CBC Radio Program “Ontario Today” Features Nearly Two Hours Of Discussion On Anti-Israel Campus Occupations – Featuring Four Anti-Israel Guests

Ontario Today with Amanda Pfeffer is a CBC radio program which bills itself as “unscripted and honest,” but a pair of recent episodes suggest a very specific anti-Israel agenda with wanton disregard for the truth.

One episode on May 7, lasting just under one hour entitled: “When protestors set up an encampment on campus, what should a university do?,” featured two extended interviews, alongside several callers.

One guest was Sequoia Kim, a recent graduate from McGill University and a supporter of the anti-Israel encampment there. During the conversation, Kim falsely claimed that Israel was committing “genocide” in Gaza in the absence of any evidence, and said the encampments were enjoying “growing support,” were “very positive, very peaceful,” and predictably, cited a tokenized “Jewish presence.”

At no point did Pfeffer point out that the encampments were deeply unpopular in Canadian society, that evidence suggests the vast majority of protesters are not university students, and that there were specific incidents of overt hatred expressed at the demonstrations. Instead, she simply accepted her guest’s ramblings, and said “I hope you stay safe,” as if her safety was threatened.

Her second guest, James Turk, the director at the Centre for Free Expression at Toronto Metropolitan University, did not deviate from those same views.

Turk told his host that the protests were “peaceful,” and said it was “horrible” for police to remove encampments. He added that “is it interfering with the operation of the institution…are students prohibited from going to class…as I understand it, none of those things is happening…”

Either dishonestly or ignorantly, Turk is deeply wrong that the anti-Israel protests are not interfering with campus life; Jews are being stopped by the campus occupiers, preventing them from entering.

Once again, Pfeffer provided no challenge to Turk’s demonstrably false comment. Instead, she made her support for the anti-Israel occupation clear, saying “as one of my very good Jewish friends has told me, they’ve (protests) tended to be on the right side of history again and again.”

Three days later, Pfeffer continued with yet another hour long segment on the same topic. The May 10 episode entitled: “Reaction after Justice Committee hears from Jewish students on concern about antisemitism on campus,” zeroed in on accusations of antisemitism at the campus occupations.

The format was the same, with two guests and callers. But rather than featuring any guest opposed to the campus demonstrations, she once again interviewed two anti-Israel activists and collaborators: Raja Khouri and Jeffrey Wilkinson.

Most scandalously, Pfeffer began the program with a voluntary “disclosure” that her father was Jewish, as if that played any relevance, given that manifold CBC hosts and commentators with Muslim names, ranging from Turkish-Canadian Nil Köksal, Sudanese-Canadian Elamin Abdelmahmoud, and hijab-wearing Shenaz Kermalli, all have not offered a similar disclosure, despite using their platforms to assail Israel. Why, then, did a host with a Jewish father, as Pfeffer shared, feel the need to offer a “disclosure” (an apparent nod to her perceived conflict of interest and a challenge to her objectivity) to listeners?

During the program, Khouri, who called Israel a “colonial settler enterprise,” among other nonsensical claims, faced a very friendly host, who at least three times sought to downplay and whitewash accusations of antisemitism at the campus occupations, saying they were “at the edges,” and not the mainstream views of protesters, despite having no evidence to support her claims.

One caller fabricated casualty claims in Gaza, stating that “40,000” people have died in Gaza, a scurrilous statement with absolutely no relationship to truth, when even Hamas, the singular source of all casualty data, makes no such claim.

Wilkinson, who identifies as Jewish, was equally supportive of anti-Israel campus occupations, saying it was “a beautiful thing” to see.

For a segment that was ostensibly aimed at honestly discussing the state of anti-Jewish actions and rhetoric at the campus demonstrations, both guests – and the host – read from the same playbook, downplaying, whitewashing and otherwise minimizing testimonies of Jew-hatred, and saying they were not representative of the protests at large.

However, such defences are paper-thin. Anti-Israel protests around the world have been characterized by the same trends: violence, intimidation, hatred and law-breaking, showing a remarkable consistency, no matter where they are.

Outside of the bubble that is Amanda Pfeffer’s program, where anti-Israel campus occupations are peaceful, and they enjoy widespread support, the exact opposite is true: the protests are widely rejected by Canadians, protesters are predominantly not students at all, and hatred and violence have been widely employed by protesters.

The May 7 and May 10 episodes of Ontario Today with Amanda Pfeffer reflected a stunning anti-Israel bias, both because all four guests who expressed support for the illegal campus occupations, and because Pfeffer herself made no attempt to hide her own views, and failed to challenge her guests.

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