CTV's Gratuitous Dig at Israel in Report About Palestinian Women's Rights

On May 25, CTV National News aired a story by Mideast bureau chief Martin Seemungal which purportedly documented some progress on women’s rights in the west bank town of Ramallah.

Newsworthy? Definitely. But Seemungal’s report about encouraging signs of female freedoms in the Palestinian territories morphed into gratuitous anti-Israel reporting. Watch this report by clicking here.

At the midway point of the close to two minute report, CTV inserted an Israeli “occupation” angle along with footage of Israeli soldiers purportedly from an area of the west bank. The footage showed Israeli soldiers clashing with Palestinians and using tear gas canisters as a female Palestinian café owner claimed that Israeli “incursions” are one of the main obstacles, or as Seemungal put it, “unique challenges” for the advancement of Palestinian businesses, commerce, and by deduction, which have hampered progress of Palestinian women. Here is a collage of the images CTV displayed:

But Israeli incursions in Ramallah, the de facto capital of a future Palestine, are very rare as the Palestinian Authority has full civil jurisdiction and security control over the area, not to mention that those incursions have come traditionally in response to Palestinian terrorism. Could this CTV reporter indicate when the last Israeli “incursion” into Ramallah was? Also, regarding the stock footage shown in this report, where was it recorded, what was the context of the altercation shown, and was it recorded in recent days or even weeks? CTV did not say, therefore these questions beg answers.

Why didn’t Seemungal ask the women on camera about women’s rights in Israel, specifically how Arab-Israeli women are leading by example or how much pressure Palestinian women must be feeling from Palestinian males and society at large who deny and/or impede their rights to pursue a career?

As we noted in a recent HRC op-ed in the National Post, “Israel is the only true democracy in the Middle East and stalwart protector of women…. In a region where the terms “Middle East” and “women’s rights” are contradictory and not complementary, Israel stands out as a beacon for the rights of women, not its serial abuser… Israel’s sterling record on women’s rights stands in sharp contrast to the sordid history of its Arab neighbour’s treatment of its own females.”

CTV perpetuated the Palestinian “victimhood” myth, blaming regressive Arab societal norms on the non-existent Israeli “occupation” of Ramallah, despite the fact that Israel is the world’s most progressive defenders of women’s rights. CTV’s wantonly inserting the “occupation” angle into the report portraying Israel as being somehow responsible for the supposed intolerable living conditions of Palestinian women was nothing short of a gratuitous dig at Israel.

Please file a complaint by sending your considered comments to CTV President Wendy Freeman at: wendy.freeman@bellmedia.ca

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