Subsequent to recent violence between Palestinian rioters and Israeli Police at the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem during Ramadan, a pro-Palestinian rally was held in Windsor, Ontario.
In covering the rally and the violent altercations that took place at the mosque, CBC News Windsor published an article by reporter TJ Dihr on April 11 entitled: “Windsor Muslims rally to help following violence at Jerusalem mosque,” which stated the following (emphasis added):
“Reuters reported Israeli police raided the al-Aqsa Mosque last Wednesday and Thursday during prayers. Police said worshippers were barricaded inside, leading to clashes. Cross-border fire with Gaza and Lebanon and incidents in Tel Aviv and the occupied West Bank have added to an atmosphere of heightened Israeli-Palestinian tensions.”
Meanwhile, a TV report by journalist TJ Dihr on CBC Windsor on April 12 at 6:09 pm made these same statements, while the CBC’s anchor referred to “two attacks on a popular mosque last week in Jerusalem.” For his part, Reporter Dihr said that Reuters reported that “Israeli police attacked worshippers at the Mosque during Ramadan prayers with footage being shared on social media. Israeli police said worshippers were barricaded inside, leading to clashes and casualties. The raid led to cross-border fire with Gaza and Lebanon, as well as incidents in Tel Aviv and the occupied west bank.”
In actuality, in early April, midway through the holiday of Ramadan, and just before the onset of the Passover and Easter holidays, as many as 400 Palestinians holed themselves up in the Al Aqsa Mosque, built atop the ancient Temple Mount, where they stockpiled weapons for a showdown with Israeli police. When police officers attempted to remove the Palestinians from the Mosque (per previous agreements with Jordan’s Islamic Waqf about no overnight stays) and to make arrests, they were met with an outburst of Palestinian violence that saw the Israeli Police attacked with metal bars, rocks, fireworks and explosive devices.
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Mr. Dihr ignored that Palestinians used weapons and that there was premeditated violence, nor was any footage / images of such Palestinian violence/weaponry shown.
Furthermore, the “incidents” which Mr. Dhir referred to were the murders of four innocent civilians in Israel: an Italian tourist who was killed in a car-ramming attack by a Palestinian terrorist, and a shooting attack that saw an Israeli mother and her two daughters, aged 15 and 20, all gunned down by a Palestinian terrorist as they drove on a highway in Judea and Samaria (the “West Bank”).
To label the murders of four innocent civilians as mere “incidents” was a complete whitewash and sanitizing of what took place.
While the focus of Mr. Dihr’s report was about the rally, we’re troubled by the fact that he failed to obtain a quote from a Jewish or pro-Israel source who could have brought some context (and balance) to the Israeli perspective. For example, a representative from the Israeli Consulate in Toronto, or Embassy in Ottawa, or the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs or IDF in Israel proper could have been asked to comment. Or, perhaps the Windsor Jewish Federation could have been interviewed.
Instead, reporter Dihr quoted only a Palestinian activist, Bilal Nasser, and Zaid Khan, the media director of the Windsor Islamic Association, and Aliya Samsair, Regional Co-Ordinator of the Islamic Relief Fund.
Lastly, a CBC Radio report on April 12 at 10:35 reported only the following: “About 100 Windsorites took to the streets to show their support for Palestinians who were attacked last week by Israeli police. Police raided the Al Aqsa Mosque in east Jerusalem while worshippers were praying and observing Ramadan. Bilal Nasser is one of the organizers of the rally: ‘I wish I could say that it was a surprise or something new, but I think for most Middle Eastern Canadians or anyone from the Palestinian diaspora worldwide, it is unfortunately routine, specifically in regards to attacks on Al Aqsa Mosque for Ramadan. I do believe it’s the 23rd consecutive year in which Palestinians have been attacked.’ The Windsor Islamic Association and the Islamic Relief Fund are both raising money to send aid to the victims of the attacks.”
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Once again, no mention was made about how Palestinians engaged in violence using various weapons and how they had barricaded themselves inside the Mosque, and how Israel feared that the rioters would use these weapons on Jews worshipping at the Western Wall below. Instead, Israel was portrayed as the aggressor who attacked presumably innocent Palestinian-Muslim worshippers in the Al Aqsa Mosque, a holy place of worship, during Ramadan. In truth, Israel has only sought to encourage and facilitate freedom of worship for its Muslim population, but that wasn’t acknowledged by the CBC.
In short, HonestReporting Canada is of the view that these reports did not live up to the CBC’s Journalistic Standards and Practices, and in correspondence sent to the CBC, we’ve requested that corrective action be taken to set the record straight. Stay tuned to this page for future updates.