CBC News Article Downplays Student Group Letter Which Praised Hamas Terrorism

February 8, 2024

On February 4, a group of 13 Members of Parliament (MPs), including 11 Liberals and 2 belonging to the Green Party, submitted a letter to the presidents of 27 universities across Canada, lamenting the alleged “dehumanization and vilification of the Palestinian people.”

Two days later, CBC News produced an article covering the letter entitled: “Liberal, Green MPs probe universities’ free speech policies as Israel-Hamas war grinds on,” written by Senior Reporter Raffy Boudjikanian.

In the article, which gave context to some of the larger tensions taking place on university campuses, Boudjikanian wrote that “in October, York University pushed back against three different student unions after they issued a joint statement on the Israel-Hamas war voicing solidarity with Palestinians in their struggle against ‘settler colonialism, apartheid and genocide.’”

Boudjikanian added that following the statement, York University’s administration “threatened to withdraw recognition from the student organizations, which could have ended their access to physical space on campus, student levies and other financial aid, and to university-hosted email addresses and websites.”

This description of student groups releasing a statement criticizing Israel, followed by a harsh censure from York University, appears at first glance to give credence to the allegations leveled by the MPs that pro-Palestinian students are facing “stigmatization” because of their efforts.

In reality, the anti-Israel letter released by the student groups went a lot further than simply “voicing solidarity” with Palestinians, which Boudjikanian did not share.

As CBC News previously reported in October, the statement, which was signed by the York Federation of Students, the York University Graduate Students’ Association, and the Glendon College Student Union, described Hamas’ October 7 mass killings in southern Israel as a “strong act of resistance.”

On October 7, thousands of Hamas terrorists invaded southern Israel, raping, torturing, murdering and kidnapping as many people as they could target. It was this attack that these three student groups justified as a “strong act of resistance,” and which the York University administration justifiably opposed.

By failing to tell readers that this letter included an overt glorification of Hamas’ murderous terrorist attack, Boudjikanian gave readers the false impression that pro-Palestinian activists on university campuses face backlash simply for speaking out against Israel, when in fact, their actions were far more repulsive.

Another individual referenced in the article was Yipeng Ge, an Ottawa doctor who had posted on social media statements calling to free Palestine, “from the river to the sea.” That statement, referring to the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, includes all of Israel, and is widely used by anti-israel activists to call for the dissolution or destruction of Israel in its entirety.

However, Boudjikanian did not divulge this information, either, writing only that Ge had faced backlash “over his social media posts supporting Palestinians.”

Without that background, once again readers were left with the misleading impression that Ge, like the three university student groups, were censured simply for having a political opinion. Unsurprisingly, Ge is quoted in the article as welcoming the letter from the MPs, calling it “really important.”

The February 6 article by CBC reporter Raffy Boudjikanian for CBC News covering the letter by the group of MPs, swept under the rug the true nature of key anti-Israel statements, and their glorification of Hamas terrorism and calls for Israel’s destruction.

HonestReporting Canada has filed a complaint with CBC News and we encourage you to do the same. Send complaints to CBC Editor-In-Chief Brodie Fenlon at: Brodie.Fenlon@cbc.ca and reporter Raffy Boudjikanian at: Raffy.Boudjikanian@cbc.ca.

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