"You quote Levitt saying that Trudeau's comments have the potential to further antisemitism, which participates in the conflation of antisemitism and antizionism. This common current recurrence that prevents any criticism against Israel, which is even more ridiculous since Trudeau's soft statements cannot even be interpreted as a criticism against the state of Israel."
November 29, 2023
Peter Zimonjic, Senior Writer, CBC News
Nancy Waugh, Sr. Manager, CBC
Dear Peter Zimonjic and Nancy Waugh,
I am writing to express concern about your article: “Trudeau offended Israel with call for ʻmaximum restraint,ʼ says Israeli president” published on November 27 in CBC News.
Your article is deeply one-sided as it doesn’t challenge the information and people it cites and excludes essential elements of context.
First, by the quotes included in the article, this article presents Israel as a country that would never harm any civilians from Gaza without even mentioning anything about Israel's actions since October 7 that are nothing close to showing great care for the Palestinian people. 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. This one-sidedness from CBC is profoundly unsettling and an insult to journalism and its basic standards.
You include a quote from Netanyahu saying, “Israel is doing everything to keep civilians out of harm's way, Hamas is doing everything to keep them in harm’s way,” which implies that Palestinians are responsible for their deaths.
You also don’t challenge Netanyahu saying that “Israel has been providing Palestinian civilians in Gaza with humanitarian corridors and safe zones,” as if it is a charitable action by Israel and not in itself a violation of international humanitarian law and a way for Israel to forcibly displace Palestinians as they’re being targeted.
To respect your fundamental journalistic obligation of fairness, I suggest adding information about Israel's actions since October 7.
Second, this article only quotes pro-Israel voices (Herzog, Netanyahu, and the president and CEO of Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Centre, Michael Levitt) and Trudeau making false claims without providing any evidence.
You quote Herzog saying, “We tell them please move out of your premises, because out of your premises missiles were launched against us, terror operations came out of your premises, from your houses, from your shops, from your mosques,” which furthers the unproven narrative that Hamas hides in these places and that Israel was right for targeting them.
You quote Trudeau and Netanyahu saying that Hamas uses Palestinians as human shields, although no evidence is provided, and Israel is the one that has used Palestinians as human shields.
You quote Levitt saying that Trudeau's comments have the potential to further antisemitism, which participates in the conflation of antisemitism and antizionism. This common current recurrence that prevents any criticism against Israel, which is even more ridiculous since Trudeau's soft statements cannot even be interpreted as a criticism against the state of Israel.
I suggest adding critical perspectives and evidence to the reported claims to respect your fundamental journalistic obligation of being accurate and balanced.
Third, this article publishes quotes from Herzog and Netanyahu using hate speech, which wouldn’t even have been published if it was addressed to Israelis. This furthers the media’s double standard of allowing hate speech towards Palestinians and Muslims while only condemning hate speech towards Israel and Jewish People.
You quote Herzog saying that Hamas's actions amount to the work of an “empire of evil” that has ambitions beyond this country. This is a clear association with extreme Islamist groups such as ISIS, a narrative that Israel has been using since October 7, which only furthers anti-Palestinian racism and islamophobia.
You publish a quote from Netanyahu qualifying Hamas's actions as barbarism and implying that they are not human, let alone civilized, since the only way to defeat it is by the “forces of civilization” backing Israel.
I do not understand how CBC thought that this language is not fueling hate and publishing it nonetheless.
I hope CBC will make these changes and cover events in Palestine-Israel in a complete and balanced manner and not further anti-Palestinian racism and Islamophobia. This current article is not what real journalism is supposed to be.
Media Analyst, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East