CBC Primetime News Broadcast Features Two Anti-Israel Guests To Provide Background On International Criminal Court

On May 20, Karim Khan, the chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (ICC), sought arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, as well as three Hamas leaders, including Yahya Sinwar, Mohammed Deif and Ismail Haniyeh, on the charge of war crimes.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned the move to equate the “democratically elected leaders of Israel and the bloodthirsty terrorists that lead up Hamas,” but instead of giving weight to such opposition, a May 20 broadcast of Canada Tonight, a primetime CBC News program, chose to exclusively interview anti-Israel activists.

The seven-minute broadcast entitled: “ICC arrest warrants will bring to light ‘mass atrocities,’ says criminologist,” came in two parts: first, a report by London-based correspondent Briar Stewart, who, in summarizing the ICC warrant, provided a one-sided picture.

She told viewers that “Gaza health officials” say the war has “killed more than 35,000” people in Gaza, failing to report that those “officials” are Hamas staffers, and that the 35,000 figure is not only entirely unverified, but also fails to differentiate between civilians and Hamas combatants, a number which is likely roughly half.

That distinction is of enormous significance, because it means that, even as Hamas deliberately hides in densely-populated urban areas in Gaza, Israel has achieved a civilian fatality rate that is so low it is virtually unprecedented in the history of modern warfare.

Additionally, the singular person interviewed in her report is William Schabas, a noted anti-Israel detractor who is shown as saying the arrest warrants are “a long time coming.” Schabas has been described by The Globe & Mail as being “unspoken in his criticism of Israel and (who) previously offered consultancy services to the Palestinian Liberation Organization,” or PLO.

But instead of describing him as a “former consultant to the PLO,” the broadcast whitewashed his anti-Israel bona fides, merely referring to him as a “Middlesex University Professor of International Law,” giving him a veneer of unbiased credibility.

In the latter part of the report, CBC host Travis Dhanraj interviewed Mark Kersten, a stridently anti-Israel activist and an assistant professor of criminology at the University of the Fraser Valley.

During that interview, Kersten echoed Schabas in saying “it’s about time” that the arrest warrants were issued, and stating multiple times that “both sides have committed mass atrocities” during the Gaza war, providing a grotesquely false equivalence bordering on the dishonest.

Contra Kersten, “both sides” have not committed “mass atrocities,” nor anything close to it. Hamas’ crimes against humanity are well-documented, including the group’s torture, rape, kidnapping and murder, all part of their intentional targeting of innocent civilians.

Israel, conversely, does not target civilians, and in fact has shown a remarkable ability to target enemy combatants, which is precisely why John Spencer, a world leading expert on urban warfare at West Point military academy, has said “Israel has done more to prevent civilian casualties in war than any military in history.”

But for ideologues who push an agenda over facts, such details fail to be mentioned, and worse yet, at no time during the segment did host Dhanraj ever challenge Kersten to back up his claim that Israel and Hamas were both guilty.

The interview ended with Kersten making a straw man argument against critics, saying that those who point out the difference between Israel and Hamas are “often just used to say that there shouldn’t be any accountability for one side.”

Such a statement is patently absurd. No legitimate opinion posits that Israel should be shielded from accountability. However, pointing out the obvious differences between a liberal democratic state governed by the rule of law, which has taken unprecedented steps to minimize civilian casualties, and a genocidal Islamic terrorist organization, is not an attempt to protect Israel from criticism, but instead merely pointing out the obvious: that the ICC warrant, and anyone defending it, is pushing an agenda that is driven by ideology, not reality.

The May 20 broadcast of CBC News’ Canada Tonight program featured a report on the ICC arrest warrants for Israeli & Hamas leaders, and rather than providing any semblance of balance, CBC interviewed exclusively anti-Israel activists who have long histories in demonizing the Jewish State.

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