Hill Times Columnist Accuses Israel Of Intentionally Targeting Journalists In Gaza

On February 26, The Hill Times published a commentary by Aisha Sherazi, a writer with a documented history of one-sided commentary which demonizes Israel and obscures the dangers of Palestinian terrorism.

In her commentary entitled: “Our shared vision feels like it is crumbling,” Sherazi wrote that “although our PM seemed upset at the plight of journalists in Canada, he has not spoken out much about the perceived deliberate targeting of Palestinian journalists in Gaza.” Sherazi never clarified why exactly Justin Trudeau would be the person responsible for these alleged misdeeds halfway around the world, nor why this makes his defense of Canadian institutions a problem, nor why unrelated actions of the Israeli government would determine whether Canadian democracy is “crumbling.”

Leaving aside the incoherence of Sherazi’s argument, her piece was also riddled with inaccuracies, glaring mis-directions, and shocking sanitization of bad behaviour.

First and foremost, the claim on which her entire premise was based — that journalists in Gaza are being “deliberately targeted” by Israel — is simply false. Perhaps Sherazi herself even knows this, as she interestingly chose to qualify her characterization with the word “perceived.”

There is no evidence that Israel has sought to purposely kill journalists in Gaza. Israel has repeatedly made clear that it only targets combatants, and while collateral damage is a tragic, but unavoidable feature of all wars, Israel regularly takes drastic precautions to safeguard uninvolved civilians and provide them with warnings and opportunity to flee combat zones before launching strikes. Such humanitarian policies are unheard of elsewhere in the history of warfare, and have helped Israel achieve a historically low 2:1 ratio of civilian to combatant casualties.

Every innocent casualty is a tragedy, regardless of their profession. However, it must also be noted that not all of the individuals being portrayed as “journalists” are actually civilians. For years, numerous credible reports have documented and implicated dozens of specific individuals involved in journalistic work who also have ties to Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist organizations — in some cases have been accused of providing material support for Hamas’ war effort or in the October 7 massacres. Furthermore, some of the “journalists” in question are actually official Hamas propagandists, rather than objective reporters trying to nobly share the facts with the world. Painting combatants who may also do communications-related work as uninvolved journalists or civilians is just as dishonest and false as labeling collateral damage as targeted killings.

Sherazi also took umbrage with the backlash over a recent pro-Palestinian protest at Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital. This protest was widely condemned not only as antisemitic, for targeting a historically-Jewish hospital with no connection to the war, but also for the heinousness of harassing ill patients and healthcare workers. Since there has been fighting at hospitals inside Gaza, Sherazi asked — in perhaps one of the most unabashed straw-man arguments ever to be printed in a respected newspaper in recent memory — “Why the selective outrage about access to health care?” Unless there is a violent terrorist army secretly using Mount Sinai Hospital as a base of attacks against the population of Toronto, and unless it also houses rocket launchers, weapons stashes, military data, and dungeons for holding hostages, then there is no reason for serious people to entertain the suggestion that the two situations are even remotely comparable.

Sherazi defended recent anti-Israel demonstrations without any acknowledgment that they are part of a long campaign by extremist activists, both in Canada and elsewhere, to violently harass, bully, intimidate, exclude, cancel, and disrupt the lives, order, and safety of anyone even nominally perceived as connected to anything Jewish or Israeli. Not only did Sherazi not find this relevant to mention, but she even defended the lawless, disorderly, aggressive behavior of this movement — denouncing the “enforcement of bylaws” as “protests [being] dampened.”

Someone concerned about the integrity of Canadian democracy should be far more alarmed by this attempted silencing of legitimate debate, and by the targeting of one group of citizens. Sherazi’s article also failed to ever mention the existence of Hamas — the terrorist group who caused the war and who continue to prolong it and endanger Palestinian civilians by embedding their weaponry and fighters among them. This omission not only reveals serious bias and lack of credibility, but is odd given Sherazi’s professed concern for journalists — since Hamas has spent nearly two-decades ruthlessly repressing freedom of the press and punishing critics of its regime.

Finally, Sherazi claims that the “will of the people” is being violated by Canada’s support for Israel. Yet her very own chosen stat to illustrate this — presumably the most convincing one she was able to find — is one in which close to two-thirds of Canadians do not agree with the claim that Israel is committing genocide. The same poll also shows that a full ten-percent more Canadians primarily sympathize with the Israelis (28%) than do with the Palestinians (18%), while the remaining majority do not strongly favour one side or the other.

If Sherazi is seriously concerned about the integrity of journalism and democracy, she may want to go back to the drawing board and remind herself what these terms actually mean rather than shamelessly weaponize them against her peers.

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