May 11, 2005
We were disturbed by Andy Barrie’s interview this morning with Talia Klein, the producer of the film “Not in my Name”.
Disturbed, first of all, because the interview perpetuated an ongoing pattern of bias and unfairness on this program regarding Israeli-Palestinian issues. Andy Barrie, as much as anyone we can think of, symbolizes the principles of multiculturalism, tolerance, understanding, and bridge-building that represent the best of Toronto and of Canada. Those who are marginalized and close to invisible in the rest of the mainstream media regularly turn up on Metro Morning being interviewed by Andy. And Toronto is a better place because this is so.
But when it comes to Palestinians, and Jews who advocate justice for the Palestinians, Metro Morning is hostile territory. Metro Morning, which is so welcoming and inclusive towards all manner of cultures and creative endeavours, is known for not giving coverage to events or groups which bring Palestinians and Jews together in dialogue and in working for peace.
The depth of this bias really struck us this morning when Andy Barrie suggested that, based on their actions, some Jews could be considered “as bad as Palestinians”. This wasn’t a comment coming from the person being interviewed (which would have been bad enough). It was the interviewER, Andy Barrie, baldly implying that Palestinians are by their nature bad, and that the lowest depth a Jew could sink to would be to be like a Palestinian.
We find this attitude deeply disturbing. Imagine the reaction if an interviewer suggested on the CBC that certain people were “s bad as the Jews”, or “as bad as the Israelis.” Yet when it comes to Palestinians, this kind of sweeping generalization is apparently considered acceptable.
It shouldn’t be.
The irony is that the position of the Jews, Palestinians, and others working for a just peace in the Middle East is precisely that Jews are as good as – and as bad as – Palestinians. People on both sides of the conflict are equally human, and only by recognizing each other’s humanity, each other’s rights, and each other’s desire to live in peace and with justice can they move beyond the current impasse.
It is too bad that, on this issue, Metro Morning continues to give voice only to those who demonize Palestinians. If it were to open itself to those actively working to build bridges among Palestinians and Jews, it could contribute to solving the problem rather than perpetuating it.