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CBC Airs False Allegation that Israel Used Chemical Weapons in ’08-’09 Gaza War (AUDIO)

May 7, 2013 12:59 pm 6 comments

Gaza City. Photo: David Berkowitz.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) Radio’s “Information Morning Fredericton” program elected to air an unsubstantiated allegation claiming Israel intentionally used chemical weapons on Palestinian children in Gaza in the 2008-09 war with Hamas. The allegation came during a segment that aired April 26th, about an exhibit curated in Fredericton depicting fake Gaza art.

Media watchdog Honest Reporting Canada spotted the interview with Tracy Glynn of the Fredericton Peace Coalition, who stated the following in the interview: “The exhibit depicts one of the most brutal events that happened in the history of Gaza with the 2008-2009 Operation Cast Lead which killed over a thousand people in Gaza including 320 children, so this exhibit, done by children who survived that air raid, use of chemical weapons, it depicts what they see happening in their lives, the events that happened as well as the aftermath of that…”

Honest Reporting Canada pointed out that CBC Journalistic Standards and Policies dictates the following in the “Responsibility and accountability related to interviews“ category (emphasis added): “CBC takes responsibility for the consequences of its decision to publish a person’s statements in the context it chooses. When we present a person’s statements in support of our reporting of facts, we ensure that the statements have been diligently checked. In the case of comments made by a person expressing an honest opinion, we ensure that the opinion is grounded in facts bearing on a matter of public interest.”

Listen to audio of the CBC segment here.


  • Joel Keller

    Yeah, yeah. The local CBC affiliate was just taking the “honest opinion” of someone who is inheritantly dishonest and stating this as “fact.” That’s honest, isn’t it?

  • Seth Lefkow

    I’ll believe that when it’s told by other than some arab kid who’s been “carefully taught”.

    And why wait almost four years to air this obvious lie? The story, although interesting, shows there are more fakes in Gaza than just the art.

    Shame on CBC for broadcasting what they knew to be an “unsubstantiated allegation”.
    When did they become a subsidiary of Fox News?

  • The IDF regularly uses White Phosphorous munitions; they are labeled “white smoke” (ashan lavan) and are used mainly for creating smoke screens. During Operation Cast Lead they were used extensively. When inhaled the smoke can be fatal, not to mention that it reacts exothermically with water and since human bodies contain large amounts of this liquid, it ignites upon content and burns until it is completely consumed. Its wounds are brutal and difficult to heal; hence it has been banned. The Chemical Weapons Convention “Definition and Criteria” defines a chemical weapon in subparagraph 1.b as “Munitions and devices, specifically designed to cause death or other harm through the toxic properties of those toxic chemicals specified in …” Paragraph 2 clarifies what a “toxic chemical” is: “Any chemical which through its chemical action on life processes can cause death, temporary incapacitation or permanent harm to humans or animals. This includes all such chemicals, regardless of their origin or of their method of production, and regardless of whether they are produced in facilities, in munitions or elsewhere.”
    According to this definition, white phosphorous is a chemical weapon. Apparently the IDF has recently discontinued the use of White Phosphorous.

    • No. You should read the section you cite.
      Although the “white smoke” contains substances which are toxic, it is “specifically designed” to screen military action, not “to cause death or other harm through the toxic properties of those toxic chemicals”.
      As such,pursuant to the very terms of section 1.b of the Chemical Weapons Convention,it does NOT fall under the definition of a “chemical weapon.”

    • Samuel Dinkels


      Accusations that Israel employs sinister and “illegal” weapons are not new. Now, the politicized non-governmental organization Human Rights Watch has condemned Israel for allegedly using white phosphorus weapons unlawfully in the conflict with Hamas. NGOs such as HRW enjoy the “halo effect”, whereby, because of their humanitarian focus, they are insulated from scrutiny and are regarded as above reproach by the media. In this case, media including The Guardian, Times of London, Christian Science Monitor and CNN have repeated HRW’s claims.

      However, this charge has been disputed by the International Red Cross, which stated that it had no evidence to suggest that white phosphorus is being used improperly or illegally by Israel. As the AP reports:

      “In some of the strikes in Gaza it’s pretty clear that phosphorus was used,” [Peter] Herby told The Associated Press. “But it’s not very unusual to use phosphorus to create smoke or illuminate a target. We have no evidence to suggest it’s being used in any other way.” …
      Herby said that using phosphorus to illuminate a target or create smoke is legitimate under international law, and that there was no evidence the Jewish state was intentionally using phosphorus in a questionable way, such as burning down buildings or consciously putting civilians at risk.
      White phosphorus has, however, been used as a weapon against civilians during this conflict… by Hamas. On Tuesday a mortar shell fired from Gaza into Israel contained white phosphorus. As the regional council’s security chief said: “the potential danger of using such a rocket is enormous. It is far more dangerous than other Qassam rockets and mortar shells. This is an escalation in the type of explosives the Palestinians use on civilians.”

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