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HonestReporting Canada persuades ‘CBC’ to retract Palestinian history claim

The media watchdog identified several factual falsehoods in an article by a senior writer.

Kingdoms of Israel and Judah Map
A map of ancient Israel and Judea. Credit: Richardprins via Wikimedia Commons.

An article published by CBC News titled “B.C. minister under fire for comments about Middle East before creation of Israeli state” received multiple corrections following a critique from HonestReporting Canada.

The reporting focused on comments by Selina Robinson, who until recently was minister of post-secondary education in British Columbia. She referred to pre-state Israel as “a crappy piece of land,” devoid of an economy. Following a backlash for what was deemed insensitive and possibly antisemitic, Robinson later backed away from her comment.

“I want to apologize for my disrespectful comment referring to the origins of Israel on a ‘crappy piece of land.’ I was referring to the fact that the land has limited natural resources,” read a post on Robinson’s account on X.

Nevertheless, she resigned on Feb. 5.

The article, written by senior writer Rhianna Schmunk, also originally included a sentence that read: “Critics say remarks like Robinson’s dismiss people who lived in the area for tens of thousands of years before the creation of Israel in 1948, including Palestinians, Muslims and Christians.”

HonestReporting Canada wrote, “While anti-Israel critics have made all kinds of absurd accusations, this is no excuse for Schmunk to simply repeat ahistorical nonsense and present it as if it had some basis in reality.”

After learning of the inaccuracy, the CBC revised it to read: “Critics say remarks like Robinson’s dismiss people who lived in the area for thousands of years before the creation of Israel in 1948, including Palestinians, Muslims, Christians and Jews.”

HonestReporting Canada pointed to another passage in the article, writing that “while it is true that anti-Israel activists do refer to Israel’s rebirth in 1948 as a catastrophe, or nakba, in Arabic, Schmunk’s retelling of their allegations leaves much to be desired.”

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