CBC Article Whitewashes Genocidal Intent Behind “From The River to The Sea, Palestine Will be Free”

November 23, 2023

In a lengthy article published November 21 titled: “What does ‘From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free’ mean?”, Brishti Basu, a senior writer with CBC News, spent nearly 1,700 words seeking to explain the intricacies of the anti-Israel phrase “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”

While explaining the hateful nature of the phrase would be a worthwhile journalistic endeavour, Basu’s article instead effectively whitewashed the term and her report featured four of five sources who expressed support for the anti-Israel phrase.

It’s noteworthy that Basu’s social media is replete with anti-Israel content and she previously signed an anti-Israel open letter back in 2021 (read letter by clicking here) which claimed that Israel carried out “indiscriminate airstrikes,” “escalating violence against Palestinians,” “forced expulsions,” and which alleged that there’s a “… deep reluctance (by Canadian journalists) to cover the ongoing nature of the Israeli occupation…”

Click to view anti-Israel X (Twitter) posts that Brishti has shared on her profile:

Basu paraphrased one interview subject, Yousef Munayyer of the Arab Center Washington, D.C., as stating that “the phrase is used to reference the lack of freedoms Palestinians have in the territory between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.”

However, Basu failed to explain to readers that more than two million of the Arabs between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River live in Israel, where they enjoy full and equal rights as citizens or residents.

Another interviewee, Dox Waxman of the University of California, Los Angeles, made the ridiculous comparison to Israel’s governing Likud party, whose views he characterizes as wanting “to have Jewish sovereignty, essentially, from the river to the sea.”

What Basu failed to add is that unlike Israel, even those who oppose a Palestinian state, anti-Israel terrorist groups such as Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) proudly and unabashedly glorify the use of extreme violence targeted towards innocent Israeli civilians as a means to that end.

Both groups, for instance, openly call for the violent destruction of Israel, and use the phrase “from the river to the sea” as a call to arms to violently destroy Israel.

Despite Munayyer and Waxman’s attempted minimization of the phrase, one subject quoted in Basu’s article was unapologetic in describing its true meaning.

In her article, Basu quotes Rama Al Malah from the Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM), an organization with a documented history of spreading anti-Israel hate speech and glorifying terrorism, as saying that the chant calls for Palestinian “liberation from 75 years of occupation” and for “the return of refugees who have been kicked out of their homes from 1948 till now.”

Despite Al Malah’s explicit reference to 1948 and 75 years ago, clearly referring to Israel’s rebirth as a modern nation-state, Basu refrains from telling readers the significance of Al Malah’s words.

By referring to “75 years of occupation,” Al Malah is unmistakeably saying that all of Israel is an illegal occupier of Palestinian land, not just Judea & Samaria (“West Bank”) or eastern Jerusalem, but in fact all of Israel, meaning a flagrant denial of the Jewish states right to exist. Meanwhile, CBC originally featured in its sub-headline the words: 75 years of occupation, not in parenthesis, but that was edited to “75 years of occupation” shortly after publication.

Incredibly, even when Al Malah told readers exactly what the hateful phrase “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free means,” Basu still didn’t provide context so readers could understand the consequences of what would happen should Israel cease to exist.

Not only did Basu not explain the significance of Al Malah’s incredible omission, she continued to give Al Malah more space to whitewash the phrase, saying that it doesn’t call for “the killing of Jewish people at all. It’s basically a way for us to say that we want freedom.”

Basu also quoted Sheryl Nestel, a member of Independent Jewish Voices (IJV), a fringe BDS-supporting anti-Israel organization, who not only defended the phrase, but attacked critics of it.

“One of the problems with the criticism of the slogan is that it imputes genocidal intent to Palestinians, and there’s no evidence that the majority of Palestinians want to eliminate Jews from historical Palestine,” Nestel is quoted as saying.

Despite her best attempt to portray Palestinians as accepting of Israel, Nestel is dead wrong about Palestinians’ support for the destruction of Israel. A recent poll from Birzeit University’s Arab World for Research & Development found that a whopping 84 percent of Palestinians say they supported Hamas’ October 7 massacre of Israelis, including torture, rape, beheading and dismemberment.

Despite the attempts by academics in Basu’s article attempting to downplay the genocidal intent of the phrase, one only need look at the use of the phrase by groups like Hamas to understand its true meaning.

In the National Post, Michael Higgins took the CBC to task saying: “By crying, “From the river, to the sea,” demonstrators give themselves ample room for excuses. Our national broadcaster shouldn’t be trying to justify such antisemitic garbage.”

Just like Hamas’ leaders, who have made no secret of hiding their intention to violently destroy Israel, it’s time that the news media take anti-Israel detractors at their word.

Just last month, Basu – whose social media is again rife with anti-Israel content – was also the subject of an HonestReporting Canada alert in October for a peddling of unsubstantiated allegations leveled against Israel about alleged usage of white phosphorous.

Basu, who claimed that “I’ve gotten more backlash for writing this (article) than anything else this past month” fails to appreciate that her article which whitewashed the genocidal intent behind the phrase “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” was beyond the pale.

HonestReporting Canada has filed a complaint with CBC News and you should too! Send complaints to CBC Editor-In-Chief Brodie Fenlon at: Brodie.Fenlon@cbc.ca.

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