CBC As It Happens Host Conducts Gentle Interview With Anti-Israel Protester; Followed By Combative Interview With Pro-Israel MP Anthony Housefather

On its April 29 broadcast, the CBC radio program As It Happens covered the anti-Israel encampment at McGill University. While discussion of that topic is eminently reasonable for any news media outlet, the segment presented a profoundly warped view of what is taking place on campus.

In the first part of the segment, host Nil Köksal spoke with Ezra Rosen, a student at Montreal’s Concordia University, who was a demonstrator at the McGill encampment, and is an activist with Independent Jewish Voices (IJV), an extremist fringe organization which has publicly endorsed Palestinian violence against Israelis.

Beyond the obvious and cynical tokenization of a Jewish student to act as a spokesperson for the anti-Israel encampment – presenting listeners with the impression that antisemitism is thus not a major factor in the protests – Köksal’s conversation with Rosen could be best described as being cordial, if not friendly.

Even as Rosen accused Concordia University, via an academic partnership with an Israeli university, of being complicit in the “ethnic cleansing” of Palestinians, the host asked for details, wherein he proceeded to make a meandering statement about the university’s “ties to Israel and dozens of Zionist organizations,” adding that “we don’t believe that there should be an Israeli studies institute at our university.”

But rather than assertively pressing Rosen on the incoherence of his statement, and his explicit endorsement of discriminatory anti-Israel policies at Concordia University, Köksal meekly asked him whether he was “concerned” about antisemitism, whereupon he said, presumably without a hint of sarcasm, “we’re so confident that there is no antisemitism in our community and in our encampment.”

In what would have been an excellent opportunity for Köksal to remind Rosen about the documented antisemitic language employed in the encampment, readily available on social media, she failed to do so, instead only quoting a statement from McGill University.

In the subsequent interview between Köksal and Anthony Housefather, a Liberal Member of Parliament for Mount Royal in Montreal, the tone was markedly different.

On multiple occasions, as Housefather attempted to answer a question, he was cut off by Köksal, a practice that she did not employ in her interview with the anti-Israel activist.

On another occasion, she posed a query to Housefather that could reasonably be seen as attempting to frame him in a very poor light, asking “do you believe that, that all protests that support Palestinians are, are antisemitic,” a statement that had no basis, nor context at any time in the conversation.

When Housefather told his host about anti-Jewish rhetoric on display at the McGill University encampment, she blithely dismissed it, saying “we haven’t seen evidence — specific evidence — from McGill to, to accuse anyone of — in those numbers — of hate. So we will, [crosstalk] we will pitch for that, certainly. We read the statement. Yes, we did read the statement.”

Had Köksal bothered to conduct a modicum of research, she would have discovered multiple examples of anti-Jewish activity in the encampment, in line with the mainstreaming of antisemitism within the anti-Israel protest movement, particularly since the October 7 Hamas terrorist attacks.

The April 29 segment of As It Happens, covering the McGill University encampment, provided the anti-Israel movement with softball questions and a platform to effectively deny the hate that is on full display in their encampments and in the protest movement, while pro-Israel guests who dared to speak the truth were treated in an overtly hostile manner by the CBC’s host, with attempts to question the veracity of the accusations of antisemitism being replete at the encampments.

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