"By the way it is written, it's assumed that the 26,000 are Israeli casualties, which is false. The 26,000 people who have been killed are Palestinians, and Israeli forces have killed them."
February 2, 2024
Shaun Polczer, News Reporter, Western Standard
Dave Naylor, News Editor & Calgary Bureau Chief, Western Standard
Dear Shaun Polczer and Dave Naylor,
I am writing to express concern for your article: “Palestinian protestors block Port of Vancouver over ‘genocide’ claims, halting $300 billion in trade,” published on February 1 in Western Standard.
There are several issues in your article that make it inaccurate and misleading.
First, in your headline, the word genocide is in quotation marks, although it’s about the claims and that the ICJ ruled on the plausibility of the genocide.
Your headline also insinuates that the pro-Palestine protestors are responsible for halting a year's worth of trade with their action, which is bold and false to even make. How can an action affect a $ 300 billion-year trade?
I, therefore, ask you to remove the quotation marks and the words: halting $300 billion in trade from your headline to make your article more accurate, fair, and balanced toward that action.
Second, four sentences are poorly written, making the information inaccurate.
Polczer writes that pro-Palestinian protestors “are calling the situation in Gaza 'genocide,' ” but this has been ruled as plausible by the ICJ. This is not just a claim coming from the protesters. Such a sentence discredits a well-founded claim.
Polczer writes: “It's not exactly clear – if any – direct aid Canada provides Israel's military.”
Direct aid is not the correct term to use as it's about arms sales, and Canadian private military companies do sell arms to Israel. This is not an accurate claim to make.
Polczer also writes: “After the October 7 attacks that killed Israelis 1,200 civilians and sparked a massive response that has killed at least 26,000 more.”
This sentence is not only inaccurate, as the number 1,200 encompasses civilians and Israeli soldiers, but it is also misleading.
By the way it is written, it's assumed that the 26,000 are Israeli casualties, which is false. The 26,000 people who have been killed are Palestinians, and Israeli forces have killed them.
Polczer writes: “It comes after a mixed ruling from South Africa at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague that failed to label Israel's bombing campaign a 'genocide.' ”
This is not true. Israel's case at the ICJ was never about ruling if there is a genocide or not, as it will take years to assess this.
The ICJ did, however, rule that genocide is plausible and that Israel must take every action to prevent it.
I, therefore, ask Polczer to clarify these sentences to make them accurate and to not further mislead readers.
On a final note, I find it deeply disappointing that a legitimate act of protest to bring attention to a genocide would be presented as a disruptor of Canada’s trade.
While Palestinians are getting killed, the article should have focused on the situation in Gaza and the context to understand the idea behind the protest, not on economics. It is distasteful.
I hope Western Standard will make these changes and report on pro-Palestine protests and protestors in a fair, accurate, and balanced way.
Media Analyst, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East