"Makler’s segment is framed as a news report—a foreign correspondent on-air providing a factual account of the situation on the ground. However, beyond being offensive to Palestinians, Ms. Makler’s characterization of Gazan rocket fire as a “victory lap” is plainly an opinion, one for which there is no evidence."
July 5, 2023
Irris Makler, Journalist, CBC News
Tracy Seeley, Managing Editor, CBC News Network
Jack Nagler, Ombudsman, CBC
Dear Ms. Makler, Ms. Seeley, and Mr. Nagler,
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 deep concern and disappointment with a segment aired on the Wednesday, July 5 broadcast of CBC Morning Live with Heather Hiscox, in which Irris Makler reported on the events that had taken place in occupied Jenin and the Gaza Strip.
I was very pleased with the story’s initial framing: “Israeli troops have ended their two-day raid on a refugee camp in the occupied West Bank.” Indeed, what took place in Jenin can only be characterized as an invasion despite the Israeli military’s efforts to veneer its brutality with the neutral “military operation” label. Moreover, media outlets often fail to mention that the West Bank is occupied territory and has been so since 1967. I applaud the CBC for its accurate portrayal of these truths and welcome its continued commitment to doing so.
The promise contained in such a positive opening quickly vanished when Ms. Makler spent the vast majority of her report puzzling over “who will pay for this cleanup,” when referring to the overwhelming destruction left in the wake of Israel’s attack on Jenin. While the question is a valid one, I query its pertinence when UN experts have observed that Israeli aggressions on the camp may constitute war crimes: at least 12 Palestinians were killed, including four children; roads were bulldozed, preventing medical aid from reaching those who needed it; medics and journalists were themselves directly targeted with live fire; and the majority of residents have lost access to electricity and clean water thanks to the damage Israel caused to water pipelines and the power grid. Given this catalog of atrocity, it is difficult to justify focusing principally, let alone exclusively, on the cleanup and not the cause of this calamity.
I urge the CBC to consider the pertinence of its framing during contentious issues such as this one in the future.
More egregious than this, however, was Ms. Makler’s reductive and offensive analysis of what transpired in Gaza:
“This reminds me of the end of many military operations that Israel begins in the Gaza Strip. There's rocket fire from Gaza, there’s air strikes, and then, once a ceasefire is agreed, there's five or six more rockets. So, I think this was a sign, a victory lap if you like, and I think this was a sign of solidarity from the people of Gaza to the people of Jenin.”
First, to suggest that these “military operations” always begin with rocket fire from Gaza and that airstrikes are simply in response to Palestinian aggression is not only factually false, but obscures the reality that Gazans are a besieged people, living in what has long been understood to be an open-air prison. These are acts of resistance to brutal, inhumane conditions and should be presented as such.
Then, adding insult to injury, Ms. Makler used language depicting Gazans as inherently violent people, all-too-eager to break ceasefire terms and fire more rockets as a “victory lap.” This is a gross misrepresentation of the dynamic between Israeli aggression and Gazan resistance, and unacceptably absolves Israel of any accountability for the massacres it perpetrates, instead portraying the victims as the ones who are trigger-happy. There is no victory—nothing to be celebrated—when scores of civilians are killed, whether in the West Bank or the Gaza Strip.
Makler’s segment is framed as a news report—a foreign correspondent on-air providing a factual account of the situation on the ground. However, beyond being offensive to Palestinians, Ms. Makler’s characterization of Gazan rocket fire as a “victory lap” is plainly an opinion, one for which there is no evidence.
I would insist that this error be redressed and that Ms. Makler’s statement be retracted.
Should you wish, you can contact me at 438-380-5410 for more information.
Media Analyst, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East