"Several components of this article are offensive. To say that the war that began on Oct. 7 has “reportedly claimed more than 25,000 lives” is incredibly misleading."
January 25, 2024
Paul Samyn, Winnipeg Free Press
Joshua Frey-Sam, Winnipeg Free Press
Dear Mr. Samyn and Frey-Sam,
I am writing to express concern regarding an article, “Young Israeli skaters get a reprieve from the horrors back home,” published on January 21, 2024.
Several components of this article are offensive. To say that the war that began on Oct. 7 has “reportedly claimed more than 25,000 lives” is incredibly misleading. By not distinguishing between Israeli and Palestinian deaths and, instead, attributing their deaths to an ambiguous “war,” Israel is absolved of any responsibility for killing more than 25,000 people in Gaza.
Further, you write that every player on Maccabi Metula, a youth hockey team in Israel, has “been displaced from their home” after Oct. 7. Some residents of Metula have left voluntarily and others, who were within 2km of Israel’s border with Lebanon, were explicitly asked by the Israeli army to avoid conflicts between Israel and Hezbollah.
While 3 Israelis in Metula have suffered minor injuries since Oct. 7, almost 64,000 people have been wounded in Gaza, and at least 25,700 have been killed. The stark asymmetry between the deaths and injuries of those in Gaza and those in Metula makes it fundamentally irresponsible to conflate the death tolls, obscuring the drastically different experiences the ongoing conflict has had on Palestinians and Israelis.
I also found an issue with your description of Israel as “war-torn.” After facing about 1,200 deaths on October 7, Israel secured its territory from Hamas within a couple of days. It is a misrepresentation of reality to say that Israel is “war-torn” while the brunt of the war– in the form of mass casualties and mass destruction of infrastructure– has been in Gaza. The term “war-torn” is loaded. It is inappropriate to apply it to Israel and not to Palestine.
Please consider reading the International Press Institute’s useful document, “Use With Care: A Reporter’s Glossary of Loaded Language in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.” While the term “war-torn” is not in the document, I believe the spirit of the advice applies in this context.
All of these mistakes require immediate correction and an editor’s note.