By Hanna Kawas
The following letter was sent yesterday to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) regarding their biased coverage of the Land Day massacre. This is just one example of the unbalanced reporting by the North American mainstream media on the Palestinian narrative. The letter will be hand delivered today, on April 6 during a solidarity vigil for Palestine at the Vancouver offices of CBC, Canada’s national public broadcaster.
Re: Your coverage of the Land Day massacre in Gaza
You state that you “are independent of all lobbies and of all political and economic influence.” This might be true regarding the government that pays for your operations and wages but we regret to say it is definitely NOT true with the pro-Israeli lobby. Once again you were influenced by their lobbying and succumbed to their dictates, propaganda and falsehoods, even in regards to the use of specific language.
Let us start with how the CBC has tried to obscure Israel’s premeditated killing of unarmed protesters by instead talking about “clashes” and “confrontations” and “rock throwing”. The lack of accuracy in your CBC News March 30, 2018 report is but one example. The narrator says:
“Israeli forces responded with force against rock throwing Palestinian protesters, at least seven Palestinians have been killed, hundreds more has been wounded.”
And then your correspondent Derek Stoffel reported:
“some of those men were throwing stones and Molotov cocktail at the Israeli forces on the other side and they responded with tear gas with rubber bullets and in some cases with live ammunition…”.
(Notice the downplaying of the use of live ammunition, which contradicts hospital reports of the wounded).
Also, your web article on March 30 from the AP ran with the subtitle:- “’Right of return’ mass sit-in organized by Hamas escalated into rock-slinging, tear gas firing” as if rocks and tear gas are more deadly than live ammunition! You would think that all this “rioting” “violence” and the “throwing of stones and Molotov cocktails” that you emphasized would have left some Israeli casualties as well, but no, we did not hear from your reporter or any other reporter about Israeli causalities because there were none.
Such reporting makes you complicit with Israeli war crimes and brutality, noting that your description of what happened is a carbon copy of the Israeli military briefings. The same logic of blaming the victim was also reported by Mr. Stoffel on the National later the same day.
How about the reports from the Israeli Human Rights group, B’tselem, who not only warned in advance that the Israeli military were about to conduct a massacre, but have launched a new public campaign calling on Israeli soldiers to refuse such orders to shoot at unarmed protesters? How about the IDF tweet, later deleted, that bragged they “knew where every bullet landed”? How about Gideon Levy, from Israeli newspaper Haaretz, who coined the term Israel Massacre Forces after last Friday?
For a contrast, from reporters live on the ground, you could have checked out Al Jazeera reporting which stated, “As unarmed protesters marched toward the border fence, Israeli soldiers opened fire.”
So much for your stated values of “Accuracy, Fairness, Balance, Impartiality and Integrity”.
And why is it in all your reporting you did not mention that Israel and its backer, the U.S., adamantly refused to accept any UN independent investigation? What are Israel and the US afraid of? Unearthing the TRUTH?
Now, let’s move to language regarding the Palestinian refugees and how you followed the dictates of the Zionist lobby group “Honest Reporting”.
There was an initial Derek Stoffel report that we can no longer find on the internet anywhere, except on the “Honest Reporting” website post. They complained in regards to this report, that “it’s false to claim that in the 1948 war that ‘hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were forced from their homes during the Israeli War of Independence in 1948…’”.
They then dictated to you what is acceptable terminology by saying, “It’s accurate to say that they were ‘displaced,’ but conventional reportage dictates that journalists say that the Palestinians voluntarily ‘fled’ … It’s unfair to say that all were “forced from their homes…”.
And sure enough, the same day, in a later report, Mr. Stoffel corrected himself and he stated after stumbling briefly, that the protesters were “demanding the right of return, that people head to their homes…where they had to ‘flee’ when the state of Israel was created.”
For your information what happened in 1948 was not a “WAR”, it was an act of aggression and genocide. Check your facts with the Palestinian historian Walid Khalidi and his book “All That Remains: The Palestinian Villages Occupied and Depopulated by Israel in 1948”, the story of the over 400 Palestinian villages that were destroyed or depopulated. You could also consult with the Israeli historian Ilan Pappe and his book “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine” before you jump to follow the dictates of a foreign interest group.
There was another criticism of Stoffel’s original report from “Honest Reporting”, which was using the term Palestinians when talking about the 6 victims of the original Land Day. His initial report stated:
“on Land Day, that’s the day in which Palestinians commemorate the shootings and killings by Israel of six Palestinians back in 1976 as Israel was involved in a program of confiscating land.”
While they curiously did not object to the stated facts of what happened on Land Day 1976, they dictated to you that other news agencies call them Arabs and you should too. Israel calls its Palestinians citizens Arabs to deny the existence of the indigenous population of Palestine.
Their slogan always has been “A land without people”. And once again on cue, later in the day, your correspondent Mr. Stoffel dropped Land Day 1976 altogether from one report, while on the National he got in step and called the murdered Palestinians “Arab Israelis”: “The march began as Palestinians marked Land Day to commemorate the six Arab Israelis killed by Israel …”
While all Palestinians are culturally Arabs and are proud of it, most of the two million Palestinian Israelis consider themselves Palestinian. Has Mr. Stoffel seen what kind of flags the Palestinian Israelis carry when they commemorate Land Day and other Palestinian occasions?
Finally, Mr. Stoffel considers the “six weeks of sustained protests on Fridays” “a new security threat for Israel” and also thinks “the right of return … will be a security threat.”
On May 11/1949, Canada co-sponsored the U.N. General Assembly resolution 273 to admit Israel as a state to the U.N. on condition that Israel implements two resolutions – UN resolution 194 (the Right of Return), and UN resolution 181 (the Partition Plan). Israel never implemented these two resolutions in addition to hundreds of UN Security and General Assembly resolutions that have stayed on the shelves collecting dust for the past seventy years.
Wouldn’t a sane person conclude that Israel has been the true security threat not only to the Palestinians and Arabs but also to the peoples of the world?
CBC is unabashedly supporting Israeli ethnic cleansing, war crimes and Apartheid. We ask you to respect your stated values, especially accuracy and impartiality, and to not cave in to the pressure of a lobby group that is more concerned with serving a foreign government than in bringing the truth to the public in Canada.
– Hanna Kawas is Chairperson of the Canada Palestine Association and co-host of Voice of Palestine. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. Visit: http://www.cpavancouver.org.