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Memes of Lethal Journalism: Smearing “any” and “every” Critic of Israel

Al-Dura Report: Smear Tactics That Work
by Emily L. Hauser May 24, 2013 3:45 PM EDT

A lot of people (not least my editor, Ali Gharib) have been writing this week about Muhammad al-Dura, a 12-year-old boy killed in a fire-fight between Israeli and Palestinian forces early in the second Intifada. They’re writing about him because the Israeli government decided to stir up the hornet’s nest of his horrible, horrifying death and (once again) insist on its own innocence. Along the way, they smeared Israeli-French journalist Charles Enderlin, accusing him of, among other things, “inspir(ing) terrorists and contribut(ing) significantly to the demonization of Israel and rise in anti-Semitism in Muslim countries and the West.”

Jamal al-Dura and his family (L), clean grave of their son Mohammed, in the central of Gaza Strip, on May 20, 2013. (Mohammed Abed/ AFP / Getty Images) French Israeli Charles Enderlin (R), journalist for France 2, poses on October 4, 2010 at his editor’s offices in Paris. (Joel Saget / AFP / Getty Images)

Such tactics, intended to silence or at the very least delegitimize those who might criticize the Israeli government’s policy or actions, are old hat, and their use is of course widespread. Advocates for a two-state peace, from Israeli-born/Israel-living Rabbis to never-stepped-foot-in-the-Jewish-State Gentiles, are routinely subject to slights on their character, attacks on their professional credibility, and/or physical threats—whether by the Israeli government (see above), organizations devoted to supporting the Israeli government (except if the Israeli government happens to support two-states), or the various and many self-appointed Jewish Purity Czars.

This is not a phenomenon born in the age of comments sections and Twitter. It has always been thus, and if you doubt it, you can look into the history of, for instance, Breira, founded in 1973 by the late great Rabbi Arnold Jacob Wolf to advocate for positions nearly indistinguishable from those of J Street today, and hounded out of existence within four years. Breira member Rabbi Michael Paley remembers: “Jobs were threatened. The financial supporters of B’nai Brith and Hillel came to the directors and said, ‘Stop this, we’ll fire you.’”

You might also consider the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. In the weeks and days before Yigal Amir shot Rabin in 1995, a vicious hate-and-fear-mongering campaign had gripped Israel, a venting of fury with which the current Prime Minister took no issue at the time (click here to see Netanyahu smiling beneficently while a churning right-wing crowd waves posters with Rabin’s head pasted onto Heinrich Himmler’s body—no Photoshop necessary—and screams that their Prime Minister is a traitor).

On the other end of the significance scale, you might consider someone as irrelevant as, say, me: A year and a half into the second Intifada, back in the States for what my husband and I assumed would be a temporary, academia-related stay, I slipped back into my old gig of writing about Israel. I ran a heartbroken essay in the Chicago Tribune in June 2002, and six weeks later an op-ed about how many Palestinian kids had been killed by Israeli forces since the second Intifada began. Among the children I mentioned was Muhammad al-Dura.

I also mentioned Israeli children who had been killed, including ten-month old Shalhevet Pas, and wrote something that I’ve since written countless versions of:

Withdrawal from the territories will not put an immediate halt to the violence or, of course, the hatred, particularly not if the terms are, as in the Oslo accords, patently unbalanced in Israel’s favor. That is the excruciating price we will have to pay for subjugating another people for 35 long, brutal years.

It was this piece that got me death threats, led someone to send letters to every member of my synagogue labeling me an inauthentic Jew and menace to Israel, and inspired a communal leader to tell me that I had “put weapons in the hands of the enemy.”

I relay this tale not to complain (much…) but to make the following point: To whatever extent Rabbi Wolf, Yitzhak Rabin, or some random commentary writer in America’s Middle West offered any kind of threat to a maximalist Israel or the idea that the Jewish State need not take any responsibility for its actions—we seem to have been thwarted.

Whereas those who spread smears both public and private, threatened financial ruin and violence, and the man who murdered a democratically elected national leader—they all won.

Muhammad al-Dura was killed 13 years ago. I’m fairly well convinced that it was an Israeli bullet that pierced his skin, but even if it wasn’t, Israel has been responsible for the deaths of 1,376 Palestinian minors in the years since; in that same timeframe, Palestinians have been responsible for the deaths of 129 Israeli minors.

Also in that same timeframe, the population of Israeli settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem has doubled. Israel has erected a barrier of electrified fencing and 26-foot-high cement slabs stretching more than twice the length of its recognized, international border, 85 percent of it inside Palestinian territory. Israeli settlers regularly carry out “price tag” attacks on Palestinians, with near total impunity. Children as young as 6, 7, or 8 are often arrested, assaulted, and/or simply prevented (like every other Palestinian) from getting where they need to go, like school, or the doctor. In the years since the killing of Muhammad al-Dura, Israel has tightened restriction of movement in the West Bank so much that organizers couldn’t find 26.2 miles of contiguous land on which to run the first annual Bethlehem Marathon.

So it works. The constant disinformation, distraction, misdirection, confabulation, and endless stream of threats actually works. In the 40 years since Breira, the nearly 20 years since Rabin’s assassination, and 13 years since al-Dura’s death, nothing that peace advocates have advocated for has been achieved (the goal never having been talks, or talks about talks). On the contrary, it could be argued that peace is now farther away than ever.

The only thing that changed is the sheer number of American Jews who have understood the danger of being shouted down, and have stood up to and stared down the intimidation. They have carved out a space for both loving Israel and criticizing it, and that is a tremendous thing.

But when I recall poor Muhammad al-Dura’s death, and all the events leading up to this week’s report, I honestly don’t know if our love is going to be enough to shift the tide. Israel appears wholly dedicated to seeing that it isn’t.

How Dare You Deprive us of our Icon of Hatred? A Saudi Writer on Al Durah

The Kuperwasser Committee Report on Al Durah has elicited fascinating and revealing responses. This one from Saudi Arabia permits us to appreciate just how important a role that icon of hatred plays in the consciousness of the Palestinian/Arab/Muslim world.

Muhammad Al-Dura lives

For the general public, the picture of the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza usually conjures up confrontations between Palestinian boys throwing stones at armed Israeli soldiers. But in the one image which more than any other epitomizes the character of the conflict in the territories, a Palestinian boy is not throwing stones, but all the same is shot and killed.

In other words, no possible excuse, this is the deliberate murder of a totally innocent boy.

The boy is Muhammad Al-Dura and the TV image of his father shielding the screaming 12 year old when they were caught in a heated exchange of fire between Israeli troops and Palestinian fighters [sic] became the enduring symbol of the second Palestinian uprising, or Intifada.

Thirteen years after the death [sic] of Al-Dura, the controversy behind the pictures is still alive. It is not really controversial except in Israel’s eyes.

This is actually interesting. The international press is angry at Karsenty for saying everyone in France agrees with him, because there are many who don’t. Here is the opposite position. In both cases the speaker imagines everyone agreeing with him because it’s true (i.e., he’s right). The only distinction is one has examined the evidence, and the other has not.

An Israeli government committee recently concluded in a report that Al-Dura’s death, which was broadcast by France 2 on Sept. 30, 2000, cannot be substantiated by the pictures. States the report: “There is no evidence that the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) was in any way responsible for causing any of the alleged injuries to Jamal (the father) or the boy.”

The 44-page report of the investigation, ordered last year, said there was no evidence the boy was killed at all, claiming there were no blood marks on the scene or bullet wounds in the alleged victims. It said the boy was shown alive toward the end of raw video it obtained from France 2, but that was not included in the edited TV report.

Not even killed? The IDF apologized at the time. Why apologize unless you did something wrong?

Nothing better illustrates the problem of cultural expectations in this affair than this remark. As a non-Jewish reader remarked to me: “You don’t seem to understand. Where I come from, you don’t apologize for anything. So if you even sort-of apologize for something, it’s assumed you did ten times more than you’re admitting to. I don’t think many people understand how readily Israelis (even government figures) are inclined to apologize for things like this, partly because, if they have killed children, they do regret it.

But of course, that’s not the narrative our Saudi writer has in mind. For him the “if… then” apology from Israel is proof they killed the kid.

How can the committee be so sure about what happened to Al-Dura? No autopsy was conducted, and the Israeli investigation was based primarily on expert interviews and analysis of the raw film. That’s not good enough. The circumstances of Al-Dura’s death raise questions that definitely required a quick response at the time – not 13 years later. No Israeli institution bothered to set up an independent, expert investigation when this was possible.

Actually, they did, but Israeli journalists trashed it before anyone else had to deal with their findings. Bob Simon, in his “60 Minutes” episode on this incident didn’t even go into the evidence the investigation turned up.

The fact that an organized body like the IDF, one of Israeli society’s most prominent institutions, with its vast resources, undertook such an amateurish investigation on such a sensitive issue is very odd. Is this the best Israel’s main fighting force can do? Since Israel is forever worried about its image in front of the world, why didn’t the political echelons demand that a proper investigation be conducted?

Now it is clear that the chance of Israel proving that it is not guilty of shooting the youth is over, and with it, the belief in an independent IDF investigation has also been lost. As it has done in previous crimes, notably in the MV Mavi Marmara debacle, Israel appointed itself judge and jury and, without fail, proclaimed itself innocent.

Interesting choice. Even the BBC, so ill-inclined towards Israel that it spends hundreds of thousands of pounds to keep the Beilin report on their anti-Israel bias out of the press, has taken Israel’s side in the Mavi Marmara. Indeed they’re both part of the sequence of lethal journalist outbreaks that occurred in the thirteen years since Al Durah.

Like Yasser Arafat, whose body was exhumed last year to determine whether he had been poisoned, Jamal Al-Dura is prepared to have his son’s remains exhumed to demonstrate that he was killed by Israeli bullets. That should settle the issue. Not surprisingly, Israel has not commented.

Israel would be fine with an exhumation. Apparently the Arafat exhumation did not bring about the kind of news the exhumers were hoping for, and of course, were the boy in the tomb dug up, it would be still more embarrassing. The father can make this claim all he wants, but no one on the other side will support him.

Israel claims Al-Dura is alive.

They don’t. Just alive at the end of the footage shot by Abu Rahma.

In a way, he is. He lives in spirit, an important symbol in the Palestinian struggle for statehood. Al-Dura is a powerful rallying cry. He has been immortalized in stamps and posters bearing his image and a children’s hospital, schools and streets are named after him. He lives on in everyone who supports justice and opposes oppression.

Actually, he lives on in everyone who wants war and vengeance, and needs to oppress his neighbors in order to feel like a man.

Israel has taken much from the Palestinians, but it will never take away Muhammad Al-Dura’s final moments.

What a magnificently ironic statement. What the Israelis have done is add the final moments of Al Durah’s life on video, and shown that he’s neither dead, nor, it would seem, dying.  But apparently, Al Durah dead is much more valuable than Al Durah alive.

How dare you deprive me and my people of our icon of hatred!

Chronology of the Al Durah Affair, 2000-?


September 30, 2000: 
Netzarim – Al-Durah. The father and son seek cover from gunfire and are shot, allegedly by Israelis; the son is killed and the father receives several gun wounds before he is evacuated to a hospital.

Charles Enderlin, Jerusalem bureau chief for France 2, declares the boy killed by Israeli fire, and all major news networks pick up the line. Enderlin and France 2 distribute the 55-second footage to all the networks free of charge.

October 1, 2000:
Southern Command general Yom Tov Samia first denies fault in the boy’s death,
pending an investigation (Israel TV Channel 1).

Talal Abu Rahma is interviewed on National Public Radio program All Things Considered. Host Jacki Lyden asks him to recount his version of the shooting. Listen to the interview, or read the transcript.

October 2, 2000
Robert Fisk, editor of The Independent , writes an article titled ‘Where caught in the crossfire can leave no room for doubt,’ about the press’s cowardice in its reluctance to implicate Israel in the killing of al-Durah.

The Telegraph (UK), though not as inflammatory as Fisk, notes al-Durah’s death as ‘a provocation for revenge attacks.’

October 3, 2000:

Cameraman Talal Abu Rahma signs a written statement giving his version of the events. It is available in English here.

Israeli chief of army operations Giora Eiland claims responsibility for and regret over al-Durah’s death ( BBC CNN ) after a hurried preliminary investigation, thereby overriding Samia’s objections.

Award-winning journalist Suzanne Goldenberg, of the Guardian (UK), publishes a lengthy article titled ‘The Making of a Martyr,’ in which Mohammed is eulogized and Israelis demonized.

Paris daily Le Monde publishes two articles devoted to Mohammed al-Durah. One is called, ‘the death of a child,’ and the other, ‘the emblematic child of Palestine. Both articles lament the inhumanity of the murder, and, naturally, condemn the perpetrators harshly.

October 4, 2000

Le Monde reports that IDF major general Moshe Ya’alon admitted the possibility that one of his soldiers could have potentially mistaken the boy and his father for gunmen, and thus fired in their direction.

October 5, 2000

Jamal al-Durah “seeks international justice” for the killing of his son,
Mohammed. Jamal accuses the Israeli soldiers of murder.

October 6, 2000

The Arab League, meeting in Cairo, dedicates October 1 as the ‘day of Arab children,’ in honor of Mohammed al-Durra (El Mundo).

October 7, 2000

IDF destroys the wall behind which were hiding Jamal and Mohammed al-Durah, thereby relegating all future investigations of the incident to the realm of simulation.

October 8, 2000

Editorial published in the Boston Globe ( and since reprinted elsewhere ) by Israeli writer Helen Schary Motro describes a personal relationship with Jamal al-Durah, and paints a very different portrait of the man from that which can be gleaned from his other statements.

October 10, 2000

An article in Paris daily Le Monde discusses the losing battle Israel is waging in the war of images, largely a result of their murder of al-Durah, an obviously innocent victim.

October 11, 2000

Le Monde publishes a feature article about the life of Mohammed al-Durah, and the squalor in which is family continues to live after his death.

October 12, 2000

Le Monde discusses the most poignant images of the Intifada thus far, with that of al-Durah ranking at the top.

October 16, 2000

People Weekly runs a brief article about the Mohammed al-Durah tragedy titled “No Way Out: The death of a terrified Palestinian child, caught in a crossfire, shocks even a world accustomed to carnage.”

The Telegraph (UK) describes the determination of Palestinians at the outset of the Intifada. The article is called, ‘We’ll buy freedom with our blood, warn Gaza’s children.’

October 23, 2000

Physicist Nahum Shahaf and engineer Yosef Doriel lead a re-enactment of the scene under the auspices of Yom Tov Samia. The analysis raises serious doubts about Israel’s culpability. Doriel’s report can be seen here.

October 24, 2000
CBS’ 60 Minutes II, with Bob Simon, films an episode about the escalating Intifada. They dismiss the IDF investigation overtly, and Doriel is removed from the inquiry for prematurely presenting his provocative views to the crew.

October 25, 2000

Charles Enderlin gives an interview in French magazine Télérama, in which he asserts the following : “I cut the images of the child’s agony (death throes), they were unbearable. The story was told, the news delivered. It would not have added anything more…As for the moment when the child received the bullets, it was not even filmed.”

French daily Le Monde reports that Abu Rahma receives an award at the Journées cinématographiques de Carthage, and al-Durah is the ‘posthumous star’ of the event.

October 30, 2000

Jamal al-Durah participates in an online forum discussion on, in
which he answers questions about the shooting.

November 4, 2000

The New York Times reports that Physicians for Human Rights concluded, based on forensic evidence, that the death of Issam Judeh on October 8, 2000, was a result of a traffic accident, and not a murder, as Palestinian officials loudly claimed. Despite the finding, officials—citing the lack of an autopsy (prohibited in Muslim practice)—refused to concede their version of Judeh’s death. The Boston-based group, however, still maintained that Mohammed al-Durah was killed by Israeli M-16 rounds on September 30, 2000.

November 7, 2000

Ha’aretz journalist Anat Cygielman publishes a damning report on the IDF investigation headed by Nahum Shahaf and Yosef Doriel, calling the investigation amateurish.

November 8, 2000

Chief of Staff Shaul Mofaz distances himself from the IDF investigation, saying it was the private initiative of Yom Tov Samia, head of Southern Command.

November 9, 2000

CNN reports on the surge in songs supporting the Intifada, recalling al-Durah in particular.

November 10, 2000

The editorial board of Ha’aretz harshly criticizes the ongoing IDF investigation in article entitled ‘Stupidity Marches On.’

November 27, 2000

The IDF officially releases the findings of its investigation. Samia claims the probability of Israeli bullets hitting the child is low. The press conference
receives negative attention in Israel. Charles Enderlin, meanwhile, reaffirms his confidence in Abu Rahma, his cameraman.

November 30, 2000

The London Review of Books (LBR) publishes Mahmoud Darwish’s ‘Requiem for Mohammad al-Dura,’ a poem portraying the boy as the symbol of the Intifada. Read the poem here .

December 2000

David Kupelian, managing editor of World Net Daily, publishes his exposé, ‘Who Killed Mohammed al-Dura?’ in which he posits that the boy was killed by his own people for purposes of propaganda.

December 19, 2000

Sarah Waheed, of Media Monitors Network, emboldened by al-Durah’s killing, writes an article titled, quite straightforwardly, ‘Israeli Army Kills Palestinian Children.’

December 24, 2000

More than 150 schools in Iran are named after Mohammed al-Durah, in solidarity with the Palestinian Intifada, reports IRNA, Iran’s news agency.

December 25, 2000

Time Magazine Europe names Mohammed al-Durah a Newsmaker for 2000.


January 7, 2001
An article reenacting, in heartrending detail, Mohamed al-Durah’s final moments is posted on

January 11, 2001

The Mirror (UK) interviews Jamal al-Durah in a very moving piece about the shooting.

January 17, 2001

Talal Abu Rahma is awarded ‘Le Prix de la Communication Culturelle Nord-Sud,’ though he is forced to share the prize with ‘all of the children of the Intifada.’

April 2, 2001

Talal Abu Rahma gives in interview with a Moroccan newspaper, Le Matin du Sahara et du Maghreb in which he explains that he went into Journalism “as a means to defend the Palestinian cause.”

May 2, 2001

Talal Abu Rahma is honored at the Arab Media Awards, though the evening’s real star was “Al Aqsa Intifada.”

July 30, 2001

Talal Abu Rahma, in an interview with the newspaper Al-Ahrar, reprinted by , reasserted his earlier claims of Israeli brutality in al-Durah’s killing.

September 30, 2001

The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs publishes an article, “Death of a Palestinian Child,” in its August/September issue, in which proof is offered that Israel was the culprit in al-Durah’s death.

October 18, 2001

Talal Abu Rahma is awarded the Sony International Impact Award at the Rory Peck Trust Awards in London.

November 16, 2001

Julia Magnet, “a young, Jewish New-Yorker,” writing for the Telegraph (UK) describes Osama Bin Laden’s recruitment video in detail. On page 4, Mohammed al-Durah’s role in the video is elaborated upon. This is the video on which Magnet is commenting.

December 22, 2001

NPR’s On the Media devotes a program to ‘The Images of Mohammed al-Durah,’ in which Charles Enderlin, Jamal al-Durah, and Talal Abu Rahma are interviewed. Enderlin claims that “the sad story of Mohammed al-Durrah belongs to the sad reality of this region,” while Abu Rahma pledges proud loyalty to his nation—journalism.


February 21, 2002

The video showing Daniel Pearl’s grisly murder is released. Mohammed al-Durah is portrayed repeatedly throughout the clip. Watch the video here (it is fairly gruesome—be advised).

March 18, 2002

German filmmaker Esther Schapira releases her film, “Three Bullets and a Dead
Child: Who Shot Mohammed al-Dura?” in which she concludes that Israeli bullets could not have killed the boy. France 2, sister station of the German ARD which produced the film, refuses to air it.

March 19, 2002

Several prominent Israeli dailies— Yediot Aharonot , the Jerusalem Post Ha’aretz Israel Insider and Israel National News/Arutz-7 —devote coverage to Schapira’s movie. Outside of Israel, however, the film makes little immediate impact.

March 20, 2002

Tom Segev, of Israeli daily Ha’aretz, publishes a scathing editorial on Schapira’s movie, dismissing its conclusions outright.

July 15, 2002

Amnon Lord, Israeli journalist and author publishes ‘Who killed Mohamed al-Dura? Blood Libel—Model 2000’ , arguing that indeed the event was staged.

September 19, 2002

Nahum Shahaf, physicist and leader of the IDF’s original investigation, is interviewed by the MENA. Shahaf vigorously contends that the event was entirely staged.

September 30, 2002

Talal abu Rahma sends a fax to France 2 offices in Jerusalem, rescinding his testimony of October 3, 2000, claiming that it was given under duress:

talal's fax

I never said to the Palestinian Human Rights organization in Gaza that the Israeli soldiers killed willfully and knowingly Mohamed al Durah ad wounded his father. All I always said in all the interviews I gave is that form where I was, I saw the shooting coming from the Israeli position. Talal Abu Rahma

October 1, 2002

France 2 director Olivier Mazerolle sends a letter of support to Charles Enderlin, saying France 2 is behind him.

Charles Gouz, a French physician, republishes an article on his website an article by Stéphane Juffa of MENA condemning the protest and the award of the “Disinformation Prize” to Charles Enderlin. This article, available in French , was the alleged cause of France 2’s lawsuit against him.

Charles Enderlin gives an interview, in French , on, in which he makes a case for the legitimacy of his broadcast, citing, in large part, Israel’s admission of guilt in the matter.

October 2, 2002

France 2 director Olivier Mazerolle declares that Schapira’s film “does not present anything new.”

Thousands of demonstrators protest outside France 2 offices in Paris for their mishandling of the al-Durah footage. The Jewish Defense League debates, but ultimately does not, award Charles Enderlin the “Prize for Disinformation.”

October 4, 2002

Charles Enderlin denounces a campaign of intimidation against his family in the French magazine l’Humanité.

November 2002

The Metula News Agency (MENA) releases a documentary entitled ‘Al Dura – The Investigation’, in which they allege that the entire affair was staged.

November 18, 2002

The Metula News Agency (MENA) headed by Stéphane Juffa, requests a meeting
with France 2 in order to conduct an investigation of the al-Durah incident. France 2 does not reply.

December, 2002

In Le Monde Diplomatique, a monthly supplement to the daily Le Monde, Charles Enderlin lashes out at his critics ( subscription required ).


January 13, 2003

French author Gérard Huber releases his book Contre-expertise d’un mise en scene (Editions Raphaël). In the book, Huber argues that the event was staged. An English summary of the book is available here . A review by Veronique Chemla, here; an interview with the author here.

March 5, 2003

David Kupelian of World Net Daily dramatically concludes , in the monthly Whistleblower, that the entire Mohammed al-Dura affair was a hoax. This article is reprinted in World Net Daily on April 26, 2003.

April 4, 2003

Amnon Lord publishes an article in Makor Rishon detailing General Samia’s misgivings about the culpability of Israeli soldiers in al-Durah’s death. It is available only in French .

June 2003

James Fallows of the Atlantic Monthly becomes the first ‘mainstream’ journalist to shed light on the controversial issue. His conclusion is the minimal one: the Israelis could not have shot the boy.

Adam Rose, founder of , publishes a response to James Fallows on his website. He claims that the symbolic truth of the killing is more important than the factual truth, though he does not deny the factual truth.

June 13, 2003

Shehryar Fazli, writing for the Daily Times of Pakistan, attacks the ‘revisionists’ for trying to sully the symbolic significance of the al-Durah image.

July 1, 2003

Saudi designer Yahya al-Bishri designs a dress depicting the murder of Mohammed al-Durah.

July 10, 2003

Stéphane Juffa, of MENA, gives an interview , in French, on Primo-Europe, a French media watch site devoted to analyzing European coverage of the Middle East. He discusses Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, as well as the al-Durah case.

September 2003

Charles Enderlin responds to James Fallows’ article with a letter to the Atlantic Monthly: “We do not transform reality. But since some parts of the scene are unbearable, France 2 cut a few seconds from the scene, in accordance with our ethical charter.”
Esther Schapira also clarifies her position: “I’ve always said that I see more significant hints (but no proof) that he [Al Dura] was shot by Palestinians.”

December 25, 2003

Jean-Paul Ney, editor of the online magazine Le Confidentiel , publishes an article in the Metula News Agency (MENA), entitled “ Affaire Al-Dura : l’autopsie d’un mensonge .” It is reprinted in Le Confidentiel in its January/February 2004 issue.


February 16, 2004

SNPCA, the union of which France 2 is a part, questions the director of France 2 regarding, among other things, the Mohammed al-Durah affair.

June 17, 2004

The Israel Hasbara Committee publishes an article by Nidra Poller and Gérard Huber titled ‘Blood Libel International,’ to, in which they outline the case thus far. It appeared originally at Makor Rishon, in Hebrew, and subsequently at Atlas Shrugs .

July 14, 2004

French filmmaker Pierre Rehov , in an article published in World Net Daily , reveals his beliefs that the al-Durah events were staged. Rehov has since committed himself in part to documenting this development.

August 27, 2004

The Jerusalem Post, in the last of a four-part series on Palestinian life four years
into the Intifada, publishes a feature article about the al-Durahs, and their continued manipulation at the hands of Hamas and Tanzim.

September 2004

Reader’s Digest examines past and present manipulations of news photography. Media Backspin excerpts the portion of the article discussing Mohammed al-Durah.

September 7, 2004

Lee Kaplan favorably reviews and analyzes Esther Schapira’s movie about the al-Durah affair on

October 22, 2004

France 2 relents under constant pressure and allows three journalists, Luc Rosenzweig, Denis Jeambar, and Daniel Leconte, to view the complete rushes of Talal from that day.

November 3, 2004

Stéphane Juffa relates, in page-turning prose, the deterioration of France 2’s circular arguments and insipid excuses when faced with the persistent skepticism of Rosenzweig, Leconte, and Jeambar. However, he mistakenly titles the piece “The al-Dura case: a dramatic conclusion.”

November 11, 2004

Juffa updates the public on the status of the al-Durah case in the online magazine (English).

November 16, 2004

France 2 News Director, in an interview with French radio station Radio J, admits that it is impossible to know with 100% certainty whether the Israelis or the Palestinians killed the boy. The interview (in French and in mp3 format) is available here .

November 18, 2004

At a press conference, France 2 news director Arlette Chabot declares the station’s intention to file suit against defendants ‘X’ for defamation, in response to allegations that the al-Durah footage was staged. Available here (in French).

November 19, 2004

French magazine Télérama examines the possibility that the event was staged, presenting evidence from both sides.

November 22, 2004

Philippe Karsenty publishes an article on his website, Media Ratings, calling for the resignation of Charles Enderlin and Arlette Chabot. It is over this article that France 2 will sue Karsenty for defamation.

November 25, 2004

French MP Roland Blum writes to the Minister of Communication demanding
evidence that Mohammed al-Durah was in fact killed by Israeli soldiers.

November 26, 2004

Stéphane Juffa, of MENA, authors an article in the Wall Street Journal Europe titled “The Mythical Martyr.” It is reprinted here .

Nidra Poller publishes an article in the New York Sun lambasting the French media for its role in the scandal.

December 7, 2004

The French administrative body presiding over audio-visual media (CSA) meets to discuss France 2’s handling of the footage, following a complaint written by MENA writer Serge Farnel. Its recommendations are reprinted here , on Farnel’s website devoted to the al-Durah affair.

December 28, 2004

Alyssa Lappen writes an article in Front Page Magazine titled “The Israeli Crime That Wasn’t,” in which she discusses al-Durah and other media manipulations.


January 13, 2005

Cybercast News Service publishes an article about France 2’s tactics in combating accusations made by Karsenty, Juffa, and others, about the authenticity of Mohammed al-Durah’s death.

World Editor’s Forum briefly expresses it concern that mainstream French has ignored “this polemical story”, though they take no stance on the authenticity of the al-Durah images.

January 20, 2005

Israel National News publishes an article about France 2’s campaign of intimidation against its critics.

January 25, 2005

Jeambar and Leconte publish an op-ed in French daily Le Figaro in which they deny any concrete proof that al-Durah was even killed.

January 27, 2005

Charles Enderlin responds to Jeambar and Leconte with an article in Le Figaro. He claims that “the image [of al-Dura] symbolized what was happening at the time not only in Gaza but also in the West Bank.”

February 1, 2005

Jeambar and Leconte are interviewed on Radio J, a Franco-Jewish radio station. They describe staged scenes for 24 out of the 27 minutes of the footage and speculate about the material evidence used to condemn the Israelis of al-Durah’s death.

February 3, 2005

Luc Rosenzweig, a French journalist, and writer for MENA, publishes an
article in French accusing Enderlin of lying about the nature of the footage.

February 6, 2005

An article in the International Herald Tribune summarizes the controversy thus far. Though the reporter was allowed to view the rushes, she did not conclude that the event was staged. The article is available here .

Pierre Lurçat, a French-born Israeli lawyer, and former member of the Ligue de Defense Juive, is summoned to appear in court on the charges of defamation against France 2 for his role in organizing the demonstrations of October 2, 2002.

February 10, 2005

In an Internet forum discussion on Nouvel Observateur, a French website, Charles Enderlin insists that the only difference he would make if he were presenting the al-Durah case again, would involve including the child’s death-throes [agonie] in the video footage.

February 15, 2005

Cybercast News Service writer Eva Cahen publishes an article detailing the ongoing controversy and interviewing some of the major players.

February 22, 2005

CAMERA reprints a piece Andrea Levin wrote for the Jerusalem Post a day earlier in which she accuses the French media of overt mendacity.

February 23, 2005

MENA head Stéphane Juffa attacks the ‘third way’ of Jeambar, Leconte, and Rosenzweig for not espousing the theory that the al-Durah murder was staged.

February 26, 2005

Elisabeth Lévy, of radio station France Culture, interviews Daniel Leconte about the power and influence of the Mohammed al-Durah images. A partial transcript here in French.

March 3, 2005

Clifford D. May, founder of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), calls on French president Jacques Chirac to exercise his authority and reveal the truth of the al-Durah matter .

March 13, 2005

A long entry on Big Bang Blog, by Daniel Schneidermann, analyzes the case and concludes that Charles Enderlin has been the unjust target of criticism ( in French )

April 20, 2005

IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Ya’alon says, of al-Durah “One hundred percent he was not hit by IDF gunfire. He was apparently shot by a Palestinian police officer.”

September 2005

Commentary Magazine publishes a lengthy and in-depth article by Nidra Poller detailing the entire case and offering insightful commentary on the state of European—particularly French—press.

September 7, 2005

The International Herald Tribune publishes a feature piece on the al-Durah family titled, ‘One martyr from this family is enough.’ The article shows the manipulation of the al-Durah tragedy by Palestinian elites, and the continued suffering of the al-Durahs.

September 9, 2005

Yale professor David Gelernter authors a column in the Los Angeles Times in which he affirms that the Mohammed al-Durah shooting was staged, basing his conclusion in large part on Nidra Poller’s essay in Commentary magazine. The article is reprinted here .

September 13, 2005

World Net Daily comments on David Gelernter’s column in the Los Angeles Times, specifically regarding the latter’s delayed ‘discovery’ of the Mohammed al-Durah hoax. WND, of course, had been on the case for five years at that point. Managing editor David Kupelian even released a book, The Marketing of Evil, in which he deals with the al-Durah case at length.

September 15, 2005

Richard Landes, history professor at Boston University, launches his 20-minute documentary , Pallywood, on the Second Draft website. He argues that al-Durah is merely the most famous instance of a larger practice of staging news events among Palestinians.

September 28, 2005

Fawaz Turki, a senior columnist for Arab News, urges his readers to remember, on the five-year anniversary of the Intifada’s outbreak, the image of Mohammed al-Durah and its symbolic power.

December 2005

Richard Landes’ blog, the Augean Stables , is launched. It provides coverage of the al-Durah affair, as well as a running commentary on breaking news in Middle Eastern cinematography, politics, and current events .

December 12, 2005

Ma’ariv, an Israeli daily with no English translation, publishes an article speculating on the current well being of Mohammed al-Durah. Translated into English by Richard Landes.

December 20, 2005

The al-Durah dossier and movie is made available on the Second Draft.


March 14, 2006

Media watch group ACMEDIAS posts a petition on their site, complete with 4000 signatures, in an attempt to force France 2 to release the al-Durah footage to the public.

May 14, 2006

Yosef Duriel, the engineer who wrote a report about the original IDF investigation in October 2000, sued Aharon Hauptman regarding a letter Hauptman wrote to Ha’aretz in November 2000 criticizing Duriel’s investigation. Judge Shoshana Almagor ruled in favor of the defendant, further attacking the plaintiff’s report.

May 16, 2006

Front Page Magazine’s Jamie Glazov interviews Karsenty on subjects ranging from al-Dura to French anti-Semitism to France’s economic situation. Among other things, Karsenty says the following: “the Al Dura controversy is the biggest media scandal in the world.”

May 24, 2006

World Net Daily writer Cinnamon Shenker writes an article about Karsenty , and the upcoming trial against him.

June 17, 2006

Charles Enderlin participates in a panel discussion on the radio program “L’Hebdo du médiateur,” (The Weekly Moderator), in which he reasserts the authenticity of the original footage, citing the ruling against Duriel as proof. A transcript of the show in French appears at

September 10, 2006

In anticipation of the trial, Honest Reporting interviews Philippe Karsenty about the case, the al-Durah video, and the implications of the lawsuits.

September 14, 2006

The first trial in France 2’s defamation suit commences. Philippe Karsenty, founder and editor of Media Ratings , is the defendant. The Augean Stables Pajamas Media , and Le Figaro , a Paris daily, all cover the proceedings extensively.

September 16, 2006

French daily Le Figaro covers the al Durah trial.

September 17, 2006

The International Herald Tribune covers the first round of the France 2 trials.

October 17, 2006

Richard Landes publishes an article in The New Republic, called Camera Obscura: How French TV fudged the death of Mohammed Al Durah.

October 19, 2006

The French judicial system rules in favor of France 2 in its suit accusing Philippe Karsenty of defamation. An English version of the court’s decision is available at the Augean Stables .

French weekly L’Express runs an article on the court’s decision. The English translation, as well as a sound and thorough Fisking is available at the Augean Stables.

Israeli news network Arutz 7 also covers the trial.

Ellen Horowitz publishes Part I of her three-part series, ‘Between Art and News’ at Israel Insider and Israel Hasbara Committee.

October 20, 2006

Part 2 of ‘Between Art and News’, by Ellen Horowitz, appears at Israel Insider.

October 23, 2006

Caroline Glick, a columnist for the Jerusalem Post calls the al Durah affair a Prime-time Blood LIbel after a French court ruled Phillippe Karsenty guilty of defamation.

The Scotsman, a Scottish paper, runs an article on the outcome of the trial.

Part 3 of ‘Between Art and News’, by Ellen Horowitz, appears at Israel Insider.

November 3, 2006

The World Politics Review publishes an article by John Rosenthal on the results of the trial.

November 28, 2006

France 2 loses its lawsuit against Pierre Lurcat, also sued by the channel for defamation. Pajamas Media carries the story.


June 13, 2007

Richard Landes releases his latest movie, Icon of Hatred. It is available at The Second Draft and YouTube: Part 1 and Part 2.

August 29, 2007

Front Page Magazine previews the upcoming Karsenty appeal, and painstakingly reviews the history of the case.

September 3, 2007

Richard Landes posts a petition demanding France 2 release the “Secret Muhammad al Durah Tapes.” The petition is available to sign here.

September 12, 2007

Philippe Karsenty’s appeal of the decision in France 2’s lawsuit against him for defamation in 2006 is heard before a French court.

September 16, 2007

Marty Peretz discusses al Durah at his blog, The Spine.

September 17, 2007

The IDF formally requests, from France 2, the complete rushes pertaining to the al Durah incident. The text of the request is availabe in French at the Augean Stables . The AP Ha’aretz Ma’ariv , and the Jerusalem Post cover the story.

September 19, 2007

The French appeals court judge orders the release of France2 video footage for review in court.

October 1, 2007

GPO Director Danny Seaman releases formal written acknowledgement that he considers the Al-Durah footage staged, but will not seek to revoke France2’s press credentials.

October 1, 2007

Jamal Al-Durah, Muhammed’s father, calls allegations that the footage was staged ridiculous in interview with Israel News.

October 2, 2007

James Fallows publishes a follow-up article entitled, “News on the al-Dura Front: Israeli Finding that it was Staged”, in which he declares that he is not ready to declare the affair a hoax, but he is intrigued by the efforts of Landes, et al.

October 3, 2007

The French court of Appeals issues an order to France2 to deliver the rushes to them by October 31 for viewing in court on November 14.

Arad Nir writes “All the Children are Like Yours” in Yediot Achronot, positing that it is a waste of time arguing over who killed Al-Durah. He was merely a symbol in a conflict that has claimed thousands of children.

October 4, 2007

Palestinian “Human Rights Group” calls for “impartial” investigation into the Al-Durah affair.

October 7, 2007

Gideon Levy writes “Mohammed al-Dura Lives On” in Haaretz, arguing that it does not matter if the IDF killed Al-Durah, since they have killed many Palestinian children.

November 12, 2007

BBC News publishes “Dispute Rages over al-Durrah Footage”, by Martin Patience, an uninformed piece that does not attest to serious coverage by the BBC.

November 14, 2007

Charles Enderlin presents an edited version of the rushes, only eighteen minutes (hence with about three minutes cut), in court.

November 18, 2007

Hamas security forces briefly detain Jamal al-Dura, and question him about allegedly shooting in the air during a wedding.

January 8, 2008

Israeli lawyers for France2 send letter of protest to organizers of conference at the IDC in Herzliya at which Richard Landes is speaking on “Icon of Hatred: The Muhammad al Dura Affair: From Media to Internet to Courtroom:

January 17, 2008

Charles Enderlin speaks at Harvard’s Center for European Studies about his new book, The Lost Years.

February 27, 2008

Trial hearing in France, with formal presentation of arguments. A hot, contentious, seven-hour long hearing pits an extremely prepared Philippe Karsenty and his lawyers against an nonchalant Charles Enderlin and his sarcastic lawyers until almost 10 PM. The judge allows Karsenty’s Powerpoint presentation to be shown in court.

Jean-Claude Schlinger, French ballistics expert who has been featured in French courts for two decades, presents his findings to the court that the IDF could not have killed Muhammad Al-Dura.

Charles Enderlin claims that if the Israelis had the slightest suspicion that Talal had cheated in his report on al Durah, they would have taken away his credentials.

April 23, 2008

France2 rushes up at Youtube.

May 21, 2008

The judge of the Karsenty appeals case dismisses all charges against Karsenty, overturning the lower court’s decision.

May 22, 2008

Enderlin declares on his blog that he will take the case to the highest French appeals court.

May 28, 2008

Writing in The Jerusalem Post, Larry Derfner calls Landes, Karsenty, et al, “conspiracy freaks”.

May 29, 2008

The Jerusalem Post runs an editorial on the lessons of the Al-Durah affair, entitled, “Myth & Muhammad al-Dura”.

June 4, 2008

Le Nouvel Obs publishes a petition of solidarity with Charles Enderlin, denouncing the attacks on the freedom and reputation of journalists in the case.

June 11, 2008

Richard Landes and Phillipe Karsenty publish their response to Larry Derfner’s charges in The Jerusalem Post.

June 12, 2008

The Jerusalem Post runs an article about the ongoing feud between Karsenty and the AJC.

June 13, 2008

Figaro columnist Ivan Rioufol denounces the Nouvel Obs petition supporting Charles Enderlin.

Israeli Ambassador to Franc Elie Barnavi comes out against Enderlin and France2 in the indepedent French publication Marianne.

June 18, 2008

Larry Derfner again makes his case against the “conspiracy freaks” Karsenty and Landes in his Jerusalem Post column.

June 20, 2008

Israeli newspaper Maariv runs feature in their weekend supplement on the al-Durah affair, “Just Don’t Touch their Symbol”.

June 21, 2008

The principle Palestinian Newspaper, Al-Quds, publishes a translation of an article on the Karsenty-Enderlin decision written by a reporter at The Media Line. This is the first time that Palestinian media have covered the unraveling of the Al Durah story.

June 27, 2008

Melanie Phillips’ article in Standpoint, ” Faking a Killing”, becomes the most-emailed and commented upon article in the issue.

June 28, 2008

Enderlin respond’s to Elie Barnavi’s article on his blog.

July 7, 2008

Anne-Elisabeth Moutet writes “L’Affaire Enderlin: Being a French Journalist Means Never having to Say You’re Sorry” in The Weekly Standard, after having spoken with two-thirds of the signers of the Nouvel Obs petition.


March 4, 2009

The German public broadcaster ARD airs a 52-minute documentary, with reporting by Esther Schapira and Georg Hafner, indicating that the France 2 footage of al-Durah appeared to be staged. A short French summary of the film is available at

July 14, 2009

Bernard Kouchner, French Minister of Foreign Affairs, awards the Legion of Honour to Charles Enderlin.


May 2010

The prestigious PUF (Presses Universitaires de France) publishes “The New anti-Jewish Propaganda” by Pierre-André Taguieff, which devotes 100 pages to the al-Durah case.

June 10, 2010

Philippe Karsenty wins a defamation suit against Canal + for their broadcast “The Counterfeiters of Information.”  The text of the court decision, in French.

Meanwhile, Karsenty’s defamation lawsuit against L’Express is dismissed on the grounds that the journalist, Vincent Hugeux, had relied upon the reporting of Canal +.

September 2010

Robert Menard’s magazine “Medias” publishes a 5 page interview with Philippe Karsenty.

Robert Menard tells Jean Robin during a podcast interview on the website “Enquete et Debat” that he was pressured not to publish the article.

October 7, 2010

Charles Enderlin publishes a book about al-Durah entitled “A Child is Dead” ( which defends his reporting.

October 21, 2010

The Israeli Prime Minister’s office issues an official statement declaring that “it was not right to impose on the IDF and the State of Israel responsibility for the Muhammad Al Dura episode.”  The statement cites the investigation of the German network ARD as well as the original IDF investigation.

November 11, 2010:

The Canadian television network CTS organizes the first adversarial debate (in English) on the Al-Dura.controversy.


8 May 2011

Judea Pearl, the father of murdered Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, sends a letter to French President Nicolas Sarkozy requesting that he “denounce” what he refers to as the “anti-Semitic lie” of the al-Durah story.  In the video of Pearl’s assassination by jihadists which was broadcast on the internet, images of the France 2 footage of al-Durah were shown in the background.  Phillippe Karsenty hands the letter to the President.


January 5, 2012

Canal + lose their appeal of their conviction for defamation of Phillippe Karsenty and are sentenced. The Appeal Court decision (in French).

14 February 2012

The French Supreme Court takes up the appeal of France 2 and Charles Enderlin of the Appeals Court dismissal of their defamation suit against Philippe Karsenty.  The Advocate General had filed an opinion recommending dismissal of the appeal.

15 February 2012

Dr. Yehuda David wins his appeal of defamation charges against him by Jamal al Dura, following the publication of the article published by Clément Weill-Raynal, Jewish News, entitled “The Wounds of Jamal al Dura already existed in 1993, without any Possible Ambiguity.”  A detailed article about the case, in French, by Véronique Chemla.

February 28, 2012

The French Supreme Court overturns the judgment of the Court of Appeals, rendered on May 21 2008, dismissing the defamation charges against Phillippe Karsenty.  The basis of the decision is that the Court of Appeals was wrong to have ordered France 2 to show the complete footage shot the day of the al-Durah incident, on the grounds that a court cannot help the accused prove his innocence.  Therefore, another hearing was ordered where the issues could be re-litigated, but without the screening of the France 2 footage. The Court of Cassation decision, in French.


January 16, 2013

The new Karsenty defamation trial is currently set for January 16, 2013.

April 6, 2013

Date of Court Decision: Court announces a delay to May 22. No explanation given.

May 20, 2013

Kuperwasser Commission Report on Al Durah presented to Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu by Minister of Strategic Affairs Yuval Steinitz. Report receives extensive news coverage.

May 22, 2013

Court again delays decision, this time until June 26. No explanation given.


Yarden Vatikay’s account of receiving the phone call from Charles Enderlin to the IDF Spokesman’s Unit 9/30/00

The Mohammed A-Dura Affair- The IDF-France 2 dialoge

During the period of the Mohammed A-Dura Affair I served as head of the international correspondent department in the Israeli Defense Forces Spokesperson’s Unit.

On that day, Sep’ 30th 2000, Charles Enderlin, the bureau chief of the French television channel FRANCE 2, contacted me urgently. Charles informed me about the unique footage captured by one of his cameramen, Talal Abu Rahma, which showed a Palestinian child killed by IDF fire at the Netzarim juction in the Gaza strip, during his attempts to seek refuge. He also apprised me of his intention to broadcast the material immediately, and described the crisis that would befall the IDF following the broadcast. Likewise he wanted me to improvise an apologetic response on behalf of the Army.

I made it clear that it was only proper that we should see the material prior to the broadcast and requested him to give us the chance to make a proper response. I added that we could not take responsibility for this incident without seeing the materials and conducting a preliminary investigation. I told him, that from his description it appeared that we were dealing with a “routine” incident of cross-fire between the IDF and the Palestinians. It was possible that the child was hurt by a stray bullet of one of the parties, and in this stage, no one could accuse the IDF of this. Charles expressed his displeasure that we were not ready to assume responsibility and apologize. He spurned my request and declared that he intended to broadcast the materials on FR 2 and other networks, without delay.

When we saw the footage we began a preliminary investigation which revealed that exchanges of fire did take place between IDF soldiers and Palestinian forces at the site. This only reinforced our gut feelings that the child could have been hurt by the fire of this party or another. In any case we were not dealing with deliberate fire but apparently he and his father were trapped in the fire zone.

The published footage in the media focused on the child and his father, and one could not see the scene of the incident, the forces in the area, or any other detail that would facilitate an understanding of the situation. Simultaneously a witch-hunt surrounding the event began in the form of an unprecedented media attack on the IDF, which held the Israeli side directly responsible for the child’s death and some even accused that the fire was deliberate. In our reply we emphasized that the IDF regrets the deaths of all innocents, and apparently there were exchanges of fire between the IDF and armed Palestinians at the location.

We decided to conduct a speedy investigation of the incident and therefore I approached Charles with a request to receive the original material in full. My approach was made in coordination with the heads of the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit and to the best of my knowledge, also with the current head of operations, Major General Giora Eiland. Despite our repeated requests, FR 2 did not immediately transfer the materials to us. Only after a protracted period, we received a cassette from them, but were disappointed to find that it contained nothing new. It contained more or less, that very same footage that we saw on television. Since the material that was passed on to us did not contribute to an understanding of the incident, we repeated our request to get all the raw footage but to the best of my knowledge we never received it.

Presumably, this affair remains unsolved. However in terms of world public opinion, Israel was immediately held responsible and to this very day bears full responsibility for the killing of the child Mohammed A-Dura.


Major (reserve)
Yarden Vatikay

Enderlin cuts the tapes that France2 presents to the court

Originally a post at The Augean Stables, November 14, 2007
by Richard Landes

[NB: For those who are too young to remember, Rosemary Woods was President Richard Nixon’s secretary, who was asked to take the blame for the missing 18.5 minutes of tape that had been cut from the famous “Nixon Tapes” before releasing them to the Grand Jury investigating Watergate. She has, for those politically aware in the 1970s, become a byword for tampering with evidence.]

I must admit, many people told me that Enderlin would doctor the tapes, and I didn’t believe them. “No,” I thought, “it’s one thing to lie to me and others in his office, but to the court, where he would surely get caught? He would not be that reckless…” Not.

Today Charles Enderlin presented in court the “rushes” of Talal abu Rahmah which the Judge had requested from him. And he presented an edited version in which he took out at least three minutes, and at least one scene that I distinctly remember seeing. In the United States that’s called tampering with evidence, obstruction of justice, and perjury. In France, we’ll find out what it’s called.

I’ll let Nidra tell the detailed account since I was one of two people who, having seen the rushes, were placed in an advantaged position to see and check that they were, indeed, what I had seen earlier, so I was unable to take notes.

Before the viewing of the rushes, there was some discussion of why there were only 18 minutes. Charles Enderlin — who had disdained showing up for any previous hearing in the trials he had initiated, even when he was in Paris at the time — explained that the cassette they had saved had 27 minutes of footage, but some did not concern that day (how?), and that he had eliminated the irrelevant material. (At this point I expected the judge to say, “let us be the judge of what’s irrelevant,” but she didn’t.)

Then we viewed the rushes with a preamble and running commentary by Enderlin, with comments by Karsenty. It was something of a circus. But it did give me an insight into how Enderlin’s mind works. He explained about Sharon’s provocative visit to the Temple Mount on the 28th, and the riots that ensued on the 29th in the West Bank, and how everyone expected the rioting to spread to Gaza the next day, “because that’s how it works.”

And sure enough, when we see the tapes, we see scene after scene of people being evacuated into ambulances. We don’t see them hit, we don’t see their injuries, but we do see them taken to ambulances, and Enderlin explains: “The Israelis are firing with rubber bullets.” Now there’s no evidence that the Israelis are firing. But because Enderlin expects violence, when he sees Palestinians evacuated in ambulances, he concludes that they have been shot by Israelis.

Most of the material was inconclusive or boring, and I patiently waited for the material I’d seen. Then, at about 15 minutes on the time code, Enderlin announces that there will be a break and we will see the final scenes. That’s when I knew he had cut the scenes. Sure enough, the screen went blank, and then began the final three minutes.

Now there are at least two scenes that I remember specifically, one of which we have documented by Reuters. (In the original post here I thought that scene was cut because Enderlin knew of the Reuters footage and the use we had made of it in Pallywood. But it turns out I missed this brief sequence because people in the court were in the way.)

In a scene we’ve dubbed Molotov Cocktail Kid, a youth lopes comfortably down the road, showing no sign of injury. He hands of a Molotov Cocktail to another kid and enters a crowd. We see red on his forehead, but no indication that he’s injured.

molotov 1
Handing off the bottle. Note the red on his forehead.

Once in the crowd, he is picked up by others.

molotov 2
Note that his left leg is bent as the crowd sets to carry him.

Past photographers, among whom we find Talal abu Rahmah, with his France2 equipment.

molotov 3

Talal is in close, for maximum effect. Note the fellow on the far left who’s in for the ride. He’s seen smiling in the video.

And then run back right in front of the Israeli position (where he was presumably shot) and loaded on the ambulance right in front of the Israelis

molotov 4

Israeli position in the background. No one is afraid of being hit by them.

Here’s the video sequence:

Apparently, only the close comparison with the Reuters footage reveals that this was a staged scene, so Endlerlin left it in, showing the power of both techniques for filming staged scenes so they look real, and the ready (even innocent) willingness of an experienced journalist like Enderlin, even when he’s been warned that people are checking his work, to assume it’s true.

Indeed, he not only didn’t cut it, he used – without any irony – it to show how the court the quality of his journalism. I did a video blog subsequently to show what was going on.

The second scene, however, was more blatant all on its own, and it was missing: I had described it in some detail because it led to perhaps the most astonishing conversation I’ve ever had, an eye-opener for me that inspired the term Pallywood

At another point, a heavy-set man faked a leg injury, but instead of drawing big kids who could pick him up and rush him past the cameramen to an ambulance, he only attracted little kids. He shooed them away, looked around, and, seeing that no one was coming to evacuate him, straightened up and walked away without a limp.

Indeed this scene provoked a snort from the Israeli cameraman working for France2 who was watching the film with me and Enderlin at the time. When I asked him why, he said:

“Because it looks so fake.”
“That’s my impression as well,” I responded.
Enderlin commented, “Oh, they do that all the time. It’s their cultural style. They exaggerate.”
“But if they do it all the time, why couldn’t they have staged Al Durah?” I asked.
“Oh, they’re not good enough,” a supremely confident Enderlin responded.

Now ultimately, this is my word against Enderlin until we see the full tapes. But I suspect that the response that Jeambar, Leconte and Rosenzweig got from Didier Epelbaum (Enderlin’s boss at France2) – “Oh yes, monsieur, you know it’s always like that…sdasavad” – was in response to the same scene, and if Arlette Chabot turned “white as the walls,” it was when she saw this comically bad scene.

If there was any scene to cut from this tape. And sure enough Enderlin cut it.

Apparently, he has such contempt for the court that he thinks he can brazenly cheat them. The judge struck me as no one’s fool, and Karsenty will surely pursue these matters. (He did not.)

So as far as I can make out Enderlin has made a major gamble: tamper with the evidence, show people inconclusive material (the woman next to me said, “I came without making up my mind, and nothing’s clear), and hope the court doesn’t catch him.

But in so doing, he’s rendered himself extremely vulnerable. As Esther Schapira pointed out:

First of all, we have no proof whatsoever that what we saw today is really the camera tape or a DVD copy of the camera tape, the original master tape. For one simple reason, there was a consecutive time code on the DVD that we saw. Now there’s no way you can have the time code without any interruption when it is really the camera tape, because when you switch it on and off you always get a new time code… there are frames missing. So clearly, what you could see on the material was that it is not one shot… but many, many different shots.

As far as I know, it’s virtually impossible to edit this material without leaving marks of your activity.

Either Enderlin is desparate and foolish, or he will pull strings to get away with this. In either case he’s demonstrated just how much he fears letting the evidence out, and how consumately he prevaricates.

I’ll post more on yesterday’s events in the days to come. Many important details to cover.


News Coverage of the Mohammed Al-Durah Affair

Below you will find listed selected news coverage of the Al-Durah affair:

News Coverage of the Mohammed Al-Durah Affair: a Chronology

September 30, 2000: 

Netzarim: near to Magen 3, an Israeli military outpost in The Gaza Strip, Jamal Al-Durah and his son, Mohammed, seek cover from gunfire and are shot, allegedly by Israelis; the son is killed and the father receives several gun wounds before he is evacuated to a hospital.

The scene is videoed by Talal Abu Rahma, a freelance cameraman working for France 2, a major French news network.

Charles Enderlin, Jerusalem bureau chief for France 2, declares the boy killed by Israeli fire, and all major news networks pick up the line. Enderlin and France 2 distribute the 55-second footage to all the networks free of charge.

September 30th

The Associated Press reports on the story, alleging that a Palestinian ambulance driver was killed attempting to evacuate the father and son.

October 1, 2000:

Talal Abu Rahma is interviewed on National Public Radio program All Things Considered. Host Jacki Lyden asks him to recount his version of the shooting.

October 2, 2000
Robert Fisk, editor of British newspaper ‘The Independent’, writes an article titled ‘Where caught in the crossfire can leave no room for doubt,’ about the press’s cowardice in its reluctance to implicate Israel in the killing of Al-Durah.

October 2 2000

The BBC reports on the incident, repeating Fisk’s claims that the boy was killed by Israeli fire. For a ‘Fisking’ of the original BBC report and the subsequent unravelling of the narrative, see this link.

October 3rd, 2000

The Guardian’s Suzanne Goldberg publishes her account of the debate surrounding the incident. Talal Abu Rahma is interviewed, and argues that: ‘They (the Israelis) were aiming at the boy, and that is what surprised me, yes, because they were shooting at him, not only one time, but many times’.

For a ‘Fisking’ of this Guardian article, see this article by Adam Levick.

The Associated Press reports on the story, under the headline ‘Israeli Army Blamed for Boy’s Death’.

October 4, 2000

Le Monde and the Los Angeles Times report that Israeli Defense Forces major general Moshe Ya’alon admitted the possibility that one of his soldiers could have potentially mistaken the boy and his father for gunmen, and thus fired in their direction.

October 6 2000

In an emotive Op-Ed in the Los Angeles Times, Basil and Riad Abdelkarim describe the alleged shooting of Mohammed Al-Durah, arguing that: ‘rarely has the face of human tragedy been captured with such poignancy and raw emotion’.

October 8, 2000

An editorial published in the Boston Globe ( and since reprinted elsewhere ) by Israeli writer Helen Schary Motro describes a personal relationship with Jamal Al-Durah, and paints a very different portrait of the man from that which can be gleaned from his other statements.

October 10, 2000

An article in Paris daily Le Monde discusses the losing battle Israel is waging in the war of images, largely a result of their ‘murder’ of Al-Durah.

October 12, 2000

Le Monde discusses the most poignant images of the Intifada thus far, with that of al-Durah ranking at the top.

October 16, 2000

People Weekly runs a brief article about the Mohammed Al-Durah tragedy titled ‘No Way Out: The death of a terrified Palestinian child, caught in a crossfire, shocks even a world accustomed to carnage.’

The Telegraph (UK) describes the determination of Palestinians at the outset of the Intifada. The article is called, ‘We’ll buy freedom with our blood, warn Gaza’s children.’

December 25, 2000

Time Magazine Europe names Mohammed al-Durah a ‘Newsmaker for 2000’.

January 11, 2001

The Mirror (UK) interviews Jamal al-Durah in a very moving piece about the shooting.

January 17, 2001

Talal Abu Rahma is awarded ‘Le Prix de la Communication Culturelle Nord-Sud,’ though he is forced to share the prize with ‘all of the children of the Intifada.’

September 30, 2001

The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs publishes an article, ‘Death of a Palestinian Child’ in its August/September issue, in which proof is offered that Israel was the culprit in Al-Durah’s death.

December 22, 2001

NPR’s On the Media devotes a program to ‘The Images of Mohammed al-Durah,’ in which Charles Enderlin, Jamal al-Durah, and Talal Abu Rahma are interviewed. Enderlin claims that ‘the sad story of Mohammed Al-Durah belongs to the sad reality of this region,’ while Abu Rahma pledges proud loyalty to his nation—journalism. 


Par solidarité avec Charles Enderlin le Syndicat national des journalistes s’égare

Published with permission of the author, Victor Perez:

Philippe Karsenty a été rejugé le 16 janvier dernier suite à la décision de la Cour de Cassation de février 2012 de défaire le verdict de la Cour d’Appel prononcé en sa faveur le 21 mai 2008. En vu de ce nouveau procès, le Syndicat national des journalistes (SNJ) a décidé d’appeler à manifester par Solidarité avec Charles Enderlin (1). Outre que voir des journalistes manifester pour tenter d’influencer le cours de la Justice lire cet appel est plus que sidérant !

Si d’emblée le SNJ disculpe, sans aucune démonstration, l’envoyé permanent de France 2 à Jérusalem « injustement accusé, poursuivi et harcelé pour son reportage sur la mort de Mohammed Al Dura, un jeune Palestinien de 12 ans, tué à Gaza le 30 septembre 2000 », il omettra toutefois de rappeler la nationalité de ses assassins !? Que n’a-t-il interrogé auparavant son champion ? Il aurait appris que ‘’seuls les israéliens’’ en sont, à ce jour, accusés par celui-ci ! Si Arlette Chabot, alors Directrice de la rédaction de France 2, avait quelque peu laissé entendre la responsabilité ‘’palestinienne’’, ce ne fut jamais le cas de Charles Enderlin.

Le SNJ n’est donc pas totalement solidaire de la version de son protégé !

Autre incohérence de la part de ce syndicat censé pourtant agir selon la déontologie professionnelle. Celui-ci qualifie, d’entrée de jeu, les détracteurs d’Enderlin d’individus « acharnés » qui « ont tenté de le discréditer, le salir, le faire condamner ». Une plainte a-t-elle été déposée contre celui-ci ? Quand ? Où ? Par qui ?

Est-ce une information ou le SNJ est-il très mal instruit de l’affaire ?

Le risible est atteint lorsqu’il est écrit que « Son reportage, qui a fait le tour du monde et sert toujours de référence, est cependant encore l’objet d’attaques en justice ». L’inversion de la réalité est ici totale ! Jusqu’à preuve du contraire, c’est bien Philippe Karsenty qui est « encore l’objet d’attaques en justice ».

Devant cette énormité, faut-il s’étonner alors du silence de ce syndicat, premier de la profession, sur l’attitude des « plus de 150 délégués de toutes formes de presse qui ont signé la pétition : “Charles Enderlin, l’honneur d’une rédaction” » en 2007 mais qui n’ont jamais dispensé jusqu’à ce jour, aux différents lectorats, la version de Philippe Karsenty ? Celle-ci restera inconnue du grand public, y compris celui de France 2 quand bien même la Cour d’Appel avait prononcé en mai 2008 la relaxe !

Qui a parlé d’éthique dans ce milieu ?

Pour conclure son invitation à manifester, le syndicat affirme que « Nous avons donc la possibilité de témoigner de notre solidarité avec notre confrère et de notre exigence pour une information de qualité, dont il est un des symboles ». Le ridicule est ici atteint !

Au vu de ce qui précède, seuls ceux qui sont convaincus de l’honnêteté intellectuelle de ce syndicat s’y inscriront aujourd’hui ! Les autres attendront patiemment le 03 avril prochain pour connaître son attitude. Quelle sera-t-elle alors si, comme la précédente Cour d’Appel, son « symbole » voit de nouveau « l’acharné » Philippe Karsenty être relaxé ? Sera-t-elle cette fois-ci de qualité car autorisant la diffusion du verdict ou une nouvelle fois médiocre car muette et complice d’une désinformation ?

Que ceux qui rêvent d’une information digne de ce nom se réveillent !

Victor PEREZ ©

Liens :

(1) :

Mohammed al-Durah

Karsenty vs. Enderlin: Baker vs. rekaB Street in action

Yesterday was the sixth hearing in the saga of France 2 and Charles Enderlin suing Philippe Karsenty for defamation in the French courts. In some senses it was something of an anti-climax. In others it was an amazing example of the clash between Baker and rekaB Streets. Indeed, the Société des journalistes (SNJ) and SNJ de France Télévisions both called on members to show their support for Enderlin, who was valiantly defending himself against Karsenty’s legal aggression, when in fact it is Enderlin and France2 who are using the courts to bully Karsenty into silence. Shades of Tuvia Grossman: we know who the aggressor must be, so we’re rallying around our wounded David, even when he’s a embarrassingly dim Goliath.

Karsenty went in loaded for bear, with a mock-up reconstruction of the site at Netzarim, and an extensive PPP full of videos. He went through all the evidence, starting with an very nice series of illustrations using the rushes to show how France2/Enderlin consistently use clearly staged footage as “news.” He then went through the entire dossier concerning the actual al Durah footage. At times it seemeda bit too exhaustive, and the judges seemed irritated by the PPP, but the arguments were excellent, and reflected a forensic mind that engages in identifying clues, and deriving conclusions from an analysis of the evidence.

Enderlin, on the other hand, seemed either completely out of his depth, or just supremely unconcerned. He did nothing but repeat things he’s said (and written) a thousand times, and when it was France2’s chance to respond to Karsenty, he sat passively while his lawyer showed five clips, four of which were just unedited replays of France2 news broadcasts on the matter (including totally irrelevant news about the tunnel under Mont Blanc and the Olympics in Sydney). It was as if they believed that in merely restating themselves, they proved themselves right. After Karsenty’s presentation, however, it was a stunning display of rekaB Street: the very scenes he had deconstructed as fakes, they were again playing as real. Even the judges seemed amused. The grand finale was Jamal al Durah showing his wounds just after Karsenty had showed that the wounds were not from the event (later confirmed by the medical forensic expert).

Enderlin seemed completely alone. He and his lawyer, Maitre Amblard, chic and shallow as ever, were alone at the dock (not even Guillaume Clement-Weill), no one from France2, whose new CEO was questioned about the al Durah affair by a senator at the time of his confirmation, and has, apparently decided to let Enderlin carry this one alone. Indeed, when France2’s “side” tried to show the videos, there was a technical fiasco which took 20 minutes to resolve (Karsenty even offered to show the footage they were having trouble with), trying the patience of the judges, before then trying their intelligence with meaningless material. Even Enderlin, in a passing glimmer of intelligence, seemed bored with his own side’s argument.

For those of us familiar with the material, it seemed like a rout. I even had a momentary flash of sympathy for how pathetic Enderlin was. In any serious court of informed and intelligent judgment, this was a romp: Karsenty sliced France2 to pieces, and France2 responded by putting the severed pieces back up on the screen as if they were whole.

But that means nothing in terms of the verdict. For the first time, the “Avocat generale” who speaks for the Parquet was critical of Karsenty, and chided him for his lack of prudence in criticizing Enderlin, emphasizing that the court was not here to decide the historical questions (i.e., what happened), but the question of Karsenty’s good faith (it being uncontested that his criticism of Enderlin was defamation of his honor). Given how – at least in the words of some major figures in the Jewish community – French justice is “politicized,” how much the whole establishment – media, politicians, judges – is locked up (verouillé), it’s perfectly possible that on April 3, the judges will decide in favor of the plaintiff, France2.

But that would just mean that one more court has planted its flag firmly on rekaB Street, and that the victims, in addition to Karsenty, will be the fabric of civil society in France, where citizens cannot criticize a rogue press lest it harm their unearned reputation.

The event was live-blogged by JSS, and discussed in L’Orient le Jour.