"This chant is not hate speech or a call to hate crime. Unfortunately, it has been time and time again unfairly described as such by pro-Israel organizations to prevent legitimate criticism of the State of Israel and its actions, and mentioning only this interpretation of the chant makes the article biased."
January 25, 2024
Stephanie Taylor, Reporter, Canadian Press
Andrea Baillie, Editor-in-Chief, Canadian Press
Dear Stephanie Taylor and Andrea Baillie,
I am writing to express my concern about the article: “Universities say calling for genocide against Jews violates rules, silent on Israel,” published on January 24 in Canadian Press.
I would like to bring your attention to three main issues that make your article unbalanced, unfair, and inaccurate.
First, you write: “The war, precipitated by the deadly terrorist attacks on civilians in southern Israel last October, has left more than 25,000 Palestinians dead, including many children, Hamas officials in Gaza say.”
The words dead and many undermine Israel’s actions and dehumanize Palestinians. The word killed and majority are more appropriate and accurate when mentioning Palestinian casualties as they resulted because of Israel’s bombardment campaign in Gaza that killed majoritarily children and women.
I, therefore, suggest changing the word dead to the word killed and many to a majority of children and women to be more accurate, fair, and balanced.
Second, you write: “Since it began, police across Canada have reported a sharp spike in antisemitic hate crimes.”
I, therefore, suggest adding the words and anti-islamophobia after the word antisemitic to be more fair and balanced.
Third, your article misrepresents the calls in the pro-Palestine campus protests by describing them as “calling for genocide of the Jewish people or the elimination of the state of Israel.”
Any hate or crime against a religious, social, or ethnic group should be condemned and prosecuted. However, this depiction is misleading as it is about the “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” chant. This chant is not hate speech or a call to hate crime. Unfortunately, it has been time and time again unfairly described as such by pro-Israel organizations to prevent legitimate criticism of the State of Israel and its actions, and mentioning only this interpretation of the chant makes the article biased.
This article covers the same issue of universities’ stance on this chant but actually mentions and explains the chant to its readers accurately.
Here is what is written about it:
Among the flashpoints on campuses and elsewhere has been the refrain "from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free" often chanted during protests. It references the territory between the Jordan river and the Mediterranean Sea, which includes Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. Some hear the slogan — which dates back decades — as a broad aspirational call for a Palestinian state, others interpret it as a call for the elimination of Israel, which some say amounts to a call for genocide.
As can be read in the paragraph above, the chant is described accurately and fairly as a call for a Palestinian state.
I, therefore, suggest mentioning the chant and its meaning to make your article fair, balanced, and accurate.
I hope Canadian Press will make these changes and report on pro-Palestine campus protests in an accurate, fair, and balanced manner to not further mislead its readers.
Media Analyst, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East