Canadian Press Gives Undeserved Credibility To Fanatical Anti-Israel Synagogue Protesters, Legitimizing Their Baseless Complaints About Israel Real Estate Event

March 8, 2024

On March 7, a group of about 100 fanatically anti-Israel protesters converged across a synagogue in Thornhill, Ontario, which was hosting a program organized by a traveling Israeli real estate consortium.

The demonstration, organized by Palesign, a group led by Naveed Awan, a mainstay at local anti-Israel protests, was an overt act of attempted intimidation against Jews at their holy place of worship. The same group organized another protest four days earlier at another Israel estate program held inside a synagogue on the same street.

The anti-Israel demonstrators were met by a group of about 500 counter-protesters, there to support the synagogue and the Jewish community.

But in an article published the same day by The Canadian Press newswire and republished in scores of Canadian media outlets nationwide entitled: “’Palestine is not for sale’: Israeli event promoting West Bank property draws protest,” author Fakiha Baig grossly misrepresented the nature of the protest, downplaying the assault on a place of worship, and instead zeroing in on the intricacies of the real estate event.

In the article, Baig referenced the “exhibition promoting land for purchase in the occupied West Bank,” and wrote that “Palestinian protesters at Thursday’s event said they were deeply concerned the list also includes Neve Daniel, Efrat and Ma’ale Adumim, which are all communities in the West Bank, a territory Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war and has occupied since.”

Baig quoted one anti-Israel protester, Ghada Sasa, as saying “they’re here to steal Palestinian land right under our nose. How dare they sell this land in Canada. It’s disgusting.” Sasa was identified as being a PhD candidate at McMaster University in Hamilton.

What Baig did not tell readers is that Sasa has explicitly promoted Palestinian terrorism against innocent civilians.

On October 10, only three days after Hamas’ genocidal massacres in southern Israel, Sasa wrote on X (formerly Twitter) that “Palestinian violent resistance is moral & legal.” The previous day, she wrote that “it’s not enough to shout ‘Free Palestine.’ If you’re not supporting our violent RESISTANCE as we decolonize in real time you are an enemy to Indigenous people everywhere.”

Untold by the Canadian Press, Ghada Sasa is a former board member of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME), who in the “Real Talk” podcast with Ryan Jespersen, said she had read first-hand accounts from survivors of the attack on the Nova festival rave saying “’Hamas was not trying to kill us, and then the Israelis were just firing at us.'” In so doing, Sasa spread the conspiracy theory that Hamas “wasn’t trying to kill” any civilians and that Israeli fire saw the Israeli party-goers massacred.

The following day, CJPME published a statement saying Sasa was suspended from its board, writing that “some views that Ms. Sasa has expressed publicly are not aligned with the policies and positions of the organization.”

On March 8, in an interview published by the National Post, Sasa said: “I support armed struggle by indigenous people. Indigenous people facing illegal occupation have the right to resist by any means necessary including armed struggle.”

Even as Baig gave a one-sided description of Israel’s presence in Judea & Samaria (West Bank), writing “The international community overwhelmingly considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank to be illegal. The settlements are built on land that Palestinians seek as part of a future state,” she utterly ignored Israel’s extensive historical and legal rights to the lands in question.

At the bottom of the article, CP affixed an editor’s note, reading: “An earlier version said (Ghada) Sasa’s grandfather left his home in the West Bank during the 1948 war. In fact, he was expelled from his home in Ramla, a city in what is now Israel, during that conflict,” but readers were not informed about the source of that claim, and whether it originated exclusively from Sasa, instead presenting it as fact when instead it is an allegation.

Fakiha Baig’s article for The Canadian Press legitimized an anti-Israel event outside a synagogue by extensively covering their complaints, rather than presenting it for what it was: a brazen attempt to invade a Jewish neighbourhood and intimidate a place of worship by a tiny fringe of extremists.

Please send emails directly to Fakiha Baig to register your concerns with her reporting: fakiha.baig@thecanadianpress.com.

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