Toronto’s Globe and Mail is considered Canada’s most prestigious and influential newspaper but it has a problem: its Global Affairs reporter, Patrick Martin, sometimes misleads readers with one-sided reporting. Take, for example, his recent year-end article entitled “Acrid memories of firebombing that became a flashpoint in cycle of violence and revenge.” Billed as one of the “international stories that moved” Globe journalists “and changed us,” the article was featured on the front page of the newspaper’s Dec. 29, 2015 edition. One of just a handful of stories by Martin analyzing the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, it parrots a Palestinian narrative that justifies anti-Israel terrorism and blames Israel for the ills of the region.
Pouncing on the murderous arson attack in Duma carried out by Israeli extremists, Martin declares that continued Palestinian terror attacks against Israeli civilians – including the current wave of Palestinian attacks against Israeli civilians around the country – are all a consequence of that single Israeli attack. Absent from Martin’s analysis is the relentless campaign of hate rhetoric and incitement by Palestinian leaders, performers, and imams calling on their Palestinians followers to “harvest the skulls of Jews,” stab them, ram cars into Israeli pedestrians and “saturate the ground” with Israeli blood – in a continuous campaign of hate rhetoric that long pre-dates the Duma attack.
Martin begins with a lengthy, emotive description, including his own impassioned first-person account, of the heinous Israeli-perpetrated Duma arson that killed an Arab family, including an 18-month-old and his parents. ( It is noteworthy, that the bloody massacre of five members of a Jewish family by Palestinian perpetrators in 2011, including a decapitated 3-month old, elicited no such coverage or emotion by the reporter.)
An objective and thorough analysis of the conflict would necessitate a follow-up comparison between Palestinian and Israeli societal reactions to terrorist attacks by their own, but Martin seems uninterested in exploring the issue of Palestinian terrorism, much less in demonstrating how it is encouraged and celebrated in Palestinian society. So while Martin notes that Israeli leaders immediately criticized the attack in Duma, he neither conveys the extent of condemnation that has come from across the political and religious spectrum of Israeli society, nor refers to the converse: how Palestinian-perpetrated terror attacks against Jews are sanctioned and glorified by leaders and imams across the political and religious spectrum. Instead, Martin implies that Israeli leaders were disingenuous in their condemnation of the Israeli-perpetrated attack. He writes:
Five months after Duma, however, no one has been charged with the Dawabsheh murders, despite the vow by security chiefs that they would use every means necessary to track the perpetrators down and prosecute them.
It remains to be seen whether, when and how Martin will update the story now that, only days after his dismissive words were published, Israeli prosecutors have brought indictments against two Israelis accused of perpetrating the crime against the Dawabshes.
While Martin passingly refers to “terror and vengeance…employed by both sides in the long-running conflict,” he avoids any discussion of the myriads of terror attacks perpetrated by Palestinians against Israelis. By contrast, he takes the diametrically opposite approach regarding attacks by Jews, providing a litany of anything and everything he can possibly pin on Jewish perpetrators, from the pre-state Mandate era on, under the heading “Roots of the Conflict.”
Since there are so few examples of Israeli terrorists or Jewish-perpetrated attacks, Martin is reduced to conflating non-fatal property attacks with those that resulted in death, and nationalistically-motivated actions directed against British and Arab in Mandate Palestine and during the 1948 war with religiously-motivated actions directed at the property of fellow Jews. Included in his list, for example, are an obscure and short-lived group of religious zealots in the 1950’s whose attacks were directed at Jewish storefronts selling non-kosher meat. How exactly this contributed to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is never explained.
Hamas – designated a terrorist organization by the U.S., E.U., Canada, and other western countries – is described by Martin as a “militant Palestinian resistance movement” echoing their own self-description. And a recent attack by Hamas terrorists on a young couple in front of their children, the only specific example of Palestinian terrorism mentioned by Martin is labelled a “revenge attack” meant to “[remind] people of the unsolved Dawabsheh killings.”
One of the tenets of the Canadian Association of Journalists Ethics Guidelines is to disallow one’s “own biases to influence fair and accurate reporting.” Mr. Martin’s own biases, however, are on clear display in this one-sided and misleading analysis of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.