"The most notable false claim is when Fegelman states that there is footage of “Israeli babies herded into cages like animals.” This video has been widely debunked — it is inaccurate, and his claim is untrue."
October 11, 2023
Chris Bury, News Director, CJAD 800
Natasha Hall, Host, CJAD 800
Aaron Rand, Host, CJAD 800
Dear Chris Bury, Natasha Hall, and Aaron Rand,
I’m writing to request on-air corrections following an interview on Montreal Now with Aaron Rand & Natasha Hall, which aired on CJAD 800 and was published online on October 9, titled “An update on Israel-Hamas war.” The interview was with Mike Fegelman of Honest Reporting Canada, a pro-Israel media watchdog.
He is introduced as a fair and balanced expert from Honest Reporting Canada (HRC), which the host describes as a “non-profit that ensures fair and accurate Canadian media coverage when things are going on in Israel and the Middle East.” This is a highly misleading description of Fegelman and his organization.
HRC is a pro-Israel media watchdog group. Their views, publicly available on their website, are frequently far to the right of mainstream Canadian pro-Israel groups, let alone official Canadian policy or international law.
Here are a few bullet points of HRC’s positions:
- Argue that the West Bank is not “occupied,” a false claim according to international law and Canadian policy.
- Reject Palestinian claims to East Jerusalem.
- Claim that Israel’s settlements — plainly illegal under international law and viewed accordingly by Canada — are not actually illegal and argue against such media descriptions.
- Argue against the term “West Bank” and push media to instead refer to the region as “Judea and Samaria,” essentially erasing Palestinians and their claims.
This is not to mention the far-right guests he warmly interviews on his podcast. Recently, he interviewed Richard Landes, who coined the term “Pallywood” and claims that atrocities against Palestinians are staged. HRC’s staff regularly publish inflammatory content in Canadian newspapers. For example, his colleague, Robert Walker, argued in HRC’s name that Israel’s killing of children in Jenin in July 2023 was justified.
This is merely scratching the surface — basic vetting should have prevented Fegelman from appearing or at least led to a more accurate introduction and careful preparation by the host to counter false claims.
These are positions shared by Israel’s most far-right elements, not by ordinary Canadians. They are certainly not those of an organization that ensures “fair and accurate Canadian media coverage.” CJAD 800 has failed its listeners by misrepresenting a highly partisan, far-right actor as a fair-minded expert. This makes it all the worse that the hosts allowed him to make demonstrable false and disturbing claims.
The most notable false claim is when Fegelman states that there is footage of “Israeli babies herded into cages like animals.” This video has been widely debunked — it is inaccurate, and his claim is untrue.
He calls Hamas a “barbaric terror organization whose only goal is the annihilation of the Jewish People” and a “proxy of the Iranian regime.” All of this without any context about Gaza or Hamas, who were fairly elected in 2006 in Gaza, according to a report by the election monitoring group National Democratic Institute. They were not brought to power by Iran, as is seemingly being suggested. Given the dehumanizing language used by Israeli leaders, like calling Palestinians “human animals,” terms like “barbaric” add to existing anti-Palestinian racism in Canada.
These are just a few of the issues with the interview. The host challenged none of Fegelman’s remarks and thanked him for his time.
This interview involved several gross violations of basic journalistic ethics. CJAD 800 should immediately broadcast an on-air clarification about Honest Reporting Canada, Mike Fegelman, and work on clarifying any false claims.
Please promptly let me know how you plan to resolve this problem. If there is a delay, I will soon file a formal complaint with the CBSC.
Director of Media Advocacy, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East