Say Kaddish For Left-Wing Jewish Journalism in Winnipeg: It's D.O.A.
Imagine being a partner in presenting a successful and important community speaking event about dangers to your ethnic group.
Imagine that the local ethnic newspaper publishes two articles - a news report and a column - with varying innacuracies and mistakes, but with one omission in common - the name and role of YOU, the partner in the event.
Imagine, upon telling the publisher about the omission, and the inaccuracies being circulated, being told that IF you buy a subscription, only then, MAYBE your role in the event and corrected details of the success, would be published.
That's the message the Jewish Post and News sent to the Winnipeg Jewish Business Council, after their leader raised legitimate concerns about coverage of The State of Jewish Hate, an event the WJBC launched with TheJ.ca that featured a guest speaker from Herut Canada.
The presentation analyzed the role of progressive left-wing Jewish radicals enabling the rise of antisemitism, especially through their promotion of the BDS campaign against the State of Israel, and identified anti-Zionist groups that support the goals of Hamas and other terrorists.
In a July 29th email, WJBC president Matthew Ostrove told publisher Bernie Bellan
"You failed to mention that our organization, now in its 15th year, was a partner withTheJ.ca in hosting Lauren Isaacs of Herut Canada for a long-overdue discussion with our community and our members.
Our involvement was no secret as our name was on every invitation and we set up the ticketing online for the event...
the promotion of boycotts, divestments and sanctions against Israel is a legitimate concern of our members, for all Zionists, and for those who oppose the kind of antisemites who seek to expand BDS."
Ostrove also refuted the attempt by The Jewish Post to portray the topic chosen by the organizers as having no traction with the Jewish community beyond the "30" in attendance:
" ... you have completely missed the point of the production, which went beyond hosting a speaker in current time in a room in Winnipeg with 46 chairs set up. ... the Facebook livestream video of the full event (has) accrued over 1800 views so far. We Livestreamed the evening to enhance the reach of her speech (now at over 3400) and that was part and parcel of the strategy behind hosting Lauren and having her present her extensive research in River Heights. Such is the power of the internet."
Ostrove provided further context: "As we heard at our event, it is the intimidation of pro-Israel voices that must be exposed and countered. To some degree, that intimidation is being enabled and perpetrated by the progressive Jewish left".
Bellan's response was not to defend the journalism standards of his newspaper, or to refute Ostrove's points.
Instead he started with "Your letter's too long - and you're not a subscriber."
Then he established a quid pro quo for printing the concerns of the Jewish Business Council: "Take out a subscription and I'd consider printing a letter from you."
So it appears that "community news" means whatever the publisher chooses to distribute about a public event and the people involved is THE last word.
However, he seems to be saying that IF someone pays him something, he'll - maybe - let readers see that false or misleading information that was published is being refuted with facts by the very people involved with an event that was written about.
This editorial practice might well be upsetting news to Jewish organizations, institutions and businesses in Winnipeg - as well as readers.
What if something is written about them in a story or editorial and details are mistaken, distorted, left out, or outright false ? Is the price the next time going to be a subscription - or something else? Ostrove was dismissed out of hand, to the detriment of maintaining good journalistic practice. What if a media outlet refuses to adhere to basic fairness in response to valid complaints about their reporting?
Yet, it could have been worse.
Richard Weiss, an IDF veteran who was security supervisor on July 18th, identified mistakes in Myron Love's news story about the event - and also disagreed with Bellan inserting an editorial slant into Myron's report. He sent an email with his points.
Weiss wasn't even told to buy a subscription, as he describes in this J Matters interview:
"Take your letter and shove it" replied Bellan, followed by "Go fuck yourself you and your idiot friends".
Would the "idiots friends" include the "teenage girls who spoke at the event (about) being threatened with physical harm by peers spouting left-wing antisemitic and anti-Israel canards", as Ostrove mentioned in his email to Bellan? Apparently so - and it would include Ostrove too.
Those "idiot friends" of Weiss would presumably also be the pro-Israel community in Winnipeg who defend Israel and give no quarter to far-left BDS-supporting Marxist radicals like "rabbinical student" Lex Rofeberg of IfNotNow, or to Harold Shuster of Independent Jewish Voices, both of whom are championed repeatedly in the pages of the Jewish Post and News.
Now normally, going up the ladder to the boss of the publisher might get some resolution to distorted reporting and serious factual errors. Not so at the Jewish Post, as Weiss learned when he appealed to a Director of the newspaper.
He emailed the Director saying,
"It makes it seem that the Jewish Post is not committed to fair reporting about community events or to accurate journalism. I don’t think people like myself who volunteer at community events and know firsthand that details in the Jewish Post are incorrect, should be told “shove your letter up your ass” and “go fuck yourself”, when the issues raised are about accuracy and are backed up with factual details and firsthand knowledge."
So far, Weiss has received no response yet - not even an acknowledgement - from the Director of the newspaper to his email, who happens to be the same Myron Love who wrote the news story Wiess was complaining about. Unfortunately for Myron.
We’re also aware of a third email sent to Bellan. Someone who attended the event raised similar concerns about the journalistic accuracy of the newspaper. She was told, like Ostrove, that if you aren’t a subscriber, the readers of the newspaper won’t be seeing challenges to their reporting, not even from eyewitnesses (like her) who were there.
The Winnipeg Jewish community, and those who step forward and volunteer to fight antisemitism like Weiss and Ostrove, deserve fair treatment and accurate reporting about their efforts.
The community also deserves fair and accurate reporting about IfNotNow - which admits to reciting Kaddish for Gazan terrorists - and about IJV - which promotes the antisemitic storyline that Jews are 'colonizers' in Eretz Yisroel - and about other groups such as the Social Planning Council which, as we learned this April, has been taken over by the Linda Sarsour fan club.
With antisemitism and anti-Israel hate from far-left activists ratcheting up weekly, the Jewish community of Winnipeg and central Canada especially deserves, as Weiss suggested to Love, that "... the community newspaper should function with at least a sense of journalistic integrity and ensure the advertisers and readers are being given accurate and complete information about the pro-Israel community."
Advertisers and sponsors who identify as pro-Israel in particular, might feel their core values would be undercut by an apparent policy to tell pro-Israel activists “go fuck yourself” when they call out the progressive left wing bias of the Jewish Post and News. Where can they turn?
Here's where we stand, as a digital platform:
If you have a problem with a story in TheJ.ca or our video reports, and the concerns are legitimate, they will be addressed, no subscription purchase required.
Fair reporting of community events will not depend on whether an ad was purchased.
News about the fight against antisemitism and about Israel will never be run through the filter of the Rent-A-Jew activist crowd who are propping up antisemites with their anti-Zionist hatred.
Lastly, neither the publisher or the editor of TheJ.ca will ever tell anyone 'go f yourself' for pointing out our mistakes or omissions.
That is what our Jewish Journalism is all about.
Please know when you advertise with us - whether for an event, for a cause, for a business, or to send Rosh Hashanah greeting to family and friends - or make a donation, you are helping sustain a platform that stands with your Zionist values, and stands against all progressive Marxists who plot everyday to undermine the safety of Jews and our allies in Israel and the diaspora.