On May 18, CBC As It Happens Anchor Carol Off interviewed Michael Freeman, a policy adviser to Israel’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, in what can only be described as a hostile interview where Mr. Freeman was on the receiving end of Ms. Off’s relentless badgering.
Off is well known for her anti-Israel bias and who just last week tacitly justified Palestinian rock throwing as legitimate resistance. Off’s interview with Michael Freeman was reminiscent of an interview she conducted in 2018 with former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren, who at the time accused this CBC anchor of being a “conspirator with Hamas” and an “abettor of terrorism,” saying she was doing the terrorist group’s bidding and was “complicit.” In sharp contrast, Off typically conducts sympathetic interviews with Israel’s detractors.
Off’s interview with Mr. Freeman mirrored her approach with Michael Oren as she downplayed, excused and tacitly justified Hamas terrorism against Israelis and presented the Israel Defense Forces as bellicose and barbaric.
You can listen to the program in full by clicking here. Here’s a short transcript (emphasis added):
Freeman: “Hamas started this. We’ve got 3,500 rockets being fired onto Israeli towns and cities. Millions of Israelis are in their bomb shelters, not able to live their life. And we need to be able to make sure that we stop those rockets.”
Off: “I think maybe our listeners should know what you and I both know, which is that when you speak of 3,500 rockets being fired at Israel, that you have something called the Iron Dome, don’t you? It is a missile defence system that means that 90 per cent of those rockets never land on Israel. You’ve said elsewhere in other interviews that a large number of these rockets aren’t even getting to Israel; they’re landing in Gaza. So let’s just give people a better sense of what the threat is that you are faced with and what kind of response you’re giving to that threat.”
In Off’s warped worldview, these rockets don’t pose a serious threat to Israeli civilians. Israel should just live and bear with being under the brunt of relentless Hamas terrorism. What an abhorrent and morally repugnant comment to make.
Freeman: “The threat is very real. Even if only 10 per cent of those rockets land, that’s still over 300 rockets landing on Israeli towns and cities. You’re right, we do have the Iron Dome — and thank God we have the Iron Dome, because if we didn’t have the Iron Dome, we would be talking of probably hundreds of deaths on the Israeli side, maybe even more than that.”
Off: “As you know, the people in Gaza don’t have an Iron Dome, and they are talking about hundreds of deaths —  people so far, 61 children, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. Some 2,500 people are homeless. You have destroyed approximately 90 buildings, many of them housing where people lived, where they had their jobs, where they had their businesses. … You say that you have a right to defend yourself. And of course, that’s true. But … would you not call this grossly disproportionate to the threat that you are facing in Israel?”
Firstly, that Hamas hasn’t invested in bomb shelters, early warning sirens and missile defense systems only reveals that Hamas doesn’t care about the welfare of Palestinian civilians, but that doesn’t seem to register for Carol Off who accuses Israel of “disproportionate” force. Of course, proportionate force would mean Israel would have to fire 3,500 rockets indiscriminately at Gaza, but it wont. Israel only targets terrorists with precision strikes and aborts attacks when civilians are in the area and does everything possible to avoid harming innocent life, whereas Hamas embeds its operatives and weapons among civilians and uses them as human shields.
Freeman: “I think the death of any innocent is an absolute tragedy. And as the father of two young children, it really breaks my heart. And I think that’s the reason we need to get rid of Hamas.”
The program then talked about what caused this recent conflict:
Off: “Let’s just talk about what started this present round. Because Hamas says [the reason] they are firing at you is because of the actions that the Israelis have taken. Number 1, at the Al-Aqsa mosque where police raided during the holiest day of Ramadan … with stun grenades, with rubber bullets, with tear gas. And that wasn’t the only occasion when that happened. Now, we are also seeing that they’re responding to the planned evictions of Palestinian families from East Jerusalem. Hamas is saying it is responding to the attacks that you have made on them. They’ve also pointed to the fact that … mobs of Jewish men who have gone through Arab neighbourhoods in Israel calling “death to Arabs,” who have smashed stores and in one case, dragged a man out of his car, a Palestinian, and beat him nearly to death. That was all on international television. So they are responding to some extent. Can you not acknowledge that?“
And there you have it, Carol Off claims that Hamas, a bona fide terror group is acting in self defense as “they are responding to some extent.”
Enough is enough. Carol Off’s anti-Israel bias knows no ends and must be reined in. Send emails to CBC Editor-in-Chief Brodie Fenlon at: Brodie.Fenlon@cbc.ca. Please refer to the May 18 interview Carol Off Conducted with Michael Freeman.