"For Western media to join Israeli and United States spokespeople in playing confused on an Israeli bombing seen and understood across the world is socially catastrophic: it drives a wedge between thinking people internationally and the followers of a he-said/she-said information warfare operation that degrades the credibility of all who entertain it."
October 19, 2023
George Achi, Director of Journalistic Standards and Public Trust, CBC News
Brodie Fenlon, News Editor-in-Chief, CBC News
Jack Nagler, Ombudsman, CBC News
Nancy Waugh, Sr. Manager, CBC
Rhianna Schmunk, Repoter, CBC News
Dear George Achi, Brodie Fenlon, Jack Nagler, Nancy Waugh, and Rhianna Schmunk,
I am writing on behalf of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME, cjpme.org) to demand corrections and the removal of the offensive video from your October 19 report, “Doctors, aid workers shocked by deadly blast at Gaza hospital.”
A he-said/she-said washing over of war crimes is unjustifiable. Under a photo of the ruins of Gaza’s al-Ahli hospital, your report introduces readers to the bombing:
“Hamas blamed the blast on an Israeli airstrike while the Israel Defence Forces say ‘intelligence from multiple sources’ who it was caused by a rocket misfired by Islamic Jihad, a Palestinian militant group.”
A less offensive passage would describe the Spanish “dispute” of April 1937 as follows:
“Basque Republicans allege that Guernica was bombed from the air by Nationalist forces, but spokespeople for Francisco Franco cite many sources to the contrary.”
Every claim has a counter-claim, but not ever counter-claim is credible. You need to inform readers about the targeting of Palestinian civilians that the whole world sees.
The Israeli government is open, as in its denial of food, water, and medical supplies to the occupied population of the Gaza Strip, in its targeting of Palestinian civilians. Positional wartime denials are a smokescreen, and a good journalist can see through them.
After the al-Ahli hospital was bombed, an Israeli army spokesperson boasted that a “number of terrorists” had been killed because the “Israeli Air Force struck a Hamas terrorist base inside a hospital in Gaza.” United States information warfare for Israel briefly followed this line. The Pentagon’s Deputy Press Secretary, Sabrina Singh, blamed Hamas for Israel’s bombing of al-Ahli on the grounds that “they are putting command and control units inside hospitals.” Then the information warfare pivoted.
You know this: Israeli denials for this bombing are implausible and prima facie incoherent.
For Western media to join Israeli and United States spokespeople in playing confused on an Israeli bombing seen and understood across the world is socially catastrophic: it drives a wedge between thinking people internationally and the followers of a he-said/she-said information warfare operation that degrades the credibility of all who entertain it.
If you nevertheless feel compelled to report Israeli information warfare, you must just the same immediately delete this front-loaded video captioned of yours:
“'They are siding with the side of darkness,' IDF spokesperson Lt.-Col. Jonathan Conricus said of people and countries who doubt Israel's claim that it was not responsible for the deadly blast at a hospital in Gaza. 'What I'm asking of our dear neighbours in the area is not to fall prey to fake news and falsehoods and lies that are doctored by a terrorist organization.'”
The “they,” here, includes all the world’s credible journalists. Are you not among them?
Sitting around the Israeli cabinet table, you know well, is a minister who literally attended a wedding “where dancing participants stabbed a picture of Ali Dawabshe, a Palestinian toddler who had been killed in a settler firebombing attack” (the Times of Israel). And during this crisis alone his government has killed more than 1,500 Palestinian children.
Playing naive may make for good North Atlantic psy-ops, but it is not credible journalism. That Israel bombed this hospital is plain; audiences deserve to know it. The prominence accorded to claims to the contrary should be commensurate with their credibility.
These are crunch times in international politics and for your profession, and we all deserve better. 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