      Pis5 be upon you

      September 14, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • Enrico

      You know nothing about Simon Wiesenthal. Don't you realize how biased your comment is?

      September 14, 2012 at 9:34 am |
  6. Ding Dong Ali

    They are upset because the movie tile "Innocence of Muslims" is misleading. They wanted "Muslims sucks"

    September 14, 2012 at 9:19 am |
    • Yarfor the first donkey

      Although comical, nothing grossly inaccurate in the script

      September 14, 2012 at 9:24 am |
  7. HZ

    Reporting is mostly irresponsible these days. And the online news, including CNN is absolutely ridiculous. They will re-post an old story with a new headline and only an extra sentence or two plugged in. That should be considered false advertising and be ILLEGAL. lol. But I guess they don't want to admit tha a lot of their 'stories' are really twitter posts.

    September 14, 2012 at 9:18 am |
  8. here s news

    CAIR Tweets: ‘Right-Wing Extremist’ responsible for Muslim Riots

    The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) bills itself as
    a Muslim Civil Rights group, which is ostensibly supposed to fight for
    Muslim minorities in America to have the same rights that non-Muslims in
    Americans have.

    Among those rights is freedom of speech, which is something that the
    maker of the Anti-Muslim film that allegedly ‘sparked deadly riots’
    across the Middle East was engaged in when he made the film. Yet, CAIR
    is feeding the narrative that the film is what sparked the riots while
    calling the man behind it a ‘Right-Wing Extremist’ (have you ever heard
    CAIR refer to left-wing extremists in a pejorative manner?).

    If CAIR is saying that the film ‘sparked’ the ‘Deadly riots’, is it
    saying the producer of the film had no legal basis for producing it?
    Besides, we already know that the film is not responsible for the riots.
    It was a coordinated effort designed to pass laws in Egypt that would criminalize criticism of Islam or its prophet.

    Once again, CAIR shows its true colors. Instead of denouncing the
    Islamic mobs, it sides with them by attacking the filmmaker as a
    ‘Right-Wing Extremist’. ....more at walid shoebat

    September 14, 2012 at 9:18 am |
  9. Andrew

    MORE real anger over a fake film made to bait the hate. Are there any f@#%ing adults out there at all???

    September 14, 2012 at 9:18 am |
  10. mr_a

    I just have to say this, for all of you that claim they can't even make a good american flag, it's obvious your threedimentional perspective is damaged, turn the picture around and ta-da!, a prefect american flag. The fact that it was photographed from another angle that you are not used to see doesn't mean it's not right. Your argument abot the ammount of stars is invalid, because it's obvious the claims came from the flag being "upside down".

    September 14, 2012 at 9:16 am |
  11. abc

    One can believe in god, but not in organized religion, they are not the same thing. organized religion breeds intolerence because they cannot tolerate beliefs different from the dogma they dspouse.

    September 14, 2012 at 9:11 am |
  12. Steve

    You have the right to be offended by the movie, but there is no excuse for the violent protest over it.

    September 14, 2012 at 9:11 am |
  13. muslim2012

    Jesus (pbuh) of Nazareth – a Man Approved of God

    The following statement from the Bible supports the Islamic belief that Jesus (pbuh) was a prophet of God.

    "Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know."
    [The Bible, Acts 2:22]


    The First Commandment is that God is One

    The Bible does not support the Christian belief in trinity at all. One of the scribes once asked Jesus (pbuh) as to which was the first commandment of all, to which Jesus (pbuh) merely repeated what Moses (pbuh) had said earlier:

    "Shama Israelu Adonai Ila Hayno Adonai Ikhad."

    This is a Hebrew quotation, which means:

    "Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord."
    [The Bible, Mark 12:29]

    It is striking that the basic teachings of the Church such as Trinity and vicarious atonement find no mention in the Bible. In fact, various verses of the Bible point to Jesus’ (pbuh) actual mission, which was to fulfill the law revealed to Prophet Moses (pbuh). Indeed Jesus (pbuh) rejected any suggestions that attributed divinity to him, and explained his miracles as the power of the One True God.

    Jesus (pbuh) thus reiterated the message of monotheism that was given by all earlier prophets of Almighty God.

    September 14, 2012 at 9:08 am |
    • Yarfor the first donkey

      The devil is s cunning liar. Pis5 be upon you

      September 14, 2012 at 9:13 am |
    • catholic engineer

      Good morning, muslim2012. "The bible does not support belief in the trinity at all". True, the Bible does not specifically mention the Trinity. But Jesus was no ordinary person. He burst onto the historical and religious scene and left the people around him wondering who this man could be. Jesus himself asked "Who do you say that I am"? The phenominon of Jesus was not fully understood immediately. The Catholic church has a concept called Development of Doctrine. This does not mean "making it up as you go along" like some atheists believe. Development of Doctrine means thinking and praying about what happened, thinking about what are the full implications of an event – what does this mean for people – , reading between the lines of scripture, and finally stating what we believe. This does not happen overnight. In Jesus case, it took three centuries. It is not so important that the Bible does not mention the Trinity.

      No book will interpret itself to you. Not the Bible, not the Koran. These books require very much thoughtful and prayerful reflection.

      September 14, 2012 at 9:32 am |
  14. John

    Hey Israel I have an idea... Why don't you stop taking American taxpayers hard earned money and stand on your own two feet and stop expecting us to come to bat for you everyone you get your yamakhas in a knot.

    September 14, 2012 at 9:08 am |
    • It'sAUsername

      Maybe because it's much, much cheaper to ensure there is a powerful friendly force in place in the Middle East than it is to let them fail and have nobody constantly keeping an eye on the large number of hostile groups in the area.

      September 14, 2012 at 9:20 am |
    • muti

      who is speaking about israel? we are talking about radical Muslims killing innocent woman and children because they got offended and all the other anti-Semites seem to be obsessed with israel go get a life. After seeing what israel has to deal on a daily basis with these radical Muslims we should increase our support for israel

      September 14, 2012 at 9:21 am |
    • Parfin Woodell

      Hey John,

      Why dont you stop believing this garbage ?
      Obama is trying his best to stop Netanyahu from launching an attack
      on Iran,
      And you think Israel disctates American policy ?


      September 14, 2012 at 11:24 am |
  15. muslim2012

    Jesus Refuted even the Remotest Suggestion of his Divinity

    Consider the following incident mentioned in the Bible:

    "And behold, one came and said unto him, ‘Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?’

    And he said unto him, ‘Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.’ "
    [The Bible, Mathew 19:16-17]

    Jesus (pbuh) did not say that to have the eternal life of paradise, man should believe in him as Almighty God or worship him as God, or believe that Jesus (pbuh) would die for his sins. On the contrary he said that the path to salvation was through keeping the commandments. It is indeed striking to note the difference between the words of Jesus Christ (pbuh) and the Christian dogma of salvation through the sacrifice of Jesus (pbuh

    September 14, 2012 at 9:07 am |
  16. muslim2012


    Jesus Christ (pbuh) never claimed Divinity

    One may ask, if both Muslims and Christians love and respect Jesus (pbuh), where exactly is the parting of ways? The major difference between Islam and Christianity is the Christians’ insistence on the supposed divinity of Christ (pbuh). A study of the Christian scriptures reveals that Jesus (pbuh) never claimed divinity. In fact there is not a single unequivocal statement in the entire Bible where Jesus (pbuh) himself says, "I am God" or where he says, "worship me". In fact the Bible contains statements attributed to Jesus (pbuh) in which he preached quite the contrary. The following statements in the Bible are attributed to Jesus Christ (pbuh):

    (i) "My Father is greater than I."
    [The Bible, John 14:28]

    (ii) "My Father is greater than all."
    [The Bible, John 10:29]

    (iii) "…I cast out devils by the Spirit of God…."
    [The Bible, Mathew 12:28]

    (iv) "…I with the finger of God cast out devils…."
    [The Bible, Luke 11:20]

    (v) "I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgement is just; because I seek not my own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me."
    [The Bible, John 5:30]

    September 14, 2012 at 9:06 am |
    • christian2012

      Need to read the gospels again. Jesus forgave many of their sins.....hmmmm only God can forgive sin. I suggest you read the Gospel of John 🙂 ..... all of it!!

      September 14, 2012 at 9:24 am |
    • Ben

      Jesus claimed to be God on several accounts.... here are but a few.
      a) Turn to John 8:56-58. Jesus is talking to the unbelieving Jews. "Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing My day; he saw it and was glad." "You are not yet 50 years old," they said to Him, "and you have seen Abraham?" "I tell you the truth," Jesus announced, "before Abraham was, I AM!" Jesus was the great I AM from before the beginning of time; He existed before Abraham ever was. He is claiming here to be the I AM of the Old Testament. Verse 59 says the Jews picked up stones to stone Him, but the Lord Jesus slipped away. The reason they wanted to stone Him was because stoning was the death penalty for blasphemy. He was claiming to be Yahweh–Jehovah–Almighty God–I AM. (Of course, it wasn't blasphemy when Christ claimed to be who He truly was!)
      b) John 8:24. "I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I AM, you will indeed die in your sins." In your Bible, it may read "if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be...." The extra words are supplied by the editors; they're not in the original text. If you're familiar with Exodus 3 you don't need the extra words for it to make grammatical sense. The Lord Jesus is again claiming to be God.
      c) John 18:4. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Judas and some priests and soldiers are about to take Jesus prisoner. "Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to Him, went out and asked them, 'Who is it that you want?' 'Jesus of Nazareth,' they replied. 'I AM,' Jesus said. When He said, 'I AM,' they drew back and fell to the ground." (Again, in your Bible the editors may have supplied "I am [he]" to make it grammatically correct. The Greek just says, "I AM.")
      d) Jesus was worshipped and understood to be God by his disciples. One account of this is through Thomas:
      Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”

      September 14, 2012 at 9:24 am |
    • Ben

      If you want an Old Testament example from the very beginning of time, read the Gospel in Genesis 5. As you probably know, back then adults named their children after major historical or personal events. If you take the geneology of Adam through Noah in order and look at the meaning of their names, you get a very interesting "message".

      Hebrew English

      Adam Man
      Seth Appointed
      Enosh Mortal
      Kenan Sorrow
      Mahalalel The Blessed God
      Jared Shall come down
      Enoch Teaching
      Methuselah His death shall bring
      Lamech The despairing ones
      Noah Rest, or comfort

      The gospel is in the very beginning of the beginning of all Scripture, starting with the first man (Adam) and ending at the first promise (Noah). Coincidence? Conspiracy? I think not!

      September 14, 2012 at 9:30 am |
    • Yarfor the first donkey

      The devil is a cunning liar

      September 14, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • riz

      @ Muslim 2012 -I love your information about Jesus. Can you please give me more truthful knowledge about Islam.

      September 14, 2012 at 9:39 am |
  17. here s news

    President Obama has projected a policy of weakness throughout the
    Middle East and there’s every sign that weakness will continue given
    Obama’s response to the attacks aimed at U.S diplomats in Libya and the
    embassy in Egypt.

    “We’ve got a lot of Americans at risk and an administration that has
    pursued for four years now, a very weak policy. And even in the face of
    the murder of four Americans has not materially changed that policy.”

    That’s the conclusion of former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations
    John Bolton, who is stunned that Obama didn’t have a much stronger
    reaction to the murders of four Americans. Bolton said the governments
    of Egypt and Libya “failed miserably in their obligation” to protect
    U.S. diplomatic personnel and that Obama needed to make it clear
    American deaths are “unacceptable.”

    “We’re not going to apologize for the American system. We’re not
    going to tolerate these attacks on our interests. And we’re not going to
    operate under the delusion that the rising wave of Islamic
    fundamentalism is anything like a democratic movement or an Arab

    Bolton says the apologies of the administration for an Internet film
    critical of Muhammad that may not even exist sends exactly the wrong

    “This is a reflection of the hatred they have for America and the desire of Islamic radicals to do us harm.”

    Bolton is also incredulous that the U.S. media is far more interested
    in the mundane details of Mitt Romney’s reaction to this crisis than in
    the crisis itself

    September 14, 2012 at 9:05 am |
    • Floyd

      You are quoting John Bolton on foreign relations... you lose any credibility you possibly had. he is a horrible diplomat and war mongering neo-con. What "strength" should be displayed? do we need to send in the marines and toppel the leaders of this fledgling democracy? bomb the protesters?
      his information is also out of date, and the "apology" referred to is the same "apology" Romney was refering to... you know,... the one that the embassy in Egypt put out 6 hours BEFORE the protests started.

      i'm not saying the response that Obama's response has been perfect, or even the best, but without providing actual plans the best guess this nitwit would propose is to bomb Iran (considering he was part of the group that thought "hey, were were attacked by people in Afghanastan... let's go to war in Iraq")

      September 14, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • Parfin Woodell

      You quoted John Bolton !
      Every single member of the United Nations hated this lying
      arrogant twit.
      Bolton is the worst kind of NEOCON on earth,
      you may as well have quoted "satan".

      September 14, 2012 at 11:28 am |
  18. Jeremy

    The movie was ridiculous and offensive, but just a movie. The initial reporting on the movie was absurd. In the middle east, the reactions to the movie were insane, and violent. How come anytime someone gets offended in the middle east, people die? We need to get off our oil addiction so we won't have to involve ourselves with these violent backwaters. And don't tell me it's just radical groups there. The first thing the governments in the middle east did was condemn the movie. They didn't condemn the violence first and foremost. That should tell us a lot about the mindset of the people who live there.

    September 14, 2012 at 9:05 am |
    • Drink my Kool-aid

      Fvck the middle east. Your right about them being backwards. For being the "cradle of life" they sure make a joke out of the "life" part. I test my dog better than they treat females in their society. (I would save my dog before I would save any of you, so I guess that's a moot point.)

      September 14, 2012 at 9:18 am |
  19. muslim2012

    Position of Jesus (peace be on him) in Islam:


    Islam is the only non-Christian faith, which makes it an article of faith to believe in Jesus (pbuh). No Muslim is a Muslim if he does not believe in Jesus (pbuh).


    We believe that he was one of the mightiest Messengers of Allah (swt).


    We believe that he was born miraculously, without any male intervention, which many modern day Christians do not believe.


    We believe he was the Messiah translated Christ (pbuh).


    We believe that he gave life to the dead with God’s permission.


    We believe that he healed those born blind, and the lepers with God’s permission

    September 14, 2012 at 9:05 am |
    • Parfin Woodell

      Position of Jesus

      Six feet under, and still there.

      September 14, 2012 at 11:29 am |
  20. Jt_flyer

    After 50 years, Watching a Muslim burn an a bad reproduction of American flag is totally meaningless.

    Like a dog lifting its leg on a tree.

    September 14, 2012 at 9:03 am |
    • Parfin Woodell

      I like watching the crowds screaming "death to America" over and over.
      Why ?
      I keep looking for the guys with the guns pointed at them.
      Shout death to America or i will shoot you.

      September 14, 2012 at 11:31 am |
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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.