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Exposing the “Media Terrorists”: An Interview with Philippe Karsenty

Posted on November 22 2010 2:00 pm
Seth Mandel is the former managing editor of four New Jersey-based newspapers, where he won awards for his coverage of the Middle East and Russia. He has appeared on Shalom TV's current affairs roundtable. He is currently based in Washington, D.C. Twitter: @SethAMandel

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When Islamic terrorists strike, their sympathetic friends in the media seek to justify it by looking for “root causes.” They should be careful what they wish for, because Philippe Karsenty can prove that for the several thousand killed since the beginning of the Second Intifada, the media themselves own the lion’s share of the blame.

“I call them media terrorists,” Karsenty says. “You can put a bomb in a restaurant and you can kill ten people, and it’s dramatic and it’s terrible. But when you’re broadcasting this kind of a fake news report you are killing more than ten people. It’s a terrorist action, it’s a media terrorist action, and I think they should be treated that way.”

Karsenty is referring to the infamous Sept. 30, 2000 Mohammad al-Dura incident, in which a twelve-year-old boy (al-Dura) was filmed supposedly shot and killed in the arms of his father by Israeli soldiers at Gaza’s Netzarim Junction. The video, shot by France 2, a French national television station, was used as a rallying cry by the Palestinians and their allies as they excused their ensuing campaign of suicide terrorism by repeating one name: al-Dura.

But Israeli officials and journalists around the world began questioning the official storyline, and despite France 2’s refusal to show the full video, it simply did not hold up to scrutiny. It eventually became clear the video was staged by France 2 journalist Charles Enderlin, his Palestinian cameraman, and al-Dura’s friends and family.

Karsenty took up the fight in France to prove the fraud, was sued for defamation, and has been in a series of legal battles at home while traveling around the world exposing the video. I spoke with Karsenty last week during his current U.S. trip, when he described the (in his opinion, futile) bullying by France 2 in the courtroom, trying to win cases on technicalities because they cannot defend against Karsenty’s facts and research. Karsenty has shown, for example, that there was no blood on al-Dura and that the full film shows the boy raising his arm after he was “killed.”

“It doesn’t put blood on the body of the boy and the father; it doesn’t prevent the boy from raising his elbow,” Karsenty said about France 2’s attempts to suppress the truth. “It’s another step that they use in order to postpone the time when they will be forced to admit the fraud.”

And the truth might come as a bit of a shock to Karsenty’s countrymen, since Enderlin’s allies in France have been able to shove any discussion of the film out of the public square. Last month, Enderlin published Un Enfant est Mort (A Child is Dead), Enderlin’s side of the story. According to Karsenty, in 200 pages, the book mentions Karsenty by name 114 times. It is essentially an exercise in character assassination. In the last two weeks, Enderlin has been given two book awards in France.

“So there is no natural way” the French public will know the truth, Karsenty says. Though he is not without victories of his own; last June, French television station Canal+ was found guilty of defaming Karsenty.

On his current trip, he said, his audiences are too often “shocked” at the case against the France 2 footage. “Most of them don’t really know the truth,” he says–even members of the Israeli government, though they are coming around as well. In late October, the Prime Minister’s Office released a letter basically affirming the lack of evidence to support the original claim of the footage. Karsenty expects another letter to be released in the near future, this one worded even more strongly than the October letter.

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