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Karsenty’s Initial Statement with English Translation

Dear Friends,
After two successive delays, the Court of Appeals in Paris has finally condemned me for defamation of France 2 and Charles Enderlin. I also have to pay them 7000 Euros.
Not having been able to read the decision of the court, I cannot yet give my interpretation. Tonight at 18:30 I’ll be interviewed on Radio Shalom by Bernard Abouaf (94.8 FM Paris, and on the internet here.
We have lost a battle but we have not lost the war for the truth.
I’ll be back in touch with further information.
Thank you all for your constant support and I offer you my excuses for not being able to respond to all your messages of friendship.
Philippe Karsenty

Chers amis,

Après deux reports successifs, la Cour d’appel de Paris m’a finalement condamné pour diffamation à l’encontre de France 2 et Charles Enderlin.
Je suis aussi condamné à leur verser 7000€.

Al-Doura: Philippe Karsenty de nouveau condamné en appel (L’Express/AFP)

N’ayant pas encore pu lire l’arrêt de la Cour d’appel, je ne peux vous en donner mon interprétation.

Ce soir à 18h30, je serai interviewé par Bernard Abouaf sur Radio Shalom (94.8 FM à Paris et sur internet en cliquant ici).

Nous n’avons perdu une bataille mais nous n’avons pas perdu la guerre pour la vérité.

Je reviendrai vers vous prochainement avec d’autres informations.

Merci à toutes et à tous pour votre soutien constant et je vous présente mes excuses de ne pas pouvoir répondre à tous vos messages d’amitié.

A bientôt…


Philippe Karsenty  


Retrouvez-moi sur:


Conférence al Dura en français:

Philippe Karsenty au Club de la Presse, avec Jean Claude Bourret (1ère partie) et 2ème partie


Al Dura lecture in English:

The al Dura Hoax (in Los Angeles)



Al Durah Verdict against Karsenty

Leading critic of French al-Dura coverage convicted

Philippe Karsenty found guilty of defamation for accusing France 2 of staging Palestinian boy’s death
By TIMES OF ISRAEL STAFF June 26, 2013, 4:40 pm 12

Philippe Karsenty, Jewish-French politician and focus of legal battle over the al-Dura video.

A French media analyst was convicted Wednesday of defamation for accusing a state television network of staging a video that depicted a young boy being killed in a firefight between Palestinian gunmen and Israeli soldiers.

The footage more than a decade ago galvanized Palestinians and anti-Israeli sentiment in the Mideast at the start of the bloody Second Intifada.

A Paris court fined Philippe Karsenty 7,000 euros (NIS 33,000) in the defamation case filed by network France 2. Karsenty accused the network’s Jerusalem bureau chief, Charles Enderlin, of fabricating parts of the segment.

The 55 seconds of edited footage, broadcast on September 30, 2000, showed the terrified boy, Mohammed al-Dura, and his father amid a furious exchange of fire in the Gaza Strip. It then cut to the boy slumped in his father’s lap. The report blamed Israeli forces for the death.

Karsenty called the verdict “outrageous.” A lawyer for France 2 said it was a victory for journalists.

Karsenty was convicted of libel in 2006, a judgment that was overturned on appeal in 2008. France 2 subsequently appealed that appeal at the “Cour de cassation,” France’s highest court. Last year, the Cour de cassation annulled the ruling acquitting Karsenty of libel in 2008.

Last month, an official Israeli government report concluded that al-Dura was not harmed by Israeli forces and did not die in the exchange of fire.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who commissioned the report in 2012, said the accusations aired on France 2 were “a manifestation of the ongoing, mendacious campaign to delegitimize Israel.”

A screen capture of the video showing the Muhammad al-Dura incident.

After the report was released, al-Dura’s father, Jamal al-Dura, told Ynet that he and his son were both hit by Israeli fire in the incident. He said he would be willing to exhume the body to prove that his son had in fact been killed.

Israel initially did not dispute that IDF troops had inadvertently killed the child.

“It could very much be — this is an estimation — that a soldier in our position, who has a very narrow field of vision, saw somebody hiding behind a cement block in the direction from which he was being fired at, and he shot in that direction,” the IDF’s southern commander Maj. Gen. Yom-Tov Samia said at the time.

Nidra Poller Interview with Jerry Gordon on Al Durah

The Al-Dura Affair Blood Libel: an interview with Nidra Poller
from Jerry Gordon

The Al-Dura Affair Blood Libel: an interview with Nidra Poller from Jerry Gordon on Vimeo.

In this video Nidra Poller is interviewed by Jerry Gordon, a Senior Editor at the New English Review. She is an historian by training, writer by profession and journalist by necessity with a unique view of major developments in Europe, Israel and America. Her latest novel is Karimi Hotel and Other African Equations. She is a frequent contributor to the New English Review. Articles by her have appeared in The Wall Street Journal Europe, Commentary, National Review On-line, and The American Thinker, among others. She is the Paris correspondent for Dispatch International.

Her chronicle of the Mohammed Al-Dura affair, Notes of a Simple Citizen will be forthcoming. It is based on her 13 years of involvement with the unfolding drama behind the Al-Dura video hoax. The faked death of 12 year old Muhammad Al-Dura occurred on September 30, 2000, at the very beginning of the Second Intifada against Israel by Palestinians. That broke out two days earlier on September 28, 2000 with the visit of former Israeli PM Ariel Sharon to the al Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

The iconic picture of Mohammed Al-Dura sheltered in the arms of his father, Jamal, captured on video by Talal Abu Rahma, a Palestinian cameraman working for the France 2 TV news channel, and was transformed into blood libel accusing the Jewish nation of Israel of being child killers. The 55 seconds of video cut from more than 27 minutes of raw footage was used as propaganda by Palestinians and even the late Osama bin Laden as a call to Jihad against Israel, Jews and the West. Conflating the Al-Dura blood libel has been the vigorous defense raised by France 2, the state- owned television news channel. France -2 producer Charles Enderlin t has embroiled in an unending series of legal hearings and appeals in French courts publication of a self-serving book.

Enderlin’s defense has been rebutted in articles and news documentaries by Stephane Juffa and the late Gerard Huber of French-Israeli Metullah news agency, MENA, and by German TV news investigative journalist Esther Shapira. French media expert, Philippe Karsenty, launched his own investigation buttressed by the research of Israeli forensic experts demonstrating that Mohammed Al-Dura could not have been shot by Israeli soldiers at the Netzarim checkpoint in Gaza and that the video was faked.
The occasion of this interview with Poller was the recent publication by the State of Israel of a definitive report from a Commission mandated by Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu in September 2012.

The interview covers her chronicle of involvement observing the depths of this fraud perpetrated on the world’s media by the Palestinians with the complicit involvement of Enderlin, French and other mainstream media. She discusses Enderlin’s and France 2’s entrapment in ‘the body of lies’ behind the Al-Dura affair. A keen observer of all of the French legal proceedings in the Al-Dura Affair she reveals the manipulation of that system by Enderlin and his defenders. She shows how the French judicial system differs from the rigorous evidentiary and legal standards of the English and American legal systems. She discusses the relentless efforts of the international investigators in Israel, Germany, France and the United States seeking to defeat the fraud of the Al-Dura Blood Libel. She considers what occurred in the Al-Dura affair as exemplary of the tactics and methods of the international Jihadist movement seeking to further its agenda of Islamization of the West and the destruction of Israel.

“What’s Your Problem with that?”: Enderlin and the Intellectual Corruption of the MSM

(This article has been published at Pajamas Media, June 23, 2009)

The startling footage of Neda, the 27-year old woman shot to death in the streets of Tehran recently has reminded some of the image of 12-year old Muhammad al Durah (HT Tom Gross):

The footage of a Palestinian man [sic] being shot dead [sic] next to his 12-year-old son, Muhammad Jamal al-Durrah, by Israeli forces in Gaza in 2000 has been etched in the minds of many Iranians, as state television has continually replayed the images to highlight the “Zionist regime’s brutality.”

Now, the Islamic regime itself has become the subject of similar allegations at home and abroad after gruesome footage of a dying young woman during the suppression of an opposition protest on Saturday was released on the internet.

The image of Neda Salehi Agha-Soltan, a 27-year-old philosophy student, bleeding to death on the asphalt road of a Tehran street after she was shot in the chest, has become the rallying cry of the country’s opposition, which is disputing the June 12 election of Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad.

Only neither Jamal (the father) nor Muhammad al Durah (the son) were killed, not by Israelis soldiers, probably not by anyone, and certainly not “on TV.” These days when real footage, shot spontaneously, of victims of brutal repressive forces make it out of Iran, a country where the leaders make every effort to shut down the media, it may be useful to revisit the case of Muhammad al Durah.

With al Durah, we have a case of footage uncensored by authorities coming out of a conflict in which the allegedly repressive regime — the Israelis — provides the most welcoming atmosphere of freedom for journalists. These journalists repay the Israelis for their tolerance by running Pallywood footage staged by the Palestinians, specifically designed to provoke outrage. And in the case of Muhammad al Durah, the boy behind the barrel at Netzarim Junction on September 30, 2000, the footage was not only staged, but, thanks to the efforts of France2’s Middle East correspondent, Charles Enderlin, it made it around the world with the imprimatur of Western Mainstream media. In short order, it became an icon of hatred, provoking outrage, hatred and violence against both Jews and Israelis — the first blood(less) libel of the 21st century.

One of Enderlin’s favorite arguments is, “look, if there were any substance to these allegations, the Israelis would be all over me and Talal. The fact that they’ve done nothing is proof that we’re right, and Talal is “as white as snow.” He most recently repeated these arguments at his blog.

So let me suggest a counter-argument: If there were any substance to Charles Enderlin’s defense, he would have informed himself of the details of the evidence.

Instead, he continues to remain supremely ignorant of all the telling problems with both Talal’s account and his own.

His performance in his interview with Schapira for the new movie shows us precisely the kind of know-nothing folly that first inspired the term Pallywood, which came not from evidence of Palestinian fakes — I’d already seen many — but from Enderlin’s complacent response to having them pointed out: “Oh yeah, they do that all the time. It’s a cultural thing.”

Here are some views of the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of a major MSM figure, one of the most influential journalists in Europe for the last two decades. Not one word that he utters has any substance in terms of serious argumentation. In any first-year graduate seminar in history the kind of cavalier contempt for hard evidence and argumentation that Enderlin displays here would earn him the disbelief of fellow students and a ticket to ride from the professors… Unless, of course, we were in an honor-shame culture where someone with protected status could get away with anything he wanted to say.

Both in the details, and in the argumentation, Enderlin gets an “F” in Second Draft of journalism.

Enderlin handles a question from Esther Schapira.

It’s a smear campaign by people who don’t like my work

Here is Charles in court the day of the showing of Talal’s rushes (the beginning of his downfall), pugnaciously leading with his chin. He is typically dismissive — “you can say he was killed by Martians…” and categorical “we didn’t fabricate these images” (if that we includes Talal, it’s problematic). But the most revealing “argument” is that people who oppose him do so because they “don’t want my reports, my books, and my commentaries.”

Note the revealing slip at the beginning: “This is a libel suit… uuuh, a libel against me.” He’s the one bringing the libel suit against Karsenty, but he’s trying to position himself as the victim. Indeed, we met one vociferous ex-Israeli French journalist in the court who was indignant at how Enderlin was being dragged through the judicial mud by this suit against him.

But the larger question is certainly worth considering. Enderlin, true to style, uses conspiracy-theory logic. Cui bono? To whom the good? If I lose this case, then my whole oeuvre will be in doubt. Ergo, those who attack me on this case actually want to discredit me entirely.

Actually, I had never heard of Enderlin before this, and my concern was both to challenge so powerful and hate-engendering an icon — a blood libel — and, as I became involved, to challenge the inexcusable complaisance of the MSM with Pallywood footage. As I’ve learned more about Enderlin, I think he’s right on one point: his behavior here should call into question the rest of his work which, as I’ve learned, is also tendentious and treats evidence loosely. But to go from that to “it’s a conspiracy to shut me up” not only shows the paranoid quality of Enderlin’s thinking, but also the nature of his appeal: “Don’t listen to them; they don’t like my politics.” Alas, this works all too often these days.


That’s how I do a story: “The child is dead” is a statement. What’s your problem with it?”

Here’s Charles asked about why he claimed that the child was dead and then three “takes” later, he’s still moving. This is, of course, a critical issue, since the scene in which the child moves was one that he cut from his broadcast.

I don’t know if Schapira asked him why he cut it, but I presume he’d have answered the same way he has for 9 years — “it was the death throes, and too unbearable for the public to view.” You be the judge on to whom this cut footage is unbearable — the viewer or Talal’s and Enderlin’s “narrative.”

In response, Enderlin let’s us know how he works: “This is the way I do a story…”

I’m very sorry, but the fact is the child died. Maybe not at the precise moment I showed. But this is the way I do a story. “The child is dead,” is a statement. What’s your problem with it?

How many Teamsters does it take to change a lightbulb?
Why 12?
You got a problem with that?

Enderlin: “Maybe not at the precise moment…”

Like the Teamsters, this man thinks he won’t be challenged by anyone who counts. He doesn’t have to give a serious answer, because the people who count — his bosses at France2, his fellow journalists — support him fully.


Read More

Freddy Eytan, The Al-Dura Affair and Its Implications for Morality and Ethics in France

The Al-Dura Affair and Its Implications for Morality and Ethics in France
Amb. Freddy Eytan, May 30, 2013
Filed Under: Europe and Israel, Palestinians, The Middle East
Jerusalem Issue Briefs, Vol. 13, No. 15 31 May 2013

The report of Israel’s governmental inquiry committee on the al-Dura affair, written after a thorough examination of all the materials related to this unfortunate affair, should serve as a lesson for all foreign reporters working in Israel and be taught in journalism schools throughout the world.

The authors of the report have successfully demonstrated how a Palestinian photographer violated the basic tenets of journalistic work, and how a foreign reporter accepted his version of events and his photos wholesale without questioning their reliability for a moment. Verifying sources, cross-checking, meticulously ensuring objectivity – these are the foundations on which the whole enterprise of journalistic coverage rests.

Yet most of the foreign reporters prefer to remain in their offices and work from the raw materials conveniently provided by reporters and photographers of the international networks and news agencies – which, for the most part, employ local Palestinians.
It is, of course, regrettable that the report only appeared thirteen years after the affair, which caused grave damage to Israel’s image, but there is no early or late when it comes to the truth. We owe profound gratitude and esteem to all those who tirelessly pursued justice in this affair, with the whole French establishment supporting the Palestinian version. These activists contributed time, energy, and professional experience to the struggle for the supreme value of bringing the truth to light.

The initiative of a government ministry to publish the report on the al-Dura affair is very praiseworthy and appropriate. A democratic state that fights for its existence is required to defend itself and its image with all the tools at its disposal.

Never Too Late for the Truth

The report of Israel’s governmental inquiry committee on the al-Dura affair, written after a thorough examination of all the materials related to this unfortunate affair and published by the director-general of the Ministry of International Relations and Strategy, Yossi Kuperwasser, should set off red lights and serve as a lesson for all foreign reporters working in Israel. It should also be taught in journalism schools in Israel and throughout the world.

It is, of course, regrettable that the report only appeared thirteen years after the outbreak of the Second Intifada and the al-Dura affair, which caused grave damage to Israel’s image, but there is no early or late when it comes to the truth.

We also owe profound gratitude and esteem to all those who tirelessly pursued justice in this affair despite the many difficulties that confronted them. With the whole French establishment supporting the Palestinian version, the road to uncovering the truth was long and beset with journalistic, political, and legal hurdles. Only a small number of people contributed time, energy, and professional experience to the struggle for the supreme value of bringing the truth to light. The inquiry committee’s report, then, points the way to a clear objective: to work with all the resources at our disposal so that justice will be heard and seen, and especially to refute once and for all the versions and contradictions of the reporter and photographer of the France2 television network.

The report also glaringly reveals one among many examples of the sort of media coverage that is typical in an arena that is undoubtedly one of the most complicated, volatile, and sensitive in the world. The authors of the report have successfully demonstrated how a Palestinian photographer violated the basic tenets of journalistic work, and how a foreign reporter accepted his version of events and his photos wholesale without questioning their reliability for a moment. Clearly, this does not reflect on those reporters who do their work honestly in Israel. Such phenomena, however, exist and must be denounced and uprooted.

Asymmetrical Media Coverage

Media coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is asymmetrical in every regard. It is generally accepted that Israeli is a democratic country with high normative standards, granting freedom of expression to anyone who wants it including the right to engage in harsh criticism of Israel itself. The IDF is unquestionably a unique army, operating in extremely difficult conditions not only against threats from standing armies but also against terrorism, violence, and disturbances while having to face women and children who serve as human shields. The instructions of the General Staff are clear, and after every clash or operation a painstaking inquiry is conducted, the lessons are learned, and, if necessary, those responsible for infractions are disciplined. Such standards do not exist among any other armies in the world including the NATO armies.

Yet, as far as media coverage is concerned, since the outbreak of the First Intifada the rules of the game have changed. Most of the foreign reporters prefer to remain in their air-conditioned offices and work from the raw materials conveniently provided by reporters and photographers of the international networks and news agencies – which, for the most part, employ local Palestinians.

Moreover, in the centers of the enlightened world the ignorance about Israel is complete. In Europe, and particularly France with its large Muslim-immigrant community, the effect on media coverage is especially striking. We must dislodge biases and replace them with basic historical understandings. To that end, our messages must focus on Jewish and national values and explain first of all the root of the conflict with the Arabs. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which is deployed with its representatives in world capitals, serves as an organizational and operational arm. Yet, lamentably, in the al-Dura affair the delegation in Paris failed completely to confront France2 and turned back requests by Jewish organizations and private individuals who wanted to present evidence and closely examine what had happened.

In the history of the conflict with the Palestinians, an affair whose repercussions continued for more than a dozen years, and that involved the spilling of so much ink and a great deal of blood, is not remembered. In France, however, the “death of the Palestinian boy” became a symbol for struggle against the occupation and against the French Jewish community through acts of incitement and violence, which reached their peak with the murder of the Sandler family at the Ozar Hatorah school in Toulouse. It should be noted that most of the Jewish leaders, and at their helm the outgoing head of the roof organization, Richard Prasquier, fought the French television network in every way, while also requesting the intervention of the president of France and the creation of a governmental investigatory committee that would finally uncover the truth. The debate is still not over, and the affair has been brought to the courts. Yet France2 keeps refusing to provide the raw footage of the event, a fact that speaks volumes.

The controversy was extensively publicized in all the media. Ballistics experts, retired military people, jurists, politicians and diplomats, doctors and intellectuals took part in the heated debate, and almost everything about the affair has already been said. Yet the thirty-seven pages of the Israeli inquiry committee’s report and its annexes demonstrate beyond a doubt that there is no evidence that Jamal al-Dura and his son Muhammad were harmed as the cameras of France2 indicated; and, even more important, that the IDF was not responsible for the supposed harm. In a clear segment that was not broadcast, the boy is seen to be alive.

Nevertheless, since France2’s report was broadcast, there has been no letup in the defamation campaign of pro-Palestinian organizations and individuals against Israel and the IDF. Our soldiers became “bloodthirsty murderers of innocent children” and it was regularly asserted that “the Jewish soldiers behaved like Nazis”; meanwhile, the Palestinian boy became a martyr. Journalists also made comparisons with the famous picture from the Warsaw Ghetto where a Jewish boy raises his hands near a German soldier.

In France, just as in Arab countries, the death of “little Muhammad” became the political cause célèbre overnight, the stuff of earnest discussions on radio and television. All over the country there were ceremonies and exhibitions sponsored by communist mayors. Immigrants gave the name Muhammad al-Dura to newborn babies. And even graver, the pro-Palestinian weekly Le Nouvel Observateur, which likens the conflict to the French occupation of Algeria, published a petition signed by about a hundred French journalists, intellectuals, diplomats, and politicians, including former foreign minister Hubert Védrine, which stated unequivocally that “the little boy Muhammad al-Dura was killed by fire whose source was an Israeli position.”

On what did they base this? Were they there on the ground? Even the reporter Charles Enderlin, who won a Legion of Honor award for his coverage, was not at the “scene of the crime.”

That, to one’s sorrow, is how supposedly professional journalism conducts itself, and along with it the French leadership and most of the intellectuals. The anti-Zionist ideology, which reigns supreme, flails about in total blindness and acts in accordance with preconceived notions that have been in place since the Six-Day War. Still smarting from their own experience with colonialism, the French stance is to view any occupation as illegitimate, unenlightened, and deserving of every form of vilification.

Actually, the event that occurred thirteen years ago at the Netzarim Junction was in no way connected to a sensitive security violation or to military censorship. There was no need to intervene and forbid the report to be broadcast. The case has more to do with the journalism profession, ethics, and morality, and with the very high standards that every reporter needs to internalize and carry out in practice. This is all the more so given the asymmetrical coverage of Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians. Nevertheless, a number of foreign journalists in Israel violate elementary rules while knowing full well that they enjoy total freedom in their work, even as the region as a whole is in a state of bloody turmoil and ruled by totalitarian regimes.

The Foundations of Journalism

Verifying sources, cross-checking, meticulously ensuring objectivity – these are the foundations on which the whole enterprise of journalistic coverage rests. The inquiry committee did well to note this fact, quoting the relevant international organizations and societies. The supreme obligation of any reporter is to pursue the truth. Regrettably, however, Charles Enderlin, who is a resident of Israel and a journalist esteemed in the profession, did not exercise judgment and stubbornly continued to believe in the Palestinian photographer with a strange naiveté.

A journalist in a democratic country does not require a permit or license to work in his profession. Unlike a government, which is committed to the well-being and security of its citizens, a journalist bears no responsibility for possible negative repercussions of an article or broadcast. But this means that when a reporter errs, he must immediately admit the error. Concerns about a scoop or about competition in no way justify failing to wait for the facts to be verified. This is a fundamental rule that is learned in every school of journalism. It was a standard in the past, and it is just as valid in the Internet era.

Often journalists in Israel fall into the trap of deliberate or non-deliberate manipulation by various sources, or by a malicious Palestinian actor in the field. From the time of the First Intifada, the French news agency has adopted methods that clearly do not meet the test of objectivity. The way in which terms such as “terrorism,” “occupation,” “activist,” “attack,” “operation,” “freedom,” “disproportionate response,” “underground,” or “freedom fighter” are defined is of great importance for setting the tone of coverage and for how reports are formulated. Without question, the terminology used to cover any conflict must be precise, veracious, and balanced. This news agency, however, always magnifies any IDF operation along with the casualties among the Palestinian population, while the Israeli victims of terror and rocket fire get much less traction. A terror attack on Israeli soldiers or settlers is presented as “legitimate” or, in many cases, not covered at all. The claims that are made are transparently ideological and political.

It is worth reemphasizing that the IDF is one of the armies that operate according to clear open-fire orders, and is unique in the world in thoroughly investigating every incident. Sometimes Israeli soldiers and officers have to stand trial for a very small infraction. The media in France, however, do not condemn the daily provocations of Palestinian teenagers and children who are sent to form human shields against armed IDF soldiers. Democratic countries ensure that children are protected and safe. They are forbidden to take part in demonstrations, and television reporting on crimes or armed conflicts does not show their faces. The Palestinians, however, and particularly Hamas, regularly and remorselessly make use of children. Teachers in classrooms define “Jew” or “Zionist” in terms of vilification; children are taught that Israel is a country that does not exist, and it does not appear on maps of the region.

We Must Continue the Struggle for Truth

We must, of course, tirelessly continue the informational struggle and denounce phenomena like the al-Dura affair. We must prove again and again to the journalists and intellectuals who presume to preach morality to us that they do not hold a monopoly on truth and justice in the world, and are not capable of solving our conflict with the Palestinians from safe distances.

We must loudly and publicly emphasize that Israel is not like other countries. It is the only one in the world subject to open calls for its destruction, and the only one without recognized and defensible borders. It is the only one whose capital, Jerusalem, is not officially recognized by a single country in the world.

At the same time, we must confront the problems facing us, the threats from Iran, Hizbullah, international terrorism, and anti-Semitism. We must fight the websites inciting against us, the Arab broadcast channels like Al-Manar from Beirut and Al Jazeera from Qatar. And yet, despite it all, Israel has not lost its values; it persists in the quest for a real and sustainable peace.

The problem is strategic and political. We have not dealt sufficiently and effectively with the malicious and ugly propaganda of the other side, and our response was sometimes weak and muddled in the al-Dura affair as well. While we continue to speak in the Western logic of common sense and legal aspects, the Palestinians use the vernacular of emotions and passions. We need to carry out a fundamental, systematic, carefully thought-out revision.

In sum, while criticism of the State of Israel or its government is undoubtedly legitimate, bias, distortions, and delegitimization must be condemned. The edicts of an unreliable group of people, who presume to objectively portray a bloody conflict that has been ongoing for a hundred years, must be rejected entirely.

Clearly, then, notwithstanding the criticism and reservations that have been voiced, the initiative of a government ministry to publish the report on the al-Dura affair is very praiseworthy and appropriate. A democratic state that fights for its existence is required to defend itself and its image with all the tools at its disposal.

Publication: Jerusalem Issue Briefs Filed Under: Europe and Israel, Palestinians, The Middle EastTags: Al-Dura, France
About Amb. Freddy Eytan Ambassador Freddy Eytan, a former Israeli Foreign Ministry senior advisor who served in Israel’s embassies in Paris and Brussels, was Israel’s first Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Mauritania. He heads the Jerusalem Center’s Israel-Europe Project, focusing on presenting Israel’s case in the countries of Europe.

Memes of Lethal Journalism: We Didn’t Get it Wrong, You’re a Conspiracist! (Larry Derfner version)

Really didn’t want to do this. Have responded thrice in the Spring of 2008 to Dernfer’s rattling his cage about Al Durah – here, here, and here – and I probably should leave him to rattle in peace. But there’s something about his tone which I think is particularly revealing, and that readers should be aware of when they hear it. It’s the sound of a lethal journalist being denied his foundational myth.

And the irony is that, at the end of the article, he concedes major terrain in the argument, even as he maintains his tone of contempt… a little like the naked emperor who, realizing everyone knows he’s naked, continues his charade showing even more disdain for the crowd.

In the following article there is not one substantive argument, only one case where Derfner grapples (unsuccessfully) with the empirical evidence (which I’m beginning to think he hasn’t watched – or watched peremptorily). It’s all about name-calling (when it happens to them, people like Derfner like to use the word “smear,” as in the critics are “Desperately smearing Goldstone“), and circuitous arguments all drawn directly from Charles Enderlin. In some senses, the best parallel to Derfner’s prose is the Vultures, except that Derfner does it in public.

Warning in advance. This is long. I will extract the key issues for an article next week, but each of the elements of Derfner’s article deserve analysis, if only because so many people, especially journalists, share his attitude.

On the al-Dura affair: Israel officially drank the Kool Aid

A look at the right-wing conspiracy-nut thinking that informed this week’s blue-ribbon report on the infamous 2000 killing of a Palestinian boy in Gaza. 

In the 13 years since Muhammad al-Dura was killed in an Israeli-Palestinian shootout in Gaza while cowering behind his father, masses of right-wing Jews have eagerly embraced a conspiracy theory of the 12-year-oid boy’s killing – that it was staged, a hoax perpetrated by Palestinians to blacken Israel’s name. This theory, promoted most avidly by Boston University Prof. Richard Landes and French media analyst Philippe Karsenty, depends on a view of Palestinians being superhumanly clever and fiendish, and a view of reality that comes from the movies.

As I noted at your site: The difference between you and me is you think the journos are too sharp to be fooled by anything unless it’s a major conspiracy, whereas I, looking at the evidence, sadly come to the conclusion that the Palestinians can put out the shoddiest crap (Talal’s pathetic 60 seconds) and our journos (led by the lethal journalists who pass on anything the Palestinians cook up) will gobble it up. Given your long career as one who regularly feeds these Palestinian lethal narratives to your readers as news, it’s probably no surprise that you need to believe in the necessity of conspiracies that can’t exist, in order to keep on trucking.

The mentality here is essentially the same one that drives the 9/11 “truthers,” the anti-Obama “birthers,” those who say the Shin Bet assassinated Rabin, or those who say ultra-rightists assassinated JFK – a fevered imagination activated by political antagonism that knows no bounds. In the right-wing conspiracy theories of the al-Dura shooting, the boundless antagonism goes out to the Palestinians and their supporters.

Aside from comparing the Al Durah scam, where at most a couple of dozen people were necessary to pull it off, with schemes that took massive levels of participants (9-11, Kennedy Assassination), there’s a fascinating reversal embedded in this comment: the boundless antagonism in this conflict comes from the Palestinians, it not only drove the creation of the Al Durah story, but its systematic deployment as an icon of hatred in order to inject a death cult into Palestinian culture. Of course people like me are hostile to this kind of appalling behavior and hostile to people, like you, who, instead of condemning it roundly, constantly run interference for, and encourage it. As often in conspiracy theories, the person accusing the other of secretly evil intentions projects his own behavior and attitudes.

This week, the State of Israel officially joined the movement. Its report on the al-Dura affair adopts the conspiracy theory in full. (To be precise, it adopts the relatively “restrained” conspiracy theory – that the al-Duras were never shot. The other, wholly unrestrained conspiracy theory in circulation holds that the Palestinians killed the boy deliberately to create a martyr.)

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