Anti-Israel Articles in Concordia University’s The Link Newspaper Whitewashes Recent Anti-Israel Mob

November 16, 2023

At Concordia University, violent anti-Israel riots are nothing new.

In 2002, when Benjamin Netanyahu, who had previously served as Israel’s prime minister and would do so again in the future, visited the Montreal institution for a lecture, he was met with a maniacal anti-Israel mob, who smashed windows and overturned cars in protest of Netanyahu’s visit. During the melee, an elderly couple were physically struck and spat on.

More than two decades later, more violence struck Concordia University. On November 8, a Jewish organization organized an exhibit on campus, raising awareness for the hundreds of hostages kidnapped by the Islamic terrorist group Hamas during their October 7 terrorist attacks in southern Israel.

In response, an anti-Israel mob descended upon the booth, and video footage shows anti-Israel rioters surrounding the pro-Israel students, and screaming at them in a manner that can only be described as overtly threatening.

But rather than face this uncomfortable truth, Concordia University’s student newspaper The Link decided to whitewash this observable reality, and attempt to re-write what took place.

In a November 14 editorial, “Mainstream media failed Palestinian students,” the newspaper describes the previous week’s anti-Israel riots not for what they were, but as “confrontations” which “broke out…between pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian students.”

The editorial further excoriated news media outlets for daring to report what was plainly observable in extensive video footage online, condemning Montreal’s The Gazette newspaper for publishing a photo of an anti-Israel rioter because it was “playing into the angry, barbaric Arab trope.”

Yet nowhere in The Link’s editorial did its writers decry the anti-Israel mob on campus, saving all its condemnation for the media’s coverage of that mob.

In another article in The Link, published November 14, “Hall building altercation: Students share their perspectives,” written by Maria Cholakova, Iness Rifat and Abby Cole, the three writers adds to the obfuscation of reality, portraying a situation on campus of two sides in confrontation, rather than – as evidenced by extensive video evidence – pro-Palestinian students surrounding and attempting to intimidate a group of students from an Israel education club on campus.

Cholakova, Rifat and Cole did not report that Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR) Concordia, the anti-Israel club at the centre of the clash on campus, signed onto a statement on October 11, only four days after Hamas’ terrorist attack in Israel, which expressed support for the “Palestinian people and their right to liberation,” adding that “a population living under siege and occupation has no option but to resist.”

In another article, “When intersectional advocacy flies out of the window,” published on November 14, author Sam Haddad makes scurrilous and defamatory accusations against Israel, claiming falsely that “the Israeli government has been indiscriminately killing Palestinians for 75 years now.”

Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, now matter how asinine, but it’s remarkable that The Link allowed such doltish allegations to be published in their newspaper. Haddad presents no evidence to support his claim that Israel has been “indiscriminately killing Palestinians,” evidently relying on hyperbolic verbiage in place of facts.

In Menel Rehab’s November 14 article, Film coalition “From the River To The Sea” premieres with Militant Cinema,” reported on a screening of the film “From the River to the Sea.” Rehab paraphrased one interview subject, Razan Al-Salah as stressing the need to educate the public on “the enduring nature of the colonial settler project in Palestine.”

While claims that Israel is a “settler colonial” state are based in a nonsensical re-writing of history, where the Jewish People don’t have 3,000 years of history, such assertions remain popular in some pseudo-academic circles. While Rehab is not responsible for the ahistorical ravings of the newspaper’s interview subjects, they maintain a responsibility to ensure that there is some semblance of balance and of respect for factual accuracy. Instead, there was none.

In 21 years, there have been two anti-Israel riots at Concordia University. But instead of condemning those attacks as heinous assaults on free expression, The Link continues to contribute to the morass by producing repeated sub-standard, anti-Israel content for all to see.

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