"There have been different interpretations of Jama’s comments with many groups, including Jewish ones, contesting her comments as being antisemitic. However, you assert this in your headline as fact whereas it is way more accurate to describe it as an 'antisemitic controversy' for sparking debate. As such, I insist that you change the headline from 'antisemitic comments' to 'antisemitic controversy' to better reflect the fact that this is a news article."
March 17, 2023
Bryan Passifiume, Journalist, The National Post
Rob Roberts, Editor-in-chief, National Post
Aileen Donnelly, News Editor, National Post
Dear Mr. Passifiume, Mr. Roberts and Ms. Donnelly,
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 serious concerns regarding your news article titled “Despite candidate’s anti-Semitic comments, Ontario NDP still favoured to win Thursday byelection,” published by National Post on March 16, 2023.
Although your article falls under the “News” section, you make many claims that are based on opinion rather than fact.
First, there have been different interpretations of Jama’s comments with many groups, including Jewish ones, contesting her comments as being antisemitic. However, you assert this in your headline as fact whereas it is way more accurate to describe it as an “antisemitic controversy” for sparking debate.
As such, I insist that you change the headline from “antisemitic comments” to “antisemitic controversy” to better reflect the fact that this is a news article.
Second, I take great issue with the following sentence: “She has called Israel an ‘illegitimate’ country and suggested, in speaking about Israel, that the ‘same people will continue to fund thekilling of people here, locally, and globally,’ apparently referring to Jews.”
While Jama’s remarks are unfortunately ambiguous, as she has recently acknowledged, it is not fair to jump to the conclusion that Jama was “referring to Jews” when she did not imply that in her statement. If Jama was talking about the Israeli state, she could be referring to the Israeli government, its military or its police, or referring to the exchange programs by Israeli and American police. Alternatively, she could be making a broader point about the connections between structures of oppression in different countries. To jump to the conclusion that she is referring to Jewish people is an extreme assumption which should not be presented as fact in a news article.
As such, I insist that you replace “apparently referring to Jews” with “which some have interpreted as antisemitic.”
Third, you claim that “Jama accuses Hamilton police of ‘protecting Nazism’ in the city by targeting Palestinians and Muslim organizers.” You go on to say that “it is unclear who she is calling Nazis.” However, while her remarks out of context seem unclear, it is obvious that she is referring to the well-documented issue of the Hamilton police protecting far-right groups which were organized in the city, including the Proud Boys and the Soldiers of Odin. To ignore this obvious connection and insinuate that she is referring to Israel or Jewish people is completely unprofessional and inappropriate.
As such, I insist that you add the following sentence to your paragraph: “Presumably, Jama is referring to the issue of the Hamilton police protecting far-right groups which were organized in the city, including the Proud Boys and the Soldiers of Odin.”
Finally, this article fails to provide an alternative perspective to the accusations against Jama, even though she has strong support from civil society, the Palestinian community as well as organizations like Independent Jewish Canada. It is unacceptable that there are no alternative voices in this one-sided article, which unfairly and negatively depicts the Palestine solidarity movement.
As such, I insist that you include Palestinian, Jewish or other voices that are supportive of Jama in order to ensure more balanced reporting on the matter.
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