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October 10, 2021 8:56 pm  #1

Group Issues Complaint About Desmond Cole's "Israel Smear" On GNR640

A pro-Israel group called Honest Reporting Canada (which monitors the media for anti-Semitism) believes the activist and former CFRB talk show host was allowed to spew anti-Jewish hatred, which they say host Greg Brady let pass through without challenge for at least 10 minutes. 

Desmond Cole Given Unfettered Platform to Smear Israel on AM640


October 10, 2021 9:14 pm  #2

Re: Group Issues Complaint About Desmond Cole's "Israel Smear" On GNR640

This is what happens when you have a sports guy discussing issues beyond his knowledge or education. 


October 10, 2021 9:29 pm  #3

Re: Group Issues Complaint About Desmond Cole's "Israel Smear" On GNR640

I'm not sure how I ended up on Honest Reporting Canada's email list, but it was about the media so I never cancelled it.

Say what you want about this group, but they've been remarkably effective over the years. Their main targets seem to be the CBC and the Toronto Star, which are often accused of having an open anti-Israel bias, and they have succeeded dozens and dozens if not hundreds of times in getting those two organizations to change a misleading headline or issue a factual correction about something they ran. 

Neither the broadcaster or the newspaper does that lightly and only if there's some justification for it. They're actually quite good at what they do, although I have no idea how they keep track of every single newscast and newspaper that deals with this subject. 

     Thread Starter

October 10, 2021 9:41 pm  #4

Re: Group Issues Complaint About Desmond Cole's "Israel Smear" On GNR640

Few years ago I submitted a formal complaint to the Canadian Association of Broadcasters re comments made on-air by Cole during his mid-afternoon Newstalk1010 show. One day I'll post the missives to show what a sham that process is. And how tight CAB adjudicators are to industry eminents.


October 10, 2021 10:01 pm  #5

Re: Group Issues Complaint About Desmond Cole's "Israel Smear" On GNR640

I don't think Honest Reporting should be taken seriously. They will attack any coverage of Israel that is even mildly critical. People don't have to agree with what Cole said but there's nothing he said that can be fairly described as "antisemitic" or "anti-Jewish". 

Last edited by Hansa (October 10, 2021 10:04 pm)


October 10, 2021 10:06 pm  #6

Re: Group Issues Complaint About Desmond Cole's "Israel Smear" On GNR640

RadioActive wrote:

the activist and former CFRB talk show host was allowed to spew anti-Jewish hatred

Did he spew anti-Jewish hatred? What precisely did he say? Is the audio available?


October 10, 2021 10:07 pm  #7

Re: Group Issues Complaint About Desmond Cole's "Israel Smear" On GNR640

67GreenRambler wrote:

One day I'll post the missives to show what a sham that process is.

Please do - we'd be fascinated.


October 10, 2021 10:10 pm  #8

Re: Group Issues Complaint About Desmond Cole's "Israel Smear" On GNR640

Frankly, I've never been left with a positive impression after any of my few exposures to Desmond Cole.


October 10, 2021 10:25 pm  #9

Re: Group Issues Complaint About Desmond Cole's "Israel Smear" On GNR640

Chrisphen wrote:

RadioActive wrote:

the activist and former CFRB talk show host was allowed to spew anti-Jewish hatred

Did he spew anti-Jewish hatred? What precisely did he say? Is the audio available?

The segment that Honest Reporting objects to starts around 11:50 

Last edited by Hansa (October 10, 2021 10:25 pm)


October 10, 2021 10:56 pm  #10

Re: Group Issues Complaint About Desmond Cole's "Israel Smear" On GNR640

Here's a rough transcriopt: 

GREG BRADY: Desmond Cole is our guest. Two weeks ago, you get brought in to do a discussion; to give a talk on anti-Black racism, for the TDSB.

DESMOND COLE: So I'm going to correct you, I just have to correct you. I was not brought in to do a talk on anti-Black racism. I was brought in to do a talk on equity and discrimination. The words anti-Black racism were never asked for me to discuss. I just get painted that way because of my expertise -  I know about a lot of things about anti-Black racism.

BRADY: But was it a conversation point in the talk itself, as it as the talk developed and evolved?

COLE: Definitely. It's an area of my expertise.

BRADY: Yeah, yeah yeah yeah okay so I shouldn't paint it -  yeah it's more wide ranging than that clearly it is. What's, what's fair about the observation? So, I watched the video - someone sends me the video, I thought that could have gone better. And I say that Desmond because - in person, I feel I feel like zoom has really constricted a lot. Am I interrupting somebody it's like if you and I were having a conversation in person right now, nobody would think if somebody was interrupting somebody. I'm conscious of that with with guests on the show. Would it have gone better, would it have hadn't had a, you know, less controversy about it and I think some of the controversy clearly has been unfair - that's why I'm having you on. But would it have gone better in person?

COLE: Maybe, but only because people adhere to social graces, not because they wouldn't have been upset with the things that I said, so let's talk about like what actually happened. I raised a bunch of issues - the board asked me why don't we have schools basically where everybody feels included? Why are there so many students in our schools in particular backgrounds [who] tell us in our surveys, who tell us in our own research by the school that they, by the school board, that they don't feel included, that they are discriminated against more that the rules are applied unfairly to them? That was the question that I was being asked to come in there and talk about.

So one of the things I talked about is 'well, you guys discriminate against a lot of your students. You punish people for just having an opinion on things.' And it's ironic because then I was punished for having an opinion on something. But the issue of being a Palestinian person at the Toronto District School Board is highly, highly controversial. you're not even allowed to say, Palestine, the place, in the Toronto District School Board. People who live as Palestinian people in this province, in this city, they go to school, they don't want to talk about where they're from, because they're told, well that's not accurate. If they wear cultural garmants to school, they're told, "Take that off. That's an offensive garment." If they talk about their families in the occupied territories in Palestine - occupied by Israel, they're told, "You're being antisemitic".

There was a education professional at the TDSB who shared resources this May when Israel's occupation was heightening in Gaza, and they were killing a lot of people. He shared resources. Kids come to school and they talk about these things, Greg, so it's our job as educators to make sure that there are resources for them. This educator, Javier Davila shared resources. He was investigated, and a lot of really hateful columns were written about him being [an] anti-Semite and being hateful of Israel, which is false.

I brought that up in my talk because I said, "if you're going to treat somebody like that for sharing resources about something in the news. How do you think that makes your Palestinian community feel, students and teachers and community members? Does that make them want to come to school while their family members are under attack and say, 'Yeah, this is my life. This is my reality,' or does it tell them you don't get to talk about your life and your reality?

So this isn't about whether or not that conversation is person, Greg, it's about the fact that in Canada, you don't talk about Palestinian struggle. You talk about Israel's right to defend itself. You talk about the only democracy in the Middle East and you keep it [unclear] and I refuse to do that because if I'm asked to talk about equity in our schools, and Palestinians are definitely being treated inequitably, and anyone who stands up for them is being targeted. That's an issue for the school board, they didn't want to hear it. They don't want to hear it now. So, whether I was there in person or not I don't know how that conversation might have gone differently because people don't want to hear what I've just said but it's true and it's real and Palestinian people are experiencing a really particular form of racism at the TDSB.

BRADY: I got a minute left. Sadly I, but this question merits a 15 minute discussion so I hope you'll come back and have it. What I would ask you is, do we have a problem in our schools, or public schools, specifically with what I would call sensitivity? I think the teachers when they interrupted you got over, oversensitive about this, but it's probably not the only thing we're doing. So we're waking up, we're being aware of these things but we also have to understand that we're different, that we'll all come from different backgrounds, and we're not going to solve any of this stuff without debate, without understanding, without respect to, are we just too do we have just too much thin skin going around, all around our planet right now, our city, our schools. What do you think about that?

COLE: No I don't think it's sensitivity, I think that it is a preference. I think people prefer to defend the State of Israel. They prefer to defend a settler colonial regime in another part of the world, where you can occupy other people's land if that sounds perhaps familiar, where you can make laws and erase the laws of the people who were there and take away their customs - If that sounds at all familiar to Canada - where you can control people's movement. Our settler colonial country had done all of these things. And so we are sympathetic to another settler colonial country that is doing the same thing, particularly because the people who they're doing it to are darker skinned and are Arab, and in many cases are Muslim. That's all this is. These, these, these, these prejudices are already in our society, everywhere, but they just come together in this issue in a way where those people who were interrupting me they're not sensitive. They're like 'it's my job here to defend Israel, it's my job here to say the so called other side'. That's what they were doing, and they will probably in my view, being directed by their superiors to do that because I wrote a whole piece about this which people can read online at YES

BRADY: I was gonna mention that, but I would ask that  -I'm going to make us so late-, but I would ask that, I think educators are sensitive someone says 'what about China and the Uighurs?' there would be a teacher that would stop that conversation, there would be a teacher....

COLE: But why though?

BRADY: But they, but they would, is what I say, right?

COLE: Okay, that's fine but like that's not about individual teachers. Palestinian people in schools in Toronto are not being discriminated against or having their stories cut off because individuals feel uncomfortable. There is a system wide form of discrimination that says if you talk about Palestine or Palestinians, you're hurting or threatening another group of people, so you're not allowed to do that and that is enforced throughout the board. So I don't want us to talk about this as though it's a few individuals who are uncomfortable. I want us to acknowledge that in this board, there is a prejudice against Palestinian people and that is what we have to challenge board-wide not on a conversation by convseration....

BRADY: Right - here's what I'd say, I think, I think that's true. I think what I said has and I'm not saying you're saying what I'd said didn't have merit, I remember getting shouted down by a grade 8 teacher when we would talk about South African apartheid. I'm an 80s kid right that Sun City song in 86 that thing slaps, but it was important at the time that we would talk about that. Why are they banned from the Olympics? Why are they, why is it, why do we how do we define the word apartheid - we got apartheid going on in 30 countries right now, and we gave a tremendous emphasis in 1986 that we need to give it in 2021, but that teacher didn't want to have that discussion because you just - and this that's a non-online world that's a non, non-internet world.

COLE: So if I could - just a really quickly Greg, the only question is, if that teacher went to their principal and said 'this kid was trying to talk about South Africa.' What do you think would be the likely response? Because today we all recognise in our schools that South African apartheid was wrong.

BRADY: I gotcha. Yeah.

COLE: But today, do we all recognise that the apartheid regime in Israel is wrong? Do we even want to call it that word. No we don't. That's the difference is that, what's the norm today? Teachers who don't want to talk about Palestinian struggle are the norm, that is what we're [trying] to expose and challenge.

BRADY: I'll tell you what the perspective was. My dad was a history teacher and it was all my mom and me could do to stop him from going in the school - they were actually friends,  you know they coached together at times, and his perspective was, well, I mean, how do we know how do we know Black people could run South Africa better than the white people are? And I kind of put up my hand, I'm like, umm that doesn't sound so good to me. So you can imagine and we a class of 30 all white kids from where I grew up, yes, yes we were, and it's different. It's different in 2021, it's different in Toronto, I want to keep talking with you but I can't. I gotta go and pay the bills. I hope people get a chance to have more conversations like that they're important for people to hear.

COLE Thank you for doing this, I appreciate it, Greg.

Last edited by Hansa (October 10, 2021 11:34 pm)


October 10, 2021 11:16 pm  #11

Re: Group Issues Complaint About Desmond Cole's "Israel Smear" On GNR640

cash wrote:

This is what happens when you have a sports guy discussing issues beyond his knowledge or education. 

Greg Brady has a degree in political science, and Desmond Cole says what he thinks no matter who the host is or what platform he's on.  Also, he criticized the "State of Israel" not Jewish people in general.  There is a giant difference there.  It's not a "smear" to criticize the policies of a country's government.  

It's also worth analyzing this article for some bias. 
- Was Cole "spewing" or speaking?  I heard speaking.
- The article claims the portion in question is 8 minutes long, then says it's "nearly 10 minutes."  It's actually 7 minutes which is closer to 5 mintues than it is to 10 mintues.
- Questioning whether or not the current government is engaging in apartheid isn't "baseless."  That question is currently being debated by historians and scholars inside Israel and around the world.
- "The majority of Israeli Jews are not, contra Cole, of European descent at all." He didn't say they were.  He was talking about the TDSB's policy toward using the term Palestine, saying that Palestinians have darker skin. 

Did Cole have all of his facts straight? Not completely.  There was plenty of opinion in there, but this article is intentionally misrepresenting what he said.. 


Last edited by Tomas Barlow (October 10, 2021 11:33 pm)