Halifax Online Newspaper Gives Uncritical Coverage To Professor Accusing Israel Of Genocide

Within the first month of journalism school, two inviolable ethical rules are imparted by every professor. Every fact must be checked for accuracy, and context – especially with sensitive topics – is crucial to include. Some mistakes invariably happen, like typos and misquotes. But when the facts are easy to check, and double check, and the writer fails to do so, it not only places a cloud of suspicion over the rest of the details, but demonstrates that the writer was negligent or careless.

In an April 3 article in The Coast, a Halifax-based online news outlet, Education Reporter Lauren Phillips wrote a piece called “Students use class at King’s as opportunity to express emotions following Oct. 7” on Apr. 3. The article covered Dorota Glowacka, a professor at University of King’s College, who was using her position in the classroom to accuse Israel of genocide.

In her coverage, Phillips writes that Hamas “killed hundreds of civilians and took 150 hostages” on October 7. By April 2024, the facts had been long-known: some 1,200 innocents in Israel were murdered, and some 250 were taken hostage. These errors are sloppy, but regrettably, not the biggest problems with the article.

Moreover, the author leaves out critical context with regard to the war. She noted: “bombings of hospitals and schools” in Gaza by Israel, with no mention that Hamas has long used civilian infrastructure, including sensitive sites such as hospitals, as bases for their operations. Without this absolutely central context, readers are left with the incredibly wrong impression.

She failed to note that the number of “over 33,000 Palestinians killed by Israel’s attacks,” has come from the Hamas-run Ministry of Health, and does not differentiate between combatants and civilians. In recent days, unsurprisingly, Hamas began walking back their claims.

Glowacka, who teaches a class on genocide at King’s College, is quoted as saying that “in a class on comparative perspectives on genocide… we could not pretend that this [Gaza] was not happening.” Glowacka assigned a chapter from the book The Holocaust and the Nakba to her students, and aims, as she said, “to convey more historical information about the history of Zionism, the history of the Nakba.”

The Nakba is a term, meaning catastrophe in Arabic, which refers to the rebirth of Israel in 1948, and which delegitimizes the country’s entire existence.

Furthermore, it is factually and morally outrageous to conflate the Holocaust – where six million Jews were murdered systematically by the Nazi regime – with Arabs who fled their homes in 1948, many – if not – most of whom did so at the behest of Arab leaders.

As Israel declared its independence in 1948, reconstituting the Jewish People’s ancestral homeland, the country’s Arab neighbours almost immediately invaded, seeking to destroy the newly reborn country, and wanted them out of the way in anticipation of “a war of extermination and momentous massacre” that was promised to befall Israel.

Arabs living in Israel were instructed by Arab leaders to get out of the way, so the Jews could be “driven into the sea.” This was, and is, the real “catastrophe.” A parallel ethnic cleansing occurred in the Arab world, when some 800,000 Jews were persecuted to the point of needing to flee. Israel opened her doors to these refugees; however, the Arab world largely blocked and obstructed Palestinian refugees from resettling in Arab lands. The refugee problem could have been solved ages ago.

Today, Israeli-Arabs living in Israel’s borders have more rights than they would living in any Arab country.

In the late nineteen hundreds and first half of the twentieth century, the Muslim population spiked in Palestine — the unusual demographic jump owing to a massive immigrant influx, believed to be predominantly from employment opportunities created by the Jewish population. Numbers-wise, the majority of the Palestinian Arab population in the 1940s could trace their presence back just a few generations.

Phillips’ mischaracterization of Israel’s counter-terrorism operations can be summed up in her use of the term “the war on Gaza,” when it is far more accurate to say “the war on Hamas.”

Lauren Phillips’s article in The Coast, which reports on a professor at King’s College abusing her authority to defame Israel with the indefensible falsehood that the Jewish State is committing genocide, provides little to no context for readers to understand that it has long been Arab leaders, not Israel, who have sought to carry out a mass extermination.

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