"Ironically, you invited such a guest to discuss the media’s response to the events in Gaza while letting him spread more disinformation, misinformation, and hate speech and not challenge him."
Greg Brady, Host, Toronto Today, 640 Toronto
Heather Purdon, Senior Content & Chase Producer, 640 Toronto
Dear Greg Brady and Heather Purdon,
I'm writing on behalf of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME, https://www.cjpme.org) to express our concerns about the October 25 radio segment with Robert Walker, Assistant Director of Honest Reporting Canada.
It is concerning that you would invite a guest from an openly pro-Israeli organization that attacks fair and balanced media coverage about Palestine-Israel.
Ironically, you invited such a guest to discuss the media’s response to the events in Gaza while letting him spread more disinformation, misinformation, and hate speech and not challenge him.
Here are the problematic remarks that the guest made on-air that you did not challenge:
- Qualifying Hamas as grotesque, medieval, demonic terrorists
- The “from the river to the sea” chant, being antisemitic in nature meant to be a trope to end the State of Israel and exterminate all the Jewish People in it
- Gaza’s occupation by Israel is a widespread line of disinformation since Israel hasn’t done so for 18 years
- Stating that the root cause of this conflict is the stubborn refusal to accept Israel’s right to exist and to see every single Jew as a legitimate target for terrorism
- Stating that Hamas is a group that wants to destroy Israel from top to bottom and replace it with a state like ISIS
- Genocide “claims” are nonsense, and “there’s no basis to this”
- Legitimizing genocide (your guest doesn’t make any distinction between self-defence and proportionate response); “Unfortunately, Israel doesn’t have the right, but indeed an obligation to do what it can, doing anything less than that will ultimately be a complete failure of responsibility.”
Here’s how you should have challenged him since it is your journalistic obligation to do so:
First, Hamas was elected in fair and open elections in 2006 (which was affirmed by non-partisan international election monitors), and given that it has a wide membership in Gaza, including many aspects of civil society, not just military affairs. In Gaza, Hamas is far more than a militant group. It provides social services and runs media outlets. Hamas members include a wide variety of ordinary people — innocent civilians — in Gaza who have no ties to military activity whatsoever. You just enabled hate speech by letting slide such derogatory terms and letting your guest compare it to ISIS.
Second, the “from the river to the sea” chant is not antisemitic, and stating that the root cause of this conflict is the stubborn refusal to accept Israel’s right to exist and to see every single Jew as a legitimate target for terrorism is completely false.
It is a chant for the liberation of Palestine and the end of its occupation by Israel. In other terms, it’s a chant claiming the same rights for Palestinians and Israelis under one single country. By qualifying this chant as “terrible” and not challenging him, you then again are partaking in hate speech, disinformation, and misinformation.
Third, Gaza is still considered occupied by Israel. Israel “disengaged” from Gaza in 2005, which means that it removed its illegal settlements and its ground forces from the territory. However, Gaza is still under Israel’s effective control (and, hence, remains “occupied”) according to key experts in the international, humanitarian, and human rights sectors, such as the UN, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Save the Children, Oxfam, Islamic Relief, Human Rights Watch (HRW), Amnesty International and Israeli human rights groups including B’Tselem and the Gisha-Legal Center for Freedom of Movement. [i]
It is not a widespread line of disinformation, and saying the contrary and not challenging this idea is partaking in disinformation.
Fourth, according to scholars and the UN Special Rapporteur on the Occupied Palestinian Territories since 2022, Francesa Albanese, the ongoing situation in Gaza can be qualified as a genocide. They are not “claims,” and there is “a basis for this”.
Fifth, letting your guest say that: “Unfortunately, Israel doesn’t have the right, but indeed an obligation to do what it can, [and that] doing anything less than that will ultimately be a complete failure of responsibility.” is utterly irresponsible on your part. You’re partaking in the justification of war crimes. You should have challenged him since a lot of experts have stated that Israel has already exceeded its right to self-defence and that its response amounts to collective punishment. We are way beyond a proportionate response.
As a radio host, you ought to know better and not add fuel to the situation, which you did by asking him a question about the “From the river to the sea” chant. You are in a clear violation of CBSC codes. The Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ Code of Ethics states that the full, fair, and proper presentation of radio content is the responsibility of each broadcast and applies to your guests. The Equitable Portrayal Code makes clear that stereotyping, harmful and inaccurate portrayal, and unbalanced portrayal are all journalistic violations.
We, therefore, ask for on-air corrections and an apology.
You can contact me at 438-380-5410 for more information or additional comment.
Media Analyst, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East
[i] For further sources and documentation, see CJPME’s essay, “Why Gaza is ‘occupied’ under Israeli effective