Gee, the Globe and Mail need a lesson in honest commentary

Exactly one month ago, Glasgow University came out with a study that found that Britons who watched ITV and BBC television news had a grossly distorted impression of the Middle East. Many of those surveyed thought the Palestinians were the occupiers, and some even believed them to be refugees from Afghanistan, which isn’t even an Arab country! *

The study identified four main failures: Overlooking the origins of the conflict; Contextualizing Israeli but not Palestinian actions; preponderance of official Israeli perspectives; and emphasizing Israeli casualties. *

As a result, the media presented and continues to present a perverse paradigm in which Palestinians are portrayed as terrorists (instead of as humiliated, subjugated people) and Israelis are treated as innocent victims (instead of as colonial oppressors).

One would hardly expect such results from a well-educated society, but that’s what happens when the media kowtow to zionist pressure groups.

These same failures are rife within Canada’s print and electronic media to varying degrees. At the extreme end, of course, we have the Asper family’s CanWest media empire, which parrots zionist and anti-Arab dogma so overtly that it might as well be known as Israel’s Ministry Of Spin-doctoring, Subversion And Disinformation.

Most Canadians know better than to pay attention to this contemptible cabal, which is why the National Post is hemorrhaging money and qualified staff. The Globe and Mail is another matter. Canada’s national newspaper has the cachet of respectability, so when one of its writers bastardizes the historical record to serve Israel the effect is more worrisome.

On July 14, editorial page editor Marcus Gee wrote a column defending Israel’s Wall, but demonstrated virtually no comprehension of the subject.–  It featured the same failures described in the Glasgow study, so at least it can serve as a example of the insidious threat posed by the zionist lobby. Let’s examine some of his statements.

Overlooking the origins of the conflict

–¢ “For decades, the world has been waiting for a settlement to the century-long dispute.”

Wrong. The basis for settlement was reached on May 11, 1949, when Israel was admitted to the United Nations on condition that it grant Palestinians the right to return to their homes and receive compensation for lost land and property. Israel’s presence is proof of its acceptance of these terms. What has been lacking is the ability of the UN to enforce it.§

–¢ “Two parcels of land are in question, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.”

Gee does not mention East Jerusalem–”a significant omission since Israel claims jurisdiction over the entire city and its illegally expanded boundaries in violation of international law.

“Every serious blueprint for a peace settlement has acknowledged that some big settlements near the ceasefire line would be annexed to Israel.”

What Gee considers “serious” is laughable. Under international law every Jewish settlement is illegal, a fact that the International Court of Justice just reaffirmed. Because Israel’s occupation is illegal, any wall to protect them is also illegal. To this Gee has nothing to say; all he can do is denigrate the ICJ ruling and pretend that reality didn’t exist.

Contextualizing Israeli but not Palestinian actions

“The barrier of wire fences, concrete walls and trenches that snakes over the West Bank hills was designed mainly to keep out terrorists, and it has.”

This misdirection from international law to “terrorism” is a typical zionist tactic. By omitting any mention of the Israeli atrocities that make such extremes inevitable, it’s meant to give the illusion that Palestinians start the violence. As stated above, there’d be no “terrorism” if Israel were made to honour its international agreements; instead, the world has abandoned the Palestinians to the cruelty of their tormentors, which means that sacrifice bombings are the only means of self-defence the Palestinians have left. Gee may be pleased that the wall has kept out Palestinian sacrifice bombers, but it will not keep out Israeli terrorists. To blame the Palestinians for the violence, willfully misrepresents cause and effect.

Preponderance of official Israeli perspectives

“When Prime Minister Ariel Sharon announced earlier this year that Israel would pull out of Gaza, the Palestinians suspected a trick. It should be obvious by now that Mr. Sharon is dead serious… This week, he thumbed his nose at Likud party hard-liners and started negotiating with Shimon Peres of the Labour Party on forming a coalition to push the Gaza withdrawal through.”

Gee does not mention any Palestinians by name, and he belittles their arguments. Gee paints Sharon as a paragon of peace and tolerance, but nowhere does he mention the history of Israeli duplicity that justifies Palestinian suspicions.

Emphasizing Israeli casualties

“Palestinian attacks within Israel are down by 80 percent this year. But the barrier is also roughing out the future border between Israel and a Palestinian state… Palestinian violence has forced two conclusions on the Israeli public. The first is that they cannot hold onto the occupied territories while remaining a democratic [sic] state. The second is that they cannot negotiate withdrawal with a Palestinian leadership that seeks their destruction. Given those facts, Israelis feel they have no option but to act unilaterally.”

Notice he makes no mention of Israeli attacks, or Israeli attempts to seek the destruction of Palestine. As far as Gee is concerned, Israel is not an aggressor state; it’s just a po’ l’il victim. I called Gee to find out how he could so grossly misrepresent history and hold Israel above international law. Throughout our phone call, Gee acted as if he were reading a prepared script of standard zionist disconnects: “Don’t you think Israel has right to defend itself? More than 1,000 Israelis have been killed.”

The real figure is around 900, but that’s beside the point. The number of Palestinians killed by Israelis from Sept. 29, 2000, to July 21, 2004, is 3,148–”more than 300 percent higher. Palestinians wounded from live ammunition (7,026), rubber/plastic bullets (6,135), tear gas (6,168) and other weapons (7,466) total 26,795.** At length I said he only cared about Jewish dead, after which he hid behind the charge of bigotry and hung up.

As you can see, Gee’s column is worthless, as is Gee himself as a Middle East columnist. In 2002, he received B’nai Brith Canada’s Award of Distinction for Excellence. [sic!] For the sake of transparency, the Globe and Mail should append this tag to all of Gee’s columns, lest readers mistakenly take them at face value.


* James Read, “Palestine issue confuses Britons,” BBC, June 22, 2004.

–  Marcus Gee, "Not talking is no barrier to settlement,” Globe and Mail, July 14, 2004.

§ See “Hamas a principled defender of Palestine,” Alberta Arab News, June 23, 2003.

**Palestine Red Crescent Society Figures for the West Bank and Gaza Strip.