Israel Killed 12,300 kids in Gaza but Canada’s Media Continues to Protect Israel

Drum roll, please. Today, I want to salute Canada’s media. It is largely because of you, and your coverage of Israel’s war on Gaza, that the latest poll reveals approximately the same number of Canadians support Israel as support the Palestinians.

Does that sound fair – after four months of Israel’s total destruction of Gaza, Israel’s murders of 12,300 children (43% of the total death toll), more than 1,000 children with one or both legs amputated, and the 610,000 children trapped in Rafah? Overall, Israel has killed more than 28,176 people (including children) and seriously injured nearly 70,000. But let’s not trivialise Israel’s other accomplishments: liberating seven hostages and blowing up some tunnels.

The Israeli narrative remains firmly in place in the Western media, according to journalists, including Caitlin Johnstone, Diana Johnstone (no relation), and Rami Khouri who notes that Israel has manipulated the narrative in its favour for years.

Khouri, a Distinguished Fellow at American University in Beirut, writes that many times Israel has been “caught bending the truth or outright lying” to hide its crimes against Palestinians and violations of international law. Here are a few examples:

Violations of International Law

  • When Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was shot and killed in an Israeli raid in the Jenin refugee camp in May 2022, Israel insisted Akleh was “hit by indiscriminate Palestinian gunfire.” Yet within days, several independent investigations confirmed she was targeted and killed by an Israeli sniper. Even the US State Department finally agreed Israel gunfire killed her.
  • In Nov. 2023, an Israeli missile hit an ambulance convoy in Gaza and killed 15 Palestinians. Israel said it was targeting Hamas, but could not convince the international community.
  • Days after Oct. 7, Israel and Western media insisted Palestinians were carrying dolls, not dead children, in their arms.
  • Since Oct. 17, after the bombing of the Ahli Hospital, 31% of English-speaking media call Gaza’s health service the “Hamas-run” or “Hamas-controlled” health service. Prior to that date, only 7% used that term; most called it the Palestine Health Ministry.
  • According to journalist Matthew Petti, delegitimizing the Gazan health authority “serves a broader insidious narrative that Gazans and Palestinians are Hamas.”
  • Rafiah Al Talei, editor for Sada at Carnegie’s Middle East Program noted, “Unwavering US support has allowed Israel to enjoy complete impunity, and to continue to act as a rogue state that does not respect international law. This also undermines the credibility of the United States and its European allies in Europe, who affirm the importance of human rights, freedom of the press, and the democratic values only when they want to do so, and turn a blind eye to violations whenever they choose.”

At CNN, Mark Thompson, editor-in-chief and CEO, sent out a memo “from Mark” which read in part, “We must continue always to remind our audiences of the immediate cause of this current conflict, namely the Hamas attack and mass murder and kidnap of civilians.” (Italics in the original.)

As one contrarian CNN journalist explained, “How else are editors going to read that – other than as an instruction that no matter what the Israelis do, Hamas is ultimately to blame? For every action by Israel – dropping massive bombs that wipe out entire streets, its obliteration of whole families – the coverage ends up massaged to create a ‘they had it coming’ narrative.”

But why are our Canadian journalists toeing the US and Israeli line? True, it is dangerous to be a journalist in Gaza (or the West Bank) today. Israel has killed more than 85 journalists in Gaza since 7 Oct.

Life Expectancy = One Day

On last Saturday’s CBC radio program Day 6, there was an interview with Yousef Hammash, a Palestinian aid worker and journalist who is barely surviving with his wife and kids in Rafah. He admitted his life expectancy was one day. That is the life expectancy for a mayfly. Even a fruit fly lives about 14 days.

“For a more humorous look at how journalists massage the message about who is doing the bombing of the Palestinian children watch ThatMuslimGuy here.”

As some point out, no other war in the 21st century has been so lethal for journalists. But Canadian journalists are safe, mainly in Canada, and watching live feeds from Palestine. Many foreign and Canadian journalists based in the Middle East rely on Tel Aviv and Israeli propaganda, often even the Israeli military, for their information. Yet Canadian journalists, along with others in the Western media, continue to work their magic to essentially favour Israel in their coverage.

The Angus Reid Institute’s poll of 1,610 Canadian adults taken in the first week of February shows that the sympathy for the Israeli side and the Palestinian side are neck and neck at about 32% each.

As journalist Diana Johnstone writes, “When Gazan families are buried under the rubble of their homes, it’s not about the plight of the dispossessed Palestinians; it’s about eternal Jewish victims; it’s about “Islamic terrorism”; or it’s about a threat to “Western values.”

And thanks to our journalists’ output, about 20% of Canadians still don’t know who is in the right. One in five Canadians think the Trudeau government has struck the “right” balance between pro-Palestinian and the pro-Israel.

On the matter of a ceasefire, 49% of those polled want an immediate ceasefire (so at least the media has promoted that solution). By comparison, only 30% wanted a ceasefire in Nov. 2023. About 17% “couldn’t say” in November and can’t say now whether or not they favour a ceasefire.

As for those who voted in the 2021 federal election, only 28% of the Tory voters want a ceasefire, compared with 55% of the Liberal voters, and 69% of those who voted NDP.

Back in Nov 2023, 19% of respondents said Israel’s response to October 7 was too heavy-handed; today, that number has grown to 26%. Unfortunately, only a quarter of Canadians think Israel’s response is out of proportion.

Perhaps the media have done the “best” job when it comes to the question of whether or not Israel is committing genocide. Though 57% of women age 18-54 (and 47% of men of the same age) say that Israel is committing genocide against the Palestinians, 55% of men (and 35% of women) over the age of 54 say Israel is not committing genocide.

Campaign to Smear UNWRA

What about cutting off funds to UNWRA (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees) – as Canada has already done? As we know, UNWRA is the only major aid agency operating in Gaza. Since Dec. 2023, more than 66% of jobs in Gaza have been lost; UNWRA provided jobs in education, health, and social services in Gaza including in the eight refugee camps located there. Despite the virtual annihilation of Gaza, UNWRA continues to deliver what they can in humanitarian aid, healthcare, water, food, and essential services to Palestinians.

We know that the campaign to discredit UNWRA was launched by Israel and the US the day after the ICJ ruling that asked Israel to prevent acts of genocide. The allegation is that there were 10 UNWRA workers (out of 30,000 employees, that is 1 in 3,000) who were members of Hamas. UNWRA fired the ten without proper investigation or proof as a measure of “good faith” to the West, including its media; still, many in the political realm and the media continue to believe UNWRA is a terrorist front.

Prominent US historian of the Middle East Lawrence Davidson says that the accusation is a red herring.

“As far as I can tell, it is based on ‘confessions’ gotten from Hamas prisoners under torture. The Western response, taken in an embarrassing choreographed fashion, is as outrageous! There is no definitive proof, only 12 out of thousands of UNWRA employees have been accused, yet Biden and most of the European leaders are ready to become complicit in mass starvation. The only truth here is that they are the real criminals.”

(The Guardian revealed Israel’s use of systematic torture against Palestinian civilians more than two decades ago; you can read about it.)

Despite no hard evidence, 58% of Canadians surveyed agree Canada should cut funds to UNWRA for the foreseeable future; only 42% want to keep funding the agency.

Here’s where Canadian opinions seem to directly link to the media. The question was: In your opinion, based on what you have read, heard, or seen, do you believe Israel is committing genocide against the Palestinians or not. Canadians responded this way: 32% of respondents said no, there was no genocide, 41% said yes, there was a genocide and 27% said they didn’t know. Last time I checked, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) found it is “plausible” that Israel has committed acts that violate the Genocide Convention. In a vote of 15-2, the ICJ ordered that Israel had to take all measures to stop a genocide in Gaza. These points (and more) were reported in a decision by the ICJ on January 26. But the Canadians polled seemed to have missed the memo.

“Israel’s loyal supporters in the West combat rising world indignation over the suffering of the Palestinian people by changing the subject,” writes Diana Johnstone in her recent article “Genocide Meets French Devotion to Israel.”

And this is what the Angus Reid poll reveals – many Canadians still believe that Islamic terrorism is a threat, that Western values (Judeo-Christian values) are at risk, and that a rap on the knuckles is all Israel needs to “slow down” its mass murder of Palestinian civilians in Gaza. •

Judy Haiven is a retired management professor at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, NS. She is a member of Independent Jewish Voices Canada. You can reach her at She blogs at