The following is a flier I prepared for Enderlin’s talk at Harvard on January 17, 2007m, while on tour promoting his book, The Lost Years, whose documentary is entitled The Bloody Years. For anyone in a place where Enderlin is about to speak, please feel free to use this material to inform those unfortunate people who are about to be subject to his misinformation.
Charles Enderlin’s Personal Contribution to The Bloody Years
On September 30, 2000, two days after Sharon visited the Temple Mount, and one day after rioting broke out in the West Bank and around Jerusalem, Charles Enderlin, relying on the word of his Palestinian cameraman, ran some shocking footage of a boy he claimed had been targeted and killed by the Israeli army. If this were true, it would be the first time in the history of TV, that a camera caught live the death –the murder! – of a child. This image had an enormous emotional impact around the world, and incited bondless violence among Palestinians. Palestinian leaders declared Muhammad al Durah a martyr and brainwashed a generation of children to want death by killing Israelis (including a music video of him in heaven saying, “follow me!”) All the first suicide bombers, who followed in a waxing wave of assaults on Israeli civilians, invoked al Durah. Eventually one Israeli observer noted you could predict levels of violence the following day by MDHD – Muhammad al Durah hours per day on TV. No single image has created more violent hatred in this enraged 21st century.
And yet, closer examination shows that Enderlin had no justification for relying on his cameraman’s story. Indeed none of the footage he filmed supports any of his claims, in particular the crucial and most terrible claim, that Israeli fire targeted and killed the boy. Enderlin, despite the impact of this accusation of murder, did not reconsider or clarify. For 7 years he has done his best to stonewall, conceal evidence, misrepresent and mislead the public, and, recently, to present tampered evidence to a French court. As you listen to his account of the Bloody Years, know that he made his own unique contribution to the very violence he now pretends to explain.
To regain his credibility, let Enderlin answer the following questions:
1) What evidence, other than Talal’s word, did you have for claiming in your broadcast where the bullets came from, much less that they “targeted” the boy and his father?
2) Why did you not publicize the fact that your cameraman lied under oath in claiming he took 27 minutes of the alleged “40-minute” shooting scene when you knew he only provided 60 seconds?
3) Why, given the evidence of Talal’s dishonesty – lying to Esther Schapira about having the bullets, lying under oath about filming 27 minutes, that the Israelis did it “in cold blood” – do you still defend him as a first rate, professional journalist?
4) Why did you say you cut scenes of the boy’s “death throes” when there are no such scenes?
5) Why did you cut the final scene (which came after you had declared him dead) of the boy lifting up his elbow and looking out?
6) Do you really think the Israeli position was opposite the al Durah’s, as shown in your own hand-drawn map (on the web), and not diagonally across the intersection?
7) Do you admit publicly, what you reportedly said in private, that Palestinians regularly stage scenes of injury?
8) Why did you cut 9 minutes of scenes from the footage before showing it to the court, including scenes of that day at that junction that were clearly staged?
9) Why, when you saw the hatred and violence this icon spurred, did you not do everything you could to clarify the report (and your errors) in order to help slow the violence bloody years?
To examine the evidence yourself, see the dossier at The Second Draft
Here is the one paragraph in The Lost Years on Muhammad al Durah: [errors in italic; previous and subsequent paragraphs have no relationship to this paragraph].
“Jewish organizations abroad began to intensify their press campaigns against press outlets deemed to be pro-Palestinian. In France, on numerous occasions, following the initiatives of the Jewish Defense League and Lawyers without Frontiers, a disinformation prize was given to several journalists, as well as to Agence France-Presse. During a protest in front of the headquarters of France 2 in Paris, this dubious honor originally called the Goebbels Prize was given to the author of a broadcast report relating the death of young Mohammed al-Dureh in the Gaza Strip city of Netzarim, at the start of the intifada on September 30, 2000. (I had asserted that the child had been the target of bullets coming from an [“the”] Israeli position.) In November 2000, Yom Tov Samia, the Israeli general commanding forces in the West Bank, had personally organized a reconstruction of the incident before concluding in his report that a ‘comprehensive investigation conducted in the last weeks casts serious doubts that the boy was hit by Israeli Defense Forces’ fire… It is quite plausible that the boy was hit by Palestinian bullets.’ Parisian demonstrators brandished signs saying ‘Enderlin Liar,’ demanding the broadcast of a German documentary that adopted General Samia’s conclusions. This marked the beginning of a long defamation campaign, pursued in France and the United States, namely through the intermediary of internet sites claiming that the child’s death had been staged in order to provoke the intifada. France 2 never received a complaint or a formal demand from the Israeli authorities on this matter.”
• No mention of the article in the June 2003 Atlantic Monthly by James Fallows, that also agreed with Yom Tov Samia’s findings.
• No mention of any of the substantive criticisms in Samia’s report to which Enderlin has never responded (direction of the bullets, angles of fire).
• No mention that although the German documentary was by France2’s sister station ARD, France2 refused to show the documentary in France.
• No mention of the intensive and extensive uses to which the Palestinian leadership put the Al Durah footage as part of a systematic campaign to inculcate hatred and provoke violence, that al Durah was the icon of the Intifada.
• Enderlin treats criticism as defamation, the core of his legal campaign of intimidation aimed at silencing rather than responding to criticism.
• No mention that, in claiming that he had more and worse footage of the boy’s death throes (which he did not), Enderlin effectively bluffed the Israelis into not making any formal demands, but rather dropping the issue.
With honesty and accuracy like this, what can you expect from the rest of the book?
Richard Prasquier, president of CRIF has called for a commission of inquiry about the Muhammad al Durah affair: ”these professionals should study the original tapes to have the best quality images to clarify what happened, something that has yet to occur. These images of the death of Muhammad al-Dura, as they were presented by Charles Enderlin, broadcast by other stations, rejected by CNN, are very serious. They have killed, because they created the vocation of terrorists. It is false to say, ‘Now the affair is history.’ The [images] of France2 are extremely troubling. I was deeply troubled.”