Two Montreal News Outlets Provide Uncritical Coverage Of Hateful Protest, Whitewashing Bigoted Rhetoric

July 8, 2024

The Greater Montreal area is home to roughly 4.3 million people spread across about one thousand square kilometres. But when around 0.001 percent of Montrealers gather to protest Israel, a pair of local media outlets were there to document it.

In a July 3 broadcast for CityNews in Montreal entitled: “Pro-Palestinian rally outside of CDPQ offices in Montreal,” video journalist Swidda Rassy reported on a small group of protesters in downtown Montreal who gathered outside the offices of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (Quebec Deposit and Investment Fund, or CDPQ) to protest its investments in Israeli companies.

In addition to the obvious question surrounding the newsworthiness of platforming such a marginal group espousing radical views, the report also served to whitewash the extremist sentiments expressed multiple times from the demonstrators, while not once providing any context for viewers to understand what they were seeing.

At the 18 second mark in the report, one sign shown being held by a demonstrator referred to the “Nakba,” and “76 years” of Israel allegedly stealing land.

Nakba is the Arabic word for ‘catastrophe,’ referring to the term used by anti-Israel activists to refer to Israel’s independence in 1948, and 76 years refers to 1948, when Israel gained its independence. Taken on their own – and even more powerfully, together – the message is clear: that Israel’s very existence is illegitimate, and consequently, combatting it is morally justified.

Just two seconds later, at the 20 second mark, a pair of elderly demonstrators are holding a sign that reads “intifada partou,” or French for “intifada everywhere.”

“Intifada” is the Arabic term referring to a series of violent explosions of Palestinian terrorism, much of it against Israeli civilians, including the bombing of municipal buses, and the mass murder of elderly people at a Passover Seder.

And yet, even as a hate mob in Montreal holds up signage calling for that violence “everywhere,” viewers are not once told why such language is not only heinous, but downright dangerous, particularly as, on a number of occasions, Jew-haters have used violence against Jewish institutions in North America.

And again, at the 2:28 mark in the broadcast, footage is shown of the anti-Israel occupation at downtown Montreal’s Victoria Square – which police have refused to address – displaying a number of hateful and extremist slogans.

In addition to the expression “escalate 4 Palestine,” a clear glorification of civil disobedience, an upside-down triangle is displayed (a favourite symbol showing support for Hamas, an Islamic terrorist organization), as well as the phrase “Peace is the white man’s word. Resistance is ours,” again a clear instance of the glorification of violence.

Not to be outdone, The Montreal Gazette reported on the same tiny protest in a lengthy July 3 article entitled: “Pro-Palestinian protesters demonstrate before paint-smeared Caisse de dépôt,” written by René Bruemmer.

Bruemmer’s article gave extended coverage to the demands of the demonstrators, all while not once providing any insight into the extremist and radical positions espoused by protesters.

In Montreal and elsewhere, anti-Israel activists have evidently learned the lesson that, no matter how small their numbers may be, if they are loud enough, they will merit uncritical news coverage, even if they express heinous views.

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