"You have run at least twenty articles on the Middle East crisis from this so-called “Wire Service” of yours since October 7, and not one has mentioned the Israeli killing of Palestinian civilians. This is not a news service; it is a source of pro-Israel commentary."
October 17, 2023
Rob Roberts, editor in chief, National Post
Carson Jerema, managing editor, comment, National Post
Aileen Donnelly, managing editor, news, National Post
Anisha Dhiman, associate editor, digital, National Post
Dear Rob Roberts, Carson Jerema, Aileen Donnelly, and Anisha Dhiman,
I am writing on behalf of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME, cjpme.org) to insist that all content on your website from the so-called “Jewish News Syndicate” be disocciated from your news reporting and clearly marked as opinion.
The JNS material is inaccurate as commentary. But it is simply NOT news.
In short, as is clear to any reasonable observer, the JNS functions as a pro-Israel think tank that produces hard-line opinions behind a “National Post Wire Service” disguise. This is a gross betrayal of public trust and a blow to the credibility of journalism nation-wide.
Notice the clear contrast between wire service coverage and JNS advocacy polemics.
Here is Associated Press today, on day ten of this Middle East crisis:
“The violence has been the deadliest of five wars between Hamas and Israel, killing more than 1,400 people in Israel and nearly 2,800 in Gaza.”
Right. And here is Reuters today, describing some facts of the crisis, all opinions aside:
“Israel has bombarded the Gaza Strip with air strikes that have killed more than 2,800 Palestinians, a quarter of them children, and driven around half of the 2.3 million Gazans from their homes.”
That is wire coverage. Now notice the contrast with this typical passage from the JNS, which you mislead Canadian readers by calling news from your “Wire Service”:
“In the wake of the mass murder perpetrated by the Hamas terror organization, whose death squads raided southern Israel and killed 1,400 Israelis on Oct. 7, while kidnapping 199 people, as confirmed by the Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson’s Unit on Monday, the IDF has been eliminating a growing number of Hamas terrorists. . . . Additional Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror operatives currently unnamed have also been killed in some 3,600 IAF airstrikes.”
You have run at least twenty articles on the Middle East crisis from this so-called “Wire Service” of yours since October 7, and not one has mentioned the Israeli killing of Palestinian civilians. This is not a news service; it is a source of pro-Israel commentary.
It is one thing to publish Israeli government statements, as you in the name of this “Wire Service” published Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech on October 14: “We are pounding our enemies with unprecedented force, and I stress, this is only the beginning,” he said. The straight reproduction of such state materials can sometimes inform readers.
But the aggressive pro-Israel textual commentary that you and the JNS pass off as“Wire” news content is by all reasonable standards just pro-Israel advocacy polemics. As a brazen propaganda service, JNS dramatically narrates the Middle East to depict their protagonists, on the one hand: Israeli “heroes” and “heroines.” On the other hand, there are what JNS news text calls “the bloodthirsty killers” whom Israeli “heroes” heroically fight.
If Palestinian civilians are killed, it is, in this pro-Israel advocacy frame, by definition the fault of “the bloodthirsty killers.” [Since] Israel being heroic and blameless is a first principle of JNS commentary, the Israeli military order for a million Palestinians in Gaza to move to areas of Gaza that Israel is also bombing is nowhere questioned by JNS. A wire service might quote the International Committee of the Red Cross, which dismisses this whole story as incorrect and dangerous, but JNS advocacy polemics barely pretend to be news.
Instead, the JNS tells Canadian readers that Palestinians are at fault for Palestinian deaths based on the only authority the JNS needs, i.e. the word of the Israeli army: “The IDF has observed Hamas vehicles driving around Gaza as the terrorist regime tries to stop civilians from leaving for safety, in order to keep them as mass human shields near their terrorist bases”; and if the JNS is a “Wire Service” for anything, it is for amplification of IDF lines.
Retain the JNS as a source of pro-Israel commentary if you must, but stop packaging its pro-Israel polemics about Israeli heroism in “Judea and Samaria” (what news organizations call “the West Bank”) as news. This is not news.
Public trust in journalism in Canada is already in freefall. The least you can do is respect the basic factual distinction between news reporting and deceptive partisan polemics.
Feel free to contact me at 438-380-5410 if you would like to discuss this further.
PhD, University of Exeter
Postdoc, Canada Research Chair in Québec and Canadian Studies
Director of Strategic Operations
Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East/
Canadiens pour la Justice et la Paix au Moyen-Orient