Honest Reporting Canada renews its harassment of CBC over new Israeli documentary revealing 1948 massacre of Palestinians at Tantura village

Honest Reporting Canada renewed its ongoing campaign against the CBC over the holiday break. This time it was an attack on CBC’s Day 6 host Brent Bambury. Bambury interviewed Israeli film maker Alon Schwartz over his disturbing documentary “Tantura” which documents a massacre of Palestinians committed by Zionist forces in 1948 – and the extraordinary efforts made by Israel to suppress and defame the Israeli academic who first exposed it. Read more

Brent Bambury is the host of Day 6, which CBC describes as a “populist weekly magazine show blending the best of news, current affairs, pop culture, the net, lifestyle and leisure.”

Brent Bambury, CBC host of “Day 6”

Bambury is hardly the kind of person who might expect to be a target of a right wing pro-Israel organization.

But Honest Reporting Canada (HRC), which has been described by several news outlets as a “pro-Israel media watchdog group”, seems to be on a particular mission to attack CBC anytime any of its journalists interviews anyone – whether Jewish or not – who is critical of Israel.

Most recently HRC director Mike Fegelman attacked Bambury for a 12 minute segment in which Bambury interviewed Israeli film maker Alon Schwartz whose documentary “Tantura” focused on a massacre of Palestinians by Israeli soldiers in 1948.

The excellent film focuses on the extraordinary attempts by Israel to suppress the film and to censor an Israeli academic whose Ph. D. thesis exposed the massacre. His thesis was based on dozens of oral testimonies from Palestinian witnesses and even from some Israeli soldiers who took part in it!!

A Canadian delegation of human rights activists visited the location of the Tantura massacre in November 2022. The only building not razed by Israeli bulldozers is the one behind my colleague Michael Bueckert of CJPME.

What seems to have particularly incensed Honest Reporting Canada is that this is the second CBC journalist to have featured items about the Tantura massacre since the film has been produced.

In a January 31, 2022 edition of The Current, CBC host Matt Galloway featured a discussion with several guests about the documentary. In addition to filmmaker Schwartz, Galloway talked to Hillel Cohen, a professor of Islamic and Middle Eastern studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and head of the university’s Cherrick Center for the Study of Zionism; and Yara Hawari, a Palestinian writer host of the podcast Rethinking Palestine.

Hawari pointed out that the massacre at Tantura was only one of dozens of similar massacres committed by Zionist troops while they were ethnically cleansing historic Palestine of its residents in order to create a new Jewish state on Palestinian land.

Hawari didn’t stop there, pointing out that Israeli massacres of Palestinians are not only something historical. “it’s very much a continuous part of our current reality,” Hawari told Galloway, referring to Israel’s May 2021 assault which killed 256 Palestinians, including 66 children.

The massacre at Tantura is just one of dozens of massacres of Palestinians in villages all over historic Palestine by Zionists in 1948, all of them carefully covered up by the State of Israel.

However, the truth about the massacres that fuelled the mass exodus of Palestinians in 1948 is gradually coming to light.

In 2013, Israeli author Ari Shavit scandalized the American Jewish community by an article he wrote in the New Yorker Magazine about a different massacre – at Lydda, a the same time. And recently Netflix has added a Palestinian film about yet another massacre. “Farha” recounts in painful detail the experience of one small Palestinian girl hidden in a closet as Zionist troops are killing her friends and neighbours. Some people have called it the Palestinian “Anne Frank” story.

What is Honest Reporting Canada’s objective?

HRC’s public hounding of CBC personalities appears to have two objectives:

In the first instance, HRC is able to show its supporters that HRC is a determined bulldog in support of Israel no mattter what.

But another more problematic objective seems to be to tie up CBC resources, forcing them to spend countless hours defending themselves against charges of biais and ‘antisemitism’. anytime they say anything remotely critical of Israel. Antisemitism is a very serious charge of course, and CBC cannot ignore it even if the accusation is frivolous or with out foundation.

Each time HRC launches a complaint, the CBC ombudsman has to contact whichever program is being attacked and ask that it justify what it has said or done.

“The net effect, is to make it so difficult for CBC to say anything critical of Israel that it prefers to stay away from the topic altogether”, a former senior CBC journalist confided to CTIP.

At a time when right wing politicians like Pierre Poilievre say that CBC should be “defunded” althogether because of its “left wing” agenda, it puts CBC management and journalists in a difficult position.


Canada Talks Israel Palestine (CTIP) is the weekly newsletter of Peter Larson, Chair of the Ottawa Forum on Israel/Palestine (OFIP). It aims to promote a serious discussion in Canada about Canada’s response to the complicated and emotional Israel/Palestine issue with a focus on the truth, clear analysis and human rights for all. Readers with different points of view are invited to make comment.

27 comments

  1. I think that you should call this organization “(dis)honest reporting Canada”, or at least put “honest” between brackets because honest reporting is what this organization is fighting. Semantic reversal is a trick widely used by extreme right organizations to deceive and manipulate us.

    1. Hey Guy,
      I make the same comment to you as I did to Allan Mcrae. “If you have other examples of where HRC misrepresents the truth, please share them. It would help us to understand.

    2. I agree with Guy. There is nothing honest and certainly no reporting. Their articles are argument.
      I don’t think you should give such a disreputable group of propagandists any oxygen. On any level their product is garbage.

      As to your post to Guy for more cases where HRC misrepresents the truth…. just please…. how about you post one of their rants that’s true or invite them too. Just a ludicrous request after 75 years of war crimes

  2. Who, other than a damn fool or a lifelong nose stretcher would have any faith in someone hiding behind something called “Honest Reporting Canada”?
    It peels much as Trump’s new “Truth Social” media platform does to the naive and desperate in a bid to avoid any legitimate discussion of the realities facing Palestinians in their homeland.

      1. Apologies. My prior post refers to your request to Guy. It should have referred to this post to Allan.

        Typical zionist response tho i dont think you are one.

        Post a response and they’ll parse and argue over a single word using dozens of posts and hundreds of words while ignoring the issue.

        Serioisly ask a reader to justify why anyone should waste their time on a clear cut propaganda operation as Hrc. While following them for a long time on twitter i’ve yet to see a single honest utterance.

  3. Is the CBC finally starting to tell the truth ,even if it hurts some sensibilities for some ? About time in my view . It has much work to do in order to climb back from depths to which it has fallen in reporting of late ,IMHO.

  4. The fine work of Honest Reporting is dedicated to uncovering and rectifying anti Israel bias in the media. It’s impossible to have a reasonable discussion of the issues in the highly polarized discussion around the conflict between Israel and its enemies, if bias in the media leaves the audience without an appreciation of the concerns of both sides.

    1. Hello David,
      Thanks for your comment.
      The issues at hand are (1) was there a massacre of Palestinian villagers at Tantura (2) whether or not there has been an attempt by the Israeli government and also by some of the soldiers involved to keep it quiet and (3) whether this fits into a pattern of activity by Zionist forces in 1947/48.

    2. The bias in the media is clearly pro Israel. Operations such as b’nai brith, hrc, jdl, cija and more. The cbc not being allowed to use the word palestine and requisite apologies should they do so.

      The pro Israel bias prevents both an honest discussion and more importantly it prevents unvarnished facts from being made known to the public.

      CRA must revoke charitable status to any of the above groups that may have it
      And the jnf as well.

    3. Mr. Roytenbeerg has it backwards. Facts are facts. Honest Reporting and Mr. Roytenberg dispute facts. They are the ones who are biased and dishonest.

      1. Hey Wolfe,
        Thanks for your comment. I know Mr. Roytenberg. He is a Zionist – a description I think he would agree with. In that sense, I do think that he is biased in favour of Israel as a Jewish State. But I don’t think he is dishonest.

      2. I think Mr. Roytenberg and HRW are dishonest because they, for example, make claims that non-Jewish people within the Green LIne have the same rights as Jews. Even the liberal or progressive Zionists ,for the most part, will not admit that their racism is justified because the Palestinians will be racists in their Palestinian state. We call what Hungary does, in terms of refugees and non-Europians, racist. We used to have signs in Canada which said “no Jews or dogs allowed”. Jews used to complain loudly when they were treated far better than the Palestinians in Canada. They would be honest if they said “Yes we oppress the Palestinians but we have to.” HRW is not doing “honest reporting”. They deny facts . Mr. Roytenberg is dishonest when he says in his post that he wants a “reasonable discussion”. I have gone back and forth with him different times and he is very knowledgeable about hasbara, or Israeli talking points, which is full of misinformation and that is not “reasonable discussion”. That is not his goal. He wants to defend Israel and, in my opinion, that’s part of being dishonest when he claims to be interested in reasonable discussion. My impression is that he is involved in education at his synagogue. Ask him if he would invite us or Palestinians to speak or debate there in the spirit of “reasonable discussion”. Mr. Roytenberg is one of the few Jews who ventures outside their bubble or silo to engage with the outside world and he considers himself well prepared but I doubt that he wants to expose the average person in his synagogue to heretics like me and truth tellers like you. For him, we are, like Jews for Jesus, beyond the pale. Finally, a familiar refrain from many Jews who are critics of israel is that they were never told the truth growing up in the Jewish community or, if they went, at Jewish school. Mr. Roytenberg is part of that efffort. That’s why I say that he is dishonest.

      3. As you say, you and I have interacted before. I trust you are sincere in your beliefs and I would hope that you understand that I am sincere in mine. My arguments are offered in good faith. What you call “Hasbarah talking points” are reasonable and persuasive arguments in my opinion or I would not put them forth.

        To use your example: When I say that Arabs within the green line have equal rights that doesn’t mean that they don’t suffer from discrimination. All American and Canadian citizens have equal rights, but that doesn’t mean that those rights are sometimes abused. I’m a third generation Canadian Jew, a proud and active citizen, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t sometimes encounter antisemitism.

        That doesn’t make Canada an Apartheid state. It makes it a liberal democracy, which, as Winston Churchill is alleged to have said, is the worst kind of system except for all the others that have been tried. Israel within the green line is a similar case. Making that argument doesn’t make me dishonest. It just means that I have a different opinion than you do, since you evidently don’t believe that Arabs and Jews have equal rights within the green line. I hope you don’t think that I can only disagree with you if I’m dishonest.

        Likewise I take Peter at his word that he wants a reasonable discussion. He makes arguments that I disagree with and, where I think I have a point to make I comment. I do it because I care about the issue. Honestly!

    4. It’s not bias. These are facts on the ground and the lived experience of Palestinans both in Israel-Palestine and Palestinian refugees.

      1. Hey Iman,
        Thanks for your comment.
        There are lots of facts to chose from.
        I think the biais lies in which facts you see as important. Zionists may think that the destruction of the Jewish temple by the Romans 2000 years ago is important. Non zionists may not think that is very important or relevant to what is happening now.
        Some people (including me) think the destruction of Palestinian villages in 1947/48 is very important. Zionists may think that it was an unfortunate accident and not all that important.
        The facts are out there. The biais lies in which facts you use to construct your narrative.

      2. Peter writes that the bias is in choosing on what past events we talk today.
        This is very true.
        during that period of the war every Jewish settlement that was overrun by the Arab forces had it population massacred (Kfar Etsion, the Hadassa hospital convoy, the refinery in Haifa, the electric company in Akka and more)
        And yet we never talk about that

        The Nakba /war of independence, had very few casualties. 50 times less than the Syrian civil war
        The only reason for the low death count in the Nakba is that the Israelis had the upper hand

      3. Another reason for the lower casualty count was the fact that many Palestinians fled to places of refuge and were never allowed to return

  5. One more thing about being dishonest. I am part of the Kiingston chapter of Independent Jewish Voices. Recently, the Faculty Association at Queen’s was voting on a motion against the adoption by Queen’s University of the IHRA definition. The Kingston Jewish Council and the local synagogue sent in letters where they repeated two of the Israel lobby’s talking points which were not true. First, the definition says that reasonable criticism of Israel is allowed. Second, that adoption of the defintion will promote dialogue. As you know, in fact, no criticism is allowed as IJV showed in Sheryl Nestel’s study and, as you also know, the “dalogue” is a one way torrent of invective. I don’t know if Mr. Roytenberg has done this specific thing but that’s why I feel that “dishonest” is an appropriate word to describe the traditional Jewish response. The irony is that Tantura and all the other coverups prove my point and let’s not forget what they did to poor Richard Goldstone.

    1. Since my name is being mentioned her again, I will comment again. The claim that the IHRA definition doesn’t allow reasonable criticism of Israel is not a lie. All you have to do is read the text.

      Whether or not the IHRA working definition of antisemitism is abused by some Jewish organizations to try to suppress pro-Palestinian view is debatable, but even if that were true, it is not the IHRA definition itself that is problematic in that case, but the alleged behaviour of the groups who are said to be trying to shut Pro-Palestinians up.

      As someone who has supported the adoption of the IHRA definition, I can say from personal experience that it doesn’t suppress any views. For example, the IHRA definition was endorsed by the same body in the Canadian government that funded anti-racism work by Laith Marouf, who was found to have referred to Jewish Zionists as bundles of human feces. Clearly, the IHRA definition not only didn’t prevent legitimate criticism of Israel. It also wasn’t very effective in preventing support for overt antisemitism.

      Let me offer another argument. Some of the views I adhere to as a classical liberal have gradually come to be denounced over time as racist, homophobic or misogynist. My views haven’t changed. In my own judgement, I am not a racist, homophobe or misogynist. So should I complain that people are using an invalid definition of racism? Should I attack people who promote anti-racism as a goal? I think that would be a mistake.

      The problem is not the discussion of racism, sexism or homophobia as such. It is those who abuse that discussion to try to discredit certain opinions through labeling them rather than by addressing them on the merits.

      1. Hello David Roytenberg,
        Pls find below a comment from David Parnas about the IHRA definition. For some reason WordPress didn’t recognize his comment so he sent it to me by email. I reproduce it below, without edit or comment from me:

        “Mr. Roytenberg,

        “Precise definitions are essential for fruitful discussions. When people discuss something using two (or more) unstated definitions or a single imprecise definition they literally do not know what they are talking about.

        “I agree that we should not discuss the IHRA definition without reading the text. It consists of a “definition” and a number of illustrations.

        “The definition is “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

        “If you think about it, this is completely meaningless, “a certain perception of Jews” says nothing. The next two words, “which may”, mean that what follows is not required. Then we see that the antisemitism may be directed “toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals” – i.e. anyone.

        “If there is any meaning in the document, it is in the examples. Unfortunately, even the most precise examples, cannot define the meaning of a general term. For example, you cannot define the meaning of “even number” by giving a finite set of examples unless you add “and nothing else is an even number” (which would make the definition complete but incorrect).

        “The text most often cited by the IHRA defenders is “However, criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic”. The problem with that condition is that no two countries are alike. I am critical of many countries (including Canada, Israel, the US, and others). My criticism of one country is not similar to my criticism of any other country because their “crimes” are not similar. Israel is unique and criticisms of it are not similar to criticisms of the others. That means that the IHRA “definition” can brand them as antisemitic.

        “Any defense of the “IHRA definition” is foolish. Whether it is also dishonest or not, I cannot say.”

  6. At many points in my life, I have heard people saying things that I thought were wrong. In most cases (not all), I was surprised to find that they genuinely believed what they were saying. It never helps to tell such a person that they are being dishonest. What sometimes helps is to try to understand what has led them to believe what they believe and use that information to question their assumptions or reasoning. Sometimes (not always) both sides learn.

  7. There was a recent article in Ha’aretz online that discusses Tantura, the film, the research, the attempt to disqualify the research ( which actually succeeded in a sense) the retraction of the student doing the research, the opinions of Ilan Pappe and Benny Morris, and the denials of the Alexandroni Brigade are all well discussed. I would trust this newspaper far more than the honest reporting screed. The movie is screened this week on zoom.

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