"By excluding any information that may have given merit to some of the criticism made against Mayor Levi, readers are given an incomplete story that favours Israel. Please link readers to Levi’s Facebook profile and include the mayor’s most recent policy proposals to make your coverage of this issue more balanced."
January 30, 2024
Jason Magder, Reporter, Montreal Gazette
Marilena Lucci, Editor-in-Chief, Montreal Gazette
Dear Jason Magder,
I am writing on behalf of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East to express my concern regarding your article titled, “B'nai Brith Canada to file second complaint against agglomeration council,” published on January 29 by Montreal Gazette
I would like to highlight issues that make your article particularly one-sided.
Firstly, your article depicts B’nai Brith Canada inaccurately. It is not just a Jewish rights organization, but a self-prescribed “staunch defender of the State of Israel,” according to their website. B’nai Brith Canada is, thus, a pro-Israel advocacy organization. I, therefore, recommend you add this to your initial description of B’nai Brith Canada.
Given that your article is reporting on B’nai Brith Canada’s claim that comments made against Mayor Levi during an agglomeration council meeting are antisemitic, information on the comments made, as well as Mayor Levi’s political and personal track record is critical. Beyond vaguely referring to complaints being made about “posts that Levi made on his public Facebook page,” no further context is provided.
Relevant information includes:
- Jeremy Levi proposed a bylaw in Hampstead, QC, giving law enforcement the power to ticket anyone caught defacing posters of the hostages held by Hamas. According to this CBC news article, all fines collected are then donated to Israel.
- Jeremy Levi’s public Facebook profile contains comments that are inflammatory and offensive, including referring to protestors in solidarity with Palestinians as ‘pro-Hamas’ and criticizing politicians who have called for a ceasefire.
By excluding any information that may have given merit to some of the criticism made against Mayor Levi, readers are given an incomplete story that favours Israel. Please link readers to Levi’s Facebook profile and include the mayor’s most recent policy proposals to make your coverage of this issue more balanced.
The article repeatedly includes parts of Jeremy Levi’s testimony, in which he claims that the insinuation that he was responsible for “the continuation of the suffering of people affected by the conflict in Israel” is “antisemitic.” You include the mayor’s testimonies without any additional context, essentially making the article a mouthpiece for his offensive comments. In his full testimony, Mayor Levi uses the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism to characterize comments made against him as “antisemitic.” Several human rights organizations have publicly rejected IHRA’s working definition of the term because it conflates the criticism of Jews with criticism of Israel and suppresses activism and speech that is critical of Israel/Zionism. I, therefore, ask that you include that B’nai Brith Canada and Jeremy Levi’s case is built off IHRA’s working definition of antisemitism. The limitations of this definition should also be included for readers to understand the weak merits of the case.
I hope The Gazette will promptly make these edits.
Media Analyst, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East