Canadaland Podcast Guest Claims “75 Years” Of Israeli Occupation, Denying Israel’s Right To Exist

October 29, 2023

Canadaland.com’s October 19 podcast entitled: “Stumbling Through the Fog of War,” where host Jonathan Goldsbie interviewed journalist Pacinthe Mattar, was a missed opportunity to deal critically with the important topic of how media covers the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Instead, it regretfully became an extremely one-sided, empty attack on the pro-Israel community, full of unfair accusations, hypocrisy, and bias.

During the interview, Mattar made reference to a 2021 anti-Israel open letter, signed by thousands of journalists, falsely telling Goldsbie that they made reference to the “occupation that has been going on for 75 years.” While the letter did reference Israel’s alleged “occupation,” the mention of 75 years is entirely Mattar’s. That refers to Israel’s independence in 1948, clearly marking every square inch of Israel as illegal, and thus denying Israel’s very right to exist.

The show discussed the challenge of fairly covering the conflict in an environment full of misinformation. This important topic, however, was done a severe disservice by their choice to obsessively focus the entire conversation on the idea that Canadian media blindly accepts whatever the Israeli government claims. At one point, Mattar told Goldsbie that some news programs, including the American network MSNBC, have claimed that Israel has “a history of lying.”

Some of the rhetoric reached absurd levels, such as the baseless claim by Mattar that Israel has been “targeting the Red Crescent” and “ambulances”—a ridiculous comment which went unchecked by the host, despite no source or example being provided for such a serious accusation.

The conversation rehashed the social media debate over whether 40 Israeli babies were beheaded by Hamas in the Israeli kibbutz of Kfar Aza, citing it as an example of a false Israeli claim that the media blindly accepted. But it has been publicly known that at least 40 babies and small children were massacred in the October 7th attacks, and that at least some of them were decapitated—either before or after death. We also know that many were brutally burned. Multiple governments and credible media outlets have investigated the matter and affirmed that this is the case, after taking the time to thoroughly investigate—despite Mattar’s claim that everyone blindly accepted the initial comment at face value. 

One claim discussed on the podcast was the tragic death of Shireen Abu Akleh, the Al Jazeera reporter who was believed to have been accidentally killed by Israeli forces in the crossfire of a 2022 West Bank gunfight she was covering. Mattar alleged that Israel lied about the cause of Abu Akleh’s death, due to the fact that they initially believed and reported the stray bullet to have come from a Palestinian terrorist’s gun. 

Israel is also the very entity that investigated the matter and transparently informed the global media of their findings, showing that Israel, for all its flaws, is infinitely more transparent than the terrorist organization Hamas.

Mattar also attempted to draw a comparison between the accidental death of a reporter in a war zone with the intentional murder of George Floyd in the United States in the summer of 2020. Once again, Goldsbie failed to push back or question Mattar’s false analogy.

The podcast was evidently recorded after the news broke of the Al-Ahli Hospital explosion in Gaza City, but before the facts of the event were clear. Yet, Goldsbie and Mattar conducted the discussion with an implicit – and false – assumption that Israel had been responsible for the hospital blast. Thanks to a preponderance of evidence, confirmed by intelligence agencies around the world, including Canada’s, that the blast was the result of a stray rocket launched by Gaza-based terrorists. 

Why, then, would Canadaland position Israeli statements as unverifiable claims, while accepting Hamas’ positions as inherently true? Is Hamas—the bloodthirsty, murderous terrorist group—a more trustworthy source to take at its word than Israel? The irony of this and naked hypocrisy here is appalling.

Mattar also took direct aim at Honest Reporting Canada during her interview, labeling it “extremely efficient” in labeling any legitimate criticism of Israel as antisemitic. This is a disingenuous attempt to deflect rather than engage with the substantive issues raised by HonestReporting Canada.

Holding Canadian news media outlets to a responsible standard of accuracy, fairness, and appropriateness is not only permitted, but given lopsided and biased segments like this podcast interview, clearly needed.

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