Montreal Metro Demonizes Israel's Independence Day (May 6, 2009)

Montreal Metro Demonizes Israel’s Independence Day May 6, 2009
Dear HonestReporting Canada Subscriber,


A disturbing trend seems to be emerging with the Montreal media when Israel celebrates its Independence Day every year. Namely, that Israel and/or its supporters are demonized in news coverage surrounding the day’s festivities.

In 2002, as tens of thousands of pro-Israel supporters marched in the streets of Montreal on Independence Day, Le Devoir focused on a handful of anti-Israel demonstrators giving them prominent coverage on its front page. Last year, the Montreal Gazette’s coverage of a rally marking Israel @ 60 was criticized by many HonestReporting Canada subscribers for being too “negative,” for impugning Jewish patriotism, and for focusing on an isolated incident, out of context, where a youth picked up the fleur-de-lis and discarded it, saying “I don’t want this one” in exchange for the Israeli flag. As letters poured into the Gazette, the newspaper reflected on its coverage and subsequently acknowledged that their story “Missed the Mark” and had stumbled at both the reporting and editorial levels. We are happy to say that the Gazette’s coverage of this years festivities faired much better.

This year, the Montreal Metro, a French-language daily newspaper available for free around the city, entered into the foray. On April 27th, the Metro featured the following grossly inflammatory and misleading photograph. Appearing in colour on page 12, this Associated Press photograph (see below) shows an image of a blood-soaked Israeli and American handshake, all while blood drips onto pictures of dead or wounded Palestinian children as a Palestinian woman walks idly by. The message disseminated to Metro readers is that of an American and Israeli policy to be complicit in the murder of innocent Palestinian children.

Here is the photo as it appeared in print under the headline: “Middle East: Historic Week”

Caption translation:
“Palestinians in Gaza responded to an appeal by Hamas yesterday and participated in the official commemorations stressing the 61st anniversary of the Nakba. Meaning “catastrophe,” this Arabic word is used to describe the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians following the creations of the State of Israel. The Jewish state will celebrate its 62nd Spring this week.”

The Metro’s photograph and caption are deceptive not only for what is shown, but also for what is not indicated. The original AP photograph clearly states in its caption that the Palestinian woman “walks next to a poster… during an event organized by Hamas culture ministry… to commemorate Nakba day,” but instead, Metro’s version doesn’t inform its readers that the woman wasn’t part of the poster in the first place. Likewise, readers have no way of knowing who (Hamas – a terrorist organization) created the dubious poster image in the background. Without a properly contextualized caption, Metro seems to almost be promoting this Hamas propaganda piece.

But caption context aside, Metro editors could have selected from hundreds of different photographs showing regular Israelis in revelry. Whether at national parks, museums, beaches, street parties, parades, community barbeques, or images of festivities celebrating Tel Aviv’s centennial. But instead, Metro editors chose this inflammatory image and as a result, what should have been presented as a truly “historic” day, was instead used as an opportunity to demonize Israel. Metro, has in this regard, shown a great lack of sensitivity and poor news judgment and has only demonized Israel, its supporters, and has greatly mislead its readership about Israel’s 61st anniversary.

How You Can Make A Difference:
If you would like to express your concern to the Montreal Metro for its poor news judgement in printing a misleading and inflammatory photo depicting Israelis and Americans organizing the murder of Palestinian children in its April 27th edition (page 12), please send your comments to the Metro’s Editor-in-Chief, Eric Aussant at or call (5 ) 286- 66.


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