It says a lot about the Toronto Star and its readership, that the 9th most popular story published to its website in 2014 was a hateful screed written by Vancouver author Gabor Maté that compared the Gaza Strip to the Warsaw Ghetto.
On December 31, TheStar.com’s Natasha Grzincic reported that based on the number of page views for stories posted to the Star’s website in 2014, Matés commentary was the 9th most popular and one of the most popular stories on its Facebook page. Of course, popularity shouldn’t be construed as tacit approval or endorsement of the screed, but that the Star gave a platform for this hateful discourse was disturbing.
The Star’s Grzincic said in her post that: “Commentary on the Gaza conflict this summer rarely failed to cause a stir, but this one by renowned author and Vancouver-based speaker Gabor Maté was the most read of the bunch. Maté lamented “what the beautiful old dream of Jewish redemption has come to” and “the death of innocents.” He wrote, “In Gaza today we find ways of justifying the bombing of hospitals, the annihilation of families at dinner, the killing of pre-adolescents playing soccer on a beach.” The conflict, which lasted for 50 days, left more than 2,200 people dead in the Palestinian territory and caused widespread destruction. It also paralyzed large parts of southern Israel.”
As we noted in a July 27 media action alert:
“Gabor Matés July 22 Toronto Star oped comparing the situation in the Gaza Strip to the Warsaw Ghetto, crossed the line of fair opinion to hateful discourse.
Matés commentary not only unfairly maligned the state of Israel, it also exploited the Holocaust through contemptible comparisons between the Nazis and the Jewish state. By publishing Matés column, the Toronto Star has regrettably legitimized his bigoted views and provided him with a platform to spew his vile anti-Israel propaganda to a large audience.
Matés comments are inherently racist, and his comparison is beyond the pale and was a grotesque distortion of history. Israel faces a foe which is trying to wipe it from the map. The Hamas terror group has fired over 2,000 rockets at Israel in the past two weeks, and close to 20,000 in the past decade. Yet, Matés screed ignored Israel’s legitimate security concerns. Most perniciously, Matés sordid attempt at linking the situation in the Gaza Strip to the suffering that Jews endured in the concentration camps during the Holocaust and in their terrible experiences in the Warsaw Ghetto was contemptible. The reason the Warsaw Ghetto analogy was used is to trump up a libellous claim that Jews, who were once the victims of the Nazis during the Holocaust, are now the victimizers carrying out the genocide of Palestinians. It should be noted that comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy and actions to that of the Nazis fits the European Union’s, Ottawa Protocol’s, and U.S. State Department’s working definition of anti-Semitism.
Gabor’s Gaza-Warsaw Ghetto comparisons certainly do not hold up to scrutiny and while constructive criticism of Israel is certainly legitimate, Mr. Mate’s comments crossed the line.”
Sadly, this example illustrates how media outlets stand to gain when publishing hateful screeds against Israel. Loathsome commentaries which go viral and which drive targeted traffic to a news outlet’s website and its social media platforms.