"This is such a bold and extraordinary claim, which Marie Woolf has editorialized in an even more sensationalist fashion, that readers deserve more information. While such a thing may have been said, and ought to be condemned if it was, to make this particularly hateful phrase seem like part of some pro-Hamas movement is a spectacular claim for a serious journalist to make."
January 25, 2024
Marie Woolf, Globe and Mail
Sandra E. Martin, Globe and Mail
Dear Marie Woolf and Sandra E. Martin,
I’m writing to express concern about a recent article, “Lawyers prepare legal action against schools across Canada over rising antisemitism,” published on January 24, 2024.
The abuse of any child is intolerable, and any Jewish child suffering discrimination is too many. With that said, your article includes extraordinary claims and it is unclear if the Globe and Mail was provided any evidence of them. Some strike me as odd and unbelievable. For example, you write:
Tamara Gottlieb, founder of Fairness in Education, a task force designed to protect students and teachers from rising antisemitism and racism in schools, said she has been inundated with calls from Jewish teachers, parents and children, including those enduring chants of “we are going to finish the job that Hamas started – Jews must die.”
Did the Tamara Gottlieb of Fairness in Education provide any evidence of this claim? The quote “We are going to finish the job that Hamas started – Jews must die” is a chant? Chanted by whom? A chant so common it is “enduring?” This is such a bold and extraordinary claim, which Marie Woolf has editorialized in an even more sensationalist fashion, that readers deserve more information. While such a thing may have been said, and ought to be condemned if it was, to make this particularly hateful phrase seem like part of some pro-Hamas movement is a spectacular claim for a serious journalist to make.
This anecdote was followed up by a story of a Jewish boy being taunted with nazi flags and music. Again, does Globe and Mail have evidence of this? Are there really students parading around Canadian schools with nazi flags intimidating other children? Again, antisemitism should be taken seriously, but journalists have a duty to qualify what is hearsay and what they have been shown evidence of and have reason to believe. If you were provided with any evidence, please provide it. If not, these kinds of claims should be adequately qualified.
Without addressing these concerns, readers should regard many of these claims as little more than hearsay. I’d like to believe that the Globe and Mail would rely on more than hearsay in its reporting on such serious matters.
In an almost tokenizing moment, Islamophobia and anti-Palestinian racism are mentioned in 2 sentences. A brief aside. As if the abuse of Muslim and Palestinian children is less important or notable.
It only reinforces the suspicion that there is a bias underlying these claims, as the report relies heavily on the claims of representatives of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, an explicitly pro-Israel advocacy organization that supports the continuation of attacks on Gaza.
I expect some clarity on whether this article meets the Globe and Mail’s standards and how any violations will be resolved.
Director of Media Advocacy, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East