Home Media Action Alerts2020 Globe and Mail Gives Platform to Anti-Israel COVID Vaccine Smear

Globe and Mail Gives Platform to Anti-Israel COVID Vaccine Smear

by Mike Fegelman
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Following in the footsteps of CBC News who adopted the canard that Israel denied Palestinians the COVID-19 vaccine, on January 9, the Globe and Mail gave a platform to this anti-Israel smear.

Mark Mackinnon, the Globe’s former Middle East bureach chief, wrote an article entitled: “Netanyahu revels in Israel’s COVID-19 vaccine successes, though the campaign is not without controversy”.

While the article starts off positive by mentioning Israel’s leading the world with per capita inoculations at 20% of its population, it descends into an anti-Israel polemic.

Mackinnon writes (emphasis added):

Controversially, Israel’s vaccine campaign does not include the five million Palestinians who live under its control in the occupied West Bank and the blockaded Gaza Strip. Meanwhile, Israel is providing vaccinations to residents of the illegal Jewish settlements that dot the West Bank.

 

Israel says health care in the Palestinian territories is a responsibility of the semi-autonomous Palestinian Authority. Human-rights groups, including Rabbis for Human Rights, have called on Israel to share its vaccine supply with the Palestinians, something Israel has said it might do once its own population is vaccinated.

 

The debate has spilled over into Canada, where B’nai Brith Canada this week accused NDP MPs Charlie Angus and Leah Gazan of anti-Semitism after the parliamentarians harshly criticized Israel for not providing vaccines to the Palestinians. Mr. Angus called Israel an “apartheid state” in his remarks.

 

Bassem Naim, a Palestinian physician and senior member of the militant Hamas movement that controls the Gaza Strip, told The Globe that while the Palestinian Authority – which Hamas broke away from 15 years ago when it seized power in Gaza – has responsibility for health care, Israel has a “moral responsibility” to care for those living under military occupation.

 

As long as Israel is the occupying power, under international law, Israel also has duties to care for the people under occupation,” Mr. Naim said.”

The above passage gives a platform to what is regarded by the Jewish community as an antisemitic dog whistle and blood libel. In the time of the Black Plague, Jews were also accused of the antisemitic trope of failing to stop the disease’s spread or of withholding the vaccine. There’s no foundation to this modern reincarnation of this medieval libel concocted by Israel’s detractors.

On January 4, respected Globe and Mail columnist André Picard repeated the canard that Israel hasn’t vaccinated Palestinians, which he referred to as a “human rights issue”. In response to our criticism, Mr. Picard commendably retweeted our critique to his 120,000 followers.

With respect to Mr. Mackinnon’s article, there are many problems with this report and they are as follows:

1) a) The Palestinian Authority is responsible for the health care of all Palestinians in the “West Bank” by virtue of the Oslo Accords (Article 17) and administered by the Palestinian Ministry of Health. This is an undisputed fact, and yet, Mr. Mackinnon is merely presenting this as a mere claim by attributing this to: “Israel says health care in the Palestinian territories is a responsibility of the semi-autonomous Palestinian Authority.”

b) The Palestinian Ministry of Health has refused to coordinate purchasing and distribution of the vaccine with Israel, saying that “We have our own government and Ministry of Health, and they are making huge efforts to get the vaccine.” The PA instead is procuring 4 million doses of the vaccine from Russia. In a a Globe op-ed on January 7, Neri Zilber acknowledges that: “(not including the five million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza whose local authorities are so far striking an independent path to vaccine procurement).

c) Israel has distributed, per the PA’s request, dozens of vaccine doses to the PA for “humanitarian cases”.

d) Despite being at an official state of war with the Hamas terror group, Israel regularly facilitates access for tens of thousands of Palestinian Gazans to be treated in Israeli hospitals. Last year in fact, Israeli doctors held a COVID-19 training course for 20 medical workers from the Gaza Strip. Nickolay Mladenov, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, praised these coordination efforts as “excellent.” None of this context was mentioned.

2) Israel is vaccinating all of its citizens, Jews and Arabs alike, without discrimination. This includes so-called Palestinian residents of east Jerusalem. As well, Israeli citizens who reside in Judea and Samaria are being vaccinated by Israel.

3) a) Under the terms of the Oslo agreements, the Palestinians were to be given a degree of self-government under the Palestinian Authority during what was supposed to be a process leading to a permanent agreement on all of the core issues. Despite numerous attempts, a permanent agreement is no closer. The Gaza Strip (since completely evacuated by Israel in 2005 is no longer “occupied”). To buttress this claim, Mackinnon’s source is a member of the terrorist group Hamas (hardly an objective and authoritative expert on the topic) who claims Israel violates international law and has the “moral responsibility” to vaccinate Palestinians as they live under “military occupation”. To wit, Israel no longer has any soldiers in Gaza as it disengaged all settlers, settlements and soldiers in 2005. Israel only enforces a blockade of Gaza with Egypt to thwart Palestinian terror. Israel does not “occupy Gaza”.

b) The West Bank was divided into three zones according to the Oslo II Accord:

    • Area A – which would be under the Palestinian Authority’s full control and include all Palestinian cities and surrounding areas with no civilian Israeli presence.
    • Area B – which would be under the Palestinian Authority’s civil control and Israel’s security control and include areas of dense Palestinian population with no civilian Israeli presence.
    • Area C – which would be under full Israeli control, except over Palestinian civilians. This area includes all West Bank settlements and their immediate vicinity as well as strategic areas dubbed “security zones”.

Accordingly, for Mr. Mackinnon to claim that Israel “controls” five million Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank is without foundation as the Hamas terror group controls Gaza and in the West Bank, Area A is under full security/civil control by the PA, and Area B is under the civil control of the PA. In Area C, the PA has full control over Palestinian civilians.

Untold by Mr. Mackinnon, Israel disputes claims that the settlements are “illegal” and it’s important to note that the U.S. no longer considers them “illegal”. Israel claims it has legal and ancestral rights to these lands which it regards as Judea and Samaria. Mr. Mackinnon ignored this context altogether.

That the Globe and Mail, Canada’s so-called “paper of record,” adopted the canard that Israel denied Palestinians the COVID-19 vaccine, was nothing short of journalistic malpractice. That the Globe’s article was also marred by several inaccuracies and serious omissions, mandates the need for the Globe to review this article to determine if it violated its own editorial code of conduct.

HonestReporting Canada has communicated these concerns directly to the Globe calling for swift remedial action. Stay tuned to this page for future updates. In the interim, we encourage you to convey your concerns about Mark Mackinnon’s January 9 article directly to the Globe. Please send letters to: letters@globeandmail.com.

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