Toronto Star Commentator Gullibly Repeats Hamas Disinformation As Fact

March 13, 2024

In his March 10 commentary in The Toronto Star entitled: “Gaza air drops of food are woefully inadequate response to humanitarian crisis,” Chris Houston parroted false, but widely-disseminated statements regarding the Hamas-Israel war, following a similar column he penned in The Globe & Mail on March 5.

Houston, former head of logistics for the World Health Organization in Yemen, began his column by writing that “since the horrific events of Oct. 7, escalating violence has killed over 30,000 people in Gaza.”

After more than five months, the “horrific events of Oct. 7” are likely a distant memory for readers, and regrettably Houston does not specify which party, Hamas, was responsible.

More problematically, his matter-of-fact statement that “30,000 people in Gaza” have been killed is extraordinarily misleading, and very likely false.

The only source of that data is none other than Hamas, via its so-called “Gaza Ministry of Health,” which does not differentiate between civilians or combatants. Israel, for its part, says over 13,000 Hamas fighters have been killed in Gaza, but this statement Houston chooses not to share.

Even Hamas’ total death figures are highly unlikely to be accurate. As recently pointed out by Abraham Wyner, a professor of Statistics and Data Science at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Hamas’ death toll figures increases by virtually the same number every single day, which he explains is “almost surely not real” from a statistical standpoint.

Nevertheless, Hamas’ 30,000-death toll figure receives gullible acceptance from Houston.

Houston quoted Jan Egeland, the secretary general of the Norwegian Refugee Council, a vehemently anti-Israel organization, as saying that “there has not been a single day we have gotten the needed 500 trucks across. The system is broken and Israel could fix it for the sake of the innocent,” before adding in his own comments, “More aid trucks must be allowed entry.”

Since the Hamas war began, more than 16,000 humanitarian aid trucks have entered Gaza, and Israel says only 1.5 percent have not been admitted on security grounds, a central detail which once again goes entirely unsaid in Houston’s opinion column.

First-hand images from Gaza also show a very different story than the one being argued by Houston, with videos of bustling markets.

Even as Israel approves aid shipments into Gaza, incompetence from UNRWA, the disgraced United Nations agency with extensive ties to Palestinian terrorism and whose 12 staff members were complicit in the October 7 pogrom – which is tasked with coordinating aid into Gaza – fails to do so.

In his column, Houston argued that aside from the war in Gaza, there are issues faced by Palestinians in Judea & Samaria (West Bank), citing “nighttime raids, arrests, home demolitions,” providing a litany of categories yet failing to provide any background or context whatsoever. In failing to tell readers that Israel is not arbitrarily arresting Palestinians, but instead is targeting members of terrorist groups like Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), Houston instead gave the false impression that Israel is wantonly persecuting Palestinians for no reason.

Houston’s column, which not once mentions Hamas or the Israeli hostages, not only presented misleading claims regarding the war in Gaza, he falsely pointed the finger at Israel, when it is Hamas which is solely responsible for the war’s continuation, and the related suffering.

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