Friday, May 31, 2013
Israeli government downs the al-Dura myth
Nidra Poller May 29, 2013
French court has again postponed verdict in scandalous case
PARIS. There is abundant concrete evidence that two men hacked a British soldier to death in Woolwich on May 22. There were eyewitnesses to the attempted beheading. The immediate aftermath was filmed from every angle by multiple devices. One of the perpetrators, Mujahid (ex-Michael) Adebelajo, starred in an on the spot amateur video produced at his demand. Waving his blood-soaked hands, still clutching a knife and a cleaver, he justified his act religiously – citing the Sura Al-Tawba, “we must fight them as they fight us” – followed by the usual jihadist political garbage. Most news media deleted the Koranic citation but the uncensored version is available at a click on the Net.[i]
The jihad murder of drummer Lee Rigby is an incident, not a baseless news report.
There were more people at Netzarim Junction in the Gaza Strip on September 30, 2000 than on Wellington Road in Woolwich on May 22 but no one saw the alleged al-Dura incident (the supposedly deliberate killing af a young boy by Israeli soldiers). A dozen professional cameramen had been filming scenes from early morning. Their raw footage shows Palestinians brazenly attacking the Israeli outpost with rocks, firebombs, and burning tires. Elsewhere, out of range of potential Israeli gunfire, they played mock battle scenes with fake injuries and comical ambulance evacuations. At one point armed Palestinians briefly fired live ammunition.
But the alleged victims, identified as Jamal al-Dura and his son Mohamed, were not caught in the crossfire. How do we know? Because Jamal and the France 2 cameraman Talal Abu Rahma, the only one who filmed the al-Dura scene, swore that gunfire coming solely from the Israeli position was deliberately aimed at the unarmed civilians for 45 minutes until they “finally” killed the boy and critically wounded his father. The cameraman claims he filmed 27 minutes of the incident. But all he has is a one-minute 6-strip patchwork video, broadcast by state-owned France 2 TV with a dramatic voice-over by Jerusalem correspondent Charles Enderlin. The so-called news report is so crude and clumsy, it defies description. The enveloping narrative, which deserves equal or more attention than the slapdash video, is adequate proof that Talal Abu Rahma, Jamal al-Dura, and Charles Enderlin are not trustworthy.
The sensational child-killer accusation triggered a wave of atrocities in Israel and attacks on Jews worldwide. It stands as an abiding indictment against the Jewish state, no less poisonous than the Christ-killer charge of olden days. Once a pretext for genocidal hatred takes hold, it is almost impossible to release its grip. The al-Dura myth – forged in the space of a few seconds, on television, in the 21st century – was swallowed by a worldwide supposedly media-savvy population.
Now, thirteen years after the fraudulent news report was first broadcast, an Israeli government commission named by then Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon, under the direction of Yossi Kuperwasser, director general of the Strategic Affairs Ministry, has examined the evidence and presented its conclusions in a 36-page report.[ii] As reluctant Israeli officials had warned in the past, this gesture opened the floodgates, releasing tons of the very filth that has fed and sustained the al-Dura myth to this day.
The nadir of journalistic skullduggery is exposed in a secret Facebook group, the Vulture Club, which reportedly has some 3,500 members.[iii] Their vicious outhouse reactions to the Kuperwasser report are but one step removed from the published articles where they clean up the language and claim to be objective. Journalists in high and lesser places – Haaretz, le Monde, UK Telegraph, rue 89, to mention a few – and their commenting readers have outdone themselves in ferocity, while the sincerely uninformed opt for polite skepticism. The defining feature of these reactions is virulent ignorance. Not daring to examine the evidence, they grab at one or two details and, with no contradictor in sight, present them as absolute confirmation that France 2’s al-Dura report is authentic and its critics are extremists. I challenge them to a public debate. They will come on like rabid dogs and slunk off with their tails between their legs.
Working since September 2012, the commission examined evidence from a wide array of investigators, analysts, specialists, journalists, military personnel, and simple citizens before concluding in measured terms that the al-Dura “news report” is baseless. There is nothing to support the claim that the man and youth were “targets of gunfire from the Israeli position” and, in fact, nothing in the video to supports the claim that they were hit by any gunfire at all[iv]. Further, the report measures the disastrous effects of the al-Dura incitement to hatred. The authors remind journalists of the importance of respecting their own professional codes that include due diligence, fact checking, correcting errors, and accepting criticism.
The al-Dura scene is a video, not an incident.
Where in the free world would a journalist and TV channel drag people into court for expressing doubts on the veracity of a news report? And then insist that only “an impartial international commission” can settle the issue? What should strike the alert mind is not the fact that the Israeli government took thirteen years to weigh in, but that French media and officials have been stubbornly defending a hoax for over a decade.
Skeptics should be reminded that a French Appellate Court acquitted Philippe Karsenty of defamation in a lawsuit brought by France 2 and Charles Enderlin. Dispatch International has learned from a reliable source that the presiding judge in that case thought France 2 would clinch a decisive victory if the raw footage were made available. After viewing the evidence the three-judge panel was honest enough to conclude that the defendant had grounds for publicly questioning the authenticity of the “news report”.
The latest bounce back of the case was heard in January, 2013.[v] The verdict, initially promised for April 3, then postponed to May 22,, has now been set for June 26. What does this signify? Are the judges torn between the truth and the consequences (of condemning France 2 and Charles Enderlin)? Were the courts under pressure from the previous administration? From this administration? Either, both, or neither? Or has the al-Dura affair become une affaire d’Etat?
Mohamed Merah justified his execution of Jewish children in Toulouse as revenge for the killing of Palestinian children in Gaza. This is why the Israeli government decided that the al-Dura blood libel would not fade away; it must be countered. The instant blowback in all its smuggery will not have the last word. Intelligent voices are now coming forward to accredit the government report and the serious research on which it is based.
The bloody hands of the jihad killer in Woolwich are a logical extension of the bloody hands of the jihad killers in Ramallah who butchered two Israeli reservists in October 2000 – to avenge the “murder” of Mohamed al-Dura. In its evening newscast on May 22, when SkyNews was already showing Adebelajo’s hands dipped in blood, France 2 devoted 15 minutes of prime time “news” to a languid feature on 3 French converts to Islam, religion of peace, harmony, tranquility, spirituality, fulfillment. Three days later a bearded man came up behind a French soldier patrolling at La Défense in Paris, slit his throat, and got away, though two policemen were with the soldier. The killer missed the carotid artery. That soldier will survive.
And we too will survive – if we heed the voices of integrity, trust the clear-minded, and exercise due diligence.
[iv] See, for example, Appendix 3: “Statement by Lieutenant-Colonel (res.) Nizar Fares, commander of the IDF position at Netzarim Junction on September 30, 2000”