THUMBS DOWN to Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Israel correspondent Neil Macdonald and CBC ombudsman David Bazay for the misreporting and subsequent cover-up of facts about water use in Israel.
On Dec. 29, 1999, Macdonald reported that Israelis "consume their water, the most expensive in the world, as though they live in Europe." This comparison is false; according to the World Resources Institute, per capita use of water in Israel is 292 cubic meters, less than half the European average use per capita, which is 660 cubic meters.
In the course of Bazayís "independent review" (read: defense) of Macdonaldís statement, he claims that an international study entitled "Water for the Future: The West Bank and Gaza Strip, Israel and Jordan" states the following: "In Israel, there is relatively high per capita use of water. Agriculture plays a relatively small role in the economy yet is the principal user of water."
A careful reading of the study revealed that it does not contain this statement, which Bazay had cited with quotation marks.
When confronted with the misrepresentation of the study contents, Bazay once again stonewalled, refusing to accept responsibility for his erroneous reference.
As for Macdonaldís statement that Israelís water is the most expensive in the world, this too is false. The cost of 25 cubic meters of water in Cambridge, Mass., for example, is less than half of that for the same amount in Israel.
Such facts and evidence, however, have consistently failed to sway Neil Macdonald and his cohort David Bazay, who tirelessly defends the reporterís every utterance, no matter how absurd and inaccurate.