Canadian Arab News
November 11, 2004
Canadians who never heard of Mohamed Elmasry before last month, likely do now. The president of the Canadian Islamic Congress made a comment on Michael Coren’s television show that threw the zionist lobby and their media minions into a collective tantrum.
At issue was Elmasry’s definition of the acceptable use military force by Palestinians:
MICHAEL COREN: So any one over 18 in Israel is a valid target.
MOHAMED ELMASRY: Anybody above 18 [that] is a part of the Israeli army.
COREN: So everyone in Israel, so anyone and everyone, irrespective of gender, over the age of 18, in Israel is a valid target?
When you consider that every “Israeli” lives on stolen Arab land, and that the Zionist Occupation Force commits inhuman acts of violence as a matter of policy, Elmasry’s definition of a legitimate military target is understandable.
Unfortunately, a partial transcript of the Coren show was circulated to the media, and a feeding frenzy ensued. Lobby mouthpieces called for him to resign from the CIC, and asked that he be charged with committing a hate crime.
At worst, Elmasry’s comments were impolitic, but they were not hateful. Given the ZOF’s Nazi-style disregard for human life, his comments were tame. He specifically excluded children as military targets because they were “totally innocent,” which is more than can be said for trigger-happy ZOF officers, who justify the murder of Palestinian children. (See my Oct. 14 column.)
But let’s put aside the specifics of what Elmasry said; the media coverage it generated constituted is the real hate crime. One would expect laziness, irresponsibility and hatemongering from the Asper-owned CanWest media empire, but not from the Globe and Mail.
At minimum, it should have given a fair account of what happened. Instead, Globe reporters, columnists and editorialists ran with the partial transcript and regurgitated anti-Muslim cant, even to the extent of misrepresenting Elmasry’s comments.
Here’s how reporter Marina Jiménez began her Oct. 23 story “Israelis legitimate targets, Canadian Muslim says”:
“All Israeli citizens over the age of 18 are legitimate targets for suicide bombers and other attacks by the Palestinian ‘resistance,’ the president of the Canadian Islamic Congress says, a view that has outraged other Muslim organizations as well as Jewish groups.
First, there should be no quotation marks around resistance. The Palestinians are resisting an occupation army just as the French, Dutch and others did during World War II. This habit of qualifying legitimate acts of self-defence demonstrates not only bias, but also ignorance of the cause of the conflict.
Second, and most importantly, Elmasry did not say “suicide bombers” could target adult Israelis. On the show, he deliberately denounced the bombing of the resort hotel in Taba, Egypt, because the perpetrators could not know that all the people staying there were adult Israelis.
Jiménez should have spoken to Elmasry to have him defend his comments personally, but I doubt that she felt the need. Our media have been so warped by zionist bigotry that “suicide bomber” “terrorist” and “Palestinian” go together unconsciously.
Jiménez compounded her error four days later when she not only repeated the false statement but said Elmasry recanted it. Not to be outdone, columnist Christie Blatchford joined the “suicide bomber” chorus on Oct. 30 with a little piece entitled: “The real Mohamed Elmasry.” The most egregious example of journalistic failure, though, was the Oct. 26 editorial “Elmasry’s offence,” which began:
“When a Canadian Muslim leader justifies the use of violence for any purpose, he does a deep disservice to the people he is supposed to represent. It is one thing to sympathize with a cause you believe is just and to empathize with those involved. But it is quite another to excuse horrific acts that are committed in the name of that cause.”
This sanctimonious drivel is typical of the pro-Israel apologetics scribbled by B’nai Brith poster boy Marcus Gee, but it also serves to highlight the second major failure of the media’s coverage of Muslims—conspicuous silence on Jewish misconduct.
Also on the Coren show was Adam Aptowitzer, Ontario chairman for the B’nai Brith’s Institute for International Affairs. What he said did constitute a hate crime, but not a word of what he said was printed until Nov. 3 when Jiménez scribbled a perfunctory 73-word brief announcing that Aptowitzer had resigned his position.
Given the hysteria over Elmasry’s comments, one wonders why the Globe didn’t rip into Aptowitzer for making these two statements:
“When Israel uses terror to go in and I say, it uses terror to destroy a home and convince people, you know, [to] be terrified of what the possible consequences are; I say that that is an acceptable use of [it], to terrify someone.”
“Terror is an option to be used by states in order to prevent deaths of their own citizens and of others. Acts that take place in Gaza and West Bank, you might want to classify them as terrorists sponsored by the state. But when that is being done to prevent deaths, are we going to say that is wrong?”
In the first citation, Aptowitzer justifies home demolition, which is a crime against humanity. In the second, he justifies murdering Palestinians to save the lives of Jews.
Clearly, Aptowitzer is advocating that hate crimes be committed against Palestinians, yet all we hear from our media is deafening silence—barely a word of reportage and certainly no anger or indignation.
Not even in the three weeks since the Coren show aired has the Globe condemned Aptowitzer, who is not being investigated for committing a hate crime. According to Sgt. Jeff Corey of the Halton Regional Police, nobody has made a complaint.
The lesson to be taken from this sorry episode is clear: if a Muslim makes even the tiniest slip of the tongue his words will be exaggerated out of all proportion; if a Jew should advocate or commit overt terrorism against Arabs, the story will be ignored or downplayed as much as possible.
Take the case of Kevin Haas, a deeply disturbed Jew who was arrested for spreading hate literature at Ryerson University and sending death threats to the presidents of the campus's Arab Students Association and Muslim Students Association.
The university’s paper The Eyeopener wrote four excellent, detailed articles—one on Oct. 13 and three on Oct. 26. In one of the latter articles, a spokesman for Ontario attorney-general Michael Bryant said a charge of committing a hate crime was uncertain.
Elmasry, a respected, erudite man is being investigated for uttering one statement, yet a deranged Jewish zealot who committed criminal acts might not? This is madness, as is the way the Globe reported the story. Under the headline “Non-student is a suspect in hate crimes at Ryerson U,” we read:
“Concerned staff and students at Ryerson University breathed a sigh of relief yesterday as Toronto Police announced they had arrested a 21-year-old man they believe is responsible for a string of hate crimes, vandalism and death threats at the school.”
From the headline and lead, you’d never know the perpetrator was Jewish, but in Elmasry’s case his religion was prominently reported in both. So long as our media betray a zionist bias, the ideal of honest reporting will remain a pious fiction.