"Israeli settlers did not just burn and vandalize 'hundreds of vehicles and buildings' as you claim in your introduction. Over a period of four hours, more than 400 settlers torched at least 75 Palestinian homes, 35 of which were destroyed completely. In fact, at least nine families reportedly had to be rescued from their burning homes. Although the settlers announced their intention to commit this horrific crime, Israeli forces allowed them to enter the towns freely and did not intervene until hours after the start of the violence. By solely reporting on the vehicles and buildings impacted, you are minimizing the human cost of what many are calling a 'pogrom' against Palestinians."
February 28, 2023
Jack Nagler, Ombudsman, CBC
Chris Harland-Dunaway, Senior Producer, The World
Dear Mr. Nagler and Mr. Harland-Dunaway,
I’m writing to you on behalf of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME, https://www.cjpme.org) to express my concerns regarding a radio segment titled “Peace Talks in Jordan as Israeli-Palestinian violence escalates,” which was produced by The World and aired by CBC Radio One on February 28, 2023.
The radio segment starts by highlighting the recent Israeli settler attacks on Palestinian cities in the West Bank which have resulted in the death of one Palestinian and over one hundred injuries. It is crucial for Canadian audiences to be aware of the recent settler violence against Palestinians in the wake of Israel’s new far-right government. However, the radio segment is extremely one-sided and biased toward the Israeli perspective.
First, Israeli settlers did not just burn and vandalize “hundreds of vehicles and buildings” as you claim in your introduction. Over a period of four hours, more than 400 settlers torched at least 75 Palestinian homes, 35 of which were destroyed completely.[i] In fact, at least nine families reportedly had to be rescued from their burning homes. Although the settlers announced their intention to commit this horrific crime, Israeli forces allowed them to enter the towns freely and did not intervene until hours after the start of the violence.[ii] By solely reporting on the vehicles and buildings impacted, you are minimizing the human cost of what many are calling a “pogrom” against Palestinians.
Second, you inaccurately describe the Israeli raids on the occupied West Bank as “gun battles” between Palestinian militants and Israeli troops. Using the term “gun battle” obscures the power dynamics at play, creating the appearance of a fight in which both sides are equal. In fact, Israeli military forces have been repeatedly invading and attacking Palestinian cities and villages and indiscriminately killing Palestinian civilians, including at least 13 children, since the start of this year.[iii]
Third, your only guest is from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a pro-Israel American think tank. It is very evident that by excluding Palestinian sources and perspectives and only interviewing a pro-Israel source, your radio segment presents as deeply biased to your listeners. The CBC has a journalistic responsibility and obligation to provide both perspectives. Following the Canadian Association of Journalists’ (CAJ) ethics guidelines on diversity, news organizations and journalists should seek to “include views from all segments of the population.”[iv]
I insist that you take serious action to ensure that future reporting on Israel and Palestine upholds basic journalistic standards and includes all necessary context and perspectives for Canadian audiences. I expect a response from your organization with next steps to remedy the clear bias portrayed in this radio segment.
Thank you for making these changes. Should you wish, you can contact me at 438-380-5410 for more information.
Policy Analyst, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East
[i] Middle East Eye, “Palestinian killed as a Israeli settlers rampage through West Bank in ‘revenge’ attacks,” (2023), https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/israeli-settlers-set-palestinian-town-ablaze-after-deadly-shooting
[ii] Al Jazeera, “Tensions high in West Bank after deadly Israeli settler rampage,” (2023), https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/2/27/unprecedented-israeli-settlers-wreak-havoc-on-occupied-nablus
[iii] Al Jazeera, “’Catastrophic’: Palestinians recount fatal Israeli raid on Nablus” (2023), https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/2/23/catastrophic-palestinians-recount-deadly-israeli-raid-on-nablu
[iv] Canadian Association of Journalists, “Ethics Guidelines,” June 2011, https://caj.ca/wp-content/uploads/ethics_guidelines.pdf