TV host says Israel “does not deserve to exist”: CIJA takes action


Update 2 (February 2, 2012): HonestReporting Canada and the Centre satisfied with outcome of meeting with V-Network’s management

Update 1 (January 30, 2012): The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, HonestReporting Canada and the V Network put out a joint press release on this topic.

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) is pursuing action against a French-language television host for his continued on-air denigration of Jews and Israel. On December 27, Stéphane Gendron,  Huntington mayor and host of the V Television Network show ‘Face à Face’, stated live on the programme that “unfortunately Israel has not yet collapsed” and that Israel “does not deserve to exist.”

CIJA has been in contact with the network’s management to seek a prompt end to Gendron’s contemptuous statements. As a result, a meeting between Maxime Rémillard, co-president of Remstar Corporation (which owns V) and Gendron was held in mid-January to discuss the issues, however the station has been delaying their response to CIJA with their course of action. CIJA, therefore, has committed to pursuing the advocacy campaign against Gendron and is pushing for an investigation by the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council.

“There is an important distinction between legitimate opinion that promotes public discourse and incendiary rhetoric that blocks constructive criticism. Gendron’s use of V Television’s information platform gives free reign to his personal prejudices contravening the regulations established by the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council, which require commentators not to make abusive or unduly discriminatory statements. Unfortunately, V’s failure to respond to our concerns or express any regret signals it is not taking its broadcasting responsibilities very seriously,” said David Ouellette, Associate Director of Public Affairs (Quebec) at CIJA. “Gendron has a long history of defamatory statements about Israel and Jews and we don’t believe that the issue will end here. We are certain that Gendron will continue to express his contemptuous views and we are determined to keep advocating for this issue to be addressed responsibly.”

During the second Lebanon War in 2006, Gendron described the Israelis as “modern day Nazis” and compared the Gaza Strip to the Warsaw ghetto. That same year, the TQS network (now V) fired Gendron because of his offensive and hurtful comments about certain identifiable groups. In 2008, he accused Israel of perpetrating “genocide” against the Palestinians. Last September, the same network that had terminated him hired Gendron to co-host ‘Face à Face’ on V. Gendron continued his tirades throughout the fall season, accusing Jews of having “invented terrorism”, promoting the mocking of the Holocaust by French anti-Semite Dieudonné and accusing the Jews of being steeped in contempt of non-Jews. Last November, Gendron again vilified Israel, claiming that Israel was killing Palestinian innocents by “bulldozing” them to build houses on the seized land.

“Gendron’s views are not held in a vacuum. Their seriousness is aggravated by the fact that the TV programme is watched by tens of thousands of viewers. Gendron’s hot rhetoric has the potential to create and shape the stigmatization of Quebec Jews,” Ouellette said.

He explained that when TQS fired Gendron in 2006, they justified it by stating that Gendron had the obligation not to attack a population in particular and as a broadcaster, TQS had their own obligations and responsibilities to respect as part of its broadcasting license.

“If V wants to remain a broadcaster committed to best practices, it needs to be consistent with its justification for firing Gendron in 2006. V unquestionably has the right to raise controversial issues that enrich public intellectual debate. Although well-founded criticism of Israeli policies is certainly legitimate, Gendron’s statements cross the line that separates fair opinion from hatemongering,” Ouellette said. “V’s viewing public expects and deserves informed opinions by respected commentators, not hate-filled invective from an agitator. It is hard to believe that V will tolerate in 2012 what TQS condemned in 2006.”

To follow this story as it progresses, please visit CIJA’s website.

  • Gisabun says:

    I think the CRTC and other federal agencies can go after him as well.

  • shlomo ben ezra says:

    I followed this story with interest. I would make a different suggestion, we have many able spokes people in the JEWISH community, why don t we ask equal time to
    present OUR VIEWS ON face a face–SAME RADIO-TV STATION — of course not with the same preacher of
    hate but someone who knows history and respectful of human dignity. We are indeed missing an opportunity if we do not`pass on our message of decency, humanity etc. to the quebec population at large and specifically those people who have the time to listen to this unspeakable speaker.

  • Yackov says:

    Both ideas are worthy in fact. First stop the hate mongering which has clearly crossed the line of journalism of any kind, and second look into starting a TV or perhaps other media type “show” which delivers a message of peace and provides opportunity to learn more about our remarkable culture and minds and hearts. To me that is one great “core” of Judaism whether your orthodox or not, we have this ability to agree to disagree, to discuss, even to argue and it’s OK… and it stops there. We are reasonable people.

  • Jeff says:

    I am a strong believer of freedom of speech but not when it promotes hatred towards any people or community. When you have a known person who has a history of spuing hatred and is an agitator(as the article says) then you have a responsibility to the public to find out what the rhetoric in the programing will be based on and then make the descion to go ahead or not to broadcast. Instead,like most programing today TV,RADIO & NEWSPAPERS stand behind the statement”that the comments,views and opinions of the person are theirs and not that of the station “.
    That in my opinion is a copout and is the responsibilty of the station to ensure that HATRED is not promoted in any shape or form towards anybody as Ouellette said. “V’s viewing public expects and deserves informed opinions by respected commentators, not hate-filled invective from an agitator. It is hard to believe that V will tolerate in 2012 what TQS condemned in 2006.

  • Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs says:

    Thank you all for your thoughftul comments. We met today with the senior management of V. We had a very positive and constructive discussion with V and they clearly understand that red lines were crossed by Gendron. They disapprove of his comments on Israel’s legitimacy and our community and will not allow him or anyone else to engage again in unacceptable and discriminatory statements. V was very interested in learning more about our community and we are pleased to have turned Gendron’s outrageous comments into an opportunity to establish a relationship of mutual trust and ongoing dialogue with V.

  • Jean-Guy Marmen says:

    My question is who really doesn’t deserve to exist. This is not Gendron’s first outrageous comment, and who is he to deserve to be heard, what is his contribution to making this world a better place to live in?

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