Media Complicity in Demonizing Palestinians

York University Update

“The damage has been done, the smear was repeated and repeated, and a half-hearted revision five days after the first story will not undue the harm that has been caused.”

This quote is from the article posted on the CPA website yesterday, entitled “Jerusalem Post admits to printing false info about York University protest”. That article detailed how false and dangerous accusations against pro-Palestinian supporters in a Jerusalem Post story had lacked any credible evidence and were eventually revised in updated versions.

But indeed, the smear becomes accepted fact. Just today, November 28, 2019, the Toronto Sun carried an inflammatory article by Joe Warmington, entitled “Did York University protestors commit a hate crime?” repeating the same false accusation, again referencing the Jerusalem Post and its quote from Shar Leyb. The original Sun article declared: “One person they may want to talk with is Calgary-born Shar Leyb, a Reservists on Duty speaker who — according to the Jerusalem Post — said “there were hundreds of posters that read ‘stop the IDF killers on campus,’ and ‘we do not let Zionists on York University campus” and we heard some outside chanting “Intifada, Intifada, go back to the ovens, you belong in Europe.’ I have never felt so much hate in my life.”

However, after we pointed out to them in an email exchange that even the Jerusalem Post had revised that quote and removed the second part of it, the Sun has now also revised their story. Mind you, they did not feel compelled to alter the misleading title.

Following the original exchange with the Jerusalem Post and a further query by Dimitri Lascaris, the paper is now on the 5th version of this particular article. FIVE versions in less than a week. Surely that points to the lack of any credibility of the one biased source for this information. Nonetheless, JPost still insists on repeating it in their introductory paragraph, although attributing it to only “several” protestors.

Even the right-wing FrontPage Mag has revised its story on who alleges to have heard this “chant” and the exact wording involved, but they also are still insisting on leading with this claim in their article and even in their title. Their source is also Shar Leyb, not surprisingly the same source as the Jerusalem Post.

This is how media works to demonize Palestinians and their struggle. First, its an angry mob of 600 who chanted this offensive slogan, then it was downgraded to a handful or several protestors. Then the actual quote from the one source is completely removed from the Jerusalem Post. But the seed has been planted and the tags of racist and anti-Semitic have been loosely thrown around, with even the spectre of “hate crimes” brought up. Will anyone, including PM Justin Trudeau, bother to review all of these developments and admit they were wrong to issue their dangerous accusations of anti-Semitism? And recognize the harm caused by their rush to embrace such fabrications and deceptions?