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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Israel's inexplicable silence on French blood libel

In this morning's Jerusalem Post, Caroline Glick decries the Israeli government's inexplicable silence on the blood libel perpetrated by the France 2 television network - assisted by the French courts last week - in what is known as the "Al-Durah affair."
Both men separately proved mathematically and physically that the IDF forces on the ground could not see the Duras from their position and that it was physically impossible for their bullets to have killed Muhammad. Then OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen.Yom Tov Samia held a news conference in late November based on their findings at which he said that the probability that the IDF had killed Dura was low.

Yet Samia was the only senior Israeli official to question the veracity of the film. Then chief of General Staff Shaul Mofaz disavowed Samia's investigation. Prime minister Ehud Barak never questioned the veracity of Enderlin's murderous accusation against the IDF.


Yet, even as private individuals were dedicating their time and passion to proving that France 2 had purposely broadcast a blood libel against Israel that caused the death and injury of Israelis and Jews throughout the world and marred the honor of the IDF, official Israel remained silent.

The Foreign Ministry never asked France 2 to show its officials the full 27-minute film. Neither the IDF nor the Foreign or Justice Ministries defended the IDF or called into question the veracity of Enderlin's film. As late as this past June 23, IDF spokeswoman Brig.-Gen. Miri Regev told Haaretz, "I cannot determine whether the IDF is or is not responsible for the killing of al-Dura."


Over the years Israeli officials have justified their silence by saying that it was a losing proposition to reopen the Dura case. We'll be accused of blaming the victim, they said.

This statement is both cowardly and irresponsible. As the French verdict shows, without an Israeli protest, the protests of private individuals, however substantial, ring hollow. When Israel refuses to defend itself from blood libels, it gives silent license to attacks against Israel and world Jewry in the name of those libels.

In 2000, Barak was desperately trying to close a peace deal with Yasser Arafat. The last thing he wanted was to admit that Arafat was promulgating blood libels against Israel. So he was silent. This is unforgivable, but understandable.

Israel's continued silence is a sign that Israeli officialdom has still not understood what the war of images demands of it. The Dura film, like the fictional massacre of Lebanese children at Kafr Kana in Lebanon this summer, shows that victory or defeat in wars is today largely determined on television. To win, Israel must go on the offensive and attack untruthful, distorted images that are used to justify the killing of Israelis and Jews throughout the world.

When Karsenty heard the court's verdict last week, he said, "If this judgment is upheld, Jews should ask themselves questions about their future in France. Justice covers the anti-Semitic lies of a public channel. It's a strong signal, it is very severe."

To this it should be added that if the Israeli government continues to be silent as the good name of the IDF, of Israel and of the Jewish people is dragged through the mud by distorted television images broadcast by foreign news outlets; if the Israeli government does nothing to defend those who are persecuted for fighting against these distortions, then Jews will have to ask themselves some questions about how on earth we are supposed to defend ourselves, let alone win this war against those who seek our destruction.
Blogger Richard Landes at The Augean Stables goes so far as to suggest that the trial of Philippe Karsenty, in which a decision was rendered last week, was fixed:
Several people who claimed to know, informed me and Karsenty independently, that the fix was on before the trial. When I suggested that to an Israeli lawyer I know after the first trial but before the decision, she responded indignantly, “No. The French judiciary is really independent.” I wanted to believe that.


Unfortunately, the reasoning of the decision suggests just that. It is at best incredibly one-sided, more likely, intellectually dishonest. I will post the decision in translation with some invited opinions at a later point. In the meantime, I will reiterate my response to the early newspaper quotations from the document: It is nothing short of breathtaking to accuse Karsenty of a “lack of seriousness” as an “information professional” for depending “only on one source,” when he, a marginal figure trying to critique the MSM, has attacked the work of an “information professional” of enormous prestige and influence, who was revealed in that very courtroom as incompetent, dishonest, and staggeringly negligent, and who based his broadcast on only one source, Talal, a Pallywood cameraman of the first order.

I note parenthetically that when I read the decision I couldn’t help notice that in all those 14 pages, with the names of the players cited in CAPS, including people who were not witnesses, my name did not appear. “So what am I, and what is Second Draft, chopped liver?” thought I.
Landes asks questions that ought to concern the Israeli government:
Never mind that the MSM showed no interest in this story when we tried to talk about it, but then appear from nowhere, well informed, when they get the story that they want. Why do the MSM media only feel comfortable weighing in on this case when they can put another nail in the coffin of Israeli responsibility for the Intifada? No rethinking, no picture of the scene Enderlin cut, and then lied about, but images of the icon, money pictures of the boy before he’s been “hit.” First draft regurgitated. As many told me when I embarked on this venture, “you bring it up again, and people will just say, “you see, the Israelis did it. They kill children.”
Landes is not really in a position to deal with the question of why the Israeli government seems unconcerned with the blood libel perpetrated by the French courts. But to me, it's clear why Israel is silent in the face of what may be the worst decision to come out of a French court since the Dreyfus trial: Israel wishes to be a nation among nations. It wishes to be a 'normal' country. Its political leadership and much of its population continues to delude itself that if we play along with the 'world,' one day, we too can be a 'normal' country. As I wrote in March before the elections:
Sometime in the mid-90's that all changed. Suddenly, with the arrival of the 'Oslo accords,' it seemed that what many people wanted most was to be a 'normal' country. To be 'like all the other nations.' To be able to go into shopping malls and movie theaters without having your bags checked. To go on vacation without having to re-arrange reserve duty. To come and go as we pleased. To pay a (semi) normal tax rate. Some people warned that being a Jewish state in a sea of Arabs, we could never be a 'normal' country. But those people were dismissed as ideologues - mostly of the right. Then-Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin dismissed them as 'propellors.'
In 2005, Ehud Olmert told the Israel Policy Forum:
We are tired of fighting, we are tired of being courageous, we are tired of winning, we are tired of defeating our enemies, we want that we will be able to live in an entirely different environment of relations with our enemies.
It's that attitude that makes Israel ignore what went on in a French courtroom over the past month. It's an attitude of pretending. It's the failure to confront reality. Somehow, if we ignore it, it will go away. But it won't go away. As Caroline Glick points out in the same article:
FRANCE 2 distributed its film free of charge to anyone who wanted it - although not the full 27 minutes that Rahma filmed. The film was shown repeatedly worldwide and particularly on Arab television networks. The results of the footage were murderous. On October 12, two IDF reservists, Yosef Avrahami and Vadim Novesche, were lynched by a mob at a PA police station in Ramallah. The mob invoked Dura's death as a justification for its barbarism. The Orr Commission which investigated the violent rioting by Israeli Arabs in October 2000 stated in its final report that "Muhammad al-Dura's picture, which was distributed by the media, was one of the causes that led people in the Arab sector to take to the streets on October 1, 2000."

Countless suicide bombers and other Palestinian terrorists have cited Dura as a justification of their crimes. For the past six years PA television has continuously aired a film showing Dura in heaven beckoning other Palestinian children to "martyr" themselves by becoming terrorists and join him there.

The Palestinians are not the only ones who have used Dura as a terrorist recruitment tool. He is prominently featured in al-Qaida recruitment videos and on Hizbullah banners. Daniel Pearl's murderers interspersed their video of his beheading with the France 2 film. Throughout Europe, and particularly in France, Muslims have used Dura as a rallying cry in their attacks against Jews - attacks which broke out shortly after the Dura film was broadcast.
So the French court takes the easy route of acquitting its newscasters and Israel goes along hoping no one will notice. And those non-Israelis (and for that matter non-Jews) who might consider speaking up for Israel in the future do take notice, and understand that they speak up for Israel at their own peril.

Another trial starts this afternoon. Don't look for anyone from Israeli officialdom to be there.

Read both articles.


At 4:16 PM, Blogger Red Tulips said...

Just disgusting. Not surprising, but disgusting.

The Israeli government does not have the interests of the Israeli people at heart. It distresses me to say this, but all evidence points to this.

I understand why the world does not care for the Jews. I do not understand why the Jews do not care for fellow Jews.


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