15 November 2007 - "The Al-Dura hoax is over"
There are lots of crazy conspiracy theories out there. What’s even crazier is that some of them are true. Take Philippe Karsenty, an independent media activist who claimed that the famous television footage of Israeli soldiers shooting a 12-year-old Palestinian boy, Muhammad Al-Dura, as he cowered behind his father was a fraud. He was successfully sued for libel by the French network France 2, which originally aired the footage.
Karsenty refused to give up. “The Al-Dura scene is very important, because it became an icon of hatred. It was the starting point of the delegitimization of Israel. We cannot give up on this issue, because this image became a postage stamp all over the Muslim world. It’s a square all of the world; it’s a street; it’s an image which created hatred against Israel, the Jews and the Western World.”
Hardly anyone, not even the Israeli government, bought his story at first, so shell-shocked they were by the sudden global hostility to the Jewish state. But secondary investigations cast doubt on the theory that Al-Dura was killed by Israeli soldiers. And today, after the raw footage was viewed in public for the first time in a French appeals court, there are doubts that Al-Dura was even killed at all.
In a crowded courtroom, France 2 and journalist Charles Enderlin humiliated themselves and vindicated Karsenty’s claims. HonestReporting and the Spectator were there, as was Richard Landes; HR also conducted interviews after the event. Though some in the courtroom still believed the boy was killed, his death is never shown on film, nor are there any images of Israeli soldiers shooting in his direction.
On the contrary, there is ample footage showing other apparent “Pallywood” special effects, put on for the benefit of the cameraman looking for propaganda to feed to his eager editor. Interestingly, France 2 did not reveal the full extent of the raw footage, providing only 18 minutes of the expected 27. HR speculates that this might lead to legal action against the network. What a turn of events that would be.
What really happened to Al-Dura? We don't know. Until we do, Philippe Karsenty seems to have vindicated not only Israel’s cause but the cause of independent media activism. He has, at least, destroyed the “one-Jew” argument used to dismiss claims of media bias (i.e. if only one Jew complained it can’t be too bad).
The final judgment will be delivered on February 27. But the last word may yet belong to Karsenty, who claims: “The Al-Dura hoax is over.”