Friday, October 12, 2018

The al-Durah libel in retrospect

Richard Landes wrote on Tablet about one of the most notorious cases of anti-semitic, anti-Israeli blood libels ever concocted by a European "journalist", in this case being the French-Israeli news producer Charles Enderlin, who, as noted here, had already made up his mind where he stood:
At one point in our viewing, a very large man grabbed his leg and began to limp badly. Perhaps he had not faked his injury convincingly enough, perhaps his size discouraged anyone from picking him up. In any case, only children gathered around, whom he shooed away, and, after looking to see no one was coming, he walked away without a limp.

The Israeli France2 cameraman snorted.

“Why do you laugh?” I asked.

“It’s so obviously fake,” he responded.

“I know,” I said, turning to Enderlin, “this all seems fake.”

“Oh, they do that all the time. It’s a cultural thing” The senior correspondent replied.

“So why couldn’t they have faked it with al Durah?”

“They’re not good enough,” said Enderlin. “They can’t fool me.”

The other shoe had dropped. In earlier sessions with Nahum Shahaf, the first (“semi-official”) Israeli investigator of the al Durah affair, hired by IDF southern commander, Yom Tov Samia, I had seen over two hours of video from that day. This footage, shot by a Palestinian cameraman working for Reuters, had familiarized me with the Palestinian practice of staging scenes, whose basic sequence ran: Fake a dramatic injury, have people gather around you, pick you up (often brutally, without stretchers) and rush you to an ambulance, helpers eagerly grabbing the injured on the run, in order to get on camera. Those carrying the wounded, then throw him in the back of the ambulance, slam shut the doors, and the driver takes off, sirens blaring. That evening, you all go home and see how many times you made the news.

I already knew that Palestinians faked footage, but what I now understood was that the mainstream news media, whose first imperative was to filter out such blatant propaganda, had accepted it as a normal practice, and used the fakes to tell the “real” story. Professional standards for journalists in the West can make even staging B-roll problematic. But apparently, in the Middle East, Western journalists have few problems with staged A-roll as long as they can cut it into believable site-bytes of Israeli aggression and Palestinian victimhood. Veteran 60 Minutes correspondent Bob Simon would later describe Netzarim Junction as the focal point of the new Arab-Israeli war, one in which “more than 30 were killed and hundreds injured.” [...]

This episode in 2003 with Enderlin was the first time that I got the response of a Western journalist to the rather obvious fakery and it amounted to: “But they do it all the time.”

A few months later, when the same footage was viewed in Paris with three “independent” journalists from the French MSNM, they too remarked on the extensive staging and they got a similar response: “Yes Monsieur, but, you know, it’s always like that,” said Didier Eppelbaum, Enderlin’s boss. To which one of the journalists, maintaining his commitment to integrity (but not for long), responded indignantly, “You may know that, but the public doesn’t.” Indeed, while both Enderlin and his boss will admit, behind what they think are closed doors, to this highly unprofessional behavior done “all the time,” on record, they state precisely the opposite. “Talal abu Rahma, Enderlin assured Esther Schapira in 2007, “is a journalist like me; he’s a prima facie witness. He told me what happened. I’ve no reason not to believe him.” Three years later, in his self-justifying book, he elaborated: “Never failing in his professionalism, Talal is a most credible source, and has been employed by France2 since 1988.”
Well it's pretty apparent that not only is Enderlin a self-hater, but that he, and his ilk, practically planned and were in favor of this right from the start. And that they're still unrepentant, no thanks to the culture of selfishness they were raised under. Sooner or later, they'll be exposed as the monsters they are, and will have to apologize for their sins.

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