Home Media Action Alerts2021 HRC Alarmed To See Canadian Journalists Sign Anti-Israel Open Letter

HRC Alarmed To See Canadian Journalists Sign Anti-Israel Open Letter

by Mike Fegelman

HonestReporting Canada is alarmed to see Canadian journalists sign a partisan and one-sided anti-Israel open letter lobbying Canadian news organizations on how to cover the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The May 14 letter entitled: “An open letter to Canadian newsrooms on covering Israel-Palestine” features the names of 1,539 people as of this writing, most who are activists and academics, but several who are from reputable news organizations like the CBC, Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, CTV News, Macleans, Yahoo News Canada, Chatelaine, Global News, IPolitics, etc.

Importantly, the authors of this letter are unknown, but the letter itself is blatantly tendentious, hypocritical and skewed, and its selective use of facts reflect poorly on those who purport to be professional journalists.

The letter refers to the “escalating violence against Palestinians,” and conveniently ignores the escalating violence against Israeli civilians by Hamas and Islamic Jihad which have fired over 2,000 rockets at Israel killing 8 people and wounding hundreds. The letter refers to “forced expulsions,” though no one has been expelled and the letter claims there’s a “… deep reluctance (by Canadian journalists) to cover the ongoing nature of the Israeli occupation…”

It alleges that Israel is carrying out “indiscriminate airstrikes” whereas Israel is only targeting terrorists and terror infrastructure. If anything is “indiscriminate,” it’s the Hamas/Islamic Jihad onslaught of missiles targeting Israeli civilian population centers, big and small. These terror groups situate their operatives and weapons within civilian areas using Palestinians as human shields.

The letter says: “According to the United Nations and countless human rights organizations around the world (including ones based within Israel), what’s happening in the Occupied Palestinian Territories is a ‘grave breach of international law.’ Some groups believe the attacks amount to an “ethnic cleansing.” It should be covered as such.” In truth, some groups also believe that Israel doesn’t have the right to exist. These allegations are myopic, unfounded and inflammatory.

To buttress their argument, the authors and therefore the signatories of this letter, cite a column from Al Jazeera, a true bastion of professional, accurate and unbiased journalism, and which is bankrolled by the Qatari government. The Al Jazeera column lamented how too few Canadian news organizations covered Human Rights Watch’s report accusing Israel of “apartheid” a “crime against humanity.” Perhaps the reason for this is because most Canadian media recognized that the HRW report was baseless and that HRW itself has an anti-Israel bias. The letter refers to B’tselem as a “mainstream” Israeli group and while it may be Israeli, it’s far from “mainstream” and is considered an anti-Israel NGO.

At its core, a fundamental principle of honest and ethical journalism is to be objective and to be politically neutral. The individuals who signed this anti-Israel letter have demonstrated that they are more interested in engaging in advocacy journalism and in actively taking sides, Palestinian over Israeli, rather than being neutral observers. If these journalists and news organizations were maliciously added to this letter without their consent, they must publicly disavow this letter immediately.

HonestReporting Canada is seeking clarification from the heads of these Canadian news organizations about their journalist’s seemingly aligning themselves, and implicitly these news organizations, with this anti-Israel advocacy effort.

Any Canadian journalist who signed this letter should never be allowed to report on the Arab-Israeli conflict again in light of their clear anti-Israel bias which is on full display. Will disciplinary action be undertaken by these news outlets? Stay tuned to this page for any future updates.

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