"While it is not my role to defend Mr. Zaarour — I do not know him nor am I familiar with his broader beliefs — I am concerned that the article obscures a couple of important aspects of the Instagram post."
November 20, 2023
Fatima Raza, Journalist, Toronto Star,
Donovan Vincent, Public Editor, Toronto Star
Dear Fatima Raza and Donovan Vincent,
I am writing with concern about a few aspects of your recent article, “SickKids anesthesiologist under investigation for alleged anti-Israel comments posted online.” Your article is highly misleading in important ways.
While it is not my role to defend Mr. Zaarour — I do not know him nor am I familiar with his broader beliefs — I am concerned that the article obscures a couple of important aspects of the Instagram post.
First, it appears Mr. Zaarour was sharing someone else’s post, as you can see, faintly, another Instagram page name watermarked between the Arabic and English. This suggests he was sharing a post by someone else. Such an action on social media carries with it many implications, so it is important for the reader to know. On Twitter and Instagram this is quite common and people frequently write in their bio that a shared post is not an endorsement. It is odd that this element of the situation would be omitted from the article.
Second, it is confounding that the article would fail to mention Mr. Zaarour is sharing a quote by Imam Musa al-Sadr, a well-known Shia cleric and political figure. The article makes it sound like those are Mr. Zaarour’s words. This is highly misleading. I had an Arabic speaking colleague fact check to be sure, and they found that the quote is from al-Sadr.
I urge you to promptly add this missing context.
Another issue altogether is using Honest Reporting Canada’s (HRC) Twitter as a source. HRC promotes many far-right positions, is far outside of the mainstream in Canada, and is known for doxing and bullying individuals and journalists who say anything critical about Israel. I’d like to imagine there is a different way to show people Mr. Zaarour’s post without directing them to a HRC tweet which questionably links anti-Israel sentiment to antisemitism.
Director of Media Advocacy, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East