Simon Fraser University Campus Newspaper Plumbs The Depths Of Anti-Israel Propaganda In Series Of Recent Articles

June 14, 2024

A series of articles in The Peak, a student newspaper at Simon Fraser University (SFU) are testing the limits when it comes to vile, historically illiterate and grossly unprofessional content in campus media.

One article, published in the June 10 edition, “Students occupy library to demand SFU’s divestment from Israel,” written by Hannah Fraser, told readers that on May 23, a group of students illegally occupied a campus library to demand that the school “divest from military assets supplied to Israel.”

The entire article quoted only anti-Israel activists, providing undeserved credibility to their ignorant claims of “genocide and colonialism,” all while not giving a single word to any critic of the thuggery taking place. Coverage which offers sympathetic reporting for every antic from the anti-Israel mob only serves to embolden and enable more such anti-social behaviour.

That violent act by hateful protesters, rather than being condemned, was glorified on the newspaper’s front cover.

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Another June 10 article, “The right to protest our universities’ decisions,” written by student Anthony Houston, drew a picture of the anti-Israel campus occupiers that is almost exclusively based on anti-Israel propaganda.

Houston claimed that “students around the world” have organized occupations against “the ongoing genocide,” without acknowledging that the actual students represented in such protest in Canada represent an infinitesimally small proportion, or somewhere around one in 7,500 university students.

More importantly, by using the term genocide, Houston demonstrated that he is either unaware of what is happening in Gaza, or does not know the meaning of the term genocide. Most likely both.

Israel has taken more steps to minimize civilian casualties in Gaza than any military in history, yet Houston ignorantly wrote his own reality, forcing the truth to fit his agenda.

There was yet more anti-Israel propaganda published in the newspaper.

In a June 5 piece officially framed as a news article entitled: “UBC students establish encampment in solidarity with Palestine,” author Yasmin Hassan obscured reality by presenting blatant Hamas propaganda and personal opinions as facts.

Ostensibly ‘reporting’ on the presence of an anti-Israel encampment on the nearby University of British Columbia (UBC) campus, Hassan injected multiple editorial comments into almost every paragraph of the article. Israel’s founding as a country is referred to as “the Israeli occupation of Palestine in 1948.” Relations between UBC and Israeli schools become UBC’s “lack of action for Palestine.” Anti-Israel encampment protests are suddenly not illegal and discriminatory uses of shared spaces, but rather are being “host[ed]” by the universities.

These unabashedly inappropriate and comically biased comments are a constant feature of the report from top to bottom — calling into question not only the writer’s qualifications and intentions, but the editing team’s basic competence.

Perhaps the most ridiculous claim in the whole piece is that “over 36,000 Palestinian civilians [have been] killed at time of writing.” So, according to Hassan, not one single casualty in the entire war has been an actual Hamas combatant? Even Hamas itself — whose numbers are notoriously dubious, unverified, and questioned by everyone from the White House to the United Nations — is only claiming that approximately 36,000 have died in total. At least 15,000 deaths have been confirmed as known Hamas combatants, and that number has surely grown significantly since last reported.

Does Hassan consider it illegitimate for Israeli troops to shoot back at Hamas terrorists who shoot directly at them? Did no one at the Peak even pretend to fact check these figures before clearing the piece for publication?

Finally, despite all this, the one sentence that actually involved direct reporting on the events on campus was noteworthy in its own right. Hassan informed us that “the camp amassed ‘about 100 people and 75 tents’.” If the group participating in the protest is so small that the ratio of tents to people is almost one-to-one, a serious reporter may have wished to get at least one alternative viewpoint from the vast majority of students who are not participating — or, at the very least, perhaps discuss how the event is affecting everyone else. This is especially true here, given the context of the encampment movement’s widespread culture of discrimination, extremism, chaos, and violence that it has brought to campuses across the continent — a fact of which Hassan completely omitted any mention of.

All in all, this recent string of pieces are among the lowest quality works of journalism seen in recent memory — and that’s saying a lot.

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