The Walrus Magazine Produces Two Anti-Israel Hit Pieces Over Two Days

February 6, 2024

In a span of two days in late January, The Walrus published two articles which demonized Israel, misrepresented the facts of the Hamas-Israel war, and whitewashed the reality of Hamas’ role in the current conflict and terrorism.

The first article entitled: “Nowhere Safe: Twenty-Five Days in Wartime Gaza” published January 31 by Louis Baudoin-Laarman, was ostensibly a firsthand personal account of a staffer from Doctors Without Borders in Gaza, sharing their experiences surviving the hardships of war. Beneath the surface, however, Baudoin-Laarman hid behind his emotional story as cover while he subtly veered into political messages and distorted the reality of the conflict.

Describing the challenging effort to escape the warzone, Baudoin-Laarman said: “We were about to escape the forty-by-ten-kilometres trap that the war had turned Gaza into, relieved for ourselves and anxious for those we were leaving behind. One month after Hamas’s biggest attack on Israel, the closest thing Palestinians had to a sovereign territory was disappearing, air strikes annihilating the physical space that once existed.”

Right from the outset, the author used language to illustrate the intensity of the situation he witnessed. This wouldn’t be a problem, if not for the fact that he continued to consistently do so every time he refered to any Israeli action, while simultaneously downplaying violence by Palestinians.

A glaring example of this is in the way that Baudoin-Laarman described the context of the current crisis. He dismissed the seriousness of Hamas’ constant rocket attacks on Israeli cities, calling them “a carefully coordinated dance…[to] voice grievances.” Hamas rocket salvos are unprovoked attacks that have killed and maimed innocent people across Israel, and created an unparalleled epidemic of mass Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in children who have had to grow up under relentless fire for 18 years. 

The author continued to justify and downplay Hamas’ brutality by describing Gazans as having been “imprisoned” by Israel prior to October 7. In reality, the Gaza Strip was completely vacated by Israel in 2005, with not a single Israeli soldier or civilian in the territory. That did not stop Hamas from turning the small enclave into a launching pad for violent attacks. 

In the very same paragraph, he referred to Jews who visit Jerusalem’s Temple Mount for prayers as “settlers storm[ing] the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam” and cited their existence as a rationale for Hamas attacks on Israel. In addition to more incendiary language, he did not mention that this site is also the holiest site in Judaism and that Jews from all over the world have sought to pray there for at least 3,000 years — long before the birth of Islam. 

His consistent pattern of demonizing and denying one side’s narrative, while justifying and glorifying the other side’s, is outrageous — and hiding behind a personal story of hardship does not excuse it.

The second article, titled “Attacks on Press Freedoms Have Chilling Effects Far beyond Gaza,” published January 30 by Asmaa Malik and Sonya Fatah, two professors at Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University), is also guilty of misrepresenting things and promoting a biased, harmful, and inaccurate narrative.

The authors claimed that “Mainstream news stories with an intentional focus on Palestinian perspectives are rare” and that unnamed forces are causing “silencing and censorship of journalists” and threatening freedom of the press. To paraphrase, the article alleged that Israel and its supporters are nefariously persecuting North American journalists who seek to share Palestinian stories and perspectives.

This would indeed be a concerning phenomenon, if it were real. It is not.

As HonestReporting Canada has extensively documented, there is no shortage of news reports consistently providing a one-sided reporting of the Hamas-Israel conflict. 

In many corners of the anti-Israel movement, there are activists whose work tends to fall far beneath the norms and standards of mainstream journalism. This is why certain individuals face backlash and discipline. Not because some mysterious group is secretly controlling the media from the shadows. 

While Palestinian perspectives are fully safe to be shared in Canadian media, there is a place where they are truly persecuted — in Hamas-controlled Gaza itself. Hamas is a totalitarian Islamic terror regime which executes its critics and strictly controls all information that gets in and out of its territory. Attempts to voice concerns about living under this brutal reality have been suppressed and shared anonymously out of fear of reprisal. That is what lack of freedom of press looks like.

The Walrus is doing the right thing by seeking to share personal perspectives with the Canadian public, but by repeatedly sharing biased, misleading, and emotionally-charged stories preying on the pain of one group, while completely neglecting to devote similar space to the suffering and narrative of the other side, certainly will not help to better inform Canadians’ understanding of the conflict.

The first article in The Walrus downplayed Hamas terrorism, while the second sought to excuse anti-Israel activism masquerading as journalism. Both are shoddy attempts to demonize Israel and its supporters.

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