"The press statement also shows that the protests at Avenue Road were part of a larger effort, which included protests at high-visibility sites all over Toronto and Ontario. This further undermines any suggestion that the protest was related to the Jewish character of the area."
January 9, 2024
Isaac Callan, Journalist, Global News
Amanda Connolly, Managing Editor of Politic & Breaking News, Global News
Rebecca Joseph, Online Managing Editor, Global News
Dear Isaac Callan, Amanda Connolly, and Rebecca Joseph,
I am writing to express concern about the article, “Toronto looks for ways to limit Avenue Road demonstrations above Highway 401,” published on January 6 in Toronto Sun.
Your article inaccurately describes the pro-Palestine protests that took place at Avenue Road and Highway 401.
You write: “the recurrent demonstration at Avenue Road bridge over the 401 Highway has been criticized by some city councillors and Jewish groups for its location in a neighbourhood with a large Jewish population.”
Your article misrepresents the protests, explaining that their location was based on targeting a neighbourhood “with a large Jewish population.” This claim is demonstrably false.
The organizers of the protests released a press statement, “Eglinton-Lawrence & Don Valley 4 Palestine,” which makes clear that the protests are in no way targeting Jewish people or even taking place in the location because it is a “Jewish neighborhood.” Many of the organizers are Jewish and live in the neighbourhood; others are not Jewish but also live there. The organizers write:
We are exercising our right to peaceful assembly in our own neighborhood by attending recent rallies at 401 @ Avenue, a busy overpass and intersection with high visibility and sidewalks. We are NOT protesting in this intersection because of its “high Jewish population.” We are protesting because of its accessibility to us and its visibility. […] It should be noted that this action follows the model of similar 401 banner drops organized in solidarity with Ukraine – actions that raised no similar objections.
The above statement, from the organizers themselves, shows that claiming that the protest was chosen because of its Jewish population is false.
The press statement also shows that the protests at Avenue Road were part of a larger effort, which included protests at high-visibility sites all over Toronto and Ontario. This further undermines any suggestion that the protest was related to the Jewish character of the area.
Such words seek to undermine the actions they have undertaken all over the country and not specifically in “Jewish neighborhoods.”
In that sense, it should be mentioned that a 2021 census determined that nearly 400,000 persons in Canada identify as Jewish by religion or ethnicity. One-half of them live in Toronto. In other words, there is a high probability that an overpass will be located near a neighborhood where a lot of Jewish people reside.
I, therefore, ask to remove the words in a neighbourhood with a large Jewish population to not mislead your readers.
I also suggest adding a reference to this press statement and giving voice to the organizers of the Toronto January 6 protest to counterbalance the critics’ point of view.
Given all of this evidence, I ask for corrections to ensure that this article respects the journalistic obligations of accuracy and fairness.
I hope Global News will not further mislead its readers regarding the pro-Palestine protests and their intentions.
Media Analyst, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East