Five Canadian Student Newspapers – Within A Week – Provide Uncritical Platform For Fringe Anti-Israel Propaganda

Even as universities across Canada largely empty out after the conclusion of classes and exams, leaving only smaller summer courses and programs, for a number of university student newspapers, their vitriolic anti-Israel output is little changed.

At least five student newspapers have recently featured bald anti-Israel propaganda under the guise of news, grossly lopsided ‘reporting,’ and a dishonest chronicle of the Hamas-Israel war.

In a June 27 opinion column in the University of British Columbia (UBC) newspaper The Ubyssey entitled: “UBC Senate sides with genocide,” PhD student Yara Ahmed, on behalf of ‘UBC Graduate Students for Palestine’ showed utter contempt for factual accuracy.

Ahmed’s commentary took issue with the UBC Vancouver Senate’s refusal to adopt a motion calling to suspend ties with Israeli institutions, but the entirety of the column was little more than an excuse to peddle in anti-Israel disinformation.

Ahmed disingenuously referred to “the ongoing genocide of Palestinians,” a baseless and repugnant lie that has no factual basis. There is no genocide, full stop. In fact, Israel has done more in its counter-terrorism operations to protect civilian life than any modern military in history, according to John Spencer, one of the world’s top experts in urban warfare. But Ahmed, a PhD candidate in the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice, surely knows better than him.

Other campus newspapers produced problematic coverage of a different sort, by giving a platform to the anti-Israel movement and almost no voice to their opponents.

A June 28 article in The Gazette, a student newspaper at Western University entitled: “Western cites safety concerns after tense Board meeting,” written by editor-in-chief Adshayah Sathiaseelan, quoted multiple anti-Israel campaigners at the university, giving their cause the veneer of credibility and legitimacy.

While Sathiaseelan did cite accusations of “concerning behaviours” from the university’s anti-Israel occupation, not once did she quote any faculty member or student concerned with such demonstrations, but instead gave column inches to one individual, Arzie Chant, “a management and organizational studies undergraduate academic program coordinator,” who made the comical complaint about security vehicles idling when observing the illegal occupation on campus.

The Manitoban, a student newspaper at the University of Manitoba with a long history of anti-Israel disinformation, published a June 25 article by authors Simon Pensato and Vrinder Singh entitled: “Palestine solidarity encampment ongoing at U of M,” which was a de facto regurgitated press release from ‘Students for Justice in Palestine,’ an anti-Israel group behind the illegal anti-Israel occupation at the Winnipeg university.

Despite devoting hundreds of words to SJP’s nonsensical drivel, including accusations of genocide, and a brief milquetoast statement where the university administration called for “dialogue” with the occupiers on campus, not a single word was offered to any student or staff opposed to the occupation, nor was a single word provided giving context to readers about the miniscule size of the group, and how they represent a tiny fringe of the student body.

Instead, by providing readers with regular updates from a small and inconsequential anti-Israel group, The Manitoban provided them with undeserved cachet.

Another student newspaper, Simon Fraser University’s The Peak, which has incessantly produced anti-Israel propaganda since October 7, published a June 29 article by Hannah Fraser entitled: “Protests against SFU’s continued investment in Israel arise at summer convocation,” which, like The Manitoban, offered itself as the publicity arm of the anti-Israel cause.

Fraser, who has been the subject of multiple HonestReporting Canada alerts for her sloppy ‘reporting,’ told readers about “some graduates” who displayed Palestinian flags during convocation, as if that somehow constituted a news story.

Fraser’s article also quoted ‘SFY Students for Justice in Palestine,’ the local chapter of the anti-Israel group, for its outlandish thoughts on recent graduation ceremonies, including complaining that the university dared to implement higher security at convocation, including bag checks, while – like the other publications – refusing to offer a voice to anyone perturbed by the relentless harassment tactics by anti-Israel activists on campus.

Not to be outdone, The Fulcrum, a student newspaper at the University of Ottawa, published an article June 29 by Amira Benjamin entitled: “U of O threatens to issue trespass notice to encampment.” In the article, Benjamin effectively offered the newspaper as a press agent for the anti-Israel occupation at the University of Ottawa, devoting an entire article to an inconsequential press conference from the mob.

Benjamin’s article quoted anti-Israel activists complaining about the mere presence of police and security nearby – who have not actually used force to remove occupiers – cartoonishly calling for a “peaceful resolution,” despite illegally occupying space and refusing to move.

The article also quoted Sarah Abdul-Karim from Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM), an organization that has openly praised Palestinian Islamic terrorism, yet Benjamin did not provide that detail to readers.

These five student newspapers, by uncritically repeating anti-Israel propaganda and erasing voices opposed to the intimidation tactics of pro-Palestinian demonstrators, did an immense disservice to both their readers and their student bodies at large.

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