Jennifer Hill-Simpson

What was Peter Kent’s position on Israel before he became an MP?

Peter Kent is the Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) for Thornhill, Ontario, Canada and is currently standing for re-election in this year’s Canadian Federal Election.  Kent is best known for his 40-plus year career in journalism.

Mr. Kent has commanded a large following in the predominantly Jewish community over the past ten years as an outspoken “supporter” of the State of Israel.  Or, so it would seem.

However, while researching the Conservative Party member’s positions for a recent B’nai Brith candidates’ debate, I discovered an NBC news special that aired in 1987 featuring Kent covering the Arab-Israli conflict.

In an excerpt from the video, Kent certainly appears to have unending sympathy for those who he defines as “Arabs under the thumb of the military” and “second-class citizens in their own land”.  He adds:  ”This is what the occupation is all about.’’

Here is a clip of part of that news broadcast:

The special report (I hesitate to use the word “documentary”)  was so offensive to Israel that Yitzhak Shamir, then Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and then Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin all REFUSED to speak to any reporters representing NBC (announcement at end of July 1987).  In fact, the network was forced to send representatives to Israel to beg officials to reconsider.

Shamir’s spokesman, Avi Pazner, said that the program, narrated by Tom Brokaw and broadcast July 1, 1987 was a “completely biased and one-sided documentary on Israel.” Pazner complained that only non-representative Israeli officials were interviewed on camera.

At the time of broadcast, Kent had already amassed fifteen plus years as a journalist, so one cannot blame the zealousness of youth.  The remarks made by Kent certainly bring into question whether his support for the State of Israel and, in fact, Israelis themselves is truly his own or simply the rhetoric he is paid to spout in order to retain his seat in the House.

About the Author
Jennifer Hill-Simpson is a superhero, semi-supermom, and supporter of the State of Israel.
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