"Many of Dr. Rosenberg’s accusations would normally lead CBC to seek out a right of reply from the parties facing such strong condemnations. Why should this case be any different? Again, this article and the situation appear to be a flashpoint in BC and deserve better and more fair coverage than this."
January 8, 2024
Nancy Waugh, CBC
Brodie Fenlon, CBC
Dear Nancy Waugh and Brodie Fenlon,
I’m writing to share concerns related to the recent article in CBC News BC, “UBC family medicine prof resigns, claiming antisemitism in faculty and student body.” I’ve received a few notes from readers expressing disappointment with the article and have noticed a flurry of debate on web forums discussing it.
Unfortunately, everyone debating the issue is grasping at straws, largely because the CBC article is so vague and unverifiable. I’m surprised it was published in such an incomplete state. As it stands, it is highly one-sided.
Dr. Ted Rosenberg’s resignation letter mentions “a medical student petition entitled ‘A Call to Action for Gaza’ contains demonizing rhetoric that dehumanizes Israelis and Jews.” Unfortunately, this document is not publicly available. Was CBC able to confirm that this characterization was at all fair? Why would medical students not be given the opportunity to discuss the petition?
CTV News reported on the petition. They write:
CTV News has obtained the document, which does "not condone the actions of Hamas in attacking Israeli citizens and taking hostages" and voices solidarity for Palestinians they describe as "continually abused, traumatized and killed by the settler state of Israel."
Given this was all that CTV News pulled out of the petition, it’s more than surprising that CBC would report that the petition “contains demonizing rhetoric that dehumanizes Israelis and Jews” without challenge or significant qualification. Readers deserve to know if CBC itself was able to assess the document. CBC should also give an appropriate party the ability to respond. As it stands, there is only a vague response from a University spokesperson. A separate petition was launched by faculty and students to condemn the administration for its public statements on the ongoing situation in Gaza. It seems clear that the University itself would not be an appropriate party to comment on the claims being made by Dr. Rosenberg, which specifically target medical students.
Many of Dr. Rosenberg’s accusations would normally lead CBC to seek out a right of reply from the parties facing such strong condemnations. Why should this case be any different? Again, this article and the situation appear to be a flashpoint in BC and deserve better and more fair coverage than this.
Please let me know if this article meets CBC’s Standards and, if not, what might be done to resolve the issues. At the least, I would insist that CBC report further on the story to help shed light on what is currently a confusing and essentially one-sided story.
Director of Media Advocacy, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East