Philippe Karsenty admits to being a little pessimistic.
A month ago, he appeared before the Paris Appeals Court in a case that arose out of the Muhammad al-Dura shooting hoax. The case has dragged on for years, and most recently he’s had to again show how the French national broadcaster, France 2 TV, misled its viewers by wrongly claiming Israeli soldiers shot and killed the 12-year-old al-Dura at the Netzirim junction on the second day of the Palestinian intifadah in 2000.
Karsenty is upset because he feels the French establishment is arrayed against him, protecting one of its golden boys, France 2’s Israel bureau chief, Charles Enderlin. “The whole French establishment is against the truth and against Israel,” he said.
Karsenty also feels he hasn’t received the kind of support he deserves from the government of Israel, which he says hasn’t asserted its innocence in the case with nearly enough vigour.
“The State of Israel, by not defending itself, is putting the Jews around the world in a bad situation,” Karsenty said.
He points to the way antisemites have fastened on the al-Dura incident to accuse Jews of a blood libel. Al-Dura became the poster boy for the intifadah. Postage stamps with his likeness were issued in the Arab world, and an al-Dura poster was clearly visible when Islamist terrorists murdered U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl.
“Al-Dura has a son and his name is Toulouse. As long as our enemy can say they are slaughtering our kids in revenge for theirs who were deliberately killed, too, we have a serious problem,” Karsenty said. He was referring to the radical Islamist killer, Mohammed Merah, who in 2012 murdered a rabbi and three children at a Jewish day school in Toulouse.
Merah was inspired by the phony al-Dura allegations, Karsenty asserted.
Today, Karsenty awaits a verdict in his case, which will be delivered April 3. No matter how it goes, he feels he’s in a lose-lose situation.
If the court rules against him, agreeing with a trial court that he libelled Enderlin by calling his report a hoax, he clearly loses.
But even if he wins, his opponents will argue it was only on a technicality.
“If I win, they’ll find a way to discredit me in the media,” he said.
Karsenty set off the seven-year legal imbroglio when he publicly, and loudly proclaimed that the French TV report on the al-Dura incident was a complete fabrication. He was sued and lost at trial, but he appealed.
During the appeal, the judges ordered Enderlin to make all the raw footage recorded by France 2’s cameraman, Talal Abu Rahma, a self-professed supporter of the Palestinian cause, available to the court. Enderlin wasn’t on the scene when the incident took place and relied on Abu Rahma for the content of his report.
The footage showed lengthy periods in which dozens, if not hundreds of Palestinians milled about at a time the report claimed they were being fired upon by Israelis. The footage does not support claims al-Dura was shot. In fact, it shows him moving after he supposedly was already dead.
As well, there were no obvious signs of blood, the bullet holes did not line up as they should have if Israelis were firing at him, and the footage showed Palestinians faking injuries, with ambulances arriving seconds afterward, suggesting made-for-TV news fabrications, later dubbed “Pallywood.”
Karsenty won on appeal, but the Supreme Court ordered a new hearing, saying the lower court erred in compelling Enderlin to produce the footage. As the appellant, Karsenty was responsible for presenting evidence.
Despite the odds stacked against him, Karsenty does not regret putting so much of his energy into publicizing the “blood libel.” But, “next time, I’d recommend doing so only if Israel is ready to fight.”
Meanwhile, in France the establishment has rallied around Enderlin. Former president Nicolas Sarkozy presented Enderlin with France’s Legion of Honour – after the case had gone to trial.
For Karsenty, that’s just another indication that “French society is not ready to face the truth.”
“In France, the media has decided that Israel is the monster, and they’ve decided to protect their anti-Israel propaganda. We need to face that. There’s no political will to destroy the hoax.”