The Hits Keep Coming: Shurat HaDin and the Israeli GPO Go after Enderlin and France2

It couldn’t happen to nicer people. A legal organization dedicated to suing terrorists on behalf of their victims and victims’ families has formally requested the Israel’s Government Press Office revoke France2′s press credentials for its coverage of the Al Durah Affair. The head of the Press Office, Daniel Seaman has written a formal letter acknowledging their request and confirming that (in his official opinion) the footage was staged.

Seaman, whose personal experiences during the Intifada are described in Stephanie Gutmann’s The Other War (Chapter 10: His Own Private Jihad), has long been of the opinion that the footage was staged, as one can see here in an interview filmed during last year’s Herzliya conference on the Media as Theater of War by InfoLiveTV.

Seaman, Karsenty, Gissin
At the Herzliya Conference, from left to right, Daniel Seaman (Director, IGPO), Philippe Karsenty (Media Ratings), Raanan Gissin (former Spokesman for the Prime Minister).

The following is from an email circulated by Shurat HaDin for which I still find no link. The story has been picked up by many news services including AP and Ynet.

Israeli Government Officially Confirms Al-Dura Footage was Staged Blood Libel Against IDF

Shurat HaDin to Petition High Court to Strip France2 Press Credentials

In response to a warning letter sent by Shurat HaDin to the Israeli Government Press Office (GPO) more than 9 months ago, GPO Director Danny Seaman has written a formal acknowledgment that FRANCE 2 Television staged the infamous news footage depicting a Palestinian child being shot to death by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in September 2000.

This is the first time in the seven years since the footage broadcast that the Prime Minister’s Office has confirmed that a journalistic fraud had been perpetrated against the IDF by government owned FRANCE 2 television.

I’m not sure I’d call this a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office. Granted that the GPO operates out of the Prime Minister’s Office, but that doesn’t mean that this is an official statement from the Prime Minister’s Office.

Shurat HaDin had written Seaman contending that mounting evidence proved that cameramen and news editors from FRANCE 2 had deliberately staged and then misleadingly edited the footage aired by the French government television on in September 2000. The emotional footage, repeatedly broadcast around the world on CNN and other cable stations, ignited anti-Israeli violence in the Palestinian Authority and Israeli Arab communities and spurred international condemnation of the IDF.

The Palestinian youth Muhammad al-Dura, allegedly seen being killed in the video footage, became the poster child in the Arab world for the current intifada violence and fueled hundreds of terror attacks against Israeli citizens and Jewish communities worldwide. Thousands of Jews and Arabs have been killed in the ensuing violence following the broadcast.

The Shurat HaDin letter demanded that, in light of the fraudulent broadcast and the grievous harm that it unleashed against Israel as well as the massive numbers of victims attributable to the fake footage, Seaman must strip FRANCE 2 of its press credentials.

Although Seaman stopped short of agreeing to remove FRANCE 2′s accreditations his response letter to Shurat HaDin confirms that the Prime Minister’s Office firmly believes that the footage was deliberately staged to misrepresent that the IDF killed al-Dura when in fact a forensic investigation has concluded that Israel could not possibly have been responsible. As Seaman writes:

    Without any deep and serious investigation, the global media convicted the State of Israel in the murder of a little boy, and his image remained tattooed and engraved in the collective Arab memory as a symbol for the cruelty of the Zionist nation. These allegations started a long road that leaded to exposing the truth and basing the fact that Talal Abu Rahma, the network’s Palestinian cameraman, engaged in the systematic staging of action scenes . . . This libel incited the Arab world and caused many victims in and outside of Israel.”

Seaman’s letter then states that despite this confirmed journalistic libel the GPO will not seek to have FRANCE 2′s credentials revoked.

It is the intention now of Shurat HaDin to file a petition in the High Court of Justice against the GPO and FRANCE 2 compelling the government to remove FRANCE 2 credentials and prohibit them from manufacturing further anti-Israel propaganda pieces.

This is great. Since Enderlin and France2 operate by the rules of honor and shame culture, there’s nothing more appropriate than having them shamed by being the first (of hopefully a longer list of malefactors) who are denied privileges by the notoriously accommodating Israelis who, no matter how hostile and unethical the MSM is, still let them come in and do their damage. Note please, I am not arguing that Israel should play the same game as the Palestinians — denying access to anyone who won’t tell it their way — but that they play a professional version of the game: denying access to those who break the basic rules of professional journalism. And as Clément Weill Raynal reminds us, that’s a lot of people.

According to Shurat HaDin Director Nitsana Darshan-Leitner:

    This modern-day blood libel directly resulted in hundreds of Jewish and Arab deaths and ignited a still-flaming torch of international hatred, only for the sake of raising FRANCE 2′s ratings. This was perhaps the greatest journalistic hoax perpetrated in the last hundred years. We demand that those who are responsible for this crime will bare the consequences of their actions. The State of Israel cannot simply allow FRANCE 2 to remain in this country.

Moreover, activist Philippe Karsenty has led a long battle inside of Frcnce against FRANCE 2 seeking to determine whether the Al-Dura footage had been staged. Last week in an historic victory for Philippe Karsenty, a French Court hearing an appeal of his case centering on the Al-Dura allegations ordered that all of the raw video footage shot by the camera crew be released to determine if a deliberate news hoax had been perpetrated.

This gets better all the time. Once the dike springs leaks, the flood is not far behind.

3 Responses to The Hits Keep Coming: Shurat HaDin and the Israeli GPO Go after Enderlin and France2

  1. Michael B says:

    Heartening, reflecting an offensive posture and wise counsel both. Very heartening indeed and a bravo and bravissimo for the three gentlemen. Wise counsel, deftly played out; few things are better in this world.

  2. lgude says:

    Delighted for all who have not let this story die. I hope it is a turning point in public perception of news footage as necessarily factual. I am particularly interested in news footage being recognized as processed more for its dramatic effect rather than its ability to convey truth. Never mind out and out propaganda. Congratulations.

  3. fp says:

    I think there is too much focus on the process and not enough on the outcome.

    While it is certainly good to see all this happening, I fail to see how it can undo the damage from the myth, something which all seem to recognize.

    As to the future, does anybody doubt that such things will occur again, now that all the world seems to consider israel an inconvenience?

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