HRC In True North: Media Watchdog Calls Out CBC Kids For “Whitewashing” Hamas’ Role In Starving People In Gaza

April 16, 2024

On April 15, True North published a commentary on HonestReporting Canada’s alert from April 9, which focused on a CBC Kids article by Taylor Katzel which used Ramadan as an opportunity to speak to young Canadians about Gaza, but wholly ignored other global conflicts such as Yemen, Sudan and Syria.

CBC Kids is demonstrating that it is an “unfettered platform for anti-Israel accusations.”


Media watchdog calls out CBC Kids for “whitewashing” Hamas’ role in starving people in Gaza

A pro-Israel media watchdog is taking aim at CBC Kids for being an “unfettered platform for anti-Israel accusations.”

Honest Reporting Canada, a group whose mission is to “ensure fair and accurate media coverage of Israel,” posted an alert on an article published by CBC Kids news which lacked context and relied on statistics from Hamas.

The article was called “How Ramadan feels different this year for these Canadian teens.

The story focused on two 17 year-old girls, Noor Al-Omeri and Khadija Nadeem, who say  Ramadan will have a “sombre tone” this year as the war in Gaza continues.

Honest Reporting Canada assistant director Robert Walker told True North the content was “egregious.”

“We have a problem with any news media outlet – in this case CBC Kids News, which is particularly more egregious that it’s targeted to children – really targeting Israel and describing Israel, in a sense as the Grinch that stole Eid, and the author of the misfortune that Gazans are undeniably facing.”

The CBC Kids article relays that Nadeem looks forward to breaking her Ramadan fast and being able to celebrate Iftar, but knows people in Gaza might not have anything to eat when they do the same.

“For people in Gaza, they are fasting during a famine. It’s like, how do you look forward to Iftar if you’re not certain the fasting will ever end?” Nadeem said in the article.

Honest Reporting Canada took issue with the author’s lack of context, as Gaza is not the only place in the world where Muslims are starving – pointing to food insecurity in Yemen, Sudan, and Syria – yet CBC Kids is portraying this Ramadan as particularly challenging because of Israel.

A CBC spokesperson told True North that in the interest of balance, CBC Kids News will publish a piece sharing the perspectives of some Jewish kids and how they are experiencing Passover this year, which starts Apr. 22.

The spokesperson said the intention of the story was to reflect how Muslim kids are feeling to “help their audience understand where these two teens were coming from, they gave a few key pieces of information to provide some context.”

“The intention of the piece was not to get into the details of the war. And, important to note, this is just one aspect of CBC Kids News’ coverage on this conflict,” the spokesperson said.

Walker said the story has an inherent anti-Israel bent, however.

“This obsessive fixation on Israel’s supposed, moral failings not only is misleading and factually false on any number of fronts, but it also gives zero coverage, to all these other far worse objectively speaking, human catastrophes, many of which Iran is involved with all over the world,” Walker said. “It also whitewashes Hamas’ essential role in starving the people of Gaza by stealing aid.”

He cited cases of armed men seizing trucks filled with humanitarian supplies,  warnings from “Hamas-linked” websites warning citizens not to cooperate with Israel as it sends aid, and a video which allegedly shows Hamas fighters stealing aid trucks meant for citizens.

In a December interview from Al-Jazeera, an elderly woman in Gaza said despite aid being sent into Gaza, they weren’t receiving it as “all the aid goes (to the tunnels) underground.”

“There are more food trucks entering Gaza now than were entering before Oct. 7,” Walker said. Before the attacks on Oct. 7 there was reportedly an average of 70 trucks carrying food a day.

Israel said 419 trucks entered the Gaza Strip with humanitarian aid on Monday. UNRWA said only 223 trucks came in the same day. Israeli officials have accused the UN of undercounting.  A spokesperson for the UN humanitarian organization OCHA has said the organizations count differently. Israel’s Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories, counts what it screens and is sent over the border whereas OCHA counts what arrives in its warehouse. Some of the trucks Israel counts on its end don’t make it to the warehouse on the same day, OCHA says.

“If there is food shortage in Gaza, it’s not because the food’s not getting there, it’s because Hamas is stealing,” Walker said. “More than enough food is getting into Gaza, and the food is not getting to the right people, then the fingers should be pointed at UNRWA, the United Nations and Hamas.”

On X COGAT shows images of markets in Gaza filled with food.

Another issue HRC found with the article was the assertion that more than 30,000 people have been killed by Israel according to “Gaza health officials,” the article doesn’t mention the Gaza Ministry of Health was established by Hamas in 2007.

According to a report by Abraham Wyner,  a statistician at the Wharton School of Business, Hamas’ numbers are faked: they don’t distinguish between fighters and civilians, and the average daily death tolls are not varied enough to accurately represent deaths in a war zone.

Walker argued if people read the article they would get the impression Israel is starving the people of Gaza, and Hamas has no role in their suffering.He said the article, like so many others, whitewashes Hamas’ deliberate decision to perpetuate the current war by holding 130 Israeli’s captive for over six months now.

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