Home Media Action Alerts2013 A Policy Forcing Ethiopian-Israelis to Take Contraceptives? Following HRC Complaint, Radio-Canada Makes On-Air Clarification

A Policy Forcing Ethiopian-Israelis to Take Contraceptives? Following HRC Complaint, Radio-Canada Makes On-Air Clarification

by Michelle Whiteman

See French version below

On March 5, the newly-crowned Israeli-Ethiopian Miss Israel was the subject of a segment on Medium-Large, a radio show broadcast on Radio-Canada and hosted by Catherine Perrin. What should have been a celebration of Israeli diversity turned into another negatively-slanted report on Israel — this time, an indictment of racism — as contributor Khady Beye reported that the choice of an Ethiopian was likely a political decision to purportedly undo the damage of an alleged policy of forcing Ethiopian women to receive contraceptive injections, in an effort to limit the Ethiopian population in Israel. This reporter also alleged that Israel paid members of the community to return to Africa.

Said Ms. Beye: “For eight years, the Israeli government forced women from Ethiopia arriving in Israel to take an injection of a long-acting contraceptive”.

While Ms. Beye reported this as fact, there is no evidence to support such allegations. Further, the charge has been repeatedly denied by the Israeli government. Perhaps most troubling is the fact it appears that Ms. Beye was aware of this, but chose to ignore it.

In SRC’s March 28 response to HRC’s initial complaint on March 6, Sylvie Julien communicated to us that « Miss Beye reported in her own words the information she collected from her sources. We agree, however, with a controversial subject, it would have been more appropriate for her to cite her sources on air ».

Ms. Julien appended links to articles purportedly used by Ms. Beye in preparing her report. These sources clearly indicate the Israeli government’s denials of responsibility. This was not simply a failure to cite sources, as Ms. Julien suggested, but a failure to render the content of her sources. The result was an inaccurate report which served to inflame passions and incite hostility toward Israel.

Indeed, as reported in one of her links, the Times of Israel, a letter sent by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) to the Health Ministry prompted the director-general of the Health Ministry Dr. Roni Gamzo to explicitly deny the confirmation of such claims and wrote to the HMOs that the Health ministry was not “taking a position or determining any facts based on the allegations”. David Yaso, director of the Immigration Ministry’s Ethiopian Department, flatly denied that women were told that in Israel they were forbidden to have large families and were coerced to take contraceptive shots against their will. And the Health Ministry said it did not “recommend or try to encourage the use of Depo Provera, and that if these injections were used it was against our position”.

Sources such as Professor Daniel Seidman, chairman of the Israel Society for Contraception and Sexual Health, also denied such a policy and explained that the drop in Ethiopian birthrates could be attributed to the desire for careers and the strain of limited finances which makes large families difficult to support financially. This is consistent with declining birthrates in the modern world. Indeed, according to the Demographic Research Journal, “The increase in median age of first marriage is particularly impressive for new Ethiopian immigrants, which increased by six years between 1990 and 2000.” Thus, in June 2008, the health minister of the time, Yaacov Ben Yezri, “said the high number of Ethiopians in Israel using the drug reflected a ‘cultural preference’ for injections among Ethiopians.” This was supported by a 2005 study conducted by Family Health International, a leader in public health and development NGOs. Published in the African Journal of Reproductive Health it has established a “predominance of injectable products” in sub-Saharan Africa because of the discrete nature of its use in cultural contexts where “contraceptives may introduce social discord…”  In other words, it is a discreet means of birth control, and can be administered without the knowledge of disapproving husbands.

But where scandal is the goal, gullibility is a virtue. After all, it strains credulity to imagine that the Israeli government, which took immense pride in repatriating the Ethiopian Jewish community to Israel, would commensurately adopt a policy to send them back and limit their numbers.

In our response to Ms. Julien, we reiterated our request to set the record straight, failing which we would pursue an Ombudsman review. On April 3, we received notice that a correction would be forthcoming on air. On April 4, Ms. Beye issued the following clarification on air:

CP (hostess): You shared some articles with our viewers which alleged that the Israeli government authorized the injection of contraceptives on Ethiopian women without their knowledge.

KB: Yes … I raised, in particular, articles which had been published by Le Point, Slate and Jeune Afrique which reported these allegations, but there are also articles that have been published which give another view of the situation…  Reuters, BBC, Israel Info among others, in which the Israeli authorities denied having implemented policies to control the birth rate among Ethiopian immigrant women. The BBC also reports that Israel intends to establish a committee of inquiry composed of officials from the Ministry of Health, an independent physician and a representative of the Ethiopian-Israeli community in order to confirm that the policy of forced contraception never occurred.

However, as we have pointed out, the articles referenced by Ms. Beye also contained similar denials of responsibility, but she did not mention them in her initial report. SRC has also provided a link to some of these sources on the Medium-Large web page. You can hear the correction by clicking here or on the image below:

We thank Radio-Canada for setting the record straight.

Francais

Une Politique Forçant les Israélo-éthiopiens à Prendre des Contraceptifs? Suite à une Plainte d’HRC, Radio-Canada Diffuse une Précision

Le 5 mars dernier, la nouvelle Miss Israël, d’origine israélo-éthiopienne, a fait
l’objet d’un reportage sur Medium-Large, une émission diffusée à Radio-Canada et animée par Catherine Perrin. Ce qui aurait du être une célébration de la diversité israélienne a été transformé en un acte d’accusation de racisme. Khady Beye, recherchiste, a déclaré que le choix d’une Éthiopienne reflétait  probablement une décision visant à réparer les dommages  de la prétendue politique du gouvernement israélien dont l’objectif était de forcer les femmes éthiopiennes à recevoir des injections contraceptifs afin d’y limiter la croissance de cette communauté. Cette journaliste a également allégué, à tort, qu’Israël avait payé certains membres de cette même communauté afin de les encourager à retourner dans leur pays d’origine.

Mme Beye a déclaré : « Depuis huit ans, le gouvernement israélien obligeait des femmes originaires d’Éthiopie vivant en Israël à prendre une injection d’un contraceptif de longue durée ».

Cette accusation a pourtant été démentie à de nombreuses reprises par le gouvernement israélien. Il semblerait que la journaliste, bien que consciente de cette réfutation, ait choisi de l’ignorer.

Dans la réponse du 28 mars de Radio-Canada suite à notre plainte initiale du 6 mars Sylvie Julien,  Premier chef de contenu de la Première chaîne de Radio-Canada, nous a communiqué que « Mme Beye a rapporté dans ses mots les informations qu’elle a colligées à partir des sources sur lesquelles elle s’est appuyée  Nous convenons cependant qu’avec un sujet aussi controversé, il aurait été plus approprié qu’elle mentionne ses sources en ondes ».

Joints à son courriel, Mme. Julien nous a également fait part des articles prétendument consultés par Mme Beye. Or, ces articles mentionnent clairement que le gouvernement israélien démenti sa responsabilité. La question n’est pas seulement d’omettre de mentionner ses sources, comme l’a suggéré Mme. Julien dans sa lettre, mais également de ne pas en citer le contenu de façon juste et exacte. Il en résulte un tableau erroné qui ne fait qu’enflammer les passions et susciter l’hostilité envers Israël.

En effet, comme l’indique le Times of Israel (une de ses sources citées), une lettre envoyée par l’Association pour les droits civils en Israël (ACRI) au ministère de la Santé a incité le directeur général du ministère de la Santé, Dr Roni Gamzo, à démenti  explicitement la confirmation de ces allégations affirmant qu’il ne s’agissait pas d’ «une prise de position ou de déterminer les faits en se fondant sur les allégations».  D’autre part, David Yaso, directeur du département du ministère éthiopien de l’Immigration, a catégoriquement démenti le fait que des femmes aient été contraintes d’utiliser cette forme contraception ou qu’il leur était interdit d’avoir une famille nombreuse.  Enfin, le ministère de la Santé a,  quant à lui, affirmé qu’il n’avait pas «recommandé ni même essayé d’encourager l’utilisation de Depo-Provera, et que si ces injections ont été utilisées, c’était contre notre position ».

Des sources telles que le Professeur Daniel Seidman, président de la Société israélienne pour la contraception et la santé sexuelle, a non seulement démenti l’existence d’ une telle politique, mais il a également expliqué que la baisse des taux de natalité éthiopiens pourraient être attribués à une volonté de poursuivre une carrière ou des moyens financiers limités comme dans la plupart des pays développés. En effet, selon le Demographic Research Journal, «l’augmentation de l’âge moyen du premier mariage est particulièrement impressionnant pour les nouveaux immigrants éthiopiens, qui ont augmenté de six ans, entre 1990 et 2000.”

Par ailleurs, en 2008, le ministre de la Santé d’Israël précisait que le nombre élevé de femmes israélo-éthiopiennes utilisant Depo-Provera était une question de préférence culturelle. Ceci est également soutenu par une étude en 2005 menée par Family Health International, chef de file de la santé publique et des ONG de développement. Publiée par le Journal africain de la Santé et de la reproduction, cette étude établie une «prédominance de produits injectables” en Afrique sub-saharienne en raison de la nature secrète de son utilisation dans des contextes culturels où “les contraceptifs peuvent introduire la discorde sociale, ce qui conduit parfois à la violence entre les couples africains ». Autrement dit, c’est un moyen discret qui peut être administré à l’insu des maris réprobateurs.

Mais là où le but est de créer un scandale, la crédulité est une vertu. Pourquoi prendre le temps de se demander pourquoi le gouvernement israélien, fier d’avoir rapatrié la communauté juive éthiopienne en Israël,  s’engagerait ensuite à les renvoyer vers leur pays d’origine et tenter d’en réduire la population?

Dans notre réponse à Mme Julien, nous avons réitéré notre demande d’apporter des precisions. Le 3 avril, nous avons été avisés qu’une précision serait faite en ondes et le 4 avril, SRC a fourni des liens de sources sur son site web. En ondes, Mme. Beye a apporté  la précision qui suit :

CP: Vous avez rapporté des articles qui alléguaient que le gouvernement israélien aurait autorisé l’injection d’un contraceptif à des femmes éthiopiennes à leur insu.

KB : Oui…J’avais évoqué notamment les articles qui avait été publiés par Le Point, Slate Afrique et Jeune Afrique qui avaient rapporté ces allégations mais il y a aussi des articles qui ont été publiés qui évoquent, eux, une autre vision de cette situation. Selon, entre autre, l’agence de presse Reuters, la BBC, et le site Israel Info, les autorités israéliennes auraient nié avoir mis en place des politiques visant à contrôler le taux de naissance chez les femmes immigrante éthiopiennes  et la BBC rapporte d’ailleurs qu’Israël aurait l’intention de créer un comité d’enquête composé  de responsables du ministère de la sante, d’un médecin indépendant et d’un représentant de la communauté israélo-éthiopienne afin de confirmer que la politique de contraception forcée n’avait jamais eu lieu.

Cependant, comme nous l’avons souligné, les articles consultés par Mme Beye font également référence aux démentis émis par le gouvernement israélien.  Pourtant, Mme. Beye a omis de les mentionner dans son rapport.

Pour écouter les précisions de Radio-Canada, cliquer ici :

Nous tenons à remercier Radio-Canada d’avoir apporté ces précisions.

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A Policy Forcing Ethiopian-Israelis to Take Contraceptives? Following HRC Complaint, Radio-Canada Makes On-Air Clarification « THE BLACK KETTLE April 7, 2013 - 5:51 am

[…] to Take Contraceptives? Following HRC Complaint, Radio-Canada Makes On-Air Clarification A Policy Forcing Ethiopian-Israelis to Take Contraceptives? Following HRC Complaint, Radio-Canada Ma… Rate this:Share this:FacebookTwitterDiggLinkedInRedditStumbleUponGoogle +1EmailPrintLike this:Like […]

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Claire Mankofsky April 7, 2013 - 8:15 pm

How does CBC Radio come up with these lies? It is unbelievable that these journalist’s mistakes HAPPEN so often on CBC! , makes you wonder about their bias in reporting anti-Israel items so often

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RaymondofCanada April 7, 2013 - 8:57 pm

It’s simple to see how the CBC comes up with these lies. Just as I am bent on seeing the positive about Israel, the CBC is bent on seeing the negative. If it were me reporting the news for CBC I would investigate and hold back until further proof was given as I would see this as being very unlikely for Israel to be doing this, but the CBC sees Israel differently than I do, and it doesn’t take too much to report negatively about someone they have learned to hate.

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Anonymous April 7, 2013 - 9:19 pm

The “reporter” claimed she had sources to back up her statements. She did not, she is a liar. She knew she did not have sources so clearly made her statement because of her anti Israeli bias.
An on air retraction is not enough. Fire her.

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Anonymous April 7, 2013 - 10:16 pm

Fire her. ALSO make her state that her allegations are unproven. Just because some sources send them while also sayig they were unfounded… she should be stating the whole story. Any correction should include the statement that she spoke with bias. Whether or not that embarasses her.

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Gilles Pembroke April 7, 2013 - 9:40 pm

And CBC gets more than a $1 000 000 000.00/year to repeatedly get their reportage wrong. They must have a Palestinian vetting their content.

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gfn April 8, 2013 - 1:16 am

I suggest you read multiple Israeli reports on such issues1.http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/israeli-minister-appointing-team-to-probe-ethiopian-birth-control-shot-controversy-1.506266 2.http://www.haaretz.com/weekend/week-s-end/when-racist-expressions-are-no-longer-the-exception.premium-1.511305- before you are so sure that Israel is devoid of racism. Denial is too easy. The biggest Tikkun Olam we can do is to what we choose to see and not see as Jews who have suffered and now have one of the most powerful countries (that is both in ‘power to’ and ‘power over’ in the world). What choices will Israel make with its non-white immigrants and with Palestinians. Do we turn up the volume on contempt (which does not apply to all, but they make the most impact); or do we sow different seeds and watch what might grow out of equal treatment and dignity? I think the stronger ones have to make the change. As Gandhi said…be the change you want to see.

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Anonymous April 8, 2013 - 1:43 am

Why would anyone expect otherwise from the CBC, especially the French division? if it is a rumour, fails the reality test, is completely absurd and the story is about Israel, the CBC will run tripping over its laces to get “the story” out before it can be proven as a lie by virtually every other news organisation.

The CBC receives 1.1 billion tax dollars. Its Ombudsman is useless (10+ years and I have neither an acknowledgement nor a reply to a complaint). It refuses to provide unredacted Access to Information requests to virtually everyone by claiming, essentially, artistic and work related issues, and has claimed that only a judge can order such information to be released. Well, a judge did. Hello! CBC? When will you stop acting as an entity above the people instead of what your mandate demands – responsible to the people of Canada?

The CBC’s news division had lost my respect and my interest over 20 years ago. Its rare that I have any interest in any of the shows it produces, and even if would be worth watching I simply don’t bother. The US shows it presents I can easily view on cable without the CBC self-promotional blurbs; I’m just waiting to have a good laugh when the CBC starts showing WWF – fake wrestling. Most people I know do likewise and feel likewise.

It is long past the time for the government annual handout of our tax dollars for an organisation that has become too big and too self-important. Cut the cord and lets see if the CBC can survive on its own without the unfair advantage that other broadcasters don’t have of a guaranteed stipend.

Surely the government can spend 1.1 billion on something that provides value to the citizens, even if it simply put toward the debt.

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Gee April 8, 2013 - 3:38 am

This exact story was disproved over 3 months ago. I think that her inventions on the “facts” should result in more than just a correction

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American Israeli April 8, 2013 - 10:05 am

hmm, i live in Israel among a whole lot of Ethiopians and there are lots of young kids, so I can’t believe any of this story. Also, though I can’t speak enough Hebrew (our only common language) to talk in depth to the Ethiopians, none of my friends who can ever mentioned anything about such use of contraceptives. My Ethiopian neighbors seem to love Israel and appear friendly and happy, though of course I only know the ones in my town, not those who live in other parts of Israel. But from my perspective, the story by ms Beye seems to be contrived to fit her anti-Israel bias.

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g. f. nestel April 8, 2013 - 3:23 pm

I see that my suggestion that you read HaAretz on this issue and other issues of racism in Israel (and I am Jewish) was not posted…Gee, is that Honest Reporting or is it cover up? As for the CBC since it was on Radio Canada how can any listener who is not bilingual verify your claims?

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