Mideast Journalism’s Public Secret and the News We Get:

This article is up at PJMedia

La version française, traduite par Menahem Macina, se trouve ici.
Al-Dura et le “secret d’intérêt public” du journalisme au Moyen-Orient

In the summer of 2006, Reuters News Agency, humiliated when bloggers caught them duped by obvious photographic manipulation, fired both the photographer and the chief of their photographic bureau. They then removed all the photographer’s photos from their news archive. In so doing, they acted decisively in punishing two of the cardinal sins of modern journalism: “creating evidence” and getting duped by created evidence.

These principles – i.e., the ethics of a free press – go so deep, that Westerners apparently have difficulty imagining that others might not share our commitments. Thus few people believe claims that footage of Muhammad al Durah, the twelve year old boy allegedly gunned down by Israelis at Netzarim Junction on September 30, 2000, was staged. Charles Enderlin, the correspondent for France2 who presented the tale to the world, derisively and successfully dismisses such claims as a conspiracy theory as ludicrous as those about 9-11. How absurd: Palestinian journalists would not do such a thing; and if they did, the Western media would catch it. To this day, most journalists still ask, “Who killed al Durah?” not, “Was he killed in the footage we see?”

take6
The last time we see al Durah on Talal’s camera:
He holds his hand over his eyes not his allegedly
deadly stomach wound. He lifts his up his arm and
looks around. Enderlin had already declared him
dead in an earlier scene, and (therefore?) cut this
scene from his broadcast.

And yet, one of the major differences between Western journalism and self-styled “Islamic media men” emerges on just this issue of the permissibility of staging the news and attitudes towards what constitutes honest information. According to the Islamic Mass Media Charter (Jakarta, 1980), the sacred task of Muslim media men [sic], is on the one hand to protect the Umma from “imminent dangers,” indeed to “censor all materials,” towards that end, and on the other, “To combat Zionism and its colonialist policy of creating settlements as well as its ruthless suppression of the Palestinian people.

So when asked why he had inserted unconnected footage of an Israeli soldier firing a rifle into the Al Durah sequence in order to make it look like the Israelis had killed the boy in cold blood, an official of PA TV responded:

These are forms of artistic expression, but all of this serves to convey the truth… We never forget our higher journalistic principles to which we are committed of relating the truth and nothing but the truth.

When Talal abu Rahmah received an award for his footage of Muhammad al Durah in Morocco in 2001, he told a reporter, “I went into journalism to carry on the fight for my people.”

These remarks serve as an important prelude to considering the France2 rushes that will be shown in court in Paris on November 14 in the Enderlin France2 vs. Philippe Karsenty defamation case. These tapes were filmed by Talal abu Rahmah on September 30, 2000, and for seven years, Enderlin has claimed that the tapes prove him right and show the boy in such unbearable death throes that he cut them out of his report. But several experts who have seen the tapes (this author included) claim that the only scene of al Durah that Enderlin cut was the final scene where he seems alive and well; and still more disturbingly the rest of the rushes are filled with staged scenes. Indeed there seems to be a kind of “public secret” at work on the Arab “street”: people fake injury, others evacuate them hurriedly (and without stretchers) past Palestinian cameramen like Talal, who use Western video equipment to record these improvised scenes. Pallywood: the Palestinian movie industry.

Which brings us to a problem more complex than the fairly straightforward observation that Palestinian journalists play by a different set of rules in which this kind of manipulation of the “truth” is entirely legitimate. What do Western journalists do with these products of propaganda? Do they know these are fakes or are they fooled? Do they tell the cameramen working for them and using their equipment that filming such staged scenes is unethical and unacceptable? And if they do, why do cameramen who have worked for them for years – Talal worked for Enderlin for over a decade when he took these rushes – continue to film these scenes. And how often do our journalists run this staged footage as real news?

Here the evidence provided by the Al Durah affair suggests that, in some sense, journalists are “in” on the public secret. When representatives of France2 were confronted with the pervasive evidence of staging in Talal’s footage, they both responded the same way. “Oh, they always do that, it’s a cultural thing,” said Enderlin to me in Jerusalem. “Yes Monsieur, but, you know, it’s always like that,” said Didier Eppelbaum to Denis Jeambar, Daniel Leconte, and Luc Rosenzweig in Paris.

As an echo of this astonishing private complacency, Clément Weill-Raynal of France3 made a comment to a journalist that he meant as a criticism of Karsenty:

Karsenty is so shocked that fake images were used and edited in Gaza, but this happens all the time everywhere on television and no TV journalist in the field or a film editor would be shocked.

The implications of this remark undermine its very use in his argument: How can Karsenty defame Enderlin by accusing him of using staged footage when, as Clément Weill-Raynal here admits, everybody does it? Is it wrong to do this? And if so, why does Weill-Raynal criticize Karsenty for blowing the whistle? And if not, where’s the defamation?

We may have stumbled here onto the very nature of public secrets and the value of a good reputation: everyone can cheat so long as no one is caught. It’s okay for the insiders to know, but the effectiveness of the (mis)information depends on the public not knowing. As Daniel Leconte reproached Eppelbaum: “the media may know [about this staging], but the public doesn’t.” Indeed, the public must not know. CNN advertises itself as “The Most Trusted Name in News,” not because it struggles against the influences, like access journalism, that destroy trustworthiness, but because it knows how important trust is to their audience public consumers of news. Thus, even if Western journalists use staged footage regularly, they cannot admit it. And, if denial doesn’t work, then, apparently, the next move is to say, “it’s nothing; everyone does it.”

An incident at Ramallah, however, suggests that Western journalists have systematically submitted to Palestinian demands that they practice Palestinian journalism. On October 12, 2000, to cries of “Revenge for the blood of Muhammad al Durah,” Palestinian men tore to pieces the bodies of two Israeli reservists. Aware of the potential damage, Palestinians attacked any journalist taking pictures. And yet, one Italian crew working for a private news station, at great risk to their lives, smuggled out the footage. Eager to avoid being blamed, the representative of Italy’s “official television station RAI,” wrote to the PA that his station would never do such a thing,

…because we always respect (will continue to respect) the journalistic procedures with the Palestinian Authority for (journalistic) work in Palestine…

Just what are these “journalistic procedures”? Do they resemble the rules of the Jakarta charter, including the censorship of anything damaging to the Palestinian cause (no matter how true), and publication of anything damaging to the Israeli cause (no matter how inauthentic)? The PA, apparently unaware that this is not how journalism should be done in the West, published the letter.

But on the side where modern journalism allegedly reigns, such revelations were profoundly embarrassing: even the normally timid Israeli government “temporarily suspended” the press card of Roberto Cristiano, and no one in the normally aggressive Western media objected. Cristiano had violated the basic rule of Western journalism’s omerta, and openly admitted shameful practices. The public consumer of Mainstream Media (MSM) “news” needs to ask, “How many journalists adhere to these Palestinian rules, and how much does that adherence distort, even invert, our understanding of what goes on in this interminable conflict? Can we afford this “public secret”?

Nor can we expect the MSM to discuss this willingly. On the contrary, awareness of the importance of trust often enough leads journalists to hide their mistakes rather than admit and learn from them. As a French friend put it to me: “No one admits publicly to mistakes in France. It’s a sign of weakness.” While these are the rules of honor-shame culture, civil society depends on having people prefer honesty to saving face, no matter how painful that may be. And while we cannot expect people to volunteer for public humiliation, we can and must insist that there are limits to both individual and corporate efforts to resist correction.

This is Charles Enderlin’s problem with the al Durah case. He has, with his eagerness to get the scoop, foisted upon an unsuspecting world, a nuclear bomb in the world of information warfare. As Bob Simon put it, to the background of a medley of Pallywood images: “In modern warfare, one picture is worth a thousand weapons.” And no image has done more to inspire the desire for violent revenge and global Jihad than this “icon of hatred.” To admit his mistakes, to release the public from this image’s thrall and alert us to the possibility that such colossal errors not only occur, but go years without correction, would destroy Enderlin’s career.

Moreover, Enderlin’s failure, at this point, seven years later, implicates the larger MSM who, with their refusal to even allow the critique to air, protect him. This dilemma may partly explain why the MSM in France has scarcely mentioned this case; why they had nothing to say about the initial trial until Karsenty lost, at which point they leapt into print to reassure the public that the image choc of the Intifada “was not staged.” Enderlin, after all, is not some Palestinian hack, even if he trusts and therefore regularly channels the work of such “journalists.” He is perhaps the best known and most widely trusted European correspondent in the Middle East. Surely, as a Jew and an Israeli, he would not report false stories that blackened his own country’s name. They must be true.

More ominously, just as Al Durah represents a “higher truth” for Muslims — a justification for hatred, a call to revenge — so does it carry symbolic freight with Europeans. Catherine Nay, a respected news anchor for Europe1, welcomed the image:

The Death of Muhammad cancels out, erases that of the Jewish child, his hands in the air from the SS in the Warsaw Ghetto.

al durah warsaw ghetto
From Ramsey Clark’s International Action website.

How ironic! The Europeans use an image produced by those who admire the Nazis and dream of genocidal victory over the Jews, to erase their own guilt over the Holocaust. In so doing, Europe has “atoned” for its sins against the Jews by empowering its Muslim extremists.

So not to admit such mistakes, destroys the very fabric of the civil society that allows a free press. In the long history of blood libels, no people have benefited from embracing the twisted hatreds they evoked.

At what point does self-protection become self-destruction, not only for the journalists who deny their errors no matter how costly, but for the public that believes them? As an Israeli journalist remarked: “Every day I have to walk the fine line between loyalty to my sources and loyalty to my audience.” How grievously have our journalists betrayed us, their audience, for the sake of finding favor in the eyes of their sources?

Palestinian journalists, in their own ethical declarations, argue that their role is to defend their cause and weaken its enemies. Journalism for them is war by other means; the media, a theater of war. Honesty and fairness do not intrude on this ethical prescription, but merely present a requirement for versimilitude designed to deceive susceptible Western audiences and incite Muslim rage.

In this clash of journalistic cultures, how often has the Western media played the “useful idiots” to Palestinian demands. How often have they presented Palestinian “truths” to us as “news”? And if they have done so as often and as destructively as Pallywood and its greatest success, the Al Durah Affair, suggests, how much longer will they persist?

33 Responses to Mideast Journalism’s Public Secret and the News We Get:

  1. Rob says:

    Great post, Richard. Over at PJ Media, I thought this comment by Lorenz Gude made an extremely important point:

    “What has happened here is that another culture has weaponized TV and that weapon has entered our own media along the vector of the public secret – the insatiable commercial appetite for dramatic footage. Thats the secret – news camera operators and their editors are a team that creates dramatically satisfying footage.”

    This of course is bigger than al-Durah, but al-Durah is a telling example of it.

  2. Join the Fight for an Honest Media

    Sorry I’ve been away. It’s been nearly three weeks since my father’s passing and I am beginning to rub

  3. Soccer Dad says:

    The symbol

    via memeorandum Richard Landes (Augean Stables) has an excellent essay on at Pajama’s Media Al Dura and the “public secret” Middle East Journalism. This week the judge handing the appeal of the Karsenty-France 2/Enderlin case will see the raw footag…

  4. fp says:

    rob,

    it is just another dimension of the infiltration of islamists into the west by using the west’s own weaknesses.

    fp
    http://fallofknowledgeandreason.blogspot.com/

  5. Eliyahu says:

    RL, as far back as the 1950s, certain Western politicians, etc., were using Arab suffering, real or imagined, at Israel’s hands in order to wipe away any feelings of guilt towards the Jews.

    This Arab suffering –real or imagined– is also used as a post-facto justification for the Holocaust.

  6. Michael B says:

    “In this clash of journalistic cultures, how often has the Western media played the “useful idiots” to Palestinian demands.”

    There are certainly varied and sundry degrees of the phenomenon, but one may as well ask about the number of grains of sand on the beaches and shores of the world. The phenomenon is endemic, it pervades and suffuses virtually every discussion and effort. It it were not so we would not have the situation we do at the U.N., much less the State Dept. and the Condi Rices of the world talking and acting and forwarding initiatives as they do, wherein dead-end processes are repeatedly confused with realistic goals, with common sense and with more genuinely and more realistically placed hopes. So, it transcends the MSM, obviously enough, but it suffuses that broad base of media, with decisive effect.

    If the world, at some tipping point level, were to ever wake up, there would follow the opportunity for a more realistically based peace, one conscious of the need, in terms of where and when and how, to exercise requisite force. That is not to suggest some simplistically conceived “might makes right” formulaic reduction and foundational ethos, there are other factors needing their due as well, much as there are different types and kinds of force (e.g., stemming immigration), but well proportioned applications of force, in the real world, have their place.

    All that is obvious enough, but bears some repetition and emphasis due to the surreal and ab-surd quality of the post-modern world and other worlds we inhabit and contest. That all this is more or less obvious, yet we, the world, continues to act as if shadows and pretense are the real thing, is what is striking. Clearly, from some significant quarters, there is a decisive lack of moral clarity and will.

  7. Rob says:

    RL, I fully support what you’ve been doing to expose this hoax. But given the MSM’s general attitude towards being found out getting it wrong, I worry about how this story will play in the media — should they chose to carry it.

    For example, will it read like this?

    ——————

    Anger, sadness greets ‘smear’ of Palestinian boy martyr

    Palestinians reacted yesterday with a mixture of sadness and anger at allegations in a French court that the death of Mohammed al-Durah, killed by IDF gunfire at Netzarim Junction in the Gaza Strip in 2000, had been ‘faked’

    The allegations, which have not been supported by the Israeli government, arose from a court process in France oritinating from ‘independent’ analyses of the seven-year old shooting by pro-Israeli activists in France and the US, some of whom have been described by veteran journalist James Hallows as fanatics.

    The dead boy’s father, Jamal, reacted bitterly to news of the allegations. ‘My son was a martyr slaughtered at their hands’, he said angrily, ‘and now they slander him in his death and dishonour his memory, and the memory of all the Palestinians children they have destroyed’.

    Veteran Ha’aretz journalist Gideon Levy – regarded as one of the finest and most fiercely independent of Israeli journalists – agreed, though more cautiously. ‘Undoubtedly the allegations are designed to deflect attention from the IDF’s appalling human rights record in the Occupied Territories,’ Mr Levy said, ‘especially its proven history of killing innocent children.”

    Mr Levy also questioned the timing of the allegations, just days before the crucial summit in Annapolis, where the hopes of moderate Israelis and Palestinians for a negotiated peaceful settlement will rely heavily on the goodwill of both sides. Mr Levy speculated that the sudden appearance of these allegations would derail the peace conference by destroying the atmosphere of trust. ‘Is this what Olmert wants?’, Mr Levy speculated. He declined to answer his own question when asked, but he is known to be profoundly distrustful of the Israeli Prime Minister’s motivations, character and truthfulness.

    Meanwhile, in Gaza, the site of the boy’s death, Hamas spokesmen were playing down the possibility of violence in response to charges that the death of an icon of the Intifada, and admired role model for thousands of Gazan children, was faked. Hamid Ismail said the mood in the Strip was sad rather than angry although, he added, “there remains the chance that some will be so outraged that it will be difficult to restrain them from shouting out loud in the streets”. But he was confident restraint would win out.

    The charges in the French court were sparked by claims that footage of the shooting shown by France2 showed it was staged. No one, including the veteran journalist and cameraman who broadcast the story, has ever admitted any wrong-doing and have never been charged by any court. The case before the French court was an appeal by one of the activists, Karsenty, against his conviction in a lower court on a count of libelling France2 and its Jerusalem editor, Charles Enderlin.

    —————-

    You see what I mean?

  8. Rob says:

    Add to the last line: ‘…who is himself both Jewish and an Israeli citizen’.

  9. [...] Richard Landes of Augean Stables has waged an almost solitary battle in the English-speaking world to demonstrate that the boy’s ‘killing’, which inflamed the Intifada with irrevocable force and led to the deaths of thousands on both sides, was faked.  His latest, indispensable summary is here. [...]

  10. Diane says:

    How ironic! The Europeans use an image produced by those who admire the Nazis and dream of genocidal victory over the Jews, to erase their own guilt over the Holocaust. In so doing, Europe has “atoned” for its sins against the Jews by empowering its Muslim extremists.

    I can’t understand this logic. How does Israeli treatment of Arabs in Africa (for good or ill) absolve European Christians of anything they did to European Jews more than 60 years ago? These two events – the Holocaust and the Occupation – have no relationship unless we infer the unstated European argument to be: “See, we Europeans were right to try to exterminate the Jews in WWII. They really are monsters. Let’s help the Arabs wipe them out.”

    But for Europeans to think that means they have to endorse racism and genocide – precisely what they have been at great pains to prove they have renounced over the last 60 years!

    Does this not strike everyone as the most foolish of contradictions?

  11. Eliyahu says:

    Rob,
    kudos on your news report of the future.

    by the way, HaArets editor David Landau admitted that his paper has deliberately suppressed news of pm ehud olmert’s corruption. So HaArets is like the NYtimes in that it only gives the news [real or invented] that fits.

  12. Joanne says:

    “How does Israeli treatment of Arabs in Africa…”

    In Africa? Now I’M confused. Africa?

    In any case, Diane, the logic is pretty clear, and it’s not about saying that genocide against the Jews was ok. Of course, left-wing Europeans aren’t saying that Hitler was right!

    What they’re saying is that, since the Jews are doing sort of “the same thing” now, they no longer have the high moral ground. So these Europeans don’t have to feel morally inferior to the Jews, and that alleviates their own sense of guilt over WW2 somewhat. I do agree with you that, even if the Jews were guilty now, that wouldn’t really lessen Europe’s guilt from WW2 even one little bit.

    What I’m curious about is how guilty Israel really is. Even a staunchly pro-Israel friend said that there have indeed been cases of Israeli soldiers shooting at and killing children, although he said that it wasn’t the norm. I really have no idea now how violent Israeli soldiers are. I only hear two very different diametrically opposed versions.

    As to the charge that the Al Dura case is being used as a distraction from a genuinely bad Israeli record: It was inevitable that this charge would be made sooner or later. I’m surprised I’m only hearing of it just now.

    But the charge would be wrong if two conditions occur:
    1) If so many of the incidents were faked by Pallywood that a whole reconsideration of the Arab version of the history of the occupation would be justified.

    2) If, though there might have been some cases of children being killed on purpose, these were isolated incidents that are not representative of the general pattern of Israeli behavior.

    Quite frankly, even if these two conditions are not fulfilled, one is still right to correct the Al Dura case. Whether it’s being used as a “distraction” or not, no one is justified in leaving this lie uncorrected.

  13. fp says:

    the western public would not have been in its current torpor had not the educational system collapsed. the purpose of that system was not to train for jobs but intellectual development, to instill not only knowledge and ability to reason and to think independently and critically, but also appreciation of those two. it would have produced a different MSM, if not elite, and public. without it, there is nothing to cause “awakening”.

    the “logic” that diane does not understand is psychologically clear, but it is not logic per se, it is rationalization of absolving oneself of guilt and responsibility, and in many cases anti-semitism.

  14. fp says:

    Major Papers Ignore Zahar Threat
    http://blog.camera.org/archives/2007/11/major_papers_ignore_zahar_thre.html

    Consider the implications: Suppose something is signed at Anaapolis involving big Israeli concessions and a pal state on the west bank. and suppose hamas crushes fatah after that is declared (there has been evidence recently that neither israel nor fatah know and understand the scope of hamas strength, facilities and support on the west bank). i would bet that much of the militias of fatah will fall in with hamas — given the arab culture of the strongman and the insignificant different between the 2 factions’ goal.

    and THAT is exactly what the US policy elite and MSM does not consider and cover.

  15. Diane says:

    Joanne,

    Thanks for your thoughtful response. You make excellent points (I’m embarrassed by my continental slide … it was late at night.)

    I think your point No. 1 is dead-on. This is what Richard Landes et. al. are systematically documenting now. The portfolio is growing, but unfortunately he has few allies in the MSM. It would be powerful stuff if ME reporters of established neutrality were to sign a petition saying that they have personally witnessed Pallywood staging on a routine basis. But that would require the admission of unprofessional behavior. I’m really curious what the reaction to the Karsenty screening will be. I’ve seen the available “rushes” on Second Draft and have to admit that upon first viewing them, I didn’t really understand what was so shocking. It was only after I had read RL’s explanations that I understood. Will the French judge miss what I missed on the first viewing? And even if he does, won’t the MSM feel obliged to hash it all out with repeated screenings accompanied by frame-by-frame microanalysis? This could be a watershed moment for the media. Or it could be a huge let down.

    Re: the claim that Israelis deliberately targetting Palestinian children for death, I would be interested in the sources for this. I know of none. The only examples I can think of, going back to the first Intifadah, involved children who placed themselves (martyrlike) in front of armed fighters during IDF operations (a la Rachel Corrie.) This is a far cry from premeditated killings of children by IDF.

  16. [...] 12th, 2007 · No Comments Richard Landes has the scoop when it comes to Pallywood and Muslim media manipulation. Western media organizations depend on [...]

  17. Richard Landes says:

    having the MSM admit that there’s staging afoot in the ME would be an extremely useful devt. but as enderlin says in his comment to the BBC, that would be considered giving into harassment from zionists. that we shd have come to such a pass is itself remarkable and lamentable. as a student of mine said when she saw the al durah material: “it sure looks like it was staged, but i feel like if i agree with you, then i’ll be taking sides, and i don’t want to do that.” soooo… if the MSM were to do their job, they’d be pro-israel. alas. that leaves us with “leveling the playing field.”

    which brings us to an even more troublesome issue: have israeli soldiers deliberately shot kids? my sense of the israeli army and its training is that if there’s any army in the world that does not do this, it’s the israeli army. but then, what of all these accusations (often taken up by the MSM — e.g., Christopher Hedges)? my sense is that if we examine the accusations, we’ll find that many are like al durah or gaza beach (i.e., either staged or the fault of palestinian violence successfully blamed on the israelis). are there no case? i’d have to see the dossier and examine it carefully — what was going on (i.e., were there men firing from behind them as in the al durah case). it’s worth noting that the vast majority of such accusations come after the al durah affair, when all you had to do is claim it and the media ran it.

    i’m working on my talk for this sunday on al durah as blood libel, and reading the history of the phenomenon. there are thousands of them, and even scholars assume that some of them must be true (where there’s smoke there’s fire), including James Frazier of Golden Bough fame. i’m not suggesting that targeting a kid (including late teenagers) is as unthinkable as a blood libel, but the words of Ehad Ha-am in 1892 lamenting the broadly accepted attitude towards blood libels: “can the whole world be wrong and the jews be right?” has returned in the 21st century with Kofi Annan saying after Jenin: “can the whole world be wrong and the israelis right?”

    we are in a condition of radical epistemological insecurity. we cannot know if the info we get from the MSM is accurate (a fortiori, from the internet), and so people can pretty much believe what they want, with “even handed moderates” splitting the difference btw israeli and palestinian sources. and with jewish hyper-self criticism thrown in (e.g., the work of b’tselem, which has pathetically weak procedures for checking the reliability of a report — ask more witnesses, leading to “leftist” israelis saying “there’s no doubt we kill children”), how’s anyone to know what’s really going on?

  18. Joanne says:

    Diane, thanks. And, yes, I didn’t think of the possibility of kids putting themselves in the way of bullets. Now that you mention it, I do vaguely remember hearing about that, and those instances would surely be reported by the Palestinians as purposeful shootings.

    As for the videos not being obvious without explanation, I agree with you. That was my impression, too. There were moments, of course, for instance when Al Dura looked up, when “corpses” fell off berths and got back on again, and when a guy lying by the road casually used his cell phone. But the action is so confusing, the images sometimes so blurred, that you need explanations a lot of the time.

    I am annoyed that France2 just decided to show only 18 minutes of the tape. How can they do that? How can they ignore a court order like that? This is prime arrogance.

    As for RL’s student, that’s a depressing anecdote but not surprising. The obvious response would be to say that taking sides in this one instance does not mean changing one’s overall political stance. How can people be so simpleminded as to think that they cannot say “ok, you’re right in this particular case”? Being truly neutral doesn’t mean ignoring evidence, it just means not having prejudices one way or the other. A neutral mindset would ideally be equally ready to admit damning evidence from both sides, with no prior agenda, but to believe such evidence only when it’s truly convincing. A “neutral” behaving like RL’s student is really being as intellectually dishonest as the worst partisan.

    I think that knocking down preconceived notions about Israel and Palestine will take as least as long as it took to build them up in the first place. It took about 10 to 20 years to change the views of the public in Europe and in America (the latter to some extent). It took 10-20 years of viewing Israeli soldiers fighting and beating Palestinian civilians on television (whether staged or not), 10-20 years of viewing events like the invasion of Lebanon and the first Intifada, to solidify an anti-Israeli consensus around the world. And that was with the help of myriad articles and books being published, myriad films and documentaries being shown, and many college courses and speeches being given.

    Over the years, it wore down a lot of people’s instinctive sympathy for Israel. It would be nice to start turning that around now. But the problem is that one Al Dura won’t do it. You would need 1,000 Al Duras over the years to build up a mountain of evidence, to build up a general perception that staging is the Palestinian norm, and that the world’s views of the occupation require a reappraisal.

    Moreover, pro-Israel activists won’t have the same advantages as the pro-Palestinians. It’s hard to generate post-hoc investigations, especially when they would require the cooperation(!)of the enemy. Such investigations would also take time, with results coming out in dribs and drabs that are easily ignored. And investigations aren’t as telegenic as violent incidents happening in front of a camera lens.

    This is going to be an uphill battle.

    I know I’ve used this metaphor before, but I’ll use it again. I hope this really is a case of Heracles cleaning the Augean stables…and not one of Sisyphus rolling that rock up a hill.

    It will probably seem like Sisyphus at first, as many people will refuse to believe the evidence put before them, or will refuse to believe that cases like Al Dura are more than just anomalies. I hope that–like the major shift in world perception towards the Palestinians–the perception will gradually shift back as the world is exposed to more and more exposures of fakery on the part of the Palestinians.

    RL, you have your work cut out for you. I just hope that many others will take up the cause.

  19. fp says:

    one of the most striking aspects of the bankruptcy of the west which consistently appears in behavior about these events is that whatever comes from jewish/israeli sources is automatically dismissed as untrue, while whatever comes from arab/pal sources is automatically true. given that in main, the latter forces are pure propaganda and the former are not, what you get is a public opinion that is 180 degrees from reality.

    this is a direct consequence of the collapse of education and, therefore, the total lack of inability to reason independently and critically. if you take the position that there is inherent bias in how events are presented, then consistency requires at the very least to apply this to both sides. that it’s done only for one side is an indicator among many others that the west has lost the qualities that progressed it and it is now decaying.

  20. [...] imagine, France2’s lawyers saying to Enderlin, “is there any truth to the charges that you put up staged footage, and Enderlin responding, “absolutely [...]

  21. [...] of Palestinian protesters” are on record systematically staging scenes – it’s a public secret that only a fool or a knave would insist on not seeing. The Shifa hospital doctors presented [...]

  22. [...] – one might wonder why Western audiences know so little about it. It’s more than just the powerful intimidation that pervades journalism in the Palestinian territories, so visible in the Ramallah lynch [...]

  23. [...] that it doesn’t exist and my complaint is really just paranoia. It’s not enough to point to the degree of intimidation that pervades journalism in the Palestinian territories (and other places where state terrorists dominate the scene), an [...]

  24. [...] who revealed the existence of this “wall” – itself a classic example of a “public secret” – was immediately accused of doing it towards “political ends.” When I was [...]

  25. […] reporters respect. After all, would they all misinform us? Or is their intimidation and cowardice a public secret they won’t […]

  26. […] respect. After all, would they all misinform us? Or is their intimidation and cowardice a public secret they won’t […]

  27. […] reporters respect. After all, would they all misinform us? Or is their intimidation and cowardice a public secret they won’t […]

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