By Marc Lebuis
On October 13, Philippe Karsenty came to Montreal to talk about the facts behind the deception in the Al-Dura case. Two conferences, one in French at the University of Montreal and another in English at Marianopolis College, were held before audiences totaling over 150 people.
The Al-Dura case:
On September 30, 2000, the television channel France 2 broadcast a report by Charles Enderlin that lasted less than a minute and that purported to show the death of young Mohammed Al-Dura. The image of a father and son crouched behind a barrel is accompanied by the sound of bullets fired from a guard post occupied by Israeli soldiers. According to the report, the soldiers shot at the Al-Duras for 45 minutes. The video of the two innocents was soon broadcast around the world and helped incite the second intifada. The young Mohammed Al-Dura became a hero and martyr in al-Qaeda propaganda, and the jihadists who beheaded Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl cited the Al-Dura incident in justifying their actions. Several nations have even dedicated postage stamps to the memory of the young Mohammed Al-Dura. From Palestine to Tunisia, streets, a hospital, and public squares bear his name. Anti-Israeli militant groups continually cite this story at conferences, forums, and discussion groups in place around the world, including Quebec and the rest of Canada.
Karsenty begins his lecture by presenting the official version of the Al-Dura story as told by Charles Enderlin of France 2. According to Enderlin, the soldiers were 80 meters from the Al-Duras and continuously and intentionally targeted them for 45 minutes. The cameraman filmed the incident for 27 minutes and Mohammed Al-Dura was killed by three bullets while his father, Jamal Al-Dura, was struck by 12 bullets and seriously injured.
Karsenty then presented his analysis of the materials used to “prove” that the event took place as Enderlin described, as well as the conclusions reached by reputable media, ballistic, and medical experts, and demonstrated that France 2’s version of events is false. The images of the Al-Duras reveal no trace of blood. The few bullets that hit the wall behind the Al-Duras entered it head-on rather than diagonally, even though the Israeli position was 80 meters away and to the side. The testimonies of other cameramen who were believed to have been there paint a picture of delirium: an Associated Press cameraman has reported that the Israeli army fired missiles at the father and child; another, Youssef Khadra, has said that the shots came from the air; and a third, representing Abu Dhabi TV, said Israeli snipers were firing anti-tank missiles from a helicopter. The end of the France 2 report (from which footage had been removed in which the young Mohamed was seen moving after being pronounced dead in the commentary) shows the child, who was supposed to have been shot dead, raise his elbow, turn his head toward the camera, lower his elbow, and hold his foot suspended above ground.
The news website gile.net has devoted a section of its home page to the subject, entitled “The Mohamed Al-Dura case.” At this writing, Vigile.net has posted only texts favoring Enderlin’s version of the story and had not given Karsenty a chance to air his views.
The media forums and the wall of friends: «Everybody does it, so do it»:
In October 2008, the website of Le Nouvel Observateur posted a letter in support of Charles Enderlin. The letter, signed by a long list of French media figures, expresses their concern over the judgment by the Court of Appeal of Paris that Karsenty had acted in «good faith,” «exercised his right of freedom to criticize,” and “did not exceed the limits of freedom of expression. » In other words, the letter’s signatories were offended not by the restriction of reportage on a controversial subject but by «offenses against the honor and reputation of news professionals.” The Court of Appeals, without ruling on the veracity of the report in question, ruled that it was legitimate to ask questions and that the arguments of those who criticize the professional conduct of Enderlin and France 2 deserve to be heard.
As pointed out by Luc Rosenzweig, a former journalist for Le Monde, «The readers of Le Nouvel Observateur as well as those of other media for which the signatories work will never be provided with the slightest bit of information about the thesis and theories developed by Philippe Karsenty in his appeal. Not one of the major media websites has posted the famous ‘rushes’ which show the staging of the event on September 30 at the Netzarim junction in Gaza, or the questions that we would raise after seeing the famous footage of the Al-Duras, father and son.»
Truth vs. the staged episode supported by the «wall of friends»:
Among the signatories of the letter was the renowned Robert Ménard. Ménard, recognized both for his criticism of Israel and for being president of Reporters without Borders, has been named a Knight of the Legion d’Honneur by President Nicolas Sarkozy. He is married to Emmanuelle Duverger, who is secretary general of the editorial staff of the magazine Médias, an international jurist for the International Federation of Human Rights, and co-author (with her husband) of Censorship of the Bien-Pensants.
Menard admitted to having signed the petition without taking the trouble to discover the facts submitted by Karsenty. After having been exposed to facts that had never been contested by France 2, moreover, Ménard and Duverger cosigned a 5-page feature published in the autumn 2010 edition (number 26) of Médias, taking care to specify that in an interview entitled “Philippe Karsenty: ‘France 2 tells lies…,’” they had “three times” given “a voice to the French public channel” without having provided the opposing party, Karsenty, with the opportunity to present his arguments.
In this special issue of Médias, Karsenty offered other interesting information, such as the fact that CNN had been sent the same images that had been broadcast by France 2 but had refused to show them because there was no guarantee of their authenticity. To the question: «But why would Charles Enderlin, a Jew and Israeli, persisted in covering for his cameraman?» Karsenty replied: “Instead of doing some digging to verify the authenticity of the report, Charles Enderlin has erected a wall of friends who protect him from criticism.”
«What to do in the face of all this hype?” asked Luc Rosenzweig recently, and proceeded to answer his own question: Not much, alas, aside from expressing one’s disapproval of such methods to the media that put them into practice. And remain convinced that the truth will out, one day, despite the obstacles placed in its path.» This is precisely what Karsenty, with perseverance and consistency, has sought to do.
To the question «Why have you made this case the battle of a lifetime?» Karsenty says, «I cannot imagine living in a country where lying is protected and do nothing to change this intolerable state of affairs!»
Translated from the French by Bruce Bawer