Home Media Action Alerts2009 Success: Toronto Star Publishes HRC Rebuttal Countering Dubious Napalm Charge (Sept. 9, 2009)

Success: Toronto Star Publishes HRC Rebuttal Countering Dubious Napalm Charge (Sept. 9, 2009)

by Mike Fegelman

Dear HonestReporting Canada Subscriber,

Slanderous and unsubstantiated allegations are par for the course for anti-Israel protagonists. Be it an odious blood libel by Sweden’s largest newspaper, Aftonbladet, which claimed that Israel was stealing Palestinian body parts, Hamas’ allegations that Israel supplies “aphrodisiac” gum to corrupt the Palestinian youth, or recent accusations claiming that Israelis trained snakes to attack Palestinian farmers.

No matter how big the lie, there seems to be no shortage of these outrageous accusations. Sometimes Western media outlets give these baseless allegations credibility by giving them a platform, instead of doing necessary due diligence by fact checking these claims ahead of time to confirm or deny the veracity of the charges before publication.

Recently, on August 27, the Toronto Star gave letter writer Orest Slepokura a platform to issue his own baseless allegations. Responding to a column written by Rabbi Dow Marmur on August 24 about proposed Israel boycott resolutions tabled at the United Church of Canada’s national meeting, Mr. Slepokura wrote the following:

His allegation that Israel, during the Six-Day War had “napalmed fleeing Palestinian refugees that included children” is malicious and unsubstantiated. It’s true that Mr. Slepokura is just merely citing the work of A.C. Forrest, the one-time editor of the United Church Observer; however his book (“The Unholy Land” available online by clicking here) cannot be viewed as a credible source considering his problematic past as an anti-Israel activist. (Please see Haim Genzi’s book “The Holocaust, Israel, and Canadian Protestant Churches,” pages 109-169 and David Taras’ and David Goldberg’s book “The Domestic Battleground: Canada and the Arab-Israeli Conflict” beginning on page 86 for more information).

HonestReporting Canada brought our concerns to the attention of senior editors at the Toronto Star who agreed to publish our rebuttal to counter Mr. Slepokura’s dubious napalm charge. Yesterday, the following letter submitted by HRC’s Executive Director was published on the Star’s website:

We appreciate the opportunity that the Toronto Star gave us to properly refute this egregious allegation. We also trust that Star editors will think twice before publishing similar missives in the future.

If history is a proper indicator, there is no question that there will be more attempts by anti-Israel proponents to accuse Israel of fictional atrocities. Palestinian officials will lie, photos will be staged, newscasts will be fabricated, and the media will rush to report the “stories.”

Please keep your eye out for the next Big Lie and join HonestReporting Canada’s efforts in countering them.

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