Zionist Concentration in Canadian Media
Israel Asper (aka Izzy Asper) is the Executive Chairman of CanWest Global Communications. CanWest Global owns one of the three national television networks in Canada as well as 14 daily newspapers in Canada, including the National Post, which is circulated nationally. Mr. Asper is Jewish and you could say that his politics run to the right of Ariel Sharon. In a speech he for instance denounced what he called the biased media in their coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He specifically mentioned the "CBC, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Associated Press and Reuters wire services, ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, BBC, the British Guardian, Independent, Evening Standard and Daily Mirror newspapers, as well as ITV and Sky News networks".
Canwest controls 31% of Canadian Daily Circulation in it's newspaper division and 25% of the English-language TV Broadcasting, the largest market share for both.
Upon gaining control of the Southam Newspaper chain, CanWest instituted a policy whereby editorials were written centrally and all of their newspapers had to carry them. Asper, a staunch supporter of the Liberal Party of Prime Minister Jean Chretien, (he was formerly the Manitoba Liberal Leader fired the publisher of the Ottawa Citizen for publishing an editorial encouraging Chretien to resign.
Clearly, concentration of ownership of the media can be dangerous...particularly when it's owned by someone who has very strong and clearly defined views.
CanWest's Executive Management is
made up of 9 people in total, of which I.H. ASPER (Asper,
Israel Harold "Izzy") is the Executive Chairman. Other CanWest
Asper executives include Leonard Asper (President and CEO) and
Gail Asper (Corporate Secretary).
Below are excerpts from a submission by Israel Asper himself, to The Jewish Foundation of Manitoba, in which he, unequivocally, professes his commitment to Zionism (i.e. for Israel).
September 29, 1999
Both my grandmother, Golda Zwet (nee Barsky) and my grandfather, Ben-Zion Zwet, an orthodox Rabbi, were born in the Ukraine in 1882 and 1879 respectively. My grandfather arrived in Winnipeg in 1913 after working in Regina as the Shohet...In 1929 my father bought the Lyric Theatre in Minnedosa and it is in Minnedosa where I was born, on August 11, 1932 and where my brother Aubrey and sister Hettie and I spent our early childhood years...In 1945 my family and I moved to Winnipeg where, to this day my mother and her two sisters reside, along with my brother Aubrey, myself and my three children and their families.
I received my Bachelor of Arts in 1953, my Bachelor of Law in 1957, and a Master's Degree in 1964, all at the University of Manitoba...I practiced law for 15 years, specializing in Tax, and wrote a weekly newspaper column for the Globe & Mail for 14 years...In 1970 I became the leader of the Liberal Party of Manitoba and sat as a Member of the Legislature of Manitoba for five years.
Through all of this my wife Babs, whom I married in 1956, and my three children David (born 1959), Gail (born 1960) and Leonard (born 1964) were a source of strength and reminded me of the importance of commitment to family and community...I founded the Company that is now known as CanWest Global Communications Corp. - an international media company with operations in several countries.
In recent years, I have received many gratifying awards including my induction as an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1995, my induction as a Laureate of the Canadian Business Hall of Fame and most recently, my receipt of an Honourary Doctor of Philosophy degree at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, with which I have been associated for many years. My family was committed to a Jewish way of life and to Zionism, and I adopted those values. My parents drilled the belief into me that no one should ever leave the world the same as when they entered...I take great pride knowing that my children will carry on this family ethic.
Canada's Policy on Israel...shameful?
THE MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS: CANADIAN POLICY: Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
The main principles governing Canadian policy with regard to the Arab-Israeli dispute: Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
On April 6, 2001 Canada abstained on a UN resolution reaffirming the inalienable right of Palestinians to self-determination, including their right to establish a sovereign and independent state. The resolution passed by a vote of 48 for, two against (the United States and Guatemala) and two abstentions (Romania and Canada). The votes took place at the conclusion of the UN Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) annual session in Geneva in which Israel is an observer and cannot vote (but its UN ambassador, Yaakov Levy, rejected the vote, saying Palestinian self-determination is a political issue that can be resolved only through 'negotiations.'
Canada also abstained on three other resolutions that condemned Israel for alleged human rights violations. The most contentious of them expressed "grave concern at the deterioration of the human rights and humanitarian situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, condemned the disproportionate and indiscriminate recourse to force, which could not but aggravate the situation and increase an already high death toll, and urged the government of Israel to make every effort to ensure that its security forces observed international standards regarding the use of force." The resolution passed by a vote of 28 for, two against and 22 abstentions. Israel, of course, dismissed it as anti-Semitism.
Canada voted against a resolution on combatting "defamation of religions as a means to promote human rights, social harmony and religious and cultural diversity." The measure called on member states to provide "adequate protection against all human rights violations resulting from defamation of religions."
Nonetheless, here's how Mr. Asper sees 'Canada's Policy on Israel' --shameful
Canada's Policy on Israel is Shameful
by I.H. Asper, O.C., OM., Q.C.
The Israel Report, June 2001
Israel, after 53 years of statehood, remains the only isolated island of democracy, human rights and rule of law -- a lonely outpost of Western civilization and its values in a sea of terrorism, corruption, dictatorship and human enslavement. Countries like Canada should therefore be in the vanguard of its support, for mutual economic, military and ethical reasons.
I was there two weeks ago when the 20 innocent youths were mercilessly slaughtered, and dozens of young people maimed and crippled for life in Tel Aviv -- all as an expression of Yasser Arafat's unwavering, original and continuing objective of annihilating the state entirely, by any means, however ruthless, savage, barbaric and inhumane, and regardless of how long it takes.
Arafat and his brutal Palestinian colleagues are the voice, the arm and the fist of their terrorist-sponsoring state partners, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Lebanon and Syria, in their deadly 53-year-old campaign to destroy Israel, as well as inflict suffering on other democratic nations. Whether they are aiming their bombs at innocent civilians in Israel, or blowing up planes over Lockerbie, or embassies in Nairobi, or office buildings in New York, they are all cut from the same cloth, using the same pattern and belonging to the same school of gangster terrorists. Canada should treat them as such.
It is therefore a dismaying sight for knowledgeable Canadians to watch our Foreign Affairs Minister, John Manley, either a prisoner of naïeveté, or political opportunism, embracing this war criminal, Arafat, on Mr. Manley's recent visit to the Middle East. Perhaps we shouldn't blame Mr. Manley for Canada's shameful and wrong-headed policy on Israel, as represented by its pro-Palestinian votes at the United Nations. Perhaps we should simply blame his advisors at the historically anti-Israeli Department of Foreign Affairs, who seem bent on re-enacting the pre-war anti-Semitism of the F. C. Blair Department of Immigration.
Only Opposition leader Stockwell Day and his former foreign affairs critic Monte Solberg have had the courage to tell it as it is; to call a thug a thug, and tell the truth on who are the bad guys in the Middle East volcano of violence.
It remains a task for friends of Israel and friends of the Liberal party to appeal to the Liberal government to reverse its anti-Israel position in its comments and votes at the UN.
Our government should know:
1. That Arafat is a pathological liar, who has always sought and will continue to seek not justice for his people, but only the destruction of the state of Israel. Any peace arrangements are only a temporary stop along the way;
2. That contrary to the Oslo alleged peace agreements whereby Arafat agreed to end the teaching and promotion of hatred and the incitement to violence against Israel, Arafat's schools, mosques, state-owned newspapers and broadcasters continue to preach incitement, hatred, and the benefits of martyrdom in heaven for Palestinians willing to die in his holy cause of killing Israelis and Jews, wherever they may be found;
3. That Arafat continues to refuse to account for how he has spent the billions he's received for humanitarian aid, including money from Canada, even though it has been proven that some has been spent establishing terror-training camps for school children, and that his personal secret bank accounts are reported to be in the billions;
4. That contrary to his protestations to the gullible Western world, including Canada, that the present uprising was sparked by a provocative visit to the Temple Mount by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, the initifada had been deliberately planned months before -- this, from the mouth of his own minister of communications;
5. That contrary to the Oslo peace agreements, he emptied the jails of all the captured terrorists, to encourage and supply them with arms to make their attacks on Israel from the territory turned over to him by a compliant Israel;
6. That the most virulent of the roadside shootings, ambushes and mortar shellings against Israeli citizens are carried out by Arafat's personal guard force and militias, entirely within his control.
These and many more facts bear witness to the fact Arafat has declared war and therefore Israel is entitled to conduct itself and its defence accordingly, without the cluck-clucking of sanctimonious Canadian officials. How long would the government of Canada forbear, and tolerate, as it demands of Israel, atrocities against Canadians from bases say, in Quebec? Not a minute -- just ask the members of the 1970s Trudeau Cabinet, who invoked the War Measures Act.
No, it is time for a change in Canadian foreign policy. It is not too late to regain our honour and integrity.
This is excerpted from a speech to Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Toronto.
[end of article]
So, Mr. Izzy Asper -and his CanWest media empire (which, accidentally, shapes the minds of Canadians) is a hardcore Zionist/pro-Israeli. Big deal -or is it? Isn't the media in Canada independent/free? Would CanWest's executive management, ever, actually dictate the editorial policy of its daily papers? Yes!
The Star reveals CanWest's Zionism!
On 23 December, 2001 Toronto Star writer Bill Schiller adequately revealed CanWest's Zionist agenda. In his article, he makes it clear that CanWest's holdings are barred from critisizing Israel, that its owners are self-proclaimed Zionists and that their publisheres are systematically prohibited from speaking favorably about Islam/Muslims.
Dec. 23, 2001
Aspers flex their media muscle
'Go CanWest young man or go to hell'
by Bill Schiller
(Toronto Star, www.thestar.com)
MONTREAL Collecting their newspapers from their porch steps one morning this month, employees of the Montreal Gazette found a little surprise waiting inside.
There, for all to see, was a speech given the day before in Oakville by David Asper of CanWest Global Communications the paper's owner attacking his own employees as "bleeding hearts" and "riff-raff" who engaged in "pathetic politics" and "childish protest."
But the stinger was yet to come.
Arriving at their downtown offices that day, these same employees found a company memo reminding them it was "a privilege" to work for Mr. Asper's company.
The slightest misstep, the memo warned even "gossiping" could lead to dismissal.
CanWest would not brook any more carping from reporters about a company policy forcing "national" editorials written in Winnipeg on its 14 major papers across Canada. The reporters say the policy is ill conceived and does not serve the interests of individual communities especially Montreal, where "national" issues are always complicated by local circumstances.
Across town at the French language daily La Presse, respected columnist Nathalie Petrowski crystallized the Asper message for her readers with all the magic of a Madison Avenue merchandiser: "Go CanWest young man," she wrote, " or go to hell."
Inside the Gazette's newsroom, that message remains a tough sell.
"They're bullies," says one writer, asking anonymity.
It wasn't always this way of course.
Just last September, Gazette publisher Michael Goldbloom angrily left the paper, warning obliquely of troubles to come under the Aspers, who last year bought the Gazette and the Southam newspaper chain from Conrad Black.
Goldbloom told an interviewer he disagreed with increasing control coming from Winnipeg, home to Izzy Asper, sons David and Leonard and their CanWest Global empire.
"The Gazette is more than a business," Goldbloom said. "It's a paper that knows its community."
But this month, CanWest effectively announced it knows what's best for its papers' communities at least on national issues and introduced a new policy compelling all of its daily papers to run identical editorials sent from Winnipeg once a week.
In the new year, the editorials will run three times a week in every paper.
And local editorial boards won't be able to write editorials that disagree with the company line.
With CanWest owning 14 daily newspapers, the National Post, 126 community newspapers and the Global television network, which reaches 94 per cent of English-speaking Canada, serious concerns have been raised about the influence a single company will now have on Canadian opinion.
This week, the debate spilled into the Quebec National Assembly, where Liberals and the Parti Québécois joined together in a motion expressing their deepest concerns.
Once again, as in the days when Conrad Black controlled the Southam newspaper chain, debate over concentration of media ownership has moved back on to the national agenda. Each time it returns, the concentration grows greater.
With almost no reporting on the issue to be found in the pages of the Gazette, readers have taken their concerns and their wrath to the Letters to the Editor page.
There, readers have described David Asper's Oakville speech, in which he defended his company's "national" editorials as "petulant," "smug" and "self-serving."
"CanWest is making a mockery of freedom of the press in this country," reader Pierre Home-Douglas wrote with alarm from Dorval.
Asper might claim that CanWest is pursuing a "drive for excellence," he added, but "...what I have seen is a relentless drive for profits."
And 20-year subscriber Jack Zylack of Beconsfield worried about the way the Gazette was playing certain stories.
"In recent months, we have noticed a shift in coverage of issues, especially with respect to balance," Zylack wrote last week.
Interviewed by phone, Zylack said he was referring to "coverage in the Middle East."
The concern is legitimate.
On Aug. 11, the Gazette carried a Southam News editorial in the wake of a vicious, anti-Israeli terrorist attack in Jerusalem.
"Howsoever the Israeli government chooses to respond to this barbaric atrocity should have the unequivocal support of the Canadian government," the editorial urged.
"Nothing is excessive," it added, with a vigour some might regard as breathtaking.
Asked whether the Gazette would ever carry material critical of Israel in its news columns, Southam News chief Murdoch Davis, who writes and oversees all such editorials from Winnipeg under the new plan, says the paper could carry such criticism.
What about editorials?
"No," he replied definitively.
"Why?" he was asked.
Davis began to hedge.
"Let me back up," he said hastily, insisting he'd "misspoke."
Some criticism of Israel could be allowed in the newspaper chain's editorial pages, he said. But over all, Southam supports Israel.
Israel (Izzy) Asper, patriarch of the family and principal of CanWest Global , is one of Israel's strongest supporters in Canada. He has accused Ottawa of being "anti-Israel," and has publicly called Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat "a pathological liar" and "war criminal."
In an interview last week, Murdoch Davis insisted that in his "own personal view" Arafat was not a war criminal. He noted, however, that he had yet to write an editorial about him under the new plan.
But if the experience of Gazette television critic Peggy Curran is anything to go by, readers have reason to worry about content being altered to dovetail with the proprietors' views.
Curran wrote a column earlier this year on a documentary aired on Canadian TV that was critical of Israeli forces for targeting media working on the Palestinian side. The column was held, painstakingly discussed with Curran, then changed.
The action sent waves of anxiety through the newsroom. "If they'll go after the TV critic, they'll go after anyone," one reporter said.
Gazette editor-in-chief Peter Stockland contends it was only routine editing to ensure balance.
"It is a factual error to say the Curran column was altered," he said, adding it just needed something "inserted."
Presumably, Curran pressed the keys that made the changes to indicate the program wasn't necessarily truth, but "a point of view" documentary.
Curran wouldn't return The Star's calls for this article, but in a CBC radio interview before the threat of job dismissals was posted, she openly complained.
"Usually criticism is criticism and you're allowed to say what you want," she said. "I can't think of another occasion when this has happened to me."
She worries about the "chill" the experience will have on herself and others. "Whether you know it or not," she said, "you start censoring yourself."
Curran isn't the only one who has seen her copy delayed, changed or killed under the new owners.
Terry Mosher, nationally acclaimed editorial cartoonist who goes by the pen name Aislin, has also had worked killed one cartoon mocking the company's policy of Winnipeg-written editorials for all.
"For the time being, drawing anything on the subject of the Aspers and the whole business is strictly forbidden," he says. "Of course" it encroaches on his principles as a journalist, he says.
With the "Gazette Affair" one of the top stories in Montreal, Mosher penned a cartoon of an apartment dweller anxiously waiting in the pre-dawn dark for his paper. "Where's The Gazette?" he asks. "I can't wait to read their enticing editorial view from Winnipeg."
It was axed.
"This is about control," says Mosher. "It's probably a new milieu for these Asper people. I don't know how well they understand that it's a very different situation with newspapers as opposed to television stations and networks."
Mosher also emphasizes the "nervousness" throughout the newspaper chain over homogenization "You know, `Do we really need more than one TV critic?' That kind of thing."
But to date, only Montreal journalists have taken a stand. A call to other Southam newsrooms elicited fear and requests for anonymity.
"Nobody here has blinked," said a longtime Ottawa Citizen journalist. "Why? Conrad Black already changed the editorial board, directed the newsroom and dictated the front page ... people here do their job and go home."
With the threat of dismissal in the air, many prefer not to speak. Respected Gazette columnist Don Macpherson, whose original column on the company's "national" editorials was altered, according to colleagues, was polite but terse on the phone.
"I can't comment," he said. "I know you'll understand."
William Marsden, a multi-award winning journalist who, before the threats were issued, described the situation to the Paris daily Liberation by saying, "C'est la Pravda!" is now a tad more circumspect.
Responding to management's memo in which "primary fidelity to the employer" was stressed, Marsden said: "The way journalists keep their integrity and can continue to pursue the truth is not by loyalty to the owner but to the truth and the delivery of that truth to the public... You can't do that as a journalist if the No. 1 loyalty is to his or her boss.
"Of course I'm glad they pay me," he says. "But I'm loyal to one thing and that's the reader."
Salam Elmenyawi, chair of the Muslim Council of Montreal, used to write for the Gazette as a member of the Editorial Board of Contributors, a group representative of Montreal's broad community.
In a letter dated Aug. 14, three days after the Gazette's "Howsoever" editorial on Israel, Elmenyawi received a letter from then Editorial Page editor Peter Hadekel informing him the Board of Contributors had been terminated, but he'd be welcome to contribute "two or three" pieces a year.
Elmenyawi recently asked the Gazette if he could write on the new anti-terrorist Bill C36. His letter has gone unanswered.
"I don't expect I'll be writing anything for the Gazette anymore," he said in an interview. "I suspect the Muslim approach and point of view is no longer welcome."
Colleagues say Editorial Page editor Hadekel recently asked to be reassigned. His request was granted.
Last week, the Canadian Association of Journalists, the International Federation of Journalists and the Federation of Professional Journalists of Quebec issued statements supportive of Gazette colleagues.
And Quebec Communications Minister Diane Lemieux called the crisis "an extremely concrete illustration" of the dangers at the heart of corporate media concentration.
Back in the Gazette's office, editor Peter Stockland was cautious but confident the conflict would blow over.
"Media frenzies come and go. They all have their shelf-life."
How had implementing a policy in Montreal of running "national" editorials affected his own journalistic principles?
"I have no idea what that question means," Stockland said.
The question was asked again.
"Again, I don't know what that question means. Affected what principles? What are we talking about?"
The Gazette editor was asked if he wished to lay out and explain his principles.
"This isn't about me," he said.