"I insist that any future reporting on Israel’s “democracy” include, crucially, the Palestinian perspective in addition to the explicit qualification that it does not extend to everyone under Israeli rule, noting the findings of apartheid from the human rights sector."
July 25, 2023
Peter Armstrong, Journalist, CBC News
Brodie Fenlon, News Editor-in-Chief, CBC News
George Achi, Director of Journalistic Standards and Public Trust, CBC News
Dear Mr. Armstrong, Mr. Fenlon and Mr. Achi,
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 with a segment aired on the July 24 broadcast of The National, in which Mr. Armstrong reported on the protests related to Israel’s judicial overhaul.
The Israeli political scientist interviewed asserts that underlying the rallies both for and against the reforms is the “debate [about] the nature of Israel as a state,” and further argues that the new bill “fundamentally erodes Israel’s status as a democracy.” While the former statement is plainly true, the latter is specious as Israel’s status as a democracy has always been in question given its decades-long occupation and brutalization of Palestinian lands and people.
Of the 6.8 million Palestinians living between river and sea, only a small fraction of them (1.6 million) hold Israeli citizenship and have the right to vote in national elections (albeit with a second-class status and significant restrictions). These Palestinian citizens of Israel represent fully one fifth of the Israeli population and yet neither did their absence from the protests nor their concerns figure once in Mr. Armstrong’s reporting.
Still more undermining to Israel’s claim to being democratic is the fact that the remaining 5.2 million Palestinians live under Israeli military occupation in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, and have no right to vote for the government that rules them. In fact, the world’s and Israel’s largest respective human rights organizations (i.e. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and B’Tselem), as well leading international figures such as former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and Archbishop Desmond Tutu have all noted that Israel’s system is not a democracy, but is instead more accurately defined as an apartheid regime.
Given this widespread agreement, to leave out any mention of Palestinians from your reporting is to shirk your journalistic responsibility to offer viewers a complete and balanced picture of the subject at hand by obscuring widely-condemned Israeli crimes.
I would therefore insist that any future reporting on Israel’s “democracy” include, crucially, the Palestinian perspective in addition to the explicit qualification that it does not extend to everyone under Israeli rule, noting the findings of apartheid from the human rights sector.
Palestinians deserve to have their plight known and Canadians deserve to be given the complete context on such a contentious issue.
Thank you for your consideration. 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