"It is a disservice to your readers to focus solely on the accounts of highly partisan organizations. The criticisms of these groups run far and wide."
December 21, 2023
Bryan Passifiume, Journalist, National Post
Rob Roberts, Editor, National Post
Dear Bryan Passifiume and Rob Roberts,
I’m writing to express various concerns about your recent article, “Hamas thanks Canada for backing ceasefire in Gaza: 'We welcome these developments.'”
First, you write that Dr. Ghazi Hamad “described Israel’s attempt to eliminate Hamas from Gaza as a ‘genocide.’” This is a misrepresentation of Hamad’s words.
Hamad says right at the start:
For the past 73 days, the fascist Israeli occupation has been conducting its genocide war against our Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip using all kinds of weapons, ammunition, and internally prohibited bombs, and indiscriminately bombing schools, tents, that house hundreds of thousands of displaced, and hospitals protected by international humanitarian law.
Whether you agree with him or not, what he is describing as genocide is not “Israel’s attempt to eliminate Hamas,” as you write, but rather Israel’s attacks against “Palestinian people… schools, tents… and hospitals protected by international humanitarian law.” He goes on to complain, at length, about the murder of innocent civilians and unarmed people. He is not describing Israel’s attempt to eliminate Hamas, but Israel’s killing of innocents. Your description fundamentally misrepresents Hamad’s statements. Again, this is not a matter of whether one agrees or disagrees with Hamad. I am not defending his comments, that is not my purpose. Rather, it is a matter of journalistic integrity and the obvious misrepresentation of someone’s statements.
I insist that you clarify your statement to make clear that Hamad was referring to Israel’s attacks on Palestinian civilians and protected infrastructure.
For Arabic translation of another point, you rely on the Middle East Media Research Group (MEMRI), a demonstrably pro-Israel group that experts have criticized for translations that deliberately cast Arabic speakers in a negative light. You then cite NGO Monitor, another demonstrably pro-Israel group. It is a disservice to your readers to focus solely on the accounts of highly partisan organizations. The criticisms of these groups run far and wide. They should call into question, for any fair-minded the journalist, the value and ethics of citing them as a reliable source without mentioning these widespread concerns around their work.
Please provide information for you readers about MEMRI and NGO Monitor, as they are not reliable sources of non-partisan information.
Director of Media Advocacy, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East