Radio-Canada Retracts Claim that UN Report "Condemns" Israel (September 20, 2011)

By Mike Fegelman

September 20, 2011




Radio Canada Retracts Claim that UN Report “Condemns” Israel

By: Michelle Whiteman, Quebec Regional Director                                                  September 20, 2011


  View this Article Online and Discuss on HRC’s Blog “Headlines and Deadlines”


Dear HonestReporting Canada Subscriber,


The UN-sponsored investigation into the 2010 Flotilla incident that was released recently largely vindicated Israel’s main positions. The Palmer Report concluded that:

  • Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza is legal and Israel has the right to enforce the blockade, including in international waters.
  • The decision to breach the naval blockade was a dangerous and reckless act which needlessly carried the potential for escalation.
  • The conduct and true objectives of the flotilla organizers, particularly the IHH, included plans to violently resist any boarding attempt.

The report also determined that there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Despite the fact the word “condemn” was used in the Palmer Report only in relation to Hamas regarding its use of rockets to target Israeli civilians, the French-arm of the CBC, Radio-Canada, appropriated the term in its online news coverage claiming that the UN Palmer Report had “condemned” Israel.  On September 2, 2011 for example, a Radio-Canada news article erroneously claimed that relations between Turkey and Israel were deteriorating in the wake of leaked portions of the UN report condemning the Israeli assault on the Flotilla to Gaza in May 2010.

Several other Radio-Canada reports (here, here and here) also used the word “condemn” to characterize the UN report’s conclusions concerning Israeli conduct and policies, even though the substance and tenor of the Palmer Report had largely exonerated Israel. Radio-Canada’s use of this term to characterize Israel’s role in the flotilla incident and Palmer’s main conclusions was misleading and inaccurate. We submitted a request to Radio Canada to retract the word “condemn” from their online news articles. On September 13, Radio-Canada’s Complaints Director, Martine Lanctôt, promptly replied to our complaint by stating the following (HRC Translation):

“When we employed the word “condemned” in some of our articles, on the website in particular, we referred specifically to the assault and the excessive use of violence. In the report, a reader would understand that the “excessive and unreasonable violence” used was condemned or denounced.

However, to avoid confusion about the meaning or scope of the word ‘condemn’, as it is a UN report and not a resolution, we changed some titles and text on our web pages. The word no longer appears in these articles.”

Radio Canada has commendably complied with our request by removing the inaccurate wording from the articles on their web site and by issuing the following retraction (HRC Translation):

“In an earlier version of this article, we wrote that the UN report condemned” the Israeli assault. Rather, the report qualifies the force used by Israeli forces as “excessive and unreasonable”. In addition, the report considers “unacceptable” the loss of life and injuries resulting from the use of force by the Israeli army during the boarding of the Mavi Marmara.”

HonestReporting Canada thanks Radio-Canada for listening to our concerns and for taking the appropriate steps to remedy their errors.



View this Article Online and Discuss on HRC’s Blog “Headlines and Deadlines”



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