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Headlines and Deadlines Blog

Globe and Mail Reporter Unfairly Singles Out Israel

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posted by Mike Fegelman

In a recent HRC special report, we documented five glaring examples of Globe and Mail bias against Israel, wherein the Globe produced problematic content with an overt anti-Israel slant and failed to remedy its journalist shortcomings.

This anti-Israel trend continued on January 23 with a report by Patrick Martin, a Global Affairs reporter at the Globe and this publication’s former Mideast bureau chief. 

The article entitled “Ottawa brings fresh vibe to festering age-old issues in Middle East” saw Martin claim that: “In lawless Libya, the country is at risk of falling completely to radical jihadists, and in Israel, support for which was the keystone of the Harper government’s Middle East policy, the government of Benjamin Netanyahu continues to expropriate land in the occupied West Bank for Israeli settlement, jeopardizing a two-state solution to the 67-year-old Palestinian conflict.

In making this statement, Martin singled out Israel alone, specifically its Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, for  supposedly “jeopardizing a two-state solution to the 67-year-old Palestinian conflict”. According to Martin, the main and exclusive obstacle to peace between Israelis and Palestinians is due to Israel’s continuing “to expropriate land in the occupied West Bank for Israeli settlement”. Of course, there are many impediments to Mideast peacemaking, but Martin has done a disservice to the truth and to Globe readers by not acknowledging them. For example, continued Palestinian terror, incitement, rejectionism and unilateralism are seen as major impediments by the Israelis and others in the international community. As well, the divide between the Hamas terror group in Gaza and the Palestinian Authority in the west bank are seen as major stumbling blocks as the Palestinians don’t speak in a unified voice, nor do they have “one gun and one authority” over defined territory. To single out Israel for condemnation and to not acknowledge other efforts by the Palestinians which have “jeopardized” the two-state solution is unfair, lacks balance, and has mislead Globe readers.

Furthermore, Martin would be well served to know and to report that under the Netanyahu administration, settlement construction has grown at a slower rate under his tenure than in the past 20 years. As the left-leaning Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported back in October: “In fact, since Netanyahu became prime minister in 2009, there has been less construction activity in the settlements than under any other prime minister since 1995… According to data from the Housing and Construction Ministry, an average of 1,554 houses a year were built in the settlements from 2009 to 2014 — fewer than under any of his recent predecessors. By comparison, the annual average was 1,881 under Ariel Sharon and 1,774 under Ehud Olmert. As for Ehud Barak, during his single full year as prime minister, in 2000, he built a whopping 5,000 homes in the settlements. The current rate is also only about half the pace of settlement construction during Netanyahu’s first term of office, in 1996-99, when it averaged almost 3,000 homes a year. So why has the number of settlers increased so sharply? Due to natural growth, especially in the two ultra-Orthodox towns of Betar Ilit and Modi’in Ilit. According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, the fertility rate in the settlements is 5.01 children per woman, which is far higher than anywhere else in Israel. In the northern district, which ranks second, the fertility rate is just 3.91 children per woman. Thus in 2013, for instance, 12,129 children were born in the settlements and only 535 people died. This is also a very low death rate, which stems from the fact that the settler population is relatively young. The statistics bureau’s data also shows that 74 percent of the growth in the number of settlers from 2009-2014 stemmed from natural increase. In 2014, for instance, the number of settlers rose by 14,200. Of these, 11,800, or 83 percent of the growth, was a result of natural increase (births minus deaths) and only 2,400 the result of net migration to the settlements. In 2012, by contrast, natural increase accounted for only 68 percent of the total increase in the number of settlers.”

We encouraged the Globe and Mail’s Public Editor, Sylvia Stead, to review this matter and to remedy the major shortcomings associated with this article. Not surprisingly and with disappointment, the Globe has thus far failed to address the concerns we raised in our complaint, nor are we aware that it has taken any remedial action.

As you can see, the bias against Israel continues at the Globe.

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