University Of Alberta Student Newspaper Gives Extended Coverage To Anti-Israel Demonstration, Providing No Challenge Or Context To Anti-Israel Disinformation

October 22, 2023

On October 20, a small group of anti-Israel demonstrators protested on the Edmonton campus of the University of Alberta. The next day, The Gateway, a student newspaper at the university, dedicated roughly 1,500 words to covering the modest protest.

The article entitled: “Students protest Israel-Hamas war in support of Palestine,” co-written by Katie Teeling, the newspaper’s editor-in-chief, and Dylana Twittey, the news editor, did more than simply give extended coverage to the protesters; it gave them an unfettered platform to spread their bile with no context whatsoever provided.

Teeling and Twittey wrote that demonstrators marched on campus, chanting “from the river to the sea, Palestine you will be free,” choosing not to share with readers that the chant is an anti-Israel dog whistle, and is a thinly-veiled call for the elimination of Israel.

Giving background on the current violence, the authors wrote that “on October 7, Hamas, a Palestinian militant group, attacked civilians at a music festival in Israel. Since then, a war has broken out between Hamas and Israel,” adding that Israel’s subsequent bombing of Gaza has killed 3,500 people.

Not only did the authors fail to refer to Hamas, a recognized terrorist organization in Canada, as such, preferring to call it a “militant group,” they did not share with readers that 1,400 innocent people were butchered by the Islamist terrorist group, whose only crime was that they were Jewish.

Teeling and Twittey repeatedly quoted and paraphrased protesters, and writing that Israel occupies the Gaza Strip, an objectively false statement with no basis in fact whatsoever. Israel has not occupied the coastal enclave since 2005, when it withdrew all Israelis from the strip.

One student quoted by the writers, Mohamed El Henawy, told the newspaper that Israel is committing “colonization” against the Palestinians. While El Henawy is entitled to his opinions, no matter how ignorant, the newspaper’s failure to correct his absurd claim is remarkable. Israel is not a colonizer, but in fact the very antithesis of one. Israel, while only 75 years since its independence, is the continuation of three thousand years of Jewish presence in the land of Israel and Judea, long before any people ever self-identified as Palestinian.

The Jewish presence in the land of Israel is not a matter of debate; there is copious historic and archaeological proof of the Jewish People’s extensive presence in their homeland, and while El Henawy can believe whatever fiction he chooses, the fact that Teeling and Twittey chose to repeat his disinformation without any context or correction represents a total failure of journalistic accountability.

They also quoted one student, Bilal Ali, a student at the University of Alberta, who told the newspaper that people in Gaza “are resisting over 75 years of oppression, systematic genocide, ethnic cleansing, and apartheid.”

There is no evidence whatsoever of systematic genocide, ethnic cleansing or apartheid against the Palestinians. In what would be a remarkable miracle in the face of supposed genocide, the population of Palestinians has dramatically increased since Israel’s independence in 1948.

While Teeling and Twittey are not responsible for the hateful words uttered by students at the anti-Israel demonstration, they are certainly responsible for not giving them an extended platform to spread their ignorance, they are responsible for providing factual information and context, and ensuring that readers to not take the fiction spread by protesters as being anything resembling the truth.

While The Gateway is entitled to give coverage to any topic it wants, it also has a duty to uphold standards of accuracy and truth. This article, which gave extended and unfettered coverage to hateful anti-Israel ideologues, who repeatedly spread falsehoods without any pushback whatsoever, represents a profound embarrassment for the newspaper, and more importantly, a catalyst requiring major introspection moving forward.

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