"The entire episode only reinforces that the Faytene show was engaging in dangerous anti-Palestinian rhetoric at a time when anti-Palestinian racism is rampant in Canada. Simply put, Grasseschi’s statement should be corrected on air."
September 25, 2023
Faytene Grasseschi, Host, Faytene Show
Heather Lovegrove, Director, Yes TV
Dear Faytene Grasseschi and Heather Lovegrove,
I’m writing to express my concern about a factual error during a recent episode called “Israel and The World” on the Faytene Show. The segment was broadcast this week on Yes TV Ontario (CITS) and can be viewed here.
Faytene Grasseschi said the following at the 15-minute mark of the interview with Josh Reinstein:
Let’s talk about the narrative though, because here in Canada, the narrative that’s really pushed is about the injustices that Israel is allegedly doing towards the Palestinians. And yet, when you really dig into it, again, I’ve heard it said that if the amount of money that has been given to the Palestinian regime was given to Europe after World War II, Europe could have been rebuilt many times over. And so, the money is being poured into the Palestinian regime, but it's not getting to the people and when you speak to some, not all, the Palestinians on the ground, we know that the international community isn’t getting the whole story. So, unpack that a little bit.
While Mr. Reinstein’s response (and many of his comments throughout the interview) were riddled with inaccuracies, I want to focus on Grasseschi’s remarks, as she is speaking as the host, with journalistic responsibilities outlined by the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC). She fell short of those standards when she stated, "If the amount of money that has been given to the Palestinian regime was given to Europe after World War II, Europe could have been rebuilt many times over.”
Before demonstrating why this is false, it is worth noting that her qualification that she “heard it said” should not be treated as a pass to tell an extraordinary lie. Further, I can find no evidence of this being said, let alone by a reputable source.
Following World War II, the United States passed the Marshall Plan. Between 1947 and 1952, the plan contributed some $13 billion to Western Europe. In 2017 dollars, that was around USD 140 billion. This was the contribution of the United States alone towards the reconstruction of Western Europe (not including the damaged Eastern European states which were not part of the plan).
Meanwhile, this year, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees had a budgetary goal of USD 1.6 billion. UNRWA fell short. By June 2023, the agency only had about half of its fiscal goal available, roughly USD 800 million. Donations to UNRWA are voluntary and hence unreliable.
UNRWA was established in 1949. While it would require significant research to find the annual budget of UNRWA going back to 1949, it can be said with a high degree of confidence that it wouldn’t match even the USD 140 billion of the Marshall Plan for rebuilding Europe. It can be said with even more certainty that one could not take UNRWA’s funding and have rebuilt Europe “many times over” following the war.
It is a statement that doesn’t exist in the realm of fact. It also expresses a negative sentiment towards Palestinians and Palestinian refugees as unworthy of international aid. The entire episode only reinforces that the Faytene show was engaging in dangerous anti-Palestinian rhetoric at a time when anti-Palestinian racism is rampant in Canada.
Simply put, Grasseschi’s statement should be corrected on air.
Director of Media Advocacy, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East
 Marshall Plan (1948), US National Archives, https://www.archives.gov/milestone-documents/marshall-plan#:~:text=On%20April%203%2C%201948%2C%20President,economic%20infrastructure%20of%20postwar%20Europe.
 “UN agency for Palestinians raises just $107m of $300m needed,” Al-Jazeera, June 3, 2023, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/6/3/un-agency-for-palestinians-raises-just-107m-of-300m-needed.