CBC Music Host Shares Song “River 2 The Sea” With Listeners, In “Solidarity With The People of Palestine”

Even after six months of consistently sub-par coverage of the Hamas-Israel war by the CBC, featuring one-sided articles and broadcasts, an indefensible refusal to call Hamas a terrorist organization, and an overwhelming negative narrative against Israel, the public broadcaster still manages to find new lows in which to sink.

On the April 3 edition of Reclaimed, “a weekly series on CBC Music that explores the many worlds of contemporary Indigenous music,” hosted by Jarrett Martineau, listeners were treated to an overt message of anti-Israel propaganda.

While introducing a song by the Vancouver-based singer Handsome Tiger (whose real name is Hussein Elnamer), Martineau said “this one, in sonic solidarity with the people of Palestine, this is ‘River 2 the Sea,’ on Reclaimed.”

Listen now:

Martineau’s comments are astounding. In expressing “sonic solidarity with the people of Palestine,” he is abusing his role as the host of an Indigenous music program to express a one-sided solidarity exclusively with Palestinians at a time of the Hamas-Israel war, at the clear exclusion of Israel.

Even more scandalously, he then introduced a song, “River 2 the Sea,” to listeners. While the content of the song is not explicitly political in nature, the title speaks for itself.

The term “River 2 the Sea” is a shortened version of “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” a dog whistle used by anti-Israel activists, referring to the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, which unambiguously calls for the destruction of Israel.

The elimination of Israel “from the river to the sea” makes clear that those who use the phrase do not see the territories of Judea & Samaria (called the “West Bank” by news media outlets) as the basis for a future Palestinian state; they see the entirety of Israel as a tumour to be excised.

The expression is more than just anti-Israel; it is widely seen as overtly antisemitic as well, seeking to normalize the intended destruction and genocide of the people of Israel, home to nearly half the world’s Jewish population.

Incredibly, this did not stop Martineau from unabashedly sharing such a song with listeners, and prefacing it with an explicit expression of support for the Palestinian cause.

Vancouver-based Martineau is more than just the host of Reclaimed; he describes himself as “a leading voice in Indigenous music, media, and cultural production,” and has acted as the curator-in-residence at The Chan Centre for the Performing Arts at the University of Columbia, and in at least one public talk, he has made reference to Canada as “so-called ‘Canada.’”

This is not the first time CBC Music has become a hub for anti-Israel content.

On February 28, the broadcaster profiled a song, “Hello Everyone (Ceasefire Now)” by performer Jenn Grant. Lyrics of the song include phrases like “Free Palestine” and “by the tens and the millions, we are also Palestinians,” a popular chant at anti-Israel protests around the world.

The expression “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” is not a political slogan, or an expression of personal opinion; it is an unapologetic embrace of a hateful and genocidal ideology. Martineau’s abuse of his position to express his “sonic solidarity with the people of Palestine,” notably ignoring Israel, is problematic enough, but his and our public broadcaster’s platforming of a song whose title amplifies calls for Israel’s destruction, is simply indefensible.

Send complaints directly to CBC Editor-In-Chief Brodie Fenlon by clicking here.

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