Home Media Action Alerts2019 Tony Burman Falsely Claims Obama Said Israel Must “Share the Neighbourhood” with Iran

Tony Burman Falsely Claims Obama Said Israel Must “Share the Neighbourhood” with Iran

by Mike Fegelman
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On June 25, HonestReporting Canada filed an official complaint with the Toronto Star calling for a correction to be issued to remedy an important error stated by Tony Burman in a column he authored on June 21/22 entitled: “Iran hostilities highlight the failure of America’s liberation ideology”.

Mr. Burman is the former head of CBC News and Al Jazeera English, and is a freelance contributing foreign affairs columnist for the Star. In recent weeks, HRC has critiqued Mr. Burman for wrongly claiming “there’s no credible evidence of a connection between Al Qaeda & Iran” and for continuing to single out Israel for opprobrium. In March, Burman excused Ilhan Omar’s antisemitic comments and in January, he ignored Iran’s malign efforts and engaged in conspiracy theories.

In his latest Star commentary, Mr. Burman erroneously claimed the following (emphasis added):

The (Iran Nuclear) agreement was bitterly opposed by Iran’s regional rivals — Israel and Saudi Arabia — in spite of the prescient warning from U.S. President Barack Obama that war and chaos in the Middle East will not end until they learn how to “share the neighbourhood.””

Importantly, President Obama did not ever say that Israel must “share the neighbourhood” with Iran. Obama, in an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic, was referring only to Saudi Arabia when he said the following:

The competition between the Saudis and the Iranians, which has helped to feed proxy wars and chaos in Syria and Iraq and Yemen, requires us to say to our friends, as well as to the Iranians, that they need to find an effective way to share the neighborhood and institute some sort of cold peace,” Obama told The Atlantic.”

Importantly, Israel comprises just 0.1% of the land mass of the entire Middle East. Obama never made this statement in reference to Israel, he was referring only to the Saudis in a war pitting the Sunni’s against the Shiites.

As we told the Star, while Mr. Burman is entitled to his own opinions, he’s most certainly not entitled to his own facts and to inaccurately quoting others.

A correction is most certainly warranted. HonestReporting Canada awaits a response from the Star.

Stay tuned to this page for future updates.

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