UPDATE: February 12, 2018:
Subsequent to HRC’s issuing a complaint and action alert condemning CBC The Current for demonizing Israel, this CBC Radio program broadcast an interview today with Asaf Romirowsky, the executive director of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) who commented on how Iran poses an existential threat to Israel and how it funds strategic and tactical terror threats Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Hamas in Gaza, all who fire Iranian-made and/or financed rockets at Israeli cities.
The CBC’s broadcast of this segment is inline with our request for corrective action to be undertaken by this program. Specifically our request that The Current broadcast a new segment to provide a more comprehensive outlook on the Arab-Israeli conflict, Palestinian terrorism and Israeli society.
In the interview, Romirowsky said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s “projection of strength secures the support of young Israelis.” Romirowsky also commented on the state of politics in Israel, the paralysis of leadership in Palestinian society, and how the “one-state solution” is a non-starter.. Meanwhile, Anchor Anna Maria Tremonti mentioned the recent Iranian infiltration of Israel through its launching of a stealth drone from Syrian territory. An aggressive violation of Israeli sovereignty which prompted a strong Israeli reprisal.
The Current’s broadcast of this segment is a step in the right direction for the CBC and is a tacit acknowledgement of the shortcomings of its original program on February 7.
Original Alert: February 9, 2018:
Alarmingly, on February 7, CBC Radio’s The Current news program aired a lengthy 40+minute segment which fundamentally demonized Israel.
Entitled, “A generation born into conflict: Young lsraelis and Palestinians speak about the path to peace,” veteran CBC Anchor Anna-Maria Tremonti introduced the program by casting the Israeli-Palestinian divide in perilous terms and then by interviewing four individuals, all of whom hold extreme anti-Israel positions and who effectively singled Israel out for opprobrium and exclusive censure, all the while holding the Jewish state to a unique standard – unlike other nations of the world.
The program misleadingly presented itself as fair and balanced by featuring two Palestinians and two Israelis on the show, however, all these individuals were extremely hostile to Israel and none represented a mainstream Israeli perspective, nor was there a real exploration of Israel’s security concerns, its painful concessions and many generous peace offers. The program gave short shrift to the daily Palestinian terror attacks, endemic incitement, unilateralism, and corruption. The Current concluded their program by claiming that “We did also reach out to the Likud Youth Party to see if one of their members would like to join our discussion but we did not hear back.” And yet, that doesn’t absolve the CBC of its responsibility to produce balanced programming. Of course, there are hundreds, if not thousands of people who could have been interviewed to provide perspectives from the mainstream, centrist or right-leaning voices of Israel, but CBC did not secure any of these individuals to appear on its program. They could have, and they should have.
During this program, Israel was the victim of delegitimization, demonization, and was subjected to double standards and the victimizer was CBC The Current.
The interview guests on the program included:
Haggai Matar is a 34-year-old Jewish-Israeli journalist in Tel Aviv, and the executive director of 972 magazine.
Aya Al-Zinati is a 29-year-old Palestinian Muslim in Gaza. She’s a freelance journalist a past project co-ordinator with the United Nations Development Program.
Fadi Quran is a 29-year-old Palestinian Muslim in Ramallah, and a senior campaigner for Avaaz, an online activist network dedicated to issues such as climate change and human rights.
Bar Gissin is a 28-year-old Jewish-Israeli student at Tel Aviv University. She chairs the youth wing of Israel’s Meretz Social Democratic Party.
In the broadcast, Israel was accused of the following, all without context or rebuttal:
1) Being an “occupier” and “racist”
2) “…the Israelis are the military that’s doing the oppression.”
3) Of unlawfully demolishing Palestinian homes
4) Imprisoning Palestinian “political” prisoners
5) Carrying out the “siege” of Gaza
6) Making Gaza an “open prison”
Guest Fadi Quran said (emphasis added): “And I think it’s important for people listening in Canada because sometimes we can speak about these things and they sound abstract. Imagine if Canada was divided into small Bantustans—small islands. And every city, let’s say Toronto, was its own island surrounded by checkpoints and walls. And every time you would want to go from let’s say Toronto to any other city nearby, you would have to go through multiple checkpoints. And all the way until you get to Montreal you would be stopped by another government that would be controlling your land and that would question you and so forth.” (Untold by Mr. Quran is that Canadians do not face daily terror threats in the form of car rammings, suicide bombings, rocket attacks, stabbings and shooting attacks, that necessitate these life-saving security measures. Ms. Tremonti did not challenge his statement. The only time Israel’s security concerns were ever really addressed was when Ms. Tremonti once stated that “We often hear that some Israelis will argue that Israel is a very small place, the Jewish state needs to protect itself, and it is surrounded by Arab nations and that that always plays into the equation.”
Quran also claimed: “And there are checkpoints in and around the wall and if people try to go in without a permit they could get shot.” (There’s no foundation to this claim and Ms. Tremonti didn’t challenge this assertion. Should someone try to illegally enter Israel, naturally, they will be detained, not summarily shot at unless they posed a threat).
Quran also claimed: “… under Israeli military orders, if I were to have a meeting with 10 people to discuss political issues I could be arrested for up to six months” (Again, there’s no foundation to this claim. Israel does not arrest/detain people for having political discussions. Ms. Tremonti did not rebut this either.)
Quran also stated the following: “… spread the message around the world that Israel is the victim, that Israel is the one that is under constant threat, creating a fake type of consistent existential crisis. When in fact it’s the Palestinian population. And this is based on again the UN. And based on what the international community has now begun to realize the fact is that the Palestinians are the ones that are being wiped off of their land.” (Not surprisingly, Ms. Tremonti did not challenge these outrageous claims. Despite Palestinian, Arab and Iranian leaders who openly call for Israel’s destruction, these grievous threats (whether through nuclear attack or conventional warfare are dismissed as “fake”).
Meanwhile, guest Aya Al-Zinati expressed her support for the one-state solution, which a thinly veiled strategy for destroying the State of Israel and questioning its very right to exist. (Ms. Tremonti did not challenge her opposition to the widely accepted two-state solution and her support for efforts which would see Israel wiped from the map.)
Guest Haggai Matar claimed that: “And then there’s Syria and Lebanon that are completely torn apart from the inside and really present absolutely no threat to Israel. So even that past excuse of permanent threats from our neighbours, that doesn’t really apply anymore.” (To wit, Syria represents a clear and present danger to Israel, whether through Assad’s forces who come equipped with chemical weapons, barrel bombs, its conventional armed forces and more, or ISIS and other radical terror groups).
Israel isn’t perfect, but neither is any other country. Criticism of Israel is good as it generates discussion and provides a forum for change, but there are two parties in this conflict and both are deserving of critique. While on the February 9 broadcast of The Current, the program did air a couple letters (listen by clicking here) criticizing their one-sided anti-Israel coverage, that doesn’t absolve the CBC for having produced a program listened to by scores of Canadians which demonized Israel. When the scrutinization of Israel becomes so extreme and only Israel is put under a microscope, something is most certainly not right.
HonestReporting Canada has filed an official complaint with the CBC and we call on our public broadcaster to right this wrong by producing a lengthly segment on The Current which provides a comprehensive forum for a critique and analysis of Palestinian terrorism, incitement, corruption, and rejectionism that is rife in Palestinian society. At this time, we ask all our subscribers and readers of this alert to file a complaint with CBC Editor-in-Chief Jennifer McGuire condemning The Current’s efforts which demonized Israel. Send emails to: Jennifer.McGuire@cbc.ca.