CBC Airs Unsubstantiated Allegation Claiming Israel used Chemical Weapons on Palestinian Children

You need only look at the unfolding situation in Syria to understand how allegations of chemical weapons use by Assad’s henchmen (and now by Syrian rebels) are taken seriously and met with worldwide consternation. 

With this in mind, consider how on April 26, CBC Radio’s “Information Morning Fredericton” program elected to air an unsubstantiated allegation claiming Israel intentionally used chemical weapons on Palestinian children in Gaza in the 2008-09 war with Hamas.

This inflammatory charge was made by Tracy Glynn of the Fredericton Peace Coalition who stated the following in an interview on an exhibit curated in Fredericton depicting fake Gaza art: “The exhibit depicts one of the most brutal events that happened in the history of Gaza with the 2008-2009 Operation Cast Lead which killed over a thousand people in Gaza including 320 children, so this exhibit, done by children who survived that air raid, use of chemical weapons, it depicts what they see happening in their lives, the events that happened as well as the aftermath of that…” 

To listen to this interview please click here or on the image below:

Ms. Glynn’s comment mentioning “chemical weapons” that Gazan children “survived” certainly conjures up images of Sarin, Mustard Gas, VX and other nerve agents. These are the very same charges that the Syrian government stands accused of in its civil war with rebel forces and vice versa. The alleged use of these weapons is regarded as crossing U.S. President Barack Obama’s self-imposed red line which may prompt a U.S. or coalition military intervention in Syria. 

CBC Journalistic Standards and Policies dictates the following in the “Responsibility and accountability related to interviewscategory (emphasis added): “CBC takes responsibility for the consequences of its decision to publish a person’s statements in the context it chooses. When we present a person’s statements in support of our reporting of facts, we ensure that the statements have been diligently checked. In the case of comments made by a person expressing an honest opinion, we ensure that the opinion is grounded in facts bearing on a matter of public interest.” 

Ms. Glynn’s statement was tantamount to accusing Israel of war crimes and crimes against humanity on vulnerable Palestinian children. These were incredibly serious unfounded charges that came from a pre-recorded comment. CBC journalists heard this comment before it went to air and chose to broadcast it over CBC airwaves. As such, CBC must take responsibility for this inflammatory and unfounded allegation it gave a platform to. 

On April 30, HonestReporting Canada contacted the CBC calling for an on-air apology to be aired to atone for airing this unsubstantiated allegation claiming Israel used chemical weapons on Palestinian children. We encourage you to echo our call for the CBC to issue an apology by sending your considered comments to CBC Editor-in-Chief Jennifer McGuire here: Jennifer.mcguire@cbc.ca.

Malcolm X once said: “The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.”

Don’t let the CBC turn Israel into the guilty party.

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