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Opinion: Honest Reporting Canada ‘tramples on the truth’

Such manipulative and revisionist arguments have no place in our public discourse.
An Israeli flag blows in the wind from an elevated view of the Western Wall.

I was dismayed to read Robert Walker’s response to an article published in the Prince George Citizen by Gerry Chidiac.

For the unacquainted, Robert Walker is the assistant director of the deeply biased, pro-Israel, partisan media watchdog that harasses journalists for criticism of Israel. It bears the ill-fitting name “Honest Reporting Canada.” In my experience, most journalists on the Middle East beat in Canada will roll their eyes when they hear the name.

The target of Walker’s attack – Chidiac -- made the uncontroversial point that “before European colonization,” modern-day Palestine and its surrounding territories under the Ottoman Empire were generally defined by the peaceful coexistence of many religions including Christians, Muslims, and Jews. This is especially true in comparison to other empires in the world at that time, especially those in Europe. It’s by no means a fringe point and represents a mainstream conclusion among historians today.

And yet Walker attempts to dismiss these historical facts in an effort to justify Israel’s brutal occupation. He points only to tragic events that occurred after European colonization in the lead up to the Nakba (Arabic for ‘catastrophe,’ the term refers to the violent expulsion and forced displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their land in 1948). Though it goes beyond my basic point, it should be noted that the events Walker references took place when violent Zionist paramilitary groups committed various atrocities.

Such manipulative and revisionist arguments have no place in our public discourse. While I do not agree with many points in Chidiac’s original article, I find it abhorrent to exploit its flaws to obscure its valid points and history itself.

Walker’s “Honest Reporting Canada” continues to trample on the truth.

Jason Toney

Director of the Media Accountability Project

Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME)