Monthly Archives: May 2008

Jerusalem Post Editorial: Lessons of Al Durah Scandal

May 29, 2008 17:59 | Updated May 30, 2008 2:47
Myth & Muhammad al-Dura

Last week, a surprising decision handed down by the French Court of Appeals shed rare light on how both news and myths are made in this part of the world.

On September 30, 2000, two days after prime minister Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount, a 12-year-old Palestinian boy, Muhammad al-Dura, was filmed cowering with his father, Jalal, at the Gaza Strip’s Netzarim junction during an apparent gun battle between Palestinians and IDF troops.

The video, taken by Palestinian cameraman and France 2 stringer Talal Abu Rahma, shows al-Dura hiding, and then cuts to footage of him lying, apparently dead, in the arms of his distraught father. Although he was not in Gaza that day, France 2’s correspondent Charles Enderlin (a French Jew who became an Israeli citizen some 20 years ago) added a voice-over narration, ascribing the boy’s death to “gunfire from the direction of the Israeli positions,” and released his report to the world.

Actually it was worse: Enderlin claimed that the father and son were “the target of gunfire coming from the Israeli position.” This is the core of the blood-libel (intentional killing “in cold blood”). Talal made these claims under oath, the PA doctored the footage to make them stick, and then defended their work as a “higher truth.”

The effect of the image of wounded father and murdered son, a kind of modern pieta taken as a potent symbol of Israeli brutality, was electrifying. Al-Dura’s death, a cause celebre of the second intifada, provoked worldwide outrage. Streets, public squares, and schools in Muslim cities bore his name. He was featured on a Tunisian stamp, a poem by Mahmoud Darwish, and an al-Qaida recruitment video. “In killing this boy the Israelis killed every child in the world,” Osama bin Laden said. In June 2005, Wafa Samir al-Bis, an aspiring 21-year-old “martyr,” after being apprehended by Israeli guards at the Erez checkpoint in Gaza with 20 pounds of explosives in her underwear, said that she intended to carry out a suicide attack to retaliate for al-Dura’s death.

And that was the tail end of the vengeance attacks. All the earliest ones in 2001 invoked Al Durah.

BUT THE video report – 55 seconds of footage out of some 18 minutes that were shown in court – also aroused doubts. It does not show the boy being killed. No bullets are seen hitting the alleged victims. No blood is visible on their clothes, on the wall, or on the ground. It never shows Israeli soldiers aiming at the al-Duras. More than a dozen cameramen filmed the junction that day. Reuters, AP, and France-2 outtakes show apparently staged scenes and faked ambulance runs.

The IDF, which initially apologized for the death of al-Dura, concluded that the boy could not have been hit by Israeli bullets. Citing the findings of the army’s probe into the incident, ordered by then-OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Yom Tov Samia, the deputy commander of the IDF Spokesman’s Office, Col. Shlomi Am-Shalom wrote, “we can rule out with the greatest certainty the possibility that the gunfire that apparently harmed the boy and his father was fired by IDF soldiers.”

France 2 stuck to its story. On October 3, 2000, testifying under oath before the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Talal Abu Rahmeh alleged that Israeli soldiers had intentionally murdered the boy. The station also initiated libel suits against several writers and Web sites who challenged the veracity of its story.

One of the defendants was Philippe Karsenty, director of the Media-Ratings watchdog site, who had called the report “a hoax.” France 2 won three out of four judgments, including against Karsenty, who was convicted of libel in 2006. Last week, to bring matters around full circle, the appellate court overturned that decision.

THE RECENT verdict, besides usefully underscoring the right to criticize the press and its sometimes dangerously hasty product, also calls much-needed attention to the ways in which world opinion is shaped by perceptions that are themselves shaped by a not infallible media. The al-Dura affair, like the myth of a massacre in Jenin in April 2002, has been so fervently seized by those who seek confirmation for their belief in Israeli culpability, that it is likely never to be erased from international consciousness. It by now stands well beyond the reach of refutation.

Even among alleged Zionists like Larry Derfner who seem immutably attached to the myth of Israeli culpability.

That fact ought to give pause to Israeli officials, like Israeli ambassador to Paris Danny Sheck, who criticized Karsenty for so doggedly pursuing the matter. As for the rest of us, the sordid affair teaches a valuable lesson about the dangerous enthusiasms, especially in Muslim societies, and especially among those who claim to speak for an awakened conscience, for modern myths of Jewish evil.

Thank you, Jerusalem Post, the best MSM publication during this long, painful affair… which is not yet over. Indeed, if we want to understand what really went on, the tale is just beginning.

Evidence that Democratic Values can Trump Honor-Shame: Arabs react to Olmert’s Woes

Khaled abu Toameh, perhaps the single best Arab journalist working today, has a fascinating piece on the Arab reaction to Olmert’s difficulties as a result of a corruption scandal which, they admit, would not even register in their societies. Despite their “hatred” of the “Zionist entity” they find themselves filled with admiration for a system that really works. It’s a remarkable piece of evidence that, even in cultures replete with honor-shame dynamics, there’s a secret admiration for the workings of the “rule of law.” (Hat tip: Noah Pollack)

May 30, 2008 0:04 | Updated May 30, 2008 8:58
‘No one is above the law in Israel’

The corruption case against Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has earned Israel tremendous respect throughout the Arab world, where many have called on their leaders to benefit from Israel’s democratic system and independent judicial system.

‘It’s ridiculous for politicians to receive cash from US donors’
Words of praise for Israel are a rare phenomenon in the Arab media. But judging from the reactions of many Arabs to the corruption case in the past week, the trend appears to have changed.

Even some Arabs who describe themselves as “sworn enemies of the Zionist entity” have begun singing praise for Israel.

Over the past week, the corruption case against Olmert received wide coverage in the mainstream Arab media, prompting an outcry about the need for transparency and accountability in the Arab world.

“Show me one Arab or Islamic country where a prime minister or a senior government official was ever questioned for financial corruption or bribery,” said a reader who identified himself only as Majed.

Majed, like many others, was responding to a news story on an Arab Web site about the testimony in court of American philanthropist Morris Talansky, who told police he had given Olmert more than $150,000 in cash over the course of some 14 years.

Another reader, Sami, commented: “The Israeli regime with all its defects is better than all the Arab ‘democracies’ and still changes ministers and governments every few years.”

A Saudi national named Abdel Karim urged his Arab brethren to stop criticizing Israel and learn something about its democracy. “Before we curse Israel, we must learn from the democratic and judicial system in Israel, where no one is above the law,” he wrote.

Khaled, another Saudi national, chimed in: “Although we are talking about Israel, which I have always hated very much, there is still no one above the law there.”

Mahmoud al-Bakili of Yemen posted the following response on one of the Web sites: “We want this kind of accountability and transparency in the Arab and Islamic world.”

And there was this comment from an Arab who described himself as a Syrian Voice: “Despite my strong hatred for the Zionist regime, I have a lot of admiration and respect for this entity because there is no one above the law. In the Arab world, laws are broken every day and no one seems to care.”

Egyptian writer Abdel Aziz Mahmoud said he doesn’t believe the day will ever come when an Arab leader will be put on trial for sexual harassment or financial corruption.

“I don’t think we will live to see the day when the police interrogate an Arab leader for sexually harassing his secretary or receiving bribes,” he wrote. “Nor will our children and grandchildren live to see that day. What happened in Israel can never happen in any Arab country.”

Some Arabs went as far as condemning the Arab people for failing to rise against their corrupt dictators.

“There is corruption in Israel and the Arab world,” wrote Abu Hadi from Iraq. “But the difference is that the Israelis hold their leaders accountable, while we the Arabs remain silent about corruption.”

Jamal, who described himself as the Madman, wrote that “the reason why Israel has lasted for so long is because of its independent and fair judicial system. I challenge the Arabs to have such an independent judicial system.”

Many of the readers found it quite ironic that Olmert was being questioned because of “only” tens of thousands of dollars he allegedly received from Talansky.

“They say he received something like $3,000 a year,” said Abu Atab from Morocco inaccurately. “This shows that Olmert is a decent man. This is a small sum that any Arab government official would receive on a daily basis as a bribe. Our leaders steal millions of dollars and no one dares to hold them accountable.”

Touching on the same issue, a reader from Algeria posted this comment: “In the Arab world, our leaders don’t accept less than $1 million in bribes; the money must be deposited in secret bank accounts in Switzerland. Olmert is a fool if he took only a small sum.”

Another comment, this time from Ahmed in Jordan, also referred to the alleged amount: “Only a few thousand dollars? What a fool! This is what an Egyptian minister gets in a day or what a Saudi CEO gets in 45 minutes, or a Kuwaiti government official in five minutes. This is what the physician of the emir of Qatar gets every 30 seconds.”

One Arab commentator who identified himself as Jasser Abdel Hamid advised Olmert to seek citizenship of one of the Arab countries. “Why don’t you seek Arab citizenship?” he asked sarcastically. “There you can take as much money as you want. Even if they discover the theft, they will erect a statue for you in a public square.”

The following are more comments that appeared in recent days in the Arab media:

Mohammed in Lebanon: “Can you imagine if there was an investigation against an Arab or Muslim leader? Do you know how much money they would discover?”

Abu Yusef in Egypt: “Unfortunately, this is the real democracy. Our enemies are very good in practicing democracy. In the Arab world, our leaders steal everything and no one ever dares to ask a question.”

Rashid in Saudi Arabia: “Despite all our problems with the Jews, they are much better than us in fighting corruption and revealing the truth.”

Israel Lover in Saudi Arabia: “Israel is a state that deserves to exist. It deserves our profound respect. I wish I were a citizen of this state.”

Hani in Ramallah: “This is democracy at its best! Enough of dictatorship in the Arab world! Let’s learn from the Israeli example. Let’s benefit from Israel’s democracy.”

Rashid Bohairi in Kuwait: “I swear Israel is a state that will succeed. They are prosecuting their prime minister because of tens of thousands of dollars. What about the millions of dollars that Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority stole? How come the Palestinian people are still hungry?”

MOS meets Al Durah Forgery: Larry Derfner Weighs In

Larry Derfner has an op-ed at the Jerusalem Post on the Al Durah Affair which lays out in a quite striking fashion the aggressive aspect of the mentality of the Masochistic Omnipotence crowd (MOS) crowd. In the Dreyfus Affair the term “intellectual” was coined to describe someone who was capable of looking at the empirical evidence and changing his or her mind. Derfner’s rant suggests that the term could not, by the remotest stretch of the imagination, be applied to him. On the contrary, one has to wonder what could drive him to such heights of irrationality as to assault people who call into question so base a story as that of al Durah.

I have already discussed some of Larry Derfner’s writings, whose liberal cognitive egocentrism stands out even in a crowd of his friends, so I guess this piece didn’t come as a complete surprise to me. But I must confess, the vehemence and adolescent quality of the rhetoric and the lack of any substance in the argument (the best he gets is quoting Fallows which is now five years old), did surprise me.

But sometimes surprises are good because they make you think about things in new ways. I have long meditated on the peculiar attachment of the Israeli left to the al Durah story, and now, Larry Derfner’s rant sheds new light on a puzzling phenomenon.

Rattling the Cage: Al-Dura and the conspiracy freaks

Larry Derfner , THE JERUSALEM POST May. 28, 2008

No doubt about it – Phillippe Karsenty and his allies have a lot of evidence that the killing of Mohammed al-Dura was a hoax, that it was staged by France 2 TV in cahoots with the Palestinians.

In fact, Karsenty, Richard Landes and the rest of the conspiracy theorists have so much evidence that it may even add up to .001% of the evidence that the Mafia, or Castro, or the Pentagon killed JFK. They may have the merest, slightest fraction of the evidence there is that Shimon Peres masterminded the Rabin assassination, or that the Mossad was behind 9/11.

I assume this was written without looking at any of the evidence. Surely anyone who has, could not use such ludicrously exaggerated language… unless, of course, the evidence didn’t matter. But just for the sake of a decency Derfner apparently doesn’t feel he owes those who disagree with him on this, let us ask how him how he explains why there’s no blood where the boy bled to death from a gaping stomach wound for twenty minutes, no bullets supplied by the Palestinians from 11 wounds and what should have been thousands of bullets fired during forty minutes of “bullets like rain,” no evidence supporting any of Talal’s claims, no ambulance evacuation scene of the father and son despite the presence of over a dozen cameramen who were there at the junction and who value such scenes so much that they film cheap fakes…?

If he has satisfactory answers, fine: let’s hear his explanations. If he’s unaware of these problems, then why is he shooting his pen off in ignornance? Does he just assume that anyone who would disagree with him on such matters must be an idiot? What does that tell us about Larry Derfner?

In other words, it’s a bunch of crap, all these theories that say journalist Charles Enderlin, his Palestinian cameraman, al-Dura’s father, a hospital in Gaza, a hospital in Amman, the Jordanian ambassador to Israel, the UN, the Palestinian people and/or any number of other anti-Semites conspired to stage the killing of that 11-year-old boy.

A good friend, upon reading this article, said almost immediately, “he’s a friend of Charles.” I didn’t want to reduce this tirade (as crude and childish as it is), to such venal behavior, but this is literally taken from the proceedings at the court, which Mr. Derfner did not attend, so I suspect he’s picking this up from somewhere, and the “friends of Charles” is not a bad place to start sniffing around. All that he’s missing in his list of conspirators mentioned in court is King Abdullah.

Round Three: France2 Appeals to the Cour de Cassation

I just received news from Philippe Karsenty that France2 has taken the case to the highest court of appeals. The implications of this decision are manifold. Accepting comments.

Court Decision: I Would not Like to be Charles Enderlin

Here is a rough and rapid translation of the court’s decision (available in PDF in the original French: here.

Generally speaking, I think this is a devastating decision. The judges go out of their way to criticize everyone involved on the side of France2 (including some backhanded swipes at the lower court), but especially to point out the pervasive “incohérences” not only in Enderlin’s initial broadcast, but his subsequent explanations and actions. In particular, after emphasizing the sharpness of both Karsenty’s language and his accusations — which indeed are defamatory and strike at Enderlin’s and France2’s honor and reputation — the judges assert that, given the evidence he had every right to make these statements, in particular given the importance of the case, the damage it did worldwide, and the fact that Enderlin, as a professional of information with a high public profile has to expect to be subjected to this kind of criticism from co-citizens and colleagues.

Enderlin’s initial response to the court’s decision is an illustration of how he presents reality in a partial way. The analogies between this and the case of Oscar Wilde a century ago are haunting, including, I can imagine, France2’s lawyers saying to Enderlin, “is there any truth to the charges that you put up staged footage, and Enderlin responding, “absolutely not.”

I will make any appropriate corrections to the text that people send in, as well as add my own (and others’) comments in the coming days.

For those who have struggled for years with this case, given the cold shoulder by the MSM, and discouraged by Israel advocates both in Israel and outside, who experienced the stunning let-down of the first decision, this comes as something of a spectacular vindication of our intuition that the emperor was indeed naked. I must confess personally that to see a legal decision that is so “right on”, that so ringingly defends the principles of justice, critical analysis, and the freedom to rebuke public figures, is balm to a troubled soul.

Maybe Europe is not lost. At the moment, French justice just lit a beacon to show the way. Will the public notice?

Considering that from all these claims that Philippe KARSENTY, director of the “agence de notation” MEDIA-RATINGS, which he himself created to evaluate the trustworthiness of information disseminated in the news media, questions the work of FRANCE 2 and its Jerusalem correspondent, with the help of the methodological criteria for analyzing the media that he established;

That in his article dated 22 November, 2004, Philippe KARSENTY characterizes the reporting of Charles Enderlin as a disgraceful masquerade for public television and a deception that lay at the source of much violence the world over, and invoking the language of the polemic that he sustained for several years between FRANCE2 and the Israeli press agency MENA (“Metula News Agency”), which has accused the French station of broadcasting a fake;

That in terms of the elements which he had at his disposal, the accused affirms that the Paris correspondent in Jerusalem [Enderlin] gave a false report, which he takes apart in focusing on two different issues: on the one hand, the first fifty minutes of the report which consisted in a series of staged scenes that are pure fiction, on the other, the principal scene, of only a few minutes in length, which has major inconsistencies (incohérences) in terms of the commentary of FRANCE2;

That he questions as a result why Charles ENDERLIN who, in this matter, “fools himself and, as a result, fools us,” seeks to “conceal his imposture”;

That the accused author, in his letter of 26 November 2004, imputes to Charles ENDERLIN the act of disseminating a fake news report, by narrating the inconsistent document (i.e., footage of his cameraman, and imputes to the public television station the act of committing a media imposture in diffusing this report on the 30 of September 2000;

Considering the defamatory character of these accusations, which the tribunal (i.e. the first court) justifiably considered that the deed of knowingly fooling and disseminating and/or causing to disseminate a false report containing images that do not reflect reality, in representing a “false death”, even if the author took care to accompany his accusation with a certain number of explanations, unquestionably such an accusation strikes at the honor and reputation of information professionals, and that all the more when the defamatory deed is accentuated by the use of terms like “masquerade,” “imposture,” “deception,” to qualify the attitude of FRANCE2 and “staged scenes,” “pure fiction” to qualify the initial reporting;

Considering, that the accused gave fourteen pieces of evidence as proof of the truth of these defamatory claims, and requested the hearing of 3 witnesses capable, according to him, of proving that FRANCE2 put on the screen a dubious montage, widely contested at the time of its first broadcast, which permitted him to conclude that a manipulation of the report on these conditions of filming and on the reality of the scenes filmed by his cameraman, in particular concerning the death of Mohamed AL DURA;

But considering that, as the first judges recalled, to produce a exculpating effect provided for by article 35 of the law of 29 July 1881, the proof of the truth of the defamatory claims must be perfect, complete, and corresponding to the defamatory accusations in their materiality and their weight;

Phyllis Chesler’s Blog Goes back to Pallywood’s Origins: Lebanon 1982

Phyllis Chesler has posted a note from a colleague in Israel with some eyewitness recollections of media staging news in Lebanon in 1982, which is when we have dated the origins of Pallywood.

Hi Phyllis :

In the first Lebanon War, just before I left for that feminist conference in Montreal, we saw two news reports on Israel TV. In one, the Israel news team followed a French film crew. The French media put several young children in a burnt out car and lit a fire on the far side of the car and then filmed the children in the “burning car” screaming and crying with the smoke and flames billowing in the background. Two days latter I saw this clip broadcast in Montreal. If I hadn’t seen them staging it, I would have believed these were kids who were directly attacked (by Israelis) and left to burn to death.

The other clip – was of the Israeli air force attacking a “hospital” with a big red cross on the roof. We could see that the “hospital” was actually a base of the PLO who were (engaged in) shooting from it. That, too, appeared on the news. Interestingly, the Lebanese Government took out a big paid ad stating that the (so-called) Hospital was PLO Headquarters and was headed by Arafat’s brother.

(The Montreal feminist ) conference was the one that the PLO tried to take over to pass anti- Israeli Resolutions – and that I more or less single handidly fought to prevent – successfully – I might add .

One of the commenters at Chesler’s site suggests collecting an anthology of these kinds of staging. (The first Intifada is full of them.) I think that’s an excellent suggestion. Time to detoxify the Western media.

Better version of my video Presentation available at Youtube

A look at the way France2 handles the evidence, an insight into how Pallywood can fool the Western media… it’s apparently full of fools.

Pallywood Strikes Again2

For a better view, see the version up at Second Draft, and if it’s also poor quality, download it. It’s worth watching a quality version.

The Court’s Decision

Court Decision.

This is a PDF of the court decision on the Karsenty case. I welcome any sections that readers translate.

court decision

Why the French Court Decided against France2: They Looked at the Evidence

A look at the way France2 handles the evidence, an insight into how Pallywood can fool the Western media… it’s apparently full of fools.

Pallywood Strikes Again2

For a better view, see the version up at Second Draft, and if it’s also poor quality, download it. It’s worth watching a quality version.

We’re taking this to the Higher Court: Enderlin responds to the decision at his blog

Charles Enderlin has a terse but sulky comment at his blog in which he announces his plans to take this on appeal. His logic is impeccable, as usual. (I look forward to reading the judge’s decision to see what kind of selective reader CE really is.) In any case, we’ve got more time to drag this through the public’s attention. Thank you, CE. As for the single sycophantic comment, try leaving a comment that’s negative and see if it appears. All mine have vanished.

Les propos de Karsenty étaient diffamatoires
[Karsenty’s comments were defamatory.]

mercredi 21 mai 2008 à 17:20 :: Al Dura

Monsieur Karsenty avait été condamné par le tribunal de Paris pour avoir dit que France 2 et moi-même avons réalisé un faux reportage.
[M. Karsenty was condemned by the tribunal in Paris for having said that France2 and i, myself, produced a fake news report.]

La Cour d’appel de Paris a constaté :
[The Appeals court ruled:]

1 ; Que ces propos étaient bien diffamatoires
[That these accusations were, in fact, defamatory.]

2 Que Mr. Karsenty n’a pas apporté la preuve de cette soi-disant mise en scène et du caractère mensonger de ce reportage.
[That M. Karsenty did not bring proof of this supposed “staging” and the lying character of the report.]

3 La Cour d’appel, en revanche, contrairement au tribunal de première instance, a estimé que Mr. Karsenty était en droit de critiquer virulemment ce reportage, le sujet ayant créé une émotion particulière et, reconnu qu’il avait procédé à une enquête qui permettait à la Cour d’appel de lui reconnaître le bénéfice de la bonne foi.
[But on the other hand, the Appeals court, contrary to the initial tribunal considered that Karsenty had the right to virulently criticize this report, the subject having created a notable emotion, and recognized that he had carried out his investigation that permitted the Court of Appeals to grant him the benefit of doubt in the matter of his good faith.]

Il va de soi que nous ne partageons pas cette dernière analyse et que nous formons un pourvoi en cassation contre cette décision.
[Obviously we do not share this last analysis and we are planning to appeal this to the highest court (Cassation).]

France 2
Commentaires :: Ajouter un commentaire

1. Le mercredi 21 mai 2008 à 19:23, par Albert
Merci Charles de ne pas céder aux attaques charognards et diffamatoires de certaines personnes. Je vous supporte pour le pourvoi en cassation. Et merci pour vous reportages et votre travail.
Bon courage,
[Thank you Charles for not ceding to the predatory attacks of certain people. I support you for the appeal. And thank you for your reports and your work.]

I just sumbitted the following.

    M. Enderlin se trouve coincé entre deux mauvais choix: ou il laisse tomber pour ne pas encourager le monde à mieux connaître ses erreurs de jugements, ou il continue a insisté qu’il na pas fait d’erreurs et continue à exposer le public au tissu d’erreurs qu’il a commis et en diffusant les mises-en-scènes de son cameraman Talal, et en refusant de reconsidérer ensuite. Malheur a tout le monde — francais, occidentale, musulman — qui a imbibé les poisons de Pallywood. Il n’y a que les gens qui aiment la guerre qui en profitent.

Don’t expect it to show up anytime soon.

UPDATE: Still not there. What a wimp. That’s not what blogging is about. I have never blocked a critical comment. (In fact, I’m sorry I don’t get more, especially substantive ones.)

Karsenty Wins Court Decision!!

More details to follow. But word from Paris is that the court dismissed charges against Philippe Karsenty today. Now we get to see how the French (and Western) MSM handle this. It’s a stunning victory for Karsenty and loss for Enderlin and France2 who initiated this case when they didn’t have to.

In order for an appeals court to reverse a decision, they must have strong evidence to the contrary.

The fact that they did indicates that their written decision will be very critical of France2. The implications of this decision are immense. We’ll be following up in the days, weeks and months to come.

In the Emperor’s New Clothes when the boy (Shahaf, Juffa, Poller, me, Karsenty) said the emperor (France2, MSM) is naked, the father turned on his son and tried to hush him. But someone else then says, “Listen to the boy!” That happened today in Paris.


AP in Nouvel Observateur

Juffa in MENA

Israel Matsav

Franceinfo in which Maitre Amblard, the lawyer for France2 suggests that her clients are seriously considering appealing the decision to the “cour de cassation.” Those whom the gods would destroy, first they drive mad.

Breath of the Beast: brilliant analysis by a man I’m proud to call my associate.

Noah Pollack at Commentary’s blog, Contentions.

Ed Lasky at American Thinker.

Haviv Rettig at the Jerusalem Post: Rettig’s is the most informative item out so far, with responses from both Karsenty and Enderlin/France2 (who seem like they’ll take this to the supreme court).

Phyllis Chesler, an interview at Pajamas Media.

Tom Gross at the Media Blog of NRO

AP, typically about six steps behind the curve (still discussing who killed the boy).

Liberation: which has some of the language of the court decision including the observation that, athough the claims of Karsenty were indeed defamatory in that they struck at the honor and reputation of the “information professionals”, given the impact of the images, it was nonetheless legitimate for an agency of media critique to to call into question the manner in which the footage was filmed and diffused, and that the court’s close examination of the rushes has led it to believe that they cannot dismiss the claims of professionals heard in the course of the hearings who had put the original report in doubt. Promising.

Le Point: good article, extremely interesting comments including one from someone who started out supporting Enderlin and then saw the evidence… shades of Dreyfus.

IsraelValley: French, short, refers to Karsenty’s interview on Radio J.

Enderlin’s blog: where he promises to take this to the highest court.

Véronique Chemla at Guysen: the most extensive and annotated discussion (as usual).

Gérard Huber on his own blog: characteristically enigmatic (he refers to the “Al Durah Enigma” rather than “Affair”). I’ll try my hand at translating one passage:

Cette fuite devant le traumatisme de la réalité qui a été préalablement remplacée par un cauchemar éveillé est un des phénomènes les plus inquiétants de la morale civilisée dans une société de culture mondialisée comme la nôtre.

[This flight from the trauma of reality which had been previously replaced by a waking nightmare is one of the most disquieting phenomena of civilized morality in a society of globalized culture like ours.]

Muhammad al Durah Decision Today

Today the French court of appeals comes down with its decision. The outcome, whiich we will know in hours is, alas, unpredictable. Were the court’s decision based entirely on the evidence — as it should be — the decision would be clear. Philippe Karsenty had a dozen excellent reasons for accusing France2 and Charles Enderlin of presenting their viewing pulbic with staged footage, whether they knew it at the time or not. But past experience with the French courts suggests that decisions do not necessarily derive from the evidence alone. Hence the uncertainty.

For those who want to examine some of the msjor evidence upon which the court is, in principle, basing its decision, they can conslut here:

1. The 18 minutes of France2 rushes taken by Talal abu Rahmah, the cameraman whose work and testimony created the affair are available.

Note: they have been edited down by at least three, possibly nine minutes. See here for the discussion I posted immediately after the session in which they were shown.

2. France2’s video presentation to the court in which they try to “explain” the footage from Talal (their version of what I did in Pallywood (with other footage from that day) with a different conclusion (surprise!).

This video is chock full of errors and illustrates precisely why Pallywood — no matter how shoddy — works. Because even when a Western news organization is put on notice that they are suspected of running staged footage as real news, they continue to do precisely that.

3. For a first analysis of how France2 made a fool of themselves with this video, see this analysis I recorded for Pajamas Media:

This presentation focuses on the “Molotov Cocktail Kid”. By viewing the same scene taken by two different cameramen, two things become clear: 1) the other cameraman is technically superior: his footage is in focus and sustained and actually permits us to identify the staging. He is a cameraman of Pallywood. 2) Talal’s work is technically awful: the footage is broken into incomprehensible pieces, out of focus, jostled. But that makes it believable as “cinéma vérité.” Talal is a Pallywood cameraman.

4. Later today I will post another analysis of the France2 court video, using the rushes and other evidence. If anyone wants to know what kind of material the court examined in making its decision, this video is one of the better guides.

This will be available at PJMedia at about noon EST. I will make both an English and French script available at that time. (Warm thanks to Menahem Macina of for the timely French translation.)

Multiculturalism, the Trojan Horse of Islamism: Taguieff on Demopathy

For those of my Francophone readers, here’s the latest from one of the most perceptive analysts of the European scene today, an excerpt from his new book, La Judéophobie des Modernes. Des Lumières au Jihad mondial, Paris, Odile Jacob, en librairie le 25 août 2008. I intersperse it with comments to assist my Anglophone readers.

Laocoön and his sons, devoured by sea-serpents for denouncing the Trojan Horse.

Le multiculturalisme, ou le cheval de Troie de l’islamisme
par Pierre-André Taguieff (directeur de recherche au CNRS, Paris)

He begins with a discussion of the phenomenon of Muslim immigrants in the West who want to remain, but are profoundly hostile to the culture they want to remain in. He finds a high correlation between the most dogmatically multi-cultural cultures — ones that insist that all cultures be treated equally — with Muslims who embrace Islamism.

Il faut s’interroger sur un paradoxe dont les conséquences géopolitiques peuvent être considérables : un pourcentage significatif des populations de culture musulmane installées dans les pays occidentaux et désireuses d’y rester se montre hostile à la civilisation occidentale et manifeste une certaine empathie à l’égard des milieux jihadistes. C’est dans les pays qui ont institutionnalisé le multiculturalisme, donc inscrit dans la loi le principe du respect inconditionnel des « identités culturelles », que l’opinion musulmane s’aligne le plus sur les positions islamistes. Les promoteurs de l’idée d’une « citoyenneté postnationale » ont par ailleurs fortement contribué à légitimer le multiculturalisme comme forme de « politique de la reconnaissance » .

He treats Holland’s “separate but equal” system that allows the most violently anti-Western ideologies to develop in the name of “respect.” Although the murder of Theo Van Gogh set off alarm bells, the real problem derives from the energy it takes to actually communicate the values of mutual tolerance and respect to people who will happily benefit from it without having any intention or desire to reciprocate.

La version la plus radicale du multiculturalisme est illustrée par la politique néerlandaise de « pilarisation », présentée comme un moyen de garantir la tolérance à l’égard des religions, en accordant un système éducatif séparé, des services sociaux distincts, des médias et des syndicats différents aux catholiques, aux protestants et aux communautés sécularisées. Jusqu’au début des années 2000, les gouvernements néerlandais successifs ont fait leur la doctrine selon laquelle le meilleur moyen de favoriser l’intégration des populations issues de l’immigration était d’encourager les immigrés à « maintenir leur propre culture » (1). Ils ont facilité ce « maintien » des identités culturelles d’origine par tout un arsenal de politiques de redistribution visant les « minorités culturelles » reconnues (2). Même si la question de savoir si les musulmans constituent un « pilier » séparé est restée controversée, c’est un fait que les Pays-Bas se sont montrés plus volontaristes que d’autres pays pour accorder aux musulmans des écoles distinctes (3). Le choc provoqué par l’assassinat du leader politique Pim Fortuyn (6 mai 2002) (4), suivi par celui du cinéaste Théo Van Gogh (1er novembre 2004) (5), l’un et l’autre engagés dans un combat contre ce qu’ils pensaient être « l’islamisation » de leur pays, a fait prendre conscience aux Néerlandais des limites et surtout des effets pervers du multiculturalisme, terrain privilégié pour la propagande islamiste.

He then turns his attention to England where the most suffocating atmosphere of political correctness makes it impossible to even address the problem. To pursue his metaphor of the Trojan Horse, it’s as if the role played by Poseidon (who sent two serpents from the ocean to devour Laocoön and his sons, who, soundly, denounced the horse as a trick, a poisoned gift, is played by the politically correct, multicultural “thought police.” For those unfamiliar with the term, “angélisme” refers to the delusion that we can behave like angels (i.e., do without war, for example)… a delusion particularly current in Europe today in which the posture of “moral Europe” permits them to preen on the international stage as superior to the US and Israel.

Karsh Footnotes his Text on 1948

In discussing Ephraim Karsh’s essay in Commentary on 1948, I mentioned that he promised an annotated version. It’s now available. As an historian, I can’t emphasize enough the importance of footnotes, which force a writer to discipline his remarks in line with the sources. Of course, one can interpret the meaning of sources in a number of ways, but not any way. Without any respect for original documents, the writer’s “imagination” can be inflamed, like, say, the authors of the latest claims on PA TV about how Tel Aviv was originally a thriving Arab city named Tel al Rabi.

Obama on Lebanon: Cognitive Egocentric Porridge

Noah Pollak has an interesting piece on Barack Obama’s position on the Lebanese crisis. One could hardly imagine a better definition of liberal cognitive egocentrism: define the problem in terms for which we liberals have a solution. (Hat tip: oao)

Obama Stares Down Hezbollah
NOAH POLLAK – 05.11.2008 – 2:19 PM
Yesterday Barack Obama released a statement about the crisis in Lebanon that surely must be cause for celebration in Tehran, Damascus, and Bint Jbeil. First of all, there is the alternate-reality feel to it:

    This effort to undermine Lebanon’s elected government needs to stop, and all those who have influence with Hezbollah must press them to stand down immediately.

Does Obama understand that the people who “have influence with Hezbollah” happen to be the same people on whose behalf Hezbollah is rampaging through Lebanon?

Then there is the absurd prescription:

    It’s time to engage in diplomatic efforts to help build a new Lebanese consensus that focuses on electoral reform, an end to the current corrupt patronage system, and the development of the economy that provides for a fair distribution of services, opportunities and employment.

So that’s the problem in Lebanon? Economics and the electoral system? As Lee Smith points out in a scathing post,

    Obama’s language is derived from those corners of the left that claim Hezbollah is only interested in winning the Shia a larger share of the political process. Never mind the guns, it’s essentially a social welfare movement, with schools and clinics! — and its own foreign policy, intelligence services and terror apparatus, used at the regional, international and now domestic level. But the solution, says Obama, channeling the man he fired for talking to Hamas, is diplomacy.

In the Lebanon crisis, Obama is rhetorically cornered. Since his only prescription for the Middle East is diplomatic engagement, every disease gets re-diagnosed as something curable through talking.

The full Obama statement is only slightly less absurd than Pollak’s cherry-picked quotes suggest. Actually it seems like he has a kind of PC playbook from which he can select three problems from column A and three moves towards a solution from problem B, and when you’ve reached the end of the laundry lists, he’s covered most everything. Lee Smith quotes another trenchant comment from Abu Kais over at From Beirut to the Beltway:

Oh the time we wasted by fighting Hizbullah all those years with rockets, invasions of their homes and shutting down their media outlets. If only we had engaged them and their masters in diplomacy, instead of just sitting with them around discussion tables, welcoming them into our parliament, and letting them veto cabinet decisions. If only Obama had shared his wisdom with us before, back when he was rallying with some of our former friends at pro-Palestinian rallies in Chicago.

“As Tony Badran wrote me [Lee Smith] this morning: ‘I think Obama’s statement is counterproductive in that it will be read by Syria as confirming their hope that there might be a chance with an Obama presidency to get back Lebanon.'”

No wonder so many fine folk in the Middle East are rooting for Obama. (Apparently the electricity problems have not interfered with the internet campaign for Obama in Gaza.)

Update: More excellent analysis from Barry Rubin on Lebanon and the folly of Obama’s “negotiated” strategy. Rubin argues that Lebanon is the Spain of 1936 (implication, Israel is the Czechoslovakia of 1938):

What Spain was in 1936; Lebanon is today.

Does anyone remember the Spanish Civil War? Briefly, a fascist revolt took place against the democratic government. The rebels were motivated by several factors, including anger that their religion had not been given enough respect and regional grievances, but essentially they sought to put their ideology and themselves into power. Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy backed the rebels with money and guns. The Western democracies stood by and did nothing.

Guess who won? And guess whether that outcome led to peace or world war.

(Bold in original.) From there he dissects Obama’s folly and concludes.

Obama is endorsing the Hizballah program. It wants a new Lebanese consensus based on it having, along with its pro-Syrian allies, 51 percent of the power. What’s needed is not consensus (the equivalent being getting Fatah and Hamas to bury their differences, or bringing in Iran and Syria to determine Iraq’s future) but the willingness to fight a battle. In effect, Obama without realizing it, is arguing for a Syrian-, Iranian-, and Hizballah-dominated Lebanon. Such talk makes moderate Arabs despair.

Oh the travails of the Western liberal who wants to believe that “War is not the answer precisely at the moment where it is the answer. People who do believe that war is the answer (despite how badly the odds don’t favor them — e.g., Germany against the world, Islam against the West, Japan against the Pacific world), can “level the odds” by pushing aggressively precisely where and when those who don’t like war will back down.

The point is not to get easily provoked, but to respond decisively when the time comes. Of course, to adopt such a policy would mean keeping one’s eye on the ball. I don’t get the sense that Obama even knows what the game us, much less what kinds of balls are in play. Malley’s facile solutions to the Middle East conflict — get Israel to stop humiliatiing the Palestinians — are recipes for disaster precisely because the encourage the belligerents.

Thus, as Rubin points out, Obama has a specific appeal in the Middle East:

Note that this does not make Obama the candidate favored by Arabs in general but only by the radicals. Egyptians, Jordanians, Gulf Arabs, and the majorities in Lebanon and Iraq are very worried. This is not just an Israel problem; it is one for all non-extremists in the region.

If the dictators and terrorists are smiling, it means everyone else is crying.

These war mongers see a natural ally in Obama’s progressive, kind politics, in his willingness to engage anyone and listen to their grievances. In the Moebius Strip of cognitive egocentrism, they can pursue their plans for world domination while Obama and his advisors insist that no one would be that base and inhuman (except, maybe, the Zionists), and that if these folks are violent, it’s probably because they’re less fortunate than we are, and have legitimate grievances. What more could a demopath ask for as president of the United States?

The British and the Arab-Israeli Hand of Friendship: What might have been…

The Times of London has run a number of articles of reminiscences of 1948. Here, thanks to a British willingness to self-criticize, the Brits are the bad-faith players, and the Israelis and Arabs show maturity. (Hat tip: EG)

From The Times
May 10, 2008
‘The British wanted us to kill each other’
Said Jabr, 74, Arab Israeli
The old British Army base, a small sandstone fort, stands abandoned on a hill in Abu Ghosh, an Arab village just southwest of Jerusalem. Said Jabr was 14 when the British pulled out.

“It was on the 14th or 15th of May. I remember exactly that the British commander came to Ali Saleh, the village mukhtar (elder), and said they were going to leave and warned us to be ready,” he recalled from his family home in Abu Ghosh. “Thirty-five armed villagers walked into the base to take command. But the British commander went at the same time to the kibbutz and told them the same thing.

“The British left one tank in front of the army base. Then a few tanks driven by the Haganah (the fledgling Jewish army) drove up and surrounded the army base. But we had great relations with the local kibbutzim – we believe in friendship and protecting a neighbour’s property, no matter who they are – and the leaders of the kibbutzim. . . came to the village. They met the mukhtar, drank coffee and reached an agreement that the villagers would leave the base and the Haganah would take over. The British commander was waiting in the remaining tank to see what would happen. He saw the Abu Ghosh villagers leaving the base and shaking hands with the Haganah members, and he said, ‘F****** Arabs’. Our impression was that he wanted us to kill each other. Thank God the people from both sides resolved the issue peacefully.”

Mr Jabr proudly displays the Hebrew shield he was awarded by the kibbutz. It shows two hands shaking – a token of thanks and friendship.

Do Palestinian Arabs Care Enough about having a Nation to Self Criticize?

Shlomo Avineri has written an interesting meditation on the Palestinian Nakba. He makes his criticism carefully, peppered with constant efforts not hurt anyone’s feelings by suggesting that the Palestinian national movement is not legitimate, strong, etc. But the thrust of his argument suggests just the opposite: the institutional weakness he identifies reflects a much broader weakness in “nationalist” aspirations. In order for the Palestinian Arabs to engage in the kind of self-criticism he calls for, they would have to confront the issue he refuses to raise: i.e., that the only real solidarity that Palestinian Arabs manage to muster among all the mutual rivalries and hatreds they feel among each other, is their hatred of Israel. And that, alas, is not enough to make a civil polity. On the contrary…

The real Nakba
By Shlomo Avineri
Last update – 12:35 09/05/2008
Tags: Palestinians, Israel, Nakba

When the Palestinians mark what they call the “Nakba” (catastrophe) on May 15, they would do well to consider that their real failure did not occur in 1948: It had already happened earlier, and it continues to happen now. The real Nakba occurs before our eyes – and theirs – every day, at every hour, and Hamas’ violent coup in Gaza is only the most recent example of it.

While Palestinians may see themselves, with much justification, as the victims of the Zionist movement’s successful establishment of a Jewish state in the Land of Israel, the reasons for their historical failure should be sought elsewhere: in the inability of the Palestinian national movement to create the political and social institutional framework that is the necessary foundation for nation-building. The history of national movements teaches us that national consciousness, strong as it may be, is not enough: Movements that could not create the institutional system vital for their success failed.

I assume this remark about “strong as it may be” represents Avineri’s effort to acknowledge Palestinian “national consciousness.” I actually think that any serious national consciousness is a key ingredient in “creating the institutional system…”, and that the Palestinians’ failures in this area come specifically from a lack of national consciousness except insofar as it articulates a passionate hatred of the Zionists. Beyond this, Palestinian nationalism seriously lacks any sense of “national” solidarity.

It would be a mistake to underestimate the power of the Palestinian national movement, as quite a few members of the Zionist camp did in the past; it is an error that many continue to make today. But it was Haim Arlosoroff – then a young man in his early 20s – who as early as 1921 recognized that what the Zionist movement faced was not a series of violent events, but a national movement.

This warning not to underestimate Palestinian nationalism misses an important point. To the Western (including the Israeli) observer, it’s hard to tell the difference between national resistance to Zionism and the resistance of a religio-cultural tradition that needs to dominate minorities, especially religious ones. Since the Palestinians long ago learned that the West did not like hearing about religious dreams of genocide, they have systematically presented their resistance as national. In fact “national sentiment” may be the least distinctive dimension of the resistance to Israel. What we need not to underestimate is the depth of the resistance; and by emphasizing the role of nationalism, we indulge our cognitive egocentrism and make just that mistake.

Thus Arlosoroff was absolutely right to argue that Zionism did not face a series of (presumably unconnected) violent events, but he was wrong to assume that it was a “national movement.” Indeed, as Steven Plaut just pointed out, for the Arabs living in Palestine in 1920, the “Nakba” that drove them to riots was the creation of a separate politico-administrative unit, Palestine, that separated them from Syria. The resistance Arlosoroff detected was real: it had a consistent and powerful ideology behind it. But it was a mistake then, and continues today, to think of this resistance not in religious and cultural terms. It is not an act of empathy to project Western egocentric notions about nationalism on people who had and continue to have radically different religious and cultural orientations. (Ironically, that projection may be the supreme example of Western cultural imperialism, one which, in the hands of avowed anti-imperialists, may destroy the West.)

The Palestinian national movement, however, has been accompanied by a long string of failures, which have been rooted in its inability to form frameworks of consensus and solidarity; these failures weakened and fragmented it, and it seems that this is a problem the Palestinians have not been able to overcome to this day.

The first and sharpest expression of this failure came in the years 1936-1939, during the Palestinian uprising against British rule. This rebellion failed not only because it was brutally suppressed by the British colonial authorities or because the Haganah (pre-state underground) forces were able to defend the Yishuv (Jewish community in Palestine). What happened is that the Palestinians were unable to establish institutions that would be acceptable to all parts of Arab society in the country, and when internal disputes arose over the nature of the struggle, the rebellion evolved into an intra-Palestinian civil war. More Palestinians died at the hands of rival armed Palestinian militias than were killed in clashes with the British army or with the Haganah. Within Palestinian society there is tendency to suppress the memory of this violent struggle, which took place between the militias associated with the Husseinis and those tied to the Nashashibis. But this suppression only deepens the failure and makes it more difficult to draw lessons from it.

The price of a lack of self-criticism. Mind you, the means the Arabs living in Palestine used to supress the memory of this internally-generated catastrophe is a narrative about evil Zionists and evil British… in other words, a narrative of grievance and victimization.

Alawis on Zionism: Further Evidence that it was not Imperialism

I have argued in a previous post that the easy inclusion of Zionism in the broader phenomenon of Western European imperialism and colonialism is not only superficial in its understanding, but actually disguises the most remarkable aspect of the phenomenon — that unlike all other forms of European settlement in the third world, the Zionists proceeded without a prior conquest and therefore did it by making such a positive-sum contribution to the communities among which they settled that even those who were initially hostile were often won over. In an interesting essay on the origins of the term Nakba — a term Arabs living in the newly formed Palestine used in 1920 to refer to their separation from the Syrians — Steven Plaut provides the following quote from several Alawite notables (including Hafez al Assad’s grandfather):

Those good Jews brought civilization and peace to the Arab Muslims, and they dispersed gold and prosperity over Palestine without damage to anyone or taking anything by force. Despite this, the Muslims declared holy war against them and did not hesitate to massacre their children and women…. Thus a black fate awaits the Jews and other minorities in case the Mandates are cancelled and Muslim Syria is united with Muslim Palestine.”

That statement is from a letter sent to the French prime minister in June 1936 by six Syrian Alawi notables (the Alawis are the ruling class in Syria today) in support of Zionism.

1948-2008 Part II: The Arid Desert of Palestinian Self-Criticism

The San Diego Union Tribune has an article by Nasser Barghouti, a Palestinian-American and president of the San Diego Chapter of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, and Nassemah Darwish, a Kuwaiti-born Palestinian-American who lives in San Diego who has taught at Birzeit University in Ramallah. The piece is characteristic of the Palestinian tendency to rewrite history so that every trace of criticism of their own people’s behavior is replaced with a scape-goating accusation of the “enemy” Israelis. Note that the author uses a classic triumvirate of sources for this appeal to the progressive among us — the hyper-self-critical Israeli (Pappe), the authoritative “progressive” (Carter) and the UN as support for the moral accusations they make.

Remembering the Palestinian Nakba

By Nasser Barghouti and Bassemah Darwish
May 7, 2008

Nearly 30 years since she had seen her Northern Galilee home in what she called “48 Palestine,” Rasmiya Barghouti was finally given a permit by the Israeli military authorities to visit. She decided to take two of her daughters and four of her grandchildren with her.

It took less than three hours to reach Safad, renamed Tsvat by Israel after 1948. The van stopped in front of the white stone home that held her childhood memories. She proceeded to the familiar metal door, where she knocked. A large eastern European woman opened the door; the two argued. Rasmiya returned to the van, her hardened face wet with tears. Her only words were: “She wouldn’t let me in! She still has the same curtains I made with my mother.”

They proceeded in silence, as she wept discretely, to lunch at a hotel on Lake Tiberias where her youngest grandchild grew hyper. Instead of imposing her usual military-style discipline on the child, she encouraged him to splatter water and make even “more noise” – a shock to the rest of the family.

The Israeli waiter hurriedly came to the table demanding, in Hebrew, they stop the raucous behavior. It was then that her defiance exploded into cursing the waiter in Arabic. “We can do whatever we please! This is my father’s hotel!” she yelled. Until that moment, her children and grandchildren had been sheltered from knowing anything about her dear loss.

The rage of this Palestinian woman was born out of seeing her childhood home, from which she was forced to leave in 1948, now occupied by a stranger who would not even allow her in. She’d seen her father’s hotel, which he was never allowed to vacate, taken over by strangers. For the first time since her violent dispossession in 1948, she was allowed to visit her homeland, but not to return. Because millions of other Palestinian refugees are denied even such a visit, Rasmiya was considered “lucky.”

Alas for Rasmiya. Would that she knew how many millions of people shared her fate — dispossession and loss — back then, but have moved on to full lives, and now can look back at the long-ago tragedy with regret, but without rage. Would that she knew how cruelly her own people have treated her — how they contributed to her loss and kept her in misery… and all that, so that they could cultivate her rage as long as its target was the Israelis. Alas for the dupes who read this and join her rage against the Israelis. Alas for the Palestinians who have such shallow leaders and spokesmen, who cannot rise above their vicious self-pity and tireless dreams of vengeance, to lead their people to a decent and dignified life!

1948-2008 Part I: The Sad Story of the Nakba

Efraim Karsh has an excellent article in the latest Commentary on the story of 1948 which, among other things, sheds significant light on the nature of the catastrophe (Nakba) that befell the Palestinian people at that time. I recommend reading the entire piece, but what I have excerpted below (with comments) represents the thread that has to do with the fate of the Arab population of the British Mandate of Palestine. The tale he tells offers an object lesson in how the approach one takes influences the history one writes. Karsh’s approach is founded in the principles of civil society — self-determination, government of, by, and for the people, productive economies, life-enhancing positive-sum choices — and traces the tragic tale of how and why the Palestinian people failed to accomplish any of these progressive goals. (By contrast, note the effects of a different approach and set of values.)

Karsh claims the article is based on new research into the recently declassified archives of “millions of documents from the period of the British Mandate (1920-1948) and Israel’s early days” although the piece itself is without any references. The author promises a footnoted version soon.

1948, Israel, and the Palestinians—The True Story
May 2008

…Far from being the hapless objects of a predatory Zionist assault, it was Palestinian Arab leaders who from the early 1920’s onward, and very much against the wishes of their own constituents, launched a relentless campaign to obliterate the Jewish national revival. This campaign culminated in the violent attempt to abort the UN resolution of November 29, 1947, which called for the establishment of two states in Palestine. Had these leaders, and their counterparts in the neighboring Arab states, accepted the UN resolution, there would have been no war and no dislocation in the first place.

Note that this reflects classic “prime-divider” dynamics — an empowered ruling elite makes decisions that benefit themselves rather than their own people. And the decisions are classic zero-sum: no shared land, no twin-nationalities… the whole loaf or no loaf.