European politicians want to force Israel to make concessions to its enemies, so they need to demonize Israel. European media outlets have therefore constructed a narrative in support of these politicians' agenda; and any facts not in keeping with it are ignored.

In the United States there are media-monitoring groups such as the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting, but organizations like this would not work in France.

Why? Because in France, Jews would not be trusted to monitor news about the Middle East: they would be considered biased. In France, monitoring work on the Middle East done by a Jew would be treated as irrelevant. So I created Media-Ratings in France to monitor the press – and it is treated as irrelevant.

In 2002, when I understood, thanks to Israeli and American researchers, that the Mohammed al Dura news report – the image of the 12-year-old Palestinian boy huddling against his father, who were said to have been shot by Israelis -- was a hoax, I tried to raise awareness about it, but no one would listen. There is no blood anywhere in the footage after the alleged shooting; a forensic investigation of the bullet holes showed they could not have come from the Israeli position, and only witness was the Palestinian cameraman who shot the footage, the most crucial part of which, the shooting itself, is still missing.

People told me: "We don't listen to Holocaust deniers, so we won't listen to you."

The French public TV station which was responsible for creating and airing the Al Dura hoax would not engage in any debate about their news report.

Consequently, I had to find a proper way to participate in the debate, and enter the stage by creating a watchdog organization, which would monitor all media outlets on all topics.

This is why and how, in 2004, Media-Ratings was created.

We were very careful not to deal with Israeli topics, ignoring the solicitations of some of our readers.

Very quickly, I received some invitations to appear on TV in France to critique the media.

As soon as it was established, we received coverage in the mainstream media.

Six months after our creation, I was "part of the club."

Our information and corrections about French media mistakes relating to French politics, economics or foreign issues were increasingly picked up by some media outlets.

So, in November 2004, after I was partially accepted in the mainstream media, I decide to be provocative and expose the al Dura fabrication by publishing a confrontational article against the French public TV: I wrote that the Al Dura news report was a staged hoax.

By asserting that the French public, government-owned, TV, France 2, had fabricated an international story, I tried to force them to engage in a public debate.

As soon as my accusations became public, I was immediately boycotted by the mainstream media: I had breached the unwritten agreement that Israel-bashing is not only the rule, but acceptable, even -- or especially -- if untrue.

Simultaneously, as I expected when I published my article exposing the Al Dura blood-libel, I was sued for defamation by France 2.

My trial took place in September 2006 and went well. I presented some evidence to defend my accusations, whereas France 2 presented some testimonials and a very powerful letter from Jacques Chirac, at that time the French President, who claimed that the journalist responsible for the al Dura hoax, Charles Enderlin, was a credible and reliable journalist.

At the end of the trial, the Prosecutor said that I had presented enough evidence of a hoax and that I should be found not guilty of defamation.

A month later, however, I was found guilty of defamation… probably the influence of Chirac's letter.

Immediately I appealed, and my second trial began in September 2007.

Instead of lasting only one afternoon as expected, the trial was abruptly interrupted and postponed: the judges asked to see the raw footage originally shot and used in France 2's news report.

This was the turning point.

Two months later, 18 minutes of raw footage were screened at the court of appeal in Paris.

It proved damning to France 2.

The final hearing, seven hours long, took place on February 2008; three months later, I won the case on appeal and was found not guilty of defamation.

It was a big relief.

A week later, however, hundreds of French journalists representing all the French media outlets -- I insist all of them -- signed a petition in which they compared me to a Holocaust denier because I had said that the death of Muhammad was a hoax.

Last year, the French authorities lead by Sarkozy, presented the Legion of Honor to Charles Enderlin, the journalist responsible for the hoax.

Although ten days ago, we celebrated the 10th anniversary of the al Dura hoax, France 2 has still not reported the truth.

Nevertheless, I am optimistic.

Since I have been engaged in this fight, I have always believed the truth would come out the following week. Our sources are valid. They have never been contested anywhere in the world, neither by any court of justice, nor even by our opponents at France 2.

The al Dura hoax is important: it was the starting point of a new campaign of the escalating campaign to demonize Israel,

The al Dura hoax is still important: its image has become the major icon used by our enemies to denigrate Israel, and to stir up incitement against the Jews and the whole Western world, The media is not only a reflection of our society; it is an opinion-maker.

It has, therefore, a huge influence in creating world hostility both to the Jewish people and to Israel, the state of the Jews.

By reporting inaccurately and by faking the news, by using wrong concepts and twisting the words to depict the situation on the ground, the media outlets have largely contributed to the "denial of legitimacy" campaign currently in high-gear against the State of Israel.

My solution to fight this bias was, and still is, to identify an emblematic symbol of Jew-hatred and Israel bashing - - the al Dura hoax -- and to fight constantly against it for the past eight years, exposing it as a media hoax.

The French media outlets have been fighting me through both ad hominem attacks and denials of the truth.

I have been presenting the evidence to individuals, influential politicians, and journalists to convince them of the dangers of an irresponsible media, which has the power to alter the course of history.

My goal is to have France 2, the entire French society, and, finally, the whole world, admit that the al Dura story is a hoax.

Lies can be fought by the truth.

The issue is to get access to the public and to have the truth heard by a large audience, not just friendly and captive audiences.

Now it seems that the truth will soon be publicly acknowledged.

At least, I hope so.

The liars are still active.

Three days ago, Charles Enderlin, the French journalist responsible for the hoax, published a book on al Dura -- "A Child Was Killed" -- and all the French media outlets are reviewing it most positively -- all of them.

I hope we are on the verge of a final victory: we have gained -- one by one -- many allies in the media, the intellectual sphere and in the political community.

But I still have one frustration.

I have pursued this case without the full support of the Israeli government even if I did receive help from individuals like Natan Sharansky and many other supporters in the Israeli intellectual and political spheres.

In September, a prestigious French magazine interviewed me at length. The journalist who conducted the interview was Robert Ménard of Reporters Without Borders… an organization which not really a good friend of Israel's.

After having been supportive of the al Dura blood-libel for years, Ménard had seen the evidence of the al Dura hoax; and said he had finally understood the nature of the scandal, which was why he wanted to give me the opportunity to show my argument in his magazine.

Ménard said he understood why it was so difficult to have the truth revealed in France, but he said he did not understand why I never received the support of the Israelis.

I am aware of the difficult situation Israelis face on the ground.

I realize that their battles can be very destructive and that they do not have the resources to respond to every accusation thrown against them all around the world: it would probably be a full time job for the Israeli government to respond to every attack.

However, there is a media battle, which influences world opinion, being waged against Israel; Israel would do well join that battle in her own defense.

One of the most important things to me is to expose and reveal to the whole world the true nature of the al Dura blood-libel: It is being used as the ultimate weapon against Israel.

It turns Israel's friends into enemies; and it turns Jews against themselves, and against the state of Israel.

After all, no decent human being can knowingly embrace a nation that enjoys killing innocent, defenseless children.

Al Dura was the first blood libel of the 21st Century. But, it has launched a thousand others, all aimed at the destruction of the Jewish state.

Therefore, it must be shown for what it is: a staged hoax.

Until France apologizes for its defamation of the Jewish people and the state of Israel, I will not rest.

Originally presented at a conference of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting (www.CAMERA.org) at Boston University, October 10, 2010

  • Follow Philippe Karsenty on Twitter

© 2017 Gatestone Institute. All rights reserved. The articles printed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editors or of Gatestone Institute. No part of the Gatestone website or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied or modified, without the prior written consent of Gatestone Institute.

Recent Articles by
receive the latest by email: subscribe to the free gatestone institute mailing list.

en

Comment on this item

Email me if someone replies to my comment

Note: Gatestone Institute greatly appreciates your comments. The editors reserve the right, however, not to publish comments containing: incitement to violence, profanity, or any broad-brush slurring of any race, ethnic group or religion. Gatestone also reserves the right to edit comments for length, clarity and grammar. All thoughtful suggestions and analyses will be gratefully considered. Commenters' email addresses will not be displayed publicly. Gatestone regrets that, because of the increasingly great volume of traffic, we are not able to publish them all.