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The Consequences and Repercussions of the Al Durah Incident

The video footage of the Al Durahs released to the international media depicted a boy shot and killed by Israeli fire, dying in his father’s lap. The select footage and running commentary painted a picture of unimaginable callousness and brutality on the part of the Israelis, which instantly elevated the boy to the status of martyr and transformed the incident into a tool for incitement and revenge. So much so, that within months of the incidents first appearance, Osama Bin Laden released a video recruiting for global Jihad which used the boy’s image centrally to mobilize hatred not only against Israel, but anyone who supported her, and any Arab leader who failed to avenge the boy’s death.

In the West, especially in more radical circles, this image became a major promoter of a kind of substitution theology long promoted by Palestinians, in which the Israelis were the new Nazis, and the Palestinians, the new Jews. Groups like International ANSWER produced iconic presentations equating al Durah and the Holocaust.

And even mainstream reporter like Catherine Nay spoke for a broad range of French public opinion when she declared that “this death [sic] replaces, erases the image of the boy in the Warsaw Ghetto.”

Even beyond the use of the Al Durah imagery to justify unimaginable violence, and accuse Israel of the most heinous crimes in history, the image’s success had consequences that threaten the very heart of journalism and democratic institutions in the West. A school of journalism that we call alternatively “lethal-” or “Durahjournalism” gained dominance in the coverage of the Middle East, which mainstreams Palestinian and Arab lethal narratives about Israel into the information circulation system of the West as news. The decline in journalistic standards, the spread of an ethos of manipulation of the public “for its own good” and the mobilization of a “pack mentality” that resists any serious dissent within the mainstream, has created a crisis in journalism in the West in which the depiction of reality (the job of the journalist) has resulted not merely in distorted images, but inverted ones.

And since the news media are the eyes and ears of civil society, it is most dangerous for us to be blinded at a time like this.

Becoming aware of the far-reaching consequences of the Al Durah incident is integral to understanding the heart of the project and why awareness is the first step in battling these developments and their dangerous repercussions.

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“So What if Al Durah was Staged?”: Meditations on the Colonization of the Israeli Mind

Originally posted at The Augean Stables, January 18, 2008

I recently gave a talk at a conference on Media and Ethics in Jerusalem, where I presented the case against Enderlin’s version of the Muhammad al Durah story. Apparently, the presentation was relatively convincing since one of the first criticisms I immediately

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2011: Pallywood, Muhammad al Durah and Cognitive Warfare in the 21st Century

Pallywood, Muhammad al Durah and Cognitive Warfare in the 21st Century
This paper was originally published on November 9, 2011, and was delivered by the author as a presentation to the ASMEA Conference, Washington DC, November 4, 2011.
Richard Landes, Boston University
I’d like to make two arguments. First, that the image of

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2008: When it Comes to Al-Dura, Journalists Are Against Free Speech (Rosenthal)

Originally published by Pajamas Media
June 20, 2008
Despite the Al-Dura ruling, reporter Charles Enderlin can still count on his colleagues to stand by his story
Earlier this month, the French weekly Le Nouvel Observateur launched a surreal “Appeal for Charles Enderlin” in response to a French court judgment clearing media critic

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LA Times Commentary: Can a Dying Boy’s Image be the Catalyst for Peace? October 6, 2000

Commentary; Can a Dying Boy’s Image Be the Catalyst for Peace?:[Home Edition]
BASIL ABDELKARIM, RIAD ABDELKARIM. Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, Calif.: Oct 6, 2000. pg. 9

Full Text (784 words) Copyright (c) 2000 Los Angeles Times)

As the latest cycle of bloodshed continues unabated in the Israeli-occupied territories, one horrifying image has

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2001 – Hamas Confirms Israeli Arab was Nahariya Suicide Bomber

Originally published by Ha’aretz, September 10th, 2001

The militant Palestinian group Hamas released information Monday confirming that Israeli Arab Mohammed Shaker Habeishi carried out Sunday’s suicide bombing at Nahariya train station that killed three people and wounded dozens more. If this is confirmed, the attack would be the first carried out

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