Palestinian voices absent in one-sided article about a pro-Palestine protest

"Please publish a correction to remove the suggestion that all protesters support the Houthi Motto as this claim is entirely uncorroborated, and add missing Palestinian perspectives."

January 23, 2024


Bryan Passifiume, Journalist, National Post

Rob Roberts, Editor-in-Chief, National Post

Dear Mr Passifiume and Mr Roberts,

I am writing on behalf of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (, Saskatoon Chapter, to express serious concerns about your January 22  news article  " OPSEU silent as members raise alarm over union banner at anti-Israel pro-Houthi protest"  which is completely one-sided.

Your article  refers to "recent anti-Israel demonstrations."

Protests take place across the country  each weekend and are most often described by other media as 'pro- Palestine' or 'pro-Israel', the former generally calling for ceasefire, a weapons embargo and entry of aid, the latter for the release of Israeli hostages. Humanitarian and legitimate calls.

Specifically, you refer to a January 14th  protest where  two OPSEU flags were displayed and protesters chanted " Yemen Yemen, make us proud, turn another ship around."

As  indicated on the event poster, the demands were: "ceasefire now, end complicity with Israel and lift the siege on Gaza". 'Complicity' refers to Canada's arming Israel. The Arms Trade Treaty  prohibits sending arms to countries committing  human rights violations, which in Israel's case have been exhaustively documented for decades. During the first Intifada (uprising ) Canada imposed a two-way arms embargo as a response to Israel's  violence against Palestinians. [1]

The OPSEU members quoted in your article appear to have interpreted  the use of the "Yemen" chant as an indication that protesters also endorse the antisemitic Houthi motto "death to America, death to Israel, a curse upon the Jews."

The Houthis are targeting Israeli-related ships or those that are heading to Israel to show support for Palestine and for Israel to stop its bombardment campaign on Gaza.

Houthi spokesperson Yahya Sare'e has stated  the attacks, which have so far not resulted in casualties, will "continue until enough food aid and medicine are delivered into Gaza"  and "Israel ceases its aggression." [2] [3] This is in line with the demands  demonstrators are making globally.

In your article, Ms Lee-Segal, claims " protesters supporting antisemitic terrorists are 'calling for my death'." and "I feel uncomfortable walking down the halls of my hospital thinking 'I wonder if that OPSEU member wants me to die."

You let this stand unchallenged, without asking for input from protesters,.leaders or speakers at the rally. In doing so, you are promoting the narrative that all protesters want to kill Jews. This is irresponsible, dangerous  and engenders unnecessary fear in readers.

Another member is quoted: " To see them marching in this rally,  they're not representing me or any Jewish OPSEU member."

Perhaps so, but this sweeping  statement by one Jewish  union member needs corroboration.

The Canadian Jewish community is not a monolith. Diverse Jewish voices deserve to be heard, not all use the same definition of antisemitism and it  should be recognized that  48% of Canadian Jews agree that accusations of antisemitism are often used to silence legitimate criticism of Israeli  government policies.[4]

After referring to the protest as 'antisemitic', you quote CIJA Vice President Richard Marceau: "OPSEU's silence... is in a way condoning these hateful statements."

You do not clarify which 'statements' he refers to.which makes this article  incomplete.

The National Post  breaches journalistic standards by not including a range of voices. In this case, leaders and protesters who could have been asked about the intent of the demonstration including the Yemen chant. CIJA sources are given voice  twice, but CIJA does not represent all Canadian Jews. [4]  Most importantly, the Palestinian voice is  conspicuously  absent in an article about a pro-Palestine demonstration.

Please publish a correction to remove the suggestion that all protesters support the Houthi Motto as this claim is entirely uncorroborated, and add missing  Palestinian perspectives.

Finally, while almost every single article about Gaza or Palestinians  I have read  includes the (now outdated but still used) paragraph [5] about the Hamas attack on Israel with the taking of 240 hostages, there is not a mention  in your article about the 25900 Palestinians killed or the "mass enforced disappearances of possibly  thousands of Palestinians" including children.[6] from Northern Gaza.


Renée Nunan-Rappard