HonestReporting Canada: Battling Bias in the Media War Against Israel (December 31, 2009)

December 31, 2009


HonestReporting Canada: Battling Bias in the Media War Against Israel
Dec. 31, 2009
Dear HonestReporting Canada Subscriber,


Our number one priority is to be vigilant in ensuring fair and accurate media coverage of Israel. Many of our successes in sensitizing the media to Israel’s concerns are largely the result of your combined efforts as keeneyed media monitors and effective letter writers; however there are many occasions where we conducted correspondences with the media behind the scenesin an effort to seek remedy for erroneous news content or to otherwise add to the marketplace of ideas.

It’s been a long December for us. Here are just a couple highlights of our effectiveness from this past month alone.

CBC Amends Online Report After HRC Complaint

A December 28 CBC.ca article entitled “Israel to build new housing in east Jerusalem” reported on Israel’s plans to build nearly 700 new apartments in East Jerusalem, along with denunciations of these plans by Palestinians and the United States.

This CBC report left readers with the false impression that Israel was building new housing only for Jews in the eastern part of the capital. What this story failed to point out was that Israel also announced reciprocal building plans for 500 new housing units at the same time in the mostly Arab neighbourhood of Silwan in East Jerusalem. The truth is that there’s a severe housing shortage for both Jews and Arabs in Jerusalem driving real estate prices through the roof. The Israeli government is countering with new housing for both Arabs and Jews, a basic fact sadly missing from this report.

This CBC.ca article instead spotlighted criticism of Israel’s plans for new housing in Jewish neighbourhoods of East Jerusalem, while leaving CBC.ca readers totally in the dark when it came to more housing units being appropriated for Arabs.

In fact, the housing go-ahead for Silwan also envisages the lifting of a two-floor residential ceiling to a four-floor limit, which will enable Arab residents to add another 500 apartments, bringing the total of new Silwan housing units to 1,000 – several hundred more than for Jewish areas.

In sharp contrast, other media outlets, most notably the Toronto Star and BBC.com equitably reported on Israel’s Arab and Jewish building plans.

In the interests of balanced and equitable reporting on this matter, we asked senior editors at the CBC to amend this article online to reflect the fact that Israel also authorized the building of 500 Arab homes in Jerusalem.

Within a matter of hours of receiving our complaint, the CBC commendably added the following context into this article:

Click here to see the article as it appeared before its amendment and click here to see the amended article online.

HRC Letter Published in the National Post: “Not a ‘Settlement'”

Credit goes out to the National Post for publishing Northeastern University law professor David Phillips’ lengthy discourseon “The myth of Israel’s illegal settlements” in the December 29 edition of the paper.

HonestReporting Canada commended Mr. Phillips for bringing clarity and vital context to this complex issue in a letter to the editor printed in the December 30 issue of the Post, while pointing out an error that Post editors had made by describing the Israeli town of Har Homa as a “settlement” in a photo caption appended to the article.

Click here to read our letter to the editoronline or please read it as it appeared in the print edition immediately below:

HRC Letter Published in the Kingston Whig-Standard: “Offensive Not Aimed at ‘Ghost Army'”

In an article published in the December 24 edition of the Kingston Whig-Standard, reporter Ian Elliot profiled a Kingston grandmother planning to spend her Christmas vacation with “as many as 50,000 Palestinians in a nonviolent march to demand the border between Israel and Gaza be opened.” The report went on to erroneously present the 2009 Israel-Hamas war as if the State of Israel had faced a ghost army. It also failed to mention the grave reasons which led to Israel’s defensive military operation and it promulgated the incessant Palestinian myth that Israel currently “occupies” the Gaza Strip. HonestReporting Canada set the record straight in a letter to the editor published in the December 29 edition of the Whig-Standard.


Click here to read our letter to the editor online or please read it as it appeared in the print edition immediately below:

HRC Letter Published in the Calgary Herald: “No Comparison”

In a column printed in the December 21 edition of the Calgary Herald, writer Kevin Brooker opined about issues surrounding the State of Israel’s alleged possession of nuclear weapons, while equating democratic Israel with the terror-supporting Iranian regime.

HonestReporting Canada responded to Mr. Brooker’s column in a letter to the editor that was printed in the December 24 issue pointing out the absurdity of his comparison and the illogical and factually incorrect notion that he tried to peddle in claiming that

Iran’s nuclear program has legitimate, peaceful purposes.”

Click here to read our letter to the editor online or please read it as it appeared in the print edition immediately below:

How You Can Make A Difference:
HonestReporting Canada (HRC) – the only organization dedicated exclusively to ensuring fair and accurate Canadian media coverage of Israel and the Middle East – needs your support.For the last five years, we have depended on the good will and generosity of concerned individuals like you, who help us to combat anti-Israel media bias worldwide.


As you can see, our efforts are making a difference. Through your donations, you can help ensure that Canadian journalists are held to the highest standards of “honest reporting.”Please support our vital work by donating online today.

Toronto Office: P.O. Box 6, Station Q Toronto, Ontario M4T 2L7
Montreal Office: P.O. Box 42508, Succursale Snowdon Montreal, Quebec H3W 3H7
Office: (416) 915-9157 E-mail: info@honestreporting.ca Web: www.honestreporting.ca


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