Home Daily Brief Globe and Mail Amends Offensive Gerald Caplan Column (Sort of)

Globe and Mail Amends Offensive Gerald Caplan Column (Sort of)

by Mike Fegelman

Gerald Caplan’s animus towards Israel and supporters of the Jewish state is well known (see here and here) and it continues.

On July 7, Caplan (pictured at right) produced an online-exclusive commentary published on the Globe and Mail’s website which claimed that Prime Minister Stephen Harper had exploited  “anti-Semitism for partisan purposes.”

Caplan wrote (emphasis added): “In perhaps no area has the government played a more dangerous or dirty game than around Israel. As Stephen Harper put it last year, all criticism of Israeli policies is “the new anti-Semitism…. It targets the Jewish people by targeting Israel.” According to cabinet minister Jason Kenney, critics of the Israeli government actually “advocate the destruction of Israel and the destruction of the Jewish people.” Presumably that includes Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s many Israeli and other Jewish critics.”

Here is what Harper actually said: “But this is the face of the new anti-Semitism. It targets the Jewish people by targeting Israel and attempts to make the old bigotry acceptable to a new generation. Of course, criticism of Israeli government policy is not in and of itself necessarily anti-Semitic. But what else can we call criticism that selectively condemns only the Jewish state and effectively denies its right to exist, to defend itself while systematically ignoring, or excusing, the violence and oppression all around it?”

Harper’s own statement contends that not all criticism of Israel is antisemitic, though some criticism of course is. This is in-line with the 2010 Ottawa Protocol which affirms that: “criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitic, and saying so is wrong. But singling Israel out for selective condemnation and opprobrium – let alone denying its right to exist or seeking its destruction – is discriminatory and hateful, and not saying so is dishonest.”

In short, Caplan misrepresented the words of P.M. Stephen Harper in claiming that he said that all criticism of Israeli policies is “the new anti-Semitism”. Harper believes that “some” criticism (caveats referenced earlier) do constitute antisemitism, but not all.

Furthermore, Jason Kenny did not make this statement that Caplan attributed to him, Harper did. Kenney merely quoted Harper in a speech he gave several years ago. Lastly, it’s only fair to insert the word “some” before the words “critics” as the statement clearly was meant to say that some, not all critics of the Israeli government, “advocate the destruction of Israel and the destruction of the Jewish people.”

HonestReporting Canada contacted the Globe and Mail asking that this statement be amended and clarified, which the Globe did, well, sort of.

Globe editors amended Caplan’s commentary by removing the word “all” and by properly attributing this statement to Harper, not Kenney. Here’s how this statement now reads on the Globe’s website: “In perhaps no area has the government played a more dangerous or dirty game than around Israel. As Stephen Harper put it last year, criticism of Israeli policies is “the new anti-Semitism…. It targets the Jewish people by targeting Israel.” According to cabinet minister Jason Kenney, channelling Mr. Harper, critics of the Israeli government actually “advocate the destruction of Israel and the destruction of the Jewish people.” Presumably that includes Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s many Israeli and other Jewish critics.”

While we appreciate that the Globe amended this column, in fairness to what Harper actually said, the Globe should have inserted the word “some” before the words “critics” and “criticism” to properly explain Harper’s stance. Despite our request, the Globe did not amend this aspect of Caplan’s column. As a result, readers may be mislead into thinking that Harper believes that all criticisms of Israeli policies constitutes antisemitism and that all of Israel’s critics advocate its destruction and the genocide of world Jewry.

Finally, the Globe also failed to disclose publicly that it had amended this column by affixing a clarification notice appended below Caplan’s column.

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