Toronto Star Article Whitewashes & Downplays Violent Anti-Israel Protests

April 2, 2024

In her March 31 article in The Toronto Star entitled: “Several people arrested at pro-Palestinian protest Saturday as some allege excessive force by Toronto police,” staff reporter Nawa Tahir reported that a number of anti-Israel activists were arrested during a protest earlier that day.

However, Tahir gave an extensive platform for the provocateurs to accuse police of “using excessive force in their response.”

“Palestinian Youth Movement, a group that has held several protests in Toronto since Oct. 7, said the march was proceeding peacefully through downtown for several hours before police stopped protesters near Parliament and Gerrard Streets,” Tahir wrote.

While Tahir gave no background on them, the Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM) is more than just a “group that has held several protests;” it is an organization that has made little attempt to hide its glorification of violent Hamas terrorism against Israeli civilians.

In the hours following Hamas’ October 7 massacre in southern Israel, the group advertised an event, “All Out for Palestine,” which invited followers to “celebrate our steps closer to liberation,” and to “uplight and honour our resistance and our martyrs.”

Despite Tahir’s repetition of claims made by PYM, the assertion that the rally was “proceeding peacefully” is difficult to accept at face value. Widespread law-breaking, harassment, intimidation and threats are mainstays at anti-Israel rallies.

Anti-Israel protesters have blocked roads and access to hospitals, invaded shopping centres and harassed Christmas shoppers and much more, yet readers were left with no background beyond a cry of innocence from demonstrators.

Tahir wrote that “Police have faced increased criticism for their handling of protests in recent months, with some accusing officers of infringing on citizens’ rights to peaceful protest while others have raised concerns the service has been too passive in policing the demonstrations.”

While it is likely that Toronto Police have received criticism from both supporters and opponents of the anti-Israel mobs, presenting them as ‘both sides’ is highly misleading.

The overt law-breaking from the mobs have been widely documented, receiving condemnation from across the political spectrum, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ontario Premier Doug Ford, Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow, and more. To therefore suggest that there are two equal voices regarding the explicit lawlessness is to elevate the voices of an extreme fringe, and place them at par with widespread opposition to violence and threats.

One of the key sources claiming that the demonstration was a “peaceful march” is none other than Yara Shoufani, a representative from the PYM.

One day after Hamas’ October massacre, Shoufani took to social media to opine that “Palestinians have a right not only to resist, but to liberate our land from zionist colonization,” which any reasonable observer would conclude amounted to a full-throated endorsement of Hamas’ genocidal murders in Israel.

However, none of Shoufani’s past vocal support for terrorism made it into Tahir’s article, though the author told readers that the protest was aimed at marking “Land Day,” which Tahir reported: “marks the events of March 30, 1976 when six unarmed Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces while they were protesting illegal control over Palestinian land.”

Tahir’s description of “Land Day” is a fantastical revision of reality, and curiously, an almost exact word-for-word copy of Al Jazeera’s description of Land Day.

In March, 1976, the Israeli government planned to expropriate around 4,500 acres of land within Israel – not sovereign Palestinian land – for new towns, and on March 30, some Israeli Arabs participated in violent riots against the plans.

The Israeli government, for its part, cancelled its planned development.

Nawa Tahir’s article in The Toronto Star whitewashed and downplayed the violence ever-present at anti-Israel mobs, and falsely portrayed their alleged rationale for protesting as Israel occupying “Palestinian land,” when the lands were within Israel’s sovereign territory.

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