Robert Fisk: 1946 – 2020 In memoriam

This is an announcement from a year ago, when fearless British journalist Robert Fisk was last in Ottawa, on a cross Canada speaking tour organized by Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME). He passed away on October 30th.

The world of journalism lost a brave voice yesterday with the death of Robert Fisk, a brilliant and courageous journalist. He was mostly known for his writing on the Middle East, where he did not fear to tackle dictators, oligarchs, imperial powers and Zionism.

“Robert Fisk’s decades of reporting on Israel/Palestine were especially valuable, contrasted with most mainstream U.S. media, “reported James North of Mondoweiss. “He raised doubts about the 1993 Oslo “peace agreement” right from the start, asking ordinary skeptical Palestinians for their opinion instead of relying exclusively on high-level diplomats. He went to Israeli Jewish “settlements” in the West Bank, and did not cover up the hard, anti-Palestinian views he found there.”

Fisk documented the problems in Northern Ireland in the 1970s, the Portuguese revolution in 1974, the Lebanese civil war (1975-1989), the Iranian revolution in 1979, the Soviet war in Afghanistan, the Iran-Iraq war, the Bosnian War, the first Gulf War, the Algerian civil war, the Kosovo war, and the Arab-Israeli conflict. He interviewed Saddam Hussein, Ayatollah Khomeini, Osama Bin Laden, and many other both influential and important figures.  Fisk authored several landmark books on the Middle East, including ”Pity the Nation,” an account of the Lebanese civil war 1975–1990, and “The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East,” a compilation of his articles for The Times and The Independent media outlets in Britain.

Fisk had admirers (and, of course, enemies) all over the world, but in his adopted country of Ireland, he had the status of a rock star. “The world of journalism and informed commentary on the Middle East has lost one of its finest commentators” said Irish President Michael D Higgins.


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  1. Perhaps the most prominent and renowned journalist, commentator, analyst and historian of the modern Middle East with an emphasis on Israel Palestine. Always a wonderful experience to hear him speak with passion and deep knowledge during his fairly frequent trips to Canada. His knowledge and writing was encyclopedic, detailed and as balanced as possible. His presence and presentations will be greatly missed. He had a status that sort of set him above the competing forces, ide9logies, lobbies, national interests, personalities in the modern Middle East.

  2. His book and historical summary “The Great War for Civilization, the conquest of the middle east” was instrumental in awakening my awareness.
    RIP, Mr. FIsk.

  3. Thank you so much for that Peter. Robert Fisk was one my absolute favourites for his reporting and incisive analysis. I had not heard about his death, and such a loss it is. The calmness of his voice gave contrast the enormity of the subjects he covered, and I shall always remember the cadences the gave the stories their momentum. Paul

    1. Hey Jack, I am not surprised that most Americans view BDS as anti-Semitic. There has been a very aggressive campaign to argue that. But that does not make it right. I think i read somewhere that 50% of Americans believe in angels, too. That doesn’t make that right either.

    2. Mr. Sigman, Thank you.

      I am not surprised to learn that a majority of Americans think BDS is anti-Semitic. There has been a very big campaign to convince them of that.

      But that does not make it true. I have read that a majority of Americans believe in angels. That does not make that true either. These things are not decided by votes.

    3. Latest Canadian public opinion survey shows that 76% of Canadians think that calling for a boycott of Israel is NOT anti-Semitic (

      Why such different results from the US survey? Well, the US survey has some problems: Fully 75% of the respondents stated that they weren’t even familiar with the BDS movement, but nevertheless were asked if they viewed it as anti-Semitic. They were given the option of replying that BDS is “mostly antisemitic,” has “some antisemitic supporters,” or is “not antisemitic.” Half (47%) replied that BDS had “some antisemitic supporters.”

      But here’s the thing: If asked whether, say, the Republican or Democratic parties in the US had “some antisemitic supporters,” 47% would likely also agree. So the US survey is not really very revealing of anything on this question.

  4. Fear less, indeed. His articles and talks were always challenging. The world have lost a voice of conscience and the arc of justice.

  5. Friendly poke.
    Thursday is the 5th. Saturday is the 7th.

    Thank you for remembering Mr Fisk.

  6. Thank you, Peter. Robert Fisk was an excellent journalist/reporter. His comprehensive knowledge, fearless analysis and the clarity of his writing, plus his incredible integrity makes his loss all that much sadder. A very good man.

  7. The world of journalism has lost an excellent reporter on the Middle East & world politics in general. Insightful, accurate , knowledgeable , his speaking tours in Ottawa were always enlightening.

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