CBC The Current Features More Coverage Of Plight In Gaza By Interviewing Two Critics Of Israel, Without Challenge From Host

As the world watches the escalating tensions in Israel’s war against Hamas – a designated terrorist organization in Canada and elsewhere – never has the imperative for journalistic integrity been more necessary. With each question left unasked and every hard truth shied away from, journalists risk becoming unwitting tools for disinformation, steering the public into misunderstanding and bias.

These ideas should be kept in mind, with references to a recent broadcast of CBC’s Radio’s The Current program with host Matt Galloway. In the segment, Galloway conducted two interviews, both of which blamed Israel for the Palestinian plight in Gaza. There were several issues where professional obligations were absent: no Israeli side or context was presented, nor was there any pushback about specious claims made, and a litany of softball questions lobbed.

The crux of the March 22 broadcast was about the temporary visa program for Palestinians fleeing Gaza, launched in January. There were two interviewees – one a Palestinian-Canadian in Calgary, and the other, Henry “Gar” Garfield Pardy, a retired diplomat from Global Affairs Canada.

In his independently-published book, Afterwords: From A Foreign Service Odyssey (2015) Pardy wrote: “… war is the default position of the Israeli political system,” and that Canada’s support for Israel was all about “vote-getting,” an odd proposition given that Canadian Jews represent roughly one percent of Canada’s total population.

Two voices, both unsympathetic to Israel’s side were given a platform by the CBC.

The Palestinian in the interview, Tamer Jarada, claimed that sixteen family members of his were killed by an “an Israeli airstrike on my own home in Gaza, where my family sought refuge.” One might have expected Galloway to jump in and ask: “Israel keeps saying it takes great steps to minimize civilian casualties – was this in an area where Hamas was firing and fighting from? What kinds of warnings, if any, did your family get?” But the CBC’s host kept his voice mum.

Pardy said: “Just as they (the Israelis) control the number of trucks with the necessary food that is needed inside the territory. And the Israelis have been very difficult on this particular issue.” There was no elaboration on what “very difficult” referred to, but the counter to this claim would be that Israel does not limit the amount of aid, but is gridlocked by three kinds of challenges: 1) inspection to ensure that trucks do not contain weapons or dual-use items that could be used as weapons, 2) poor distribution by the United Nations (UN), and 3) theft of aid usually, but not always, by Hamas.

“A few days ago, the military action was in the north where they attacked a hospital there,” Pardy stated. He was likely referring to the raid at Gaza’s al-Shifa hospital, where Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists were using it as a military base. According to the Times of Israel, “Hamas admits key operatives were killed” in the raid. The report also said that some of the October 7 terrorists were found in the facility. It continued to note that when a hospital is used as military cover, it loses its status as a neutral entity. The way in which Pardy’s words were phrased, and just left to sit, may have left the impression he was accusing Israel of attacking a hospital without justification, which would constitute a war crime.

Implying that he held some kind of inside knowledge of Israeli military strategy, Pardy suggested that Israel seeks to unnecessarily prolong the fighting for another three hundred days. They’re doing so, he believes, in the hope that the war will overlap with the election of Donald Trump, who’ll be more supportive than the current U.S. government.

“They’re going to try to drag this (war) out until there’s a more accommodating administration in Washington there,” Pardy said, without equivocation or qualifier. He added that the counteroffensive will “be beaten down the road” – presumably meaning it will be extended beyond reason. Irrespective of whether the hostages are released or Hamas is eliminated.

“Because they know if Mr. Trump becomes president of the United States, they’re going to have an American government that’s going to go along, in every sense, what they’re doing in Gaza,” Pardy said. The insinuation here is that a) Israel lusts to keep fighting whether they need to or not b) that they are at the mercy of American opinion c) they would gamble the lives of Israelis and Palestinians on only a possibility that Trump would be elected.

It is a damning slur with no basis in fact. It is disappointing that Galloway didn’t interject for a moment and ask “and how do you arrive at this conclusion? How can you back this up?”

Commitment to context and truth is what separates journalism from propaganda, fact from fiction. The absence of balance is the breeding ground for disinformation, where narratives become skewed, and the public’s perception distorted. Journalists must navigate the fine line between informing and influencing. In neglecting these fundamental tenets of their craft, they fail in their duty.

This segment of The Current is only the latest instance of Galloway’s program exhibiting anti-Israel bias; he has been the subject of repeated HonestReporting Canada alerts for his program in recent weeks.

Enough is enough. Send your considered comments to CBC Host Matt Galloway: Matt.Galloway@cbc.ca

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