Nidra Poller is the prominent American writer living in Paris who has written extensively on the al Dura affair in the Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the New York Sun, the New York Post Post, Makor Rishon, Frontpage, and other outlets. She has forwarded us the following dispatch with a Paris dateline:
Why should Americans take note of a verdict announced in the musty halls of the Palais de Justice in Paris? Philippe Karsenty, convicted of defamation in 2006 for declaring in a Media-Ratings release that the al Dura news report was a hoax, a fraud, a staged scene, was acquitted in the Court of Appeals on May 21. Pursued by state-owned France 2 and Jerusalem bureau chief Charles Enderlin, the courageous businessman cum media watchdog director, bounced back from the harsh judgment of the lower court, carrying bushel baskets of evidence. The meeting of the tireless Karsenty and the perspicacious French judge Madame Laurence Trébucq, produced an earth-shaking judgment that concerns all media in the free world…and all tainted news sources in the lands of discord.
Where is the earth when truth comes shaking? French media, which are the most immediately concerned by this judgment, have hunkered down to the point of absurdity. A few flabby spin attempts were dropped like litter on a systematically uninformed public just in case someone might realize that Karensty’s acquittal is Charles Enderlin’s disgrace. The 13-page ruling is there for all to see, and it belies last-ditch efforts to claim the defamation charge endures.
The antiquated late nineteenth-century press law offers two paths to absolution: 1. absolute proof of the truth of the incriminated statement(s) or 2. convincing proof of good faith, serious investigation, lack of personal animosity or excessive verbal violence. Acquittal on either of the two accounts is acquittal of all charges.
Not only did the court acquit Mr. Karsenty—a stunning exploit given the hefty weight of France 2 and Charles Enderlin—but the judges displayed impressive mastery of every detail of this complex affair. Instead of ignoring Judge Trébucq, French journalists should take a lesson from her fair-minded, intelligent, skillful exercise of a noble vocation.
Justice was done! It is time for justice to be applied in the realm of another vocation—journalism—whose integrity has been sorely lacking where the Mohamed al Dura case is concerned. Beyond the dramatic staged killing of the Palestinian boy that has lodged poison in millions of hearts and inspired murder and mayhem all over the world, the widespread practice in Western media of swallowing questionable material from unverifiable sources—in the Palestinian territories and more generally in the Arab-Muslim world—is targeted by the findings of the French Court of Appeals.
One could hardly accuse former President Jacques Chirac of participating in the staging of the al Dura scene. However, he immediately employed the alleged murder of the Palestinian child as a stick with which to beat then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and pressure Israel to cave in to Palestinian demands. Civilian (Palestinian) casualties served as a weapon against Israel when the Palestinians began their intifada-war in September 2000. The alleged murder of Mohamed al Dura covered the real and absolutely deliberate murder of hundreds of Israeli civilians that followed.
Chirac’s France was an influential underhanded opponent of the United States in those crucial years. The new Sarkozy government is a forceful, vibrant ally. Next month France will take its turn in the rotating EU presidency. President Sarkozy has courageously reinforced French troops in Afghanistan, he is firm in his determination to prevent Iran from going nuclear, his government is committed to stemming the influx of illegal immigrants, he is implementing a bold program of economic and institutional reform.
Contrary to the mumblings of surrender freaks, relations with Europe improve when the United States accepts its international responsibilities, including the military interventions that no other country can ensure. Nicolas Sarkozy, elected by popular enthusiasm, has been the target of unconscionable contempt in French media, much of which seeps right into American MSM. And what does this have to do with the al Dura controversy?
The French media blackout of information about this gigantic media hoax is an indication of the abysmal absence of a vibrant free press here in France. The media sleaze Sarkozy, trash Bush, and protect Charles Enderlin whose reports from Israel perpetuate the tiresome bashing that serves no honest purpose. This zombie French press silence should not be contagious. American mass media broadcast the al Dura image, participated in the dissemination of the hatred it bears. They have not even begun to examine the case, the footage, the sources.
Ladies and gentlemen of the press, the al Dura hoax makes Lebanese fauxtography look like a childish prank. It caused more deaths than 100 Mohamed cartoons. Where are you when we need you? Will the first brave journalist please stand up!
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