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Telling Israel’s story can help correct the predominant Palestinian narrative

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Honest Reporting Canada is doing a commendable job calling out the Canadian media on its anti-Israel bias. Pro-Israel ally Penny Jones Square of Winnipeg believes “This is what needs to be done locally.” (Photo: bluetext.com)

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In response to CEO Elaine Goldstine’s message to the Jewish community on Friday, June 11, 2021:

How Telling Israel’s Story Can Be a Corrective to the Predominant Palestinian Narrative

First, I must say that I am not a member of the Jewish community, but as a long-time advocate for Israel and activist against antisemitism, I feel obligated to express my opinion on Elaine Goldstine’s message to the Jewish community on June 11, 2021, in which she commented on the past “turbulent” weeks of the Israel-Gaza conflict and their aftermath. 

If the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg recognizes that “one-sided” media reporting on Israel has been long-standing, that it continues, and that “misinformation and anti-Israel bias” have become entrenched, why has the Federation not raised a more vociferous and vigorous challenge to these ongoing and dangerous trends? 

Did the “communications” from the Federation inform the Jewish community about the true facts of Sheik Jarrah, about the “storming” of Al Aqsa, the “fire” on the Temple Mount, the “TikTok intifada,” the reality of the “numbers” of Palestinians killed, or about the precision militarily responses of the IDF to the 4360 rockets fired indiscriminately on Israeli civilians from densely populated civilian areas in Gaza by Hamas (which constitute double war crimes) for eleven straight days?

Had the truth been communicated to the community, but more importantly, to the wider public, the relentlessly reiterated false charges, misinformation, and blatant lies would have collapsed, the loud antisemitic voices silenced. 

Had the Federation, acting in unison with other local advocacy groups, been able to make the case for Israel in this conflict known within the Jewish and wider community through the mainstream media, before the lies were allowed to proliferate unchecked, maybe there would have been greater sympathy for the justness of the Israeli response to the attacks, for the right of Israelis to defend themselves, i.e., simply stated, for the State of Israel to exist.

The events sponsored by the Federation are no doubt valuable in order to educate the Jewish community, but they need to have a wider reach, which can only be achieved by getting into the mainstream media. Otherwise, they are talking mainly to the converted, which, though necessary, is not enough to prevent the growing spread of misinformation, myths, and lies.

  •         The Federation’s full-page ad in the Winnipeg Free Press would have been the perfect opportunity to present the missing context and the proper perspective on the conflict.
  •         It might be a good idea to have a regular representative of the Jewish community available for comment on all media outlets – print, radio, television, and online—to ensure honest reporting. This representative needs to be someone who is extremely personable, calm, confident, well-spoken, and well-informed; someone able to provide real context to events being reported, someone who has access to accurate and credible sources. Surely there is a qualified person (possibly an educator, lawyer, or journalist) from among the many local groups committed to Israel advocacy, such as Winnipeg Friends of Israel, the Israeli Canadian Council (ICC), Hillel, B’nai Brith, and StandWithIsrael, or from the Federation. 
  •         To “enhance” the efforts of the Federation and build “capabilities” where most needed (i.e., the capability to represent Israel’s narrative in mainstream media), the focus should be on cooperation and collaboration not on divisive differences.
  •         The Jewish Federation of Winnipeg should unite with the many other established as well as newer grass-roots advocacy groups to counter the loud voices of ignorance, and those with malicious intent, that have been allowed to spread in mainstream media. With a stronger united voice, hopefully the pro-Israel perspective will be heard beyond the Jewish community in our city. 

Executive director of HonestReportingCanada (HRC) Mike Fegelman’s article, “How Hamas and the PA started the ‘TikTok intifada,” in the National Post, May 31, 2021, demonstrates the kind of reporting necessary to correct the lies that are now so pervasive. Please see: 

https://nationalpost.com/opinion/mike-fegelman-how-hamas-and-the-pa-started-the-tiktak-intifada 

HRC is doing a commendable job calling out the Canadian media on its anti-Israel bias, a never-ending task. This is what needs to be done locally.

For example, I wrote a complaint to the CBC demanding a retraction of a blatantly false report on the May 15 rally in Winnipeg to the CBC Ombudsman, the authors, and the editor in chief of the CBC. The ICC is pursuing this as well and expects to present video footage to refute the CBC report shortly.

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Winnipeg Friends of Israel, in partnership with Bridges for Peace, is hosting a free Zoom event, “Unveiling Media Prejudice Against Israel,” with Fegelman on June 24 at 7:00 p.m. It would be a good first step in the requisite process of “build[ing]” the Federation’s “capabilities” if it were to promote and participate in this event. 

Finally, although the Federation’s expression of sympathy for the Muslim family murdered in London, Ontario on June 6 in Goldstine’s message is laudable and necessary, one wonders where the commiseration, compassion, and outrage were on the part of the Muslim community when antisemitic incidents reached unheard of heights on the streets of Winnipeg, Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto, and Montreal during the “turbulent” weeks of the Israel-Gaza conflict – especially on May 15 when pro-Palestinians across the globe responded to the call from extremist Islamist terrorist groups, such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad, to rage against Israel for perpetrating the “Nakba” (an entirely false narrative) in demonstrations of violent hatred against all Jews and the Jewish state. 

One is led to wonder further, after listening to the London Imam Munir El-Kassem’s concluding remarks at the vigil held for the murdered family on June 8 at the London Muslim Mosque. After hours of prayers and speeches, El-Kassem stated: “I just want to say, whatever is happening in Jerusalem and Gaza is related to whatever happened in London, Ontario—period.” His ludicrous claim placing blame for the murders on Israel was met with “loud applause from the audience.” (See the article by Dogan Akman in this week’s edition of TheJ.ca.)

In response to the outraged reaction, El-Kassem clarified his original words on social media, stating: “The deaths of families here in London has [sic] happened too in Palestine.”

Thus, we are left with a clarification that only restates the original. The link between an isolated tragic event in Canada is still somehow insanely and irrationally linked to the malevolence of Israel. 

May the Jews of Winnipeg, and all non-Jews who stand with them and with Israel, join together at this time when the longest hatred in history is gaining new ground. 

Penny Jones Square has worked in partnership with her husband designing and making one-of-a-kind art furniture, as a writing tutor at the University of Manitoba, and as an independent editor and tutor from the log home she and her husband built in the country northeast of Winnipeg in the 1970s.

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We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

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Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

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