Toronto Star Publishes Letter Justifying Terror Against Israeli Olympians (August 16, 2012)

August 16, 2012

Toronto Star Publishes Letter Justifying Terror Against Israeli Olympians


By: Mike Fegelman, Executive Director

Dear HonestReporting Canada Subscribers,

There’s an important line separating legitimate opinion that enhances the public discourse, from hateful rhetoric that interferes with constructive dialogue. When the Toronto Star published a commentary on August 4 by Reverend Lawrence Pusheejustifying terrorism against the Israeli Olympians at the 72’ Munich games, Canada’s most read daily newspaper saw its respected news platform exploited by a protagonist who seeks to demonize and vilify Jews and the State of Israel.

Responding to a Star editorial which had taken a principled stance in calling on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to hold a moment of silence at the opening ceremonies in memory of the murdered Israeli athletes and coaches killed by Palestinian terrorists, Rev. Pushee abhorrently declared the following: “That was indeed a horrible and shocking moment for the international community and such an observance would be welcomed by most of us, but only if it were a balanced time for remembering. The Palestinian assassins targeted Israelis because for decades their people had been assassinated by Israeli agents and members of its occupation forces. Munich didn’t just happen out of the blue. To remember the loss at Munich and not remember the suffering of the Palestinians would be to continue the untruth that Israel is the constant victim.”

In other words, Pushee was claiming that while the cold-blooded murder of these Israeli civilians was bad, they essentially had it coming to them in so much as Israeli security forces had allegedly killed Palestinians. Why Toronto Star editors elected to publish a commentary justifying terror against innocents is bewildering.

To wit, would the Toronto Star dare publish a letter marking the 9/11 terror attacks arguing that the murder of close to 3,000 innocent people by Al Qaeda was understandable given U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East? Would the Star publish a letter that sympathized with Timothy McVeigh for his role in carrying out the Oklahoma City Bombing that killed 168 people and injured over 800 people? Would the Star publish a letter that excused and rationalized the murder of gays, blacks, and aboriginal Canadians? We trust that Toronto Star editors would responsibly discard such commentary into the dustbin of history, but why does the Toronto Star hold Israeli Jews to a different standard by tolerating commentary that justifies their murder?

Reverend Pushee (pictured right) is no stranger to controversy and is well known for his anti-Semitic remarks and vitriolic hatred of Israel. He once claimed that Canada’s Environment Minister was complicit with ”Zionist genocide, ethnic cleansing and weapons testing in Gaza”. He dismissed past abductions of Israeli soldiers

as a “mere embarrassment” and outrageously asserted that Israel intentionally targets UN installations, schools, and hospitals using depleted uranium. It’s also been reported that he described Israelis as (among other things) a “greedy,” “Mafia style” administration with a “deficiency in intelligence and even the United Church of Canada (UCC), well known especially nowadays for its vociferous criticism of Israel, ousted Reverend Pushee from a leadership position for his vile anti-Israel remarks.

HonestReporting Canada ardently supports free expression and strongly defends the right to offend, but Reverend Pushee’s comments crossed the line. That is why we appealed to Toronto Star editors to “unpublish’ this letter from the Star’s website. Yet in response, the Star regrettably defended their publication of this commentary stating: “

We have discussed the points you raise and we do not think that any action is warranted by the Star. Letters to the editor reflect the opinion of the writer and we try to publish letters that provide a wide range of points of views.” The Star also declined to publish our rebuttal to this inflammatory letter displaying a lack of commitment in providing a diversity of opinion on this issue. That the Star actually believes that Pushee’s remarks add to the marketplace of ideas shows a remarkable lack of judgement on the part of their editorial team. By giving a platform for this letter to be published in perpetuity on the Star’s website, the Toronto Star has been used and has become a tool that fans the flames of hatred against Israel and Jews.

How You Can Make A Difference:

Please send your considered comments to the Toronto Star’s Public Editor condemning the Star’s publication of a letter that justifies terrorism against Israeli Olympians. Please send your letters to:




Office: P.O. Box 6, Station Q Toronto, Ontario M4T 2L7
Phone: (416) 915-9157 E-mail: Web:


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