MONTREAL — Philippe Karsenty still waits for vindication in France.
The one-time stockbroker told The CJN it could still take years for France’s Supreme Court to make a ruling on a libel lawsuit France 2 journalist Charles Enderlin originally launched against him for a 2004 article Karsenty wrote.
The article portrayed Enderlin’s report on the France 2 network on Sept. 30, 2000 – supposedly depicting the deliberate killing by Israeli soldiers of 12-year-old Palestinian boy Muhammad al-Dura in Gaza at the outbreak of the second intifadah – as a “hoax,” a “fraud,” a “fabrication.”
Enderlin sued in 2004 and initially won in 2006, but Karsenty appealed and won in 2008 – until that verdict was annulled on a technicality by the French Supreme Court in 2012 – four years later.
With the case under appeal again, Karsenty lost in June 2013 and was fined 11,000 Euros (just under $15,500 Cdn). The fine was paid by journalist Daniel Pipes’ Middle East Forum think tank.
Now it’s all under appeal yet again by Karsenty, before the French Supreme Court, and he is confident he will win, even if the wait is another four years.
“When the French judges are independent and they don’t receive political pressure, I win,” he said in an email exchange with The CJN the day after he delivered a talk at Beth Israel Beth Aaron Congregation.
“The strongest reason I am optimistic is because the truth is on our side, and ultimately, the truth will prevail.”
Whether it prevails or not – and Karsenty vows to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights if he loses – the last years have been a test of endurance for Karsenty, who is 47 and deputy mayor of the Paris suburb of Neuilly.
His last years have been consumed by the case, which he characterizes as the “worst blood libel of modern times.”
That point was made clear in a PowerPoint presentation at the synagogue that Karsenty has presented countless times before, showing some of the 50 elements that he says prove his case.
They include: the absence of blood at the site where al-Dura was purportedly killed, the lack of many bullet holes on the wall, and the appearance of al-Dura moving after he “died.”
In addition, Karsenty said, Enderlin’s cameraman, Talu Abu Rahma, was a pro-intifadah Palestinian who initially told Enderlin that al-Dura was confirmed dead.
“I was called a conspiracy theorist, but it was all staged,” he said.
Still, it took 13 years for Israel to officially take a position on the incident, initially apologizing for the boy’s reported death, but eventually retracting it in light of an Israeli inquiry pointing to Palestinian bullets that killed al-Dura.
Israel only issued its first official government report in May, supporting Karsenty’s contention that al-Dura never died and that the incident was staged.
Karsenty is happy about that, but it is not quite that simple. Ha’aretz has reported that the man behind the May report, Gen. Yossi Kuperwasser, once worked for the Israeli Law Centre, which tried to have Enderlin’s press credentials revoked in the wake of his France 2 report.
According to Karsenty, Enderlin, who is also an Israeli citizen, remains a highly respected media establishment figure, and Karsenty said the media tend to defend their own. In 2009, France’s Legion of Honour was bestowed on him.
Karsenty said the “media battle” continues in the face of journalists in the West serving as “useful idiots” in the media’s delegitimization of Israel (his website is www.karsenty.fr).
The al-Dura incident, even if a hoax, galvanized the Arab world, Karsenty said. It was the justification for killing journalist Daniel Pearl and for the jihadist murder of Jews in Toulouse, France, with the image of the Duras cowering behind a barrel plastered on everything from postage stamps and street signs to monuments.
Asked his thoughts on Enderlin’s 2010 book on the incident, Un enfant est mort, Karsenty responded by email: “His book is another of his hoaxes. [It] doesn’t address any of the questions we are asking, namely what he did with the al-Dura raw footage to validate it and make the worst blood libel of modern times.
“It’s just a crying book to explain how he suffered from the polemical status of the news report.
“I’m sorry if he suffered, but he didn’t suffer as much as Daniel Pearl’s family, who had their son beheaded as the result of his video.
“He just had to admit he made a mistake and apologize… but his ego is so big he couldn’t do that.
“And because of that, people are still dying due to his poor job, or worse, [the] ideological decision to demonize Israel and the Jews.”