Success! HRC Prompts Correction After CBC News Parrots Falsehood That World Court Accused Israel Of Genocide

One of the most common tactics of anti-Israel campaigners in recent months has been to fabricate claims that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague accused Israel of genocide, when in fact it did no such thing.

But as pernicious as that lie may be, it is even more troubling when a supposedly credible news outlet uncritically repeats the same disinformation.

In a June 27 news article for CBC News entitled: “Tearful goodbyes as sick children are evacuated from Gaza for medical care,” producer Yasmine Hassan, who was recently the subject of another HonestReporting Canada alert for a deeply problematic news article, told the stories of Palestinian children receiving medical evacuation from Gaza, and in so doing, told readers that “the top United Nations court has concluded there is a plausible risk of genocide in Gaza — a charge Israel has strongly denied.”

Without exaggeration, that statement is utterly and profoundly wrong, and a total fabrication.

Joan Donoghue, the recently-retired president of the world court (who presided over the ICJ in January when it issued a provisional ruling which did not demand a ceasefire), said in a recent BBC interview that the court made no statement accusing Israel of genocide.

Instead, the “court did not decide, and this something where I’m correcting what’s often said by the media, that the claim of genocide was plausible.” Donoghue has stated explicitly that the ruling did not mean that the court believed it was “plausible” that Israel was committing genocide.

After lodging a complaint with CBC News, we are pleased to note corrective action has been taken. CBC’s report now states:

In January, the top United Nations court, when ruling on South Africa’s genocide case against Israel, concluded that some of the actions alleged to have been committed by Israel in Gaza “appear to be capable of falling within the provisions of the (Genocide) Convention.”

It ordered Israel to prevent and punish any public incitements to commit genocide against Palestinians in Gaza and preserve evidence related to genocide allegations. Israel has strongly denied that any of its actions constitute incitement of genocide. 

While that misinformation was arguably the most egregious falsehood in Hassan’s article, it was by no means the only problem.

Immediately preceding that statement, Hassan wrote that “the international community has criticized Israel’s war against Hamas as the campaign cuts off the flow of critical food, medicine and basic goods to Gaza, leaving Palestinians totally dependent on humanitarian aid organizations struggling for access.”

This two-fold statement – that the Hamas-Israel war “cuts off the flow” of aid into Gaza, and that the war has left Palestinians “totally dependent on humanitarian aid” – are both false.

It is entirely untrue that Gaza is unable to produce any food, and that it is “totally dependent” on outside agencies. According to the United Nations, as much as three-quarters of the greenhouses in Gaza remain completely functional and untouched by war, and bakeries in the coastal territory are able to bake more than two million pita breads every single day.

As for the allegation that the war has cut off humanitarian aid, that is similarly untrue. On the day that Hassan’s article was published, 353 trucks filled with such aid entered Gaza, hardly consistent with her description of such deliveries being cut off.

If there is any shortage whatsoever inside Gaza, it is entirely the responsibility of United Nations and other agencies to distribute the immense amount of aid that is being delivered. Incredibly, there are an astounding nine thousand pallets of aid sitting inside Gaza, waiting to be collected and distributed. Sadly, the fault lies, Israel claims, due to the UN’s incompetency and logistical inefficiency.

While the humanitarian situation inside Gaza is certainly far from ideal, it is Hamas – which has used the entire territory as its base for terrorism – which bears responsibility, yet this CBC article gave only a passing mention to this, writing that “Israel (has been) targeting its attack on hospitals and schools it claims Hamas fighters have used as shields and hiding places for weapons,” making Hamas’ well documented use of Gaza civilian areas represented as nothing more than Israeli “claims.”

If Palestinian children are to see any promise of a better future in Gaza, then the world must hold the true culprit for their suffering – Hamas – accountable, and that starts by telling the truth about Hamas, and not misrepresenting Israel’s actions as it fights the Islamic terrorist group. Tragically, Yasmine Hassan’s June 27 article failed spectacularly in this regard.

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