Canadian news network issues apology for featuring Gaza war footage in Chanukah story

The news outlet blamed a “technical issue” for the war footage being aired.

By The Algemiener

CTV News Toronto has issued an on-air apology after the Canadian broadcaster showed footage of the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza while airing a report on how the local community in Toronto was preparing to celebrate the first night of Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights.

“We mistakenly aired images of the war in the Middle East while reporting on the beginning of Hanukkah,” CTV News anchor Zuraidah Alman said in the apology on Thursday. “We are deeply sorry that this occurred during our coverage of this important and special event.”

The news outlet blamed a “technical issue” for the war footage being aired.

Earlier in the day, CTV News aired a noon-hour news story on how Toronto was going to observe the start of Hanukkah that night, highlighting the lighting of a large menorah at Mel Lastman Square.

However, as a reporter was discussing the local Jewish community’s plans for the holiday, the news segment showed footage of the war in Gaza between Israel and the Hamas terror group for about 20-25 seconds.

Jewish and pro-Israel groups decried what appeared to be an attempt to link Israel’s defensive war against Hamas terrorists in Gaza to Jewish holiday celebrations halfway around the world.

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“What is this, @CTVToronto? Is there no time delay for live broadcasts?” B’nai Brith Canada, a Jewish human rights organization, wrote on X/Twitter. “Which employee made the editorial decision to link the war against Hamas in Gaza to the Jewish holiday of Chanukah? Please explain why anyone should believe this was not a premeditated act of #antisemitism.”

HonestReporting Canada, an organization that promotes fairness and accuracy in Canadian media coverage of Israel and the Middle East, lodged a complaint with CTV News after the segment aired.

“In what should have been a happy segment, one which focuses on the story of Hanukkah, light triumphing over darkness, viewers instead were treated to a segment, which insinuated that Jews are collectively intertwined and responsible for the war in Gaza,” HonestReporting Canada wrote of the incident on its website.

According to the world’s leading definition of antisemitism by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel is antisemitic.

Despite CTV News’ apology, many observers suspected the airing of the war footage was deliberate.

“I feel there was a deliberate sabotage act on Hanukkah,” Olga Goldberg, who was attending Thursday’s opening night of the menorah lighting, told the Toronto Sun. She added that it felt like the video was “intentionally placed” to demonize Jewish people.

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Thursday’s segment came three days after CTV News anchor Omar Sachedina introduced a story suggesting a peaceful rally of Jewish and pro-Israel activists was “in support of the war” in Gaza.

“In Ottawa, thousands of Jewish Canadians rallied on Parliament Hill in support of the war while inside Parliament, Palestinian Canadians made a plea for help,” Sachedina said, setting up the news story for a reporter in the field.

At the rally, demonstrators said they were showing solidarity with the people of Israel and the hostages and victims from Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israeli communities. Hamas terrorists’ surprise invasion of Israel and murderous rampage — in which 1,200 people were killed and 240 abducted — launched the current war in Gaza.

“We are deeply disturbed by @CTVNews misrepresenting yesterday’s peaceful ‘Rally for the Jewish People’ in Ottawa that was attended by thousands of Jews, including students and Holocaust survivors, as being pro-war,” the group Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies posted on X/Twitter. “The poignant pleas from the families of those held hostage by Hamas, as well as those whose loved ones were murdered, were anything but. We call for a retraction and an apology.”

CTV News has yet to comment on the incident.