CNN’s senior editor of Middle East affairs, Octavia Nasr, posted a message on
her Twitter account on Sunday in which she expressed sadness at the death of
Ayatollah Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah, described by terrorism analysts as the
spiritual mentor of Hizbullah.
“Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed
Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah... One of Hezbollah’s giants I respect a lot,” Nasr
Top Shi'ite cleric, 75, dies in Lebanon
Nasr’s remarks drew fire from the Honest Reporting media watchdog,
which asked on its Web site, “Is Nasr a Hezbollah sympathizer? This is
disturbing enough given that the group is designated a terrorist organization by
the US and is committed to the destruction of Israel.
And which of
Fadlallah’s individual views does Nasr admire?” CNN did not respond to a request
for comment by press time.
Although described by sections of the Western
media as a firebrand-preacher-turnedmoderate, Fadlallah went on record as
praising the massacre of eight Israeli students at Mercaz Harav Yeshiva in
Jerusalem in 2008, according to Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs researcher
“In his sermon during Friday prayers, Fadlallah declared,
‘The heroic operation in Jerusalem proved that the mujahedeen in Palestine are
able to hit the Zionists hard.’ His remarks were carried by Hizbullah’s
television network, Al-Manar,’” Shapira said in a 2008 article for the
In March of that year, Fadlallah told Al-Manar that Israel had
“inflated” the number of Jews murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust, in an
interview translated and made available by MEMRI.
“Zionism has inflated
the number of victims in this holocaust beyond imagination.
there were six million Jews – not six million, not three million, or anything
But the world accepted this [figure], and it does not allow
anyone to discuss this,” the ayatollah said.
Ely Karmon, senior
researcher at the Institute for Counter Terrorism at the Herzliya
Interdisciplinary Center, told The Jerusalem Post
on Monday that
an extremist figure who had continued to exert major influence on
after distancing himself from the organization due to a dispute over its
subservience to Iran.
Karmon carried out an in-depth study into
Fadlallah’s Web site in 2000 and compared it to Hizbullah’s.
Friday, he would publish his sermon online, which carried both a
religious and a
political message. Two days later, the same messages would be published
Hizbullah’s Web Site. He continued to influence Hizbullah... He remained
fiercely anti-American and anti-Israel,” Karmon said.