"It is untrue that the actions of African migrants alone led Netanyahu to call for their deportation. Netanyahu was also “led” to call for the deportation of African migrants for the simple reason that he leads a coalition government that is notoriously xenophobic."
September 8, 2023
Dan Taylor, Managing Editor, CTV News
Alexandra Mae Jones, Writer, CTV News
Dear Dan Taylor and Alexandra Mae Jones,
I am writing on behalf of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME, cjpme.org) to express alarm about your September 8 article, “Why are clashes between Eritrean groups breaking out in Canada and across the globe?”
Your description of Israeli appeals for punitive deportations lacks responsible context.
Israel’s national security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, has been convicted in Israel of inciting racism and supporting a terrorist organization. Israel’s finance minister, Bezalel Smotrich, has expressed regret that the parents of Palestinian Arab parliamentarians in the Israeli legislature were not expelled from their country on grounds of ethnicity. These people only live in their own country, this Israeli minister declared, “by mistake – because Ben-Gurion [Israel’s first prime minister] didn’t finish the job and throw you out in 1948.”
The following language of yours, therefore, is misleading:
This Saturday, hundreds of Eritrean government supporters and opponents clashed violently in Tel Aviv, Israel, leading Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to call for Eritrean migrants involved to be deported.
It is untrue that the actions of African migrants alone led Netanyahu to call for their deportation. Netanyahu was also “led” to call for the deportation of African migrants for the simple reason that he leads a coalition government that is notoriously xenophobic.
Please add the necessary context; otherwise, your report risks normalizing this same kind of xenophobia in Canada. I propose the following alternative to your language above:
“This Saturday, hundreds of Eritrean government supporters and opponents clashed in Tel Aviv. As the leader of a coalition government that includes ministers well known for anti-Arab and anti-African incitement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for the punitive deportation of the Eritrean migrants involved, a move which critics say could violate international refugee law.”
Note that Canada is not immune to the xenophobia now sweeping Israel. The politics of hate have exploded in Canada in recent years, as is widely documented, and the Canadian Anti-Hate Network is publicizing a report which shows the role of far-right support for Israel in Canada within this context. It is your responsibility to cover these issues with care.
Feel free to reach me at 438-380-5410 should you wish to discuss this matter further.
PhD, University of Exeter
Director of Strategic Operations
Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East/
Canadiens pour la Justice et la Paix au Moyen-Orient