Yesterday marked the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. On November 9, 1989, thousands of East Germans proceeded to the Wall to destroy and cross what was an oppressive concrete barrier in pursuit of new found freedom.
The Berlin Wall was built during the height of the Cold War by the East German authoritarian regime to perpetuate the division of the city by keeping the German citizens of East Berlin – who sought only freedom and communication with their German brethren in West Berlin – hemmed in.
In recognition of this historic event, CBC devoted extensive coverage this past week.
In a false and misleading analogy, four separate CBC reports featured on three of its platforms (television, radio, & website), wrongly equated Israel’s defensive security barrier (built to keep Palestinian terrorists “out” of the Jewish state), with the Berlin Wall (built to keep the population “in” the Communist state)
Of all the myriads of barriers that exist in the world, CBC chose Israel’s barrier to make this false comparison. Despite the obvious differences between the two, CBC’s promotion of this false analogy only created a barrier for CBC viewers to properly understand Israel’s security concerns and the raison d’etre for the barrier’s implementation.
Spurred by the efforts of anti-Israel activists who toppled a section of Israel’s barrier to coincide with the anniversary of the Berlin Wall’s fall, CBC’s flagship program, the National, featured a report by Mideast bureau chief Margaret Evans on November 6, which among other things, falsely portrayed Israel’s barrier as being majority walled sections, whereas in fact, it’s 97% chain link fence. With these dimensions in mind, the report featured overdramatic and distracting pan shots of the barrier section that is concrete wall (built to deter Palestinian snipers from targeting Israeli civilians). To watch the full report online please click here or on the image immediately below.
CBC, along with other Canadian and international media, was duped into giving press coverage to this staged P.R. campaign concocted by anti-Israeli activists. CBC Radio’s “The World This Hour” also took the activist’s bait, hook, line & sinker by covering this propaganda ploy. To listen to the full audio report online click here. Additionally, CBC Radio’s “World at Six” program re-packaged Margaret Evan’s TV report that appeared on the National on November 6 and aired it on the November 9 edition.
As part of an ongoing effort in which photojournalists and newswires are willing participants, agitators turned up at Israel’s security barrier to provoke a police or military response. The toppling of the barrier was dutifully documented by professional cameramen and news agencies who distributed these images worldwide. Ms. Evan’s report failed to acknowledge that these scripted clashes occur every Friday and only obliquely referred to the fact that Israel built the security barrier to defend its citizens from deadly terror attacks. In fact, the barrier has dramatically reduced infiltrations from the West Bank, saving hundreds, if not thousands of lives.
Global National’s Lauren McNabb also reported on this incident and unfortunately drew the same parallel as Ms. Evans by likening the fall of the Berlin Wall with Israel’s barrier. In contrast though, Ms. McNabb’s report noted that Israel estimates that the barrier has thwarted almost 90% of attacks. She also brought context to her report by acknowledging the “Pallywood” efforts by the activists and by interviewing Yossi Zur, an Israeli who lost his son in a suicide bombing in 2003.
Finally, CBC Online featured a report by Stephanie Jenzer on November 6 dramatically entitled: “The other wall: Israel’s barrier. A dangerous game of guns and ladders.” Her report also failed to equitably acknowledge Israel’s security concerns and give the proper dimensions of the barrier. Even more troubling than Ms. Jenzer’s lack of context, was her inclusion of a video depicting a Palestinian man attempting to scale the barrier and her claim that in doing so, this might mean that this individual might be fined, or might receive “jail time or possibly a bullet (from Israeli forces).” Setting aside Ms. Jenzen’s editorialized hypothesis for a moment, to claim that Israeli soldiers might shoot at an unarmed Palestinian, unprovoked, is egregious and beyond the scope of what a professional journalist should be entitled to opine about.
Israel has publicly proclaimed that the barrier would be dismantled when peace and security are achieved – and the Israeli judiciary has time and again given voice and justice to any party justly aggrieved – weighing all considerations by the barrier.
Any comparison with the Berlin Wall is false and malicious. Unlike that wall, it does not seek to divide one people and curtail freedoms. Rather it aims to separate two peoples who are in conflict, to prevent suicide bombers from targeting innocent civilians, and to create a terror-free environment in which the two sides can finally move towards a peaceful settlement.
How You Can Make A Difference:CBC’s attempt to liken the Berlin Wall to the Israeli security barrier deserves to be challenged. Please send complaints to CBC Audience Relations through their online feedback forum by clicking here or by going to the following link: http://www.cbc.ca/contact/.