Postmedia apologizes for anti-Israel ad in Gazette, promises national training

Part of the Amnesty International ad featuring Janna Jihad.

Postmedia's Adrian Faull, Senior Vice President for Local Sales, sent an apology to Honest Reporting Canada after the group alerted the company to an anti-Israel advertisement from Amnesty International Canada in the Montreal Gazette. The group's complaint also prompted the media company to hold a mandatory training session for its sales team across Canada.

“The Amnesty International ad copy that was published in the Montreal Gazette on page A-4 on Monday, Dec. 6th, does not meet our advertising guidelines and standards," Faull wrote to Honest Reporting Canada. "This advertisement should not have been published and was a direct result of human error. Our entire Local Sales Advertising Team across Canada will be attending a mandatory training session on Thursday December 9th, to further reinforce our processes and standards. We apologize for this mistake and believe the training and additional rigour around our submission processes will help to avoid this issue in the future.”

Honest Reporting Canada commended the media company "for recognizing its mistakes and for taking immediate corrective action to ensure that an incident like this doesn’t happen again." Honest Reporting Canada's original alert said that "on Dec. 6, the Gazette published an advertisement by Amnesty International Canada, which was replete with anti-Israel misinformation and allegations devoid of any context.

"The ad featured the photo of Janna Jihad, a 15-year-old Palestinian girl asserting that she’s 'fighting back against Israel’s oppressive system in the Occupied Palestinian Territories,' and added that she 'faces death threats and intimidation for her work speaking up for human rights.'"

The alert adds that Amnesty International Canada resources profiling Jihad "claim that she has been 'harassed for exposing Israeli violence,' but nowhere does it provide a scintilla of evidence of any abuse, intimidation or harassment which Israel had allegedly committed against Jihad. Amnesty International Canada points out that Jihad witnessed her uncle’s shooting death at the hands of the Israeli military, but conveniently omits the facts of the case.

"Jihad’s uncle, Rushdie Tamimi – a relative of Ahed Tamimi, the Palestinian teenager who was filmed physically assaulting Israeli troops –was killed in 2012 when he was part of a mob which was lobbing rocks at Israeli forces. It is critical to recognize that stones, far from being harmless pebbles, have been used by anti-Israel rioters to injure and even murder Israeli civilians. And while it is also true that an internal IDF probe found that the soldiers who fired were not justified in doing so, that very fact is a powerful rebuttal to Amnesty International Canada: that Israel is a country governed by the rule of law, and even when its soldiers act in self-defense, it will still be scrutinized and criticized if necessary. Amnesty International Canada’s reference to 'Israel’s oppressive system in the Occupied Palestinian Territories' is a masterclass in obfuscation and misdirection."

Honest Reporting Canada adds that Jihad has been "one of the most powerful propaganda tools used by the Palestinian leadership against Israel, and has been trotted out since she was a child in an attempt to demonize Israel to the world.

"Amnesty International Canada is no stranger to spreading anti-Israel misinformation, but The Montreal Gazette certainly should have known better than to run an advertisement like this. Reasonable people can have differing views on Israel’s governmental policies, but that does not give Amnesty International Canada – or, by extension, The Montreal Gazette – the right to erase Israel’s legitimate and historical presence in its own homeland, and then give selectively omitted facts to help bolster their anti-Israel case."

B'nai Brith Canada also objected to the ad in the Gazette, posting on Twitter, "it's unacceptable for any newspaper or website in Canada to spread harmful disinformation in any of its sections, including advertising. Amnesty International should know better and the Montreal Gazette needs to reject and report to authorities malicious ads such as this one."

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