HRC Prompts CBC To Correct False Claim That Netanyahu Didn’t Disavow Smotrich’s Inappropriate And Incendiary Remarks

On March 6, CBC News published an analysis report to its website by former Middle East bureau chief, Saša Petricic, entitled: “Is occupied West Bank on verge of a big flare-up? Positions harden as Israeli extremists flex political muscle.”

In the article, reporter Petricic erroneously stated the following:

“One of them, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, triggered outrage at home and abroad when he responded to last weekend’s violence by saying, ‘I think Huwara needs to be wiped out. I think the State of Israel should do it.’

The U.S. State Department called his comments “irresponsible” and “disgusting,” and pressured Netanyahu to disavow them.

Not only has he not done that, Netanyahu is also promoting new settlements.”

This statement was false in two ways. Contrary to Petricic’s claims, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did disavow Smotrich’s statements as being inappropriate and incendiary in nature. For example, you can see reports by Associated Press, NBC News, and Times of Israel which confirm the veracity of the matter. For his part, Smotrich did try to walk back and clarify that his remarks weren’t intended to support or justify harming innocent civilians or engaging in collective punishment.

Secondly, on what grounds was Netanyahu “promoting new settlements”? While Netanyahu has promoted the building of new homes within existing settlements, there’s been no news reported about the creation of “new settlements,” nor statements made to this effect by Netanyahu.

Accordingly, we asked that CBC immediately correct these falsehoods that were featured in Mr. Petricic’s report.

We’re pleased to report that CBC immediately responded to our complaint and corrected their inaccurate reporting. Appended to this CBC article, the following correction notice is now featured:


• An earlier version of this story said Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not comment on statements made by Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich. It has been updated to include that Netanyahu called the statement “inappropriate.” Netanyahu made the comments after the story was written.

Mar 06, 2023, 3:08 PM ET

Regrettably, though, CBC declined to correct its false statement that Netanyahu was “promoting new settlements.” CBC claimed that “the Israeli government legalized a number of outposts in the West Bank two weeks ago, making them formal new settlements.”

However, with respect to the retroactive legalization of the 10 outposts by the Israeli government, contrary to the CBC’s claims, this doesn’t constitute the creation of “formal new settlements”.

Petricic’s article also included this misleading statement that we take issue with: “So far this year, more than 60 Palestinians — militants and civilians — have been killed by the Israeli army, police and settlers. Meanwhile, just over a dozen Israelis have died in attacks by Palestinian militants — three in the past week.”

As HonestReporting’s research confirms, 49 of the 60 dead Palestinians are confirmed terrorists from Fatah, Hamas, Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Lion’s Den, Islamic Jihad, PFLP, and others who were lone-wolf terrorist attackers.

CBC failed to mention that the overwhelming majority of Palestinian casualties were terrorist combatants, not civilians.

Our public broadcaster has previously reported about how Canadian’s trust in journalism is wavering, with 49% of Canadians believing that journalists are purposefully trying to mislead. Ironically, this latest instance of anti-Israel bias by the CBC only reinforces these perceptions.


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