CTV News Produces Sympathetic Report On Tiny Group Of McGill University Students Deciding To End “Hunger Strike” For Gaza

On June 5, CTV News in Montreal published an article entitled: “McGill students end hunger strike against Israel-Hamas war,” chronicling the end of a hunger strike being undertaken by a group of McGill University students who professed their solidarity with the people of Gaza.

While most people would question why this was worthy of news coverage – that a group of university students decided they were going to eat food – nevertheless, CTV News decided to do just that.

The piece mentioned that the strikers “met with McGill University officials”, but that, according to the students, “they did not care about the hunger strikers, only deigning to meet with [them] after two of the indefinite hunger strikers were hospitalized.”

The article’s author, Rachel Lau, didn’t mention if she made any effort to speak with university officials herself, or to get their version of the events that transpired. Rather, much of the report was taken up by a huge Instagram carousel post outlining further the hunger strike campaign’s anti-Israel, anti-Western (and at times just bizarre) rhetoric.

In said Instagram post, the students made predictable, if not ridiculous, claims, such that commonly-heard refrain that Israel is committing a genocide. However, some lesser-made, but significantly more ridiculous language also rounds out the post. One slide urged students to “learn from the resistance in Palestine” and “practise radical compassion”. A more a wildly incongruous image one cannot imagine, given the fact that the war began with Hamas (a terrorist group) invading Israel to rape, murder, and burn civilians (including infants) alive. The October 7 terror attack was remarkable precisely because of its almost unmatched lack of compassion and brutality.

But a clear understanding of reality doesn’t seem to be this group’s strong suit. The post went on to promote the concept of “Land back worldwide” ­– a reference to the indigenous land back movement, which would see indigenous peoples granted sovereignty and self-determination on their ancestral lands. The students are apparently unaware of the irony of this, given that Jews are Israel’s indigenous people, and Israel is the world’s first successful example of land-back decolonization in modern times. By suggesting the land be given over to Arab-Palestinians, this group is in fact upholding Arab colonization of Jewish lands, and supporting colonial imperialism – something that, based on the rest of their language choices, they would strongly oppose, if they only had any idea what they were promoting.

But really, who can blame this group of ill-informed students for thinking they’re on the right side of the conflict? As journalist Jesse Brown pointed out recently in an analysis of mainstream news coverage, reporting on issues related to the Hamas-Israel war has been dramatically, and blatantly, one-sided. While it is easy to find sympathetic (and even laudatory) coverage of anti-Israel student encampments (even the ones with ‘Glory to the Martyrs’ signage on prominent display), it is another thing entirely to find a truthful and comprehensive story about the history of Israel, Jewish historical presence on the land, or the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict that led us to this moment. In fact, one would be hard-pressed to find such a discussion outside of Jewish community media.

The fact that this non-story about students deciding to stop not-eating was published at all, while anti-Jewish hate crimes are rarely reported on, speaks volumes. Within a few days, two Ontario synagogues were attacked, and yet few of Canada’s mainstream media sites have anything but the most cursory of coverage.

Despite the fact that more than half of all hate crimes in Canada being reported to police are targeting Jewish people, while Jews make up roughly one percent of the Canadian population, hardly anything is being said about it.

Instead, story after story after story chronicles the criticism of anti-Israel encampments, and the ‘bravery’ of the occupiers engaged in erecting them. Anyone hoping for a truthful and accurate recounting of the historical situation, or the reality of what’s happening on the ground today, would struggle to find it in Canadian mainstream news media.      

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