Martin Malliet’s Reflections on the Enderlin-Karsenty Case in the Al Durah Affair

In response to the previous post, reader Martin J. Malliet wrote the following about the upcoming trial in Paris. Since this trial, scheduled for hearing represents an important mile-marker in the now-over-twelve-year-long festering problem of al Durah and its profoundly noxious impact on the West, it’s important to become aware of the issues. Here below, Martin’s excellent comments with further reflections by me. Further remarks welcome.

The accusation of ‘bad journalism’ (misrepresenting the facts of the IDF’s responsibility) against France2/Enderlin should have been brought to the court by the IDF themselves. Or otherwise by somebody who could claim to have been unlawfully harmed by the bad journalism, such as an Israeli citizen being harmed by the false depiction of a government that is representing him.

At this point, I think the most valuable person to complain before the courts, including the international court, would be a Muslim who, radicalized into a genocidal Jihadi ideology with the use of the al Durah footage (subject of previous post), could sue France2 and (if the courts rule against Karsenty), the French Courts for the damage done to Muslim culture in France, which is now so far down the Jihadi “slippery slope,” that when Muhammad Merah, to revenge the Palestinian children killed by Israeli soldiers, kills little Jewish school-girls in cold blood, and a significant part of the French Muslim community considers him a hero in the “struggle.”

Now the trial was brought about indrectly by a French citizen (Karsenty): not directly by Karsenty’s complaining about the bad journalism of his French public news agency (France2/Enderlin), but indirectly by France2/Enderlin complaining about a defamatory statement made by Karsenty on the bad journalism of France2/Enderlin.

This indirect strategem was always risky, because it involved a reversal of the burden of proof: the trial wasn’t anymore about the accusation of BAD JOURNALISM (to which the defendent France2/Enderlin would have had to respond by proving that their journalism was not bad), it was about the ACCUSATION of bad journalism by someone who didn’t claim to be harmed by it (to which the defendant Karsenty had to respond by proving that his accusation was legitimate).

From the first court decision one may have the impression that this reversal of the burden of proof was not handled very well by Karsenty and his lawyers:

“The impact of these accusations is reinforced by the use (twice) of the word “fraud” and by the accusation of a “hoax,” which implies, NOT A CULPABLE RECKLESSNESS, BUT THE DELIBERATE INTENT OF MISLEADING OTHERS by broadcasting images that did not reflect reality (“a false report” according to “film experts” who have “confirmed our conclusions.”) Such accusations clearly damage the honor and reputation of their object, even more so when the persons thus described are employed in informing the public, such as in the case of the journalist Charles Enderlin or France 2.”

It would seem to me that if Karsenty had limited his accusation of bad journalism to ‘culpable recklessness’, it would have been strong enough to make his point, and it would not have opened the door for a discussion on his having sufficient proof for the stronger accusation of ‘deliberate intent to mislead’. Or he should at least have argued that ‘culpable recklessness’ on behalf of a professional public news agency is the same as the news agency’s culpable act of misleading itself (or of letting itself be misled by its sources), and thereby in the end of culpably misleading others.

This is more or less what Karsenty wrote in the original article. I am not really in a position to comment on the legal issues. I used to be (thought I was) good at legal issues, but this case has baffled me from the outset. What I would say here in terms of the larger discussion which I think we need to engage in on as large a scale as possible, is that the issues here concern the accusation of “conspiracy theory,” which I think inhibits many from even touching this topic.

If you think arguing it’s staged, is arguing a conspiracy (e.g., CE and Derfner and many), then you believe that the “conspiracy theorists” (e.g., PK and I) think Enderlin did it knowingly, on purpose, and that a wide range of conspirators were necessary to pull off such a coup, to fool “the whole world.” I’d argue that the pathetic aspect of the entire episode is how cheap the fake, how transparent its deliberate deception on the one hand, and how stunningly gullible CE and the rest of the mainstream western news media proved to be. It’s not a conspiracy theory, it’s a pyramid of (misplaced) trust, CE in his cameraman Talal, and everyone else in CE. And if it weren’t so tragically wrong-headed to persist (here’s signs of a conspiracy to keep the lid on, to maintain the “honor” of CE and the French media), it’s actually full of comedy.

Of course, the court is independent. It can always use its independence to cut through the insufficient arguments of the parties and establish the judicial truth as it sees fit. In this case: that Karsenty had sufficient proof of bad journalism against France2/Enderlin to make his somewhat outrageously formulated accusation of ‘France2/Enderlin misleading others by broadcasting images that did not reflect reality’.

I don’t see what is even remotely outrageous about that statement. It seems the very minimum that anyone who’s seen the evidence could state, without even accepting the staged hypothesis. Enderlin had no evidence but the (now obviously malicious) narrative of his cameraman to use the fatal expression “the target of fire coming from the Israeli position.”

But it didn’t.

The appeal court then overturned the first verdict by accepting Karsenty’s accusation as legitimate criticism of France2/Enderlin’s journalism.

The cassation court invalidated that appeal verdict on grounds of insufficient due process (by admitting the evidence of footage that wasn’t available to Karsenty when he made his accusation).

If this exclusion stands, it would be a real shame. Enderlin cut the most obvious example of Pallywood (the scene that inspired the term), and revealing that would be a major step in the direction of realizing how much inappropriate behavior went on in the Augean Stables of Middle East news media coverage at the time al Durah was produced (and still).

Let’s hope that the second appeal trial overturns the verdict a second time.

But let’s not forget that it would only be a small victory (i.e. Karsenty was right to criticise France2/Enderlin for suspicion of bad journalism), not the victory that would really matter (i.e. France2/Enderlin and their supporters admitting the journalism was indeed bad).

Precisely. That’s our job, one that PK’s trial can contribute to, either in affirming the right of individual citizens to criticize journalists, or in illustrating the folly of a guild-ridden elitist French establishment, in which the judiciary used technicalities to preserve the honor of the (state-owned) news media at the cost of a modern, mature, enlightened, civil society.  Dreyfus affair with massive global implications.

At the time of the broadcast, I also believed it to be true, although not in the fashion it was suggested to be true, i.e. the IDF deliberately targeting civilians, but more in the fashion of the unfortunate collateral damage of civilians caught in the cross-fire. The alternative of Pallywood staging never crossed my mind. I only learned about Pallywood when discovering Richard Landes’s blog a few months ago. And I agree entirely with Richard Landes and Philippe Karsenty that it was France2/Enderlin’s job not only to know about Pallywood, but to report on it, at the time of the broadcast.

Glad to know. Welcome in this discussion. I too went through believing it (largely) true, but not all (40 minutes of withering fire? targeting? killing an ambulance driver?). Only when I read Fallows did it dawn on me that it might be staged, and the greatest resistance to the staged hypothesis remains the norm even today (e.g., Fallows himself both in the article – staged is only presented as the claim of Shahaf – and subsequently).

That’s why I did Pallywood first, because staging was/is still so unthinkable. Indeed, the “conspiracy theory” for staging comes from the unexamined assumption that staging would not be possible without a huge conspiracy to pull it off, when it really only took one of dozens of camera crews working Netzarim and other “flash points of resistance” for transparently bad Pallywood footage, the obvious silence of the public, and the obvious cooperation of a few of the hospital staff, and the completely incomprehensible folly of the mainstream news media in not questioning anything, even now (!).

rekaB Street is on Planet Al Durah.

But they still refuse to acknowledge that. It’s shameful.

Although I understand Richard Landes’s misgivings about honour-shame-culture, I sometimes feel that he is putting the accent in the wrong place. Not honour-shame is the problem, but that what triggers it. One would wish that our “Western values” would be translated more readily by those in responsible positions into what is honourable (honest reporting, accepting legitimate criticism) and what is shameful (dishonest reporting, fending off legitimate criticism).

A (the?) key moral dilemma for all human beings is choosing public shame and private integrity over public honor and private guilt. That’s Judah and Tamar, that’s the French Army and Church in the Dreyfus Affair, that’s Muslims, and the Western MSNM in the 21st century. Where you want to use the term honor (self-critically honest), I’d speak of integrity.

How I would plead (if I were Philippe Karsenty):

(1) A news agency is not in the business of fiction, it is in the business of information.
(2) Information means telling a ‘story’ about what happened in reality; contrary to fiction, a story about reality makes a claim to be the truth, and not to be something else.
(3) Those who make a claim to tell the truth must be able to back it up with proof; they cannot simply shift the burden of proof to those who doubt the truth of the story; and they can certainly not expect the doubters of the story, especially when they offer significant arguments to justify that doubt, to simply do more until they can prove the falsehood of the story ‘beyond any doubt’.
(4) It is true that in practice there is not always enough time to collect proofs for a story that go beyond any doubt; so that laying a burden of proof ‘beyond any doubt’ on the news agency would also be exaggerated.
(5) The reason why time is a factor has to do with ‘social causation’, i.e. the story brought out with its claim to be true is intended to have an effect on how other people judge the matter and take action based on that judgment, and for that it must be brought out in time and not too long after the fact; in the case of a news agency the number of people for whom the story is intended can be large and even very large.

And therefore the burden lies on the journalist to defend his honor not in technicalities of PK’s “intent” but on matters of substance.

(6) Although the news agency is not directly responsible for the judgments and actions that other people make or take on the basis of the story, the news agency can to some extent foresee these judgments and actions; this possible anticipation of the consequences of a story burdens the news agency with at least some responsibility for the consequences by ‘social causation’ of its decision to bring out the story, especially when the truth of the story cannot be corroborated ‘beyond any doubt’ for practical reasons.

And so, a fortiori, how much should reconsideration, self-criticism, and retraction follow strong evidence of the astonishing damage such reports – especially if they are false – have on social causation.

(7) It is our contention that the elements of proof for the story, at the time when it was brought out, were so weak that the news agency could not be unaware of that weakness; and that consequently the decision to bring out the story, and even more so the decision not to draw attention to the weakness of its proofs, were both utterly and culpably reckless.

And that is particularly evident in CE’s cutting of scene 6 (“death throes” too painful for the viewer to bear), and, in a sense, his cutting of the Pallywood tapes for the court.

(8) When we accused France2/Enderlin publicly of culpable recklessness, using the arguments (1) to (7), our goal was to persuade France2/Enderlin to engage in public self-criticism; public self-criticism that in our view would have had the healthy effect of both rectifying the truth of the story a posteriori and enhancing a priori the sense of responsibility in news agencies relying on similar news gathering procedures.

And critical to the maintenance of a resilient civil society, especially in a time of growing violence.

(9) If we are here today defending ourselves against the accusation of libelous criticism directed at us by France2/Enderlin, it is only because France2/Enderlin refused entirely to accept, i.e. not even to some extent, our criticism formulated under (1) to (7) and consequently refused to engage in any form of public self-criticism.
(10) Only if the court accepts that France2/Enderlin was entirely justified in taking that maximalist stance, can it conclude that our public criticism of France2/Enderlin was libelous, i.e. maliciously defamatory.

Excellent. Forwarding it to PK. Interested in any contributions to putting the Al Durah affair in the wider context of lethal journalism.

96 Responses to Martin Malliet’s Reflections on the Enderlin-Karsenty Case in the Al Durah Affair

  1. E.G. says:

    For my part, I have a few points regarding both Martin J. Malliet’s 1st para, and RL’s reply.
    Martin J. Malliet:

    The accusation of ‘bad journalism’ (misrepresenting the facts of the IDF’s responsibility) against France2/Enderlin should have been brought to the court by the IDF themselves. Or otherwise by somebody who could claim to have been unlawfully harmed by the bad journalism, such as an Israeli citizen being harmed by the false depiction of a government that is representing him.

    a. The IDF does not sue people/organisations – it’s not its role, it’s not within its capacities (as in any true democracy).
    b. Who can claim and prove a direct link (a logically valid relation) between a/that specific “report” and a harm done?


    At this point, I think the most valuable person to complain before the courts, including the international court, would be a Muslim who, radicalized into a genocidal Jihadi ideology with the use of the al Durah footage (subject of previous post), could sue France2 and (if the courts rule against Karsenty), the French Courts for the damage done to Muslim culture in France, which is now so far down the Jihadi “slippery slope,” that when Muhammad Merah, to revenge the Palestinian children killed by Israeli soldiers, kills little Jewish school-girls in cold blood, and a significant part of the French Muslim community considers him a hero in the “struggle.”

    a. Since when are there more and less valuable persons?!?
    b. Again, I’m far from sure that getting radicalised “with the use of the al Durah footage” is no direct (enough) evidence.
    c. Nor for Moslem culture “so far down” in France or elsewhere. The al Dura libel contributed to the anti-Semitism/Zionism but is not the only and most determining factor, for either Moslems or other social segments.

    • E.G. says:

      Since when are there more and less valuable persons?!?

      Well, you took the quote out of context.

      Dr Landes did not say that there are persons intrinsically more valuable than others.

      He merely said that a radicalized Muslim would be a more valuable witness in court. The value alluded to is instrumental, as in “he would be a more useful witness”.

      Not that hard to get it, was it?

      But you unjustifiably made Dr Landes sound like a supremacist.

    • Martin J. Malliet says:

      I agree with E.G., I was just making an introduction to explain the reversal of proof. I know of the Israeli government policy never to defend itself against the press by judicial procedings. And I think they’re right to adopt that policy, there are better ways. The whole thing should never have needed to come before a court, not in one way (to criticise bad journalism), nor the other (to defend the right to criticise bad journalism). The fact that it did, however, says a lot about some journalists and their standards, and can be used as an argument in defence of the right to criticise them.

  2. E.G. says:

    BTW, I think it would be at least as interesting to hear from converts to radical Islam about the anti-Semitic/Zionist factors influencing them. How, when, how much these factors play for them.

  3. Richard Landes says:

    and al Durah particularly. we’re working on that.

    • E.G. says:

      My wild guess is that such video clips channel frustration and encourage open expression of hate. By verb and by act (aggression).

      I’d really like to know whether there’s anyone who can explain how so many people can be fooled into ignoring the hundreds of children actually killed by Moslems’ acts (e.g., Syria) and concentrate on the few presumably killed by Zionists Jews.

  4. […] prepares to put the Mohammed Dura video and Philippe Karsenty back in the spotlight, Professor Richard Landes weighs in on the matter. Proceedings begin January […]

  5. […] prepares to put the Mohammed Dura video and Philippe Karsenty back in the spotlight, Professor Richard Landes weighs in on the matter. Proceedings begin January […]

  6. E.G. says:

    A charming little tale from Arab folklore tells of a man whose afternoon nap was disturbed by the noise of children playing in the courtyard below. He went out to the balcony and called, “Children, how foolish you are! While you are playing here, they are giving away figs in the marketplace.”
    The children rushed off to collect their figs, and the man, pleased with his invention, went back to his couch. But just as he was about to drop off, a troublesome thought aroused him: “Here I am, lying around, when there are free figs to be had in the marketplace!”

  7. Martin J. Malliet says:

    Richard Landes’s comments made me think again, and I now see more clearly what I was thinking, and where I went wrong. It may be just me not paying enough attention the first time, but then the court of first instance in the excerpt I quoted also seemed to make that mistake.

    Philippe Karsenty’s accusation “that France2/Enderlin had broadcast a fraud” (or hoax, or Pallywood staged scene) can be interpreted in two ways:

    (1) They willingly and wittingly broadcast a fraud, i.e. they were telling a lie.
    (2) They were duped or misled by their cameraman ‘agent’ into broadcasting a fraud they believed to be a true story.

    The second interpretation I tended to confuse in my mind with yet another possibility:

    (3) They broadcast a report that contained falsehoods because they were misled by their ‘sources’.

    This third interpretation corresponds to the usual case of reporting, and when sufficient work of corroboration has been done, the risk of being misled by sources is an acceptable risk. However, this interpretation is not compatible with using the word ‘fraud’ or ‘hoax’ in an accusation of flawed reporting (i.e. insufficient corroboration of the truth as stated).

    Because of all that I only really saw (1) and (3) and found the wording of Karsenty’s accusation “somewhat outrageous” – it pointed to interpretation (1) and that is the kind of accusation for which the only definitive proof is a confession. So I tended to think that the Pallywood angle could be left out of the accusation, which should go for (3), as the reporting seemed bad enough even without the suspicion of Pallywood – the footage wasn’t particularly telling in itself and the surroundings weren’t sufficiently clear for a witness at the scene to be able to make such definitive statements on ‘who did what to whom’ as those that accompanied the footage.

    But I now see better why Philippe Karsenty and Richard Landes insist on the Pallywood angle, and I think they’re right, because it is an important element of the problem. Interpretation (2) is indeed very different from the usual case (3), because of the difference between an ‘agent’ and a ‘source’. An agent always has a principal, whose job it is to manage the agent, whereas sources are principals in their own right. And just as there is no difference for the outside world between France2 (principal) and Charles Enderlin (agent), there can be no difference between Charles Enderlin (principal) and his cameraman (agent). So that one could say that for the outside world (and for the law) there isn’t any difference between interpretation (1) and interpretation (2).

    but, as E.G. points out below, where CE’s honor is concerned, there is a significant difference: knave or fool.

    The Pallywood angle is important because it explains why so much reporting is flawed: the principal-agent problem that Western news agencies have with their Palestinian agents, who are to some extent double-agents and inherently difficult to manage.

    nice point, and exaclty what CE didn’t want to believe – despite the overwhelming evidence – about Talal. “Our families have eaten meals together! He would never do this to me.” (NB the parallel with Jamal and Moshe Tamam the Israeli building contractor: “he danced at my son’s bar mitzvah.”) The term double agent is really good: we Westerners assume that good relations with us somehow override clan and other loyalties. In a free market of ideas and sentiments, that might be true more often, but in a world where clan/religion/honor-group enforces its boundaries with violence, the ultimate agency is almost invariably going to go with the latter.

    This aspect of the problem revelas the chain of misplaced trust: MT trusted JaD, CE trusted TaR, IDF Spokespeople trusted Enderlin (one of theirs). Little did they realize just how “native” CE had gone.

    Charles Enderlin himself made some revealing statements, which I would summarise like this:

    (E1) “Acting before the camera, they do it all the time, but that doesn’t mean it is not real”.
    (E2) “The child was dead. My cameraman wouldn’t dare to mislead me with a staged scene, because he knows very well that I would find him out.”

    In (E2) Enderlin acknowledges the principal-agent problem, and he expresses confidence that he can manage it well.

    Precisely. When I responded to his comment that “they do it all the time,” with, “so why not al Durah?” his answer was: “they’re not that good. I’d have spotted it.”

    In (E1) Enderlin acknowledges (a) Pallywood, (b) his probable use of Pallywood staged scenes for reporting (why else pay his cameraman to shoot those scenes), and most importantly, (c) his version of the “fake but accurate” assumption (A1) that is corrupting reporting so insidiously. “These things happen all the time when there are no cameras around, so when cameras film a staged scene, it’s technically a fake, but nevertheless an accurate picture of what happens all the time when there are no cameras around”. It’s a God-like assumption: “I know the truth even without proof, so I’m entitled to fabricate a proof that fits the truth”. It’s an assumption that isn’t validated by anything, because it cannot be validated at all.

    excellent analysis. describes CE to a “T”. hence, a question for students of durah journalism: whence such arrogance? especially when (or because?) underneath it lies a tacit surrender to intimidation.

    But (A1) opens the door for all sorts of other assumptions to corrupt reporting, among which the most important are probably:

    (A2) the assumption of “four-dimensional Jews and two-dimensional Arabs/Palestinians/Muslims”, which is pro-Israel on the face of it, but as it leads to distorted views of the facts it can lead to anything.
    (A3) the assumption of “desperate Palestinians (David underdogs) resisting forceful Israelis (Goliath oppressors)”, which is pro-Palestinian on the face of it, but as it also leads to distorted views of the facts it can also lead to anything.

    yes, a double double standard that reflects racism beliefs all around. as you point out, the way these attitudes play out in reality does not necessarily reflect the initial presumption (criminalizes Israel, weaponizes the most oppressive sectors of Palestinian/Arab/Muslim society). it works to everyone’s disadvantage but the warmongers.

    And all this was contained in Philippe Karsenty’s public criticism of France2/Enderlin’s reporting on Al Durrah. That France2/Enderlin contests Philippe Karsenty’s right to make that public criticism proves one thing: that they are not willing to take up that criticism in good faith and to examine their reporting and their news gathering procedures accordingly. That in itself justifies the criticism ex post facto, and should lead the court to decide in favour of Philippe Karsenty.

    well put. the biggest scandal here is the resistance to criticism. honor-concerns abound. CE has consistently not taken Judah’s position with Tamar, he has persistently chosen public honor and private guilt over public shame and private integrity. One can imagine that that state of cognitive dissonance must be pretty painful.

    It would really be shameful if that small victory should not be granted by the court.

    The larger shame however is on France2/Enderlin. And on his peers for not pressuring him to do the honourable thing.

    of course, they’d be asking him to acknowledge a trade “public secret.”

    • E.G. says:

      If I understand correctly, the upcoming trial is in part about “Scoopy” (that’s CE’s nickname) honour, and in part about a French taxpayer’s right to criticise, on professional-ethical grounds, the news organisation that his taxes fund.

      If Scoopy the civil servant lied, is anyone who pays his salary entitled to publicly state so?

      Looks like you should broaden your agency framework, Martin.
      And please take into account that there is no equivalent or translation of “accountability” in French.

      • Martin J. Malliet says:

        “Broaden my agency framework?” Do you mean that I should bring in the workings of power? And thereby confuse what I’ve carefully worked out to be my view on what lawful behaviour ought to be in this case? But that would be against the purpose of Richard Landes’s blog. (All of this has indeed to do with the worrying state of our Western civil polity.) And I’m here because of that purpose.

        Frank Van Dun in “Not Really A Libertarian Case Against Open Immigration” (2008)

        “Until the last quarter of the nineteenth century, the basic framework of the West’s intellectual discourse was defined by the partial integration of Biblical and Hellenistic concepts of Power and Reason in a Christian attempt at synthesis. It did not quite succeed, as some expressions of Christianity focussed on the religion of power (the Almighty, God’s will) while others opted for a religion of reason (the Ultimate Judge, God’s wisdom). With the rise of the state, the stage was set for a gradual assimilation of the religion and the politics of power. This led to a blurring of the boundaries between divine and worldly power, and eventually to reverence for the state (or, at any rate, politics) as the messianic agent of redemption and liberation, capable of bringing about the New Jerusalem by its own political will. Reason was no longer associated primarily with the faculty of moral judgment but increasingly with the ingenuity of schemes of “scientifically enlightened” technocratic control and management. The propagation of such schemes became a core mission of the state as the virtually monopolistic purveyor of “public education” (often enough a euphemism for indoctrination). The religion of reason lost out to the belief that where moral judgement is not a matter of scientific expertise, it is merely subjective opinion. Progressivism integrally and conservatism in almost all of its present manifestations are secularised versions of the religion of Power. However, because progressivism has a messianic justification for political power and most forms of conservatism do not, the former invariably succeeds in setting the terms of any ideological confrontation between them. ”

        PS: I know a bit about the French, I lived and studied there for some time. I think you’re wrong about “accountability” (or “responsabilité”), they use that word a lot, especially when avoiding accountability. What they really don’t have is a common word for “self-righteousness”, and that must mean something. (They use “arrogance” instead, while the dictionary gives you “pharisaïsme”, but they don’t use that, because it means “hypocrisy” to them.) I also found out that the French expression for “stepping on someone’s toes” is more common in the negative sense: “ne pas se laisser marcher sur les pieds”, as if crossing the boundary means first of all “bullying” (rule or be ruled), and not “disrespecting someone’s right” (equality before the law). You see, I remain faithful to Richard Landes’s purpose, even in smalltalk.

        • Martin, just a (discussion-diverting, sorry!) quick thought:

          Martin J. Malliet [quoting Van Dun] says:

          However, because progressivism has a messianic justification for political power and most forms of conservatism do not, the former invariably succeeds in setting the terms of any ideological confrontation between them.

          Progressivism is winning the battle for hearts and minds because it is (for the wrong reasons) more tolerant to issues that matter a lot to lots of people (and, especially, to youngsters): same-sex marriage, abortion, drug-use.

          That’s why conservatives cannot win ideological battles even if they are 100% on the right: people are afraid of their perceived intellectual and moral rustiness on the issues i mentioned above.

        • E.G. says:

          Glad to ack your loyalty, but it’s not an issue here.

          Accountability is more than responsibility, it means answerability too. On the latter, the French can do better. And in some sort, these trials show the accountability problem: Karsenty wouldn’t have needed to shame CE publicly had the state-TV network proceeded (as they did during Cast-Lead) according to journalistic ethics, and admit the report was cooked up – cuisiné does exist in French ;-).
          Instead, they stand by the fake.

          Re: broadening agency.
          As a civil servant, CE is Karsenty’s employee: Karsenty’s tax-Euros pay CE’s salary via the state TV network’s financed by public money.
          Whose agent is he? To whom is he accountable?

          • Martin J. Malliet says:

            Well, if that’s what you meant by “broadening the agency framework”, then I think it isn’t all that useful to pursue, as failures of accountability only get compounded when you move up in the chain. It’s more interesting to find out what the failings really are at the beginning of the chain.

            First is the cameraman, who in all probability failed to follow journalistic standards: wasting his time and batteries on filming Pallywood scenes, which aren’t news (except as parts of a documentary on Pallywood itself). If it weren’t for his irresponsibility, Pallywood wouldn’t exist. That he is a Palestinian only matters under assumption (A2).

            Next is Scoopy the journalist and handler of the cameraman, who in all probability also failed to follow journalistic standards: not keeping his cameraman in line; using Talal’s footage for his big scoop, while knowing very well that it wasn’t trustworthy, counting on the fact that he would get away with it as he probably got away with it on numerous previous occasions, eventually foreseeing to backtrack a little bit the next day with a serious sounding report on what could and could not be known with certainty about the event (which he did I think). And later on the scoop got so big that it became frightening even for him, and he was stuck.

            The next in line is already unknown to me, but there must be others who take decisions before the thing is broadcast and distributed free of charge all around the world.

            The peers of Scoopy are also interesting, all those who signed the Nouvel Obs petition. Most of them also know how irresponsibly these Israel-Palestine-conflict stories are done in the MSNM, they’re doing them after all. Here Richard Landes would eventually admit some conspiracy theory, but I doubt it. They just share these assumptions (A1 to A3) that have gradually led to such corruption. And they’re not going to make the first move to correct it, that’s indeed something that will have to come from higher up, much higher up. Luc Rosenzweig broke out, but wasn’t really involved anymore (and retired I think). That he’s Jewish only matters under assumption (A2).

            The one that one would need to turn around to make a really big splash is Scoopy himself. Let him redeem himself. But after all those years of stonewalling and denial. After his book (2010)!

            So there we are. Let’s just work for the little victory and Karsenty’s honour.

            It would also be useful to find out more from inside sources about how Pallywood really works, how Palestinian cameramen and their Western journalist-handlers are effectively involved. It looks as if there is a lot of improvisation, as if involvement is mainly passive. Even the cameramen are probably surprised by the scenes when they are enacted and then scramble to get some footage (which makes for some realism). Al Durah is somewhat peculiar because only one cameraman got the dramatic scene (as far as I know); there was at least one other cameraman who was unfortunate enough to get distracted by other things while his tripod was in place near the scene (too close in fact). And what about the Palestinian film directors and the Palestinian censors who exfiltrate the footage to the Western news agencies. Is it on that I read that this Palestinian censorship and exfiltration is done very officially and in agreement with the Western news agencies? How tight is it? Are there some who get around it?

            Yes, that would be quite useful, a 50-minute documentary on Pallywood (by Richard Landes and Pierre Rehov). Dramatic ‘official’ news flashes (always close-up and confusing) alternating with wide-angle static shots of the Pallywood open air studio, with trucks honking to get through the crowds, and cyclists and pedestrians passing by, and why not some relaxed IDF personnel watching it all from a distance (they must know a lot about Pallywood, it seems they already have this “only for the camera” label for events and casualties that don’t call for intervention). Not to forget, the comical ambulance evacuations, with these excited crowds not fearful in the least while mishandling their casualties (and don’t forget to point out to the Europeans who pays for these ambulance cars, if they’re new at least, not those battered decommissioned ones). And background explanation of course, on the serious stuff. It would make a lot of sense to ordinary viewers, and help a lot to undermine the ‘official’ narrative for which these scenes are normally used in the “News”, probably more even than this weighty Al Durah Affair.

        • Richard Landes says:

          wow. even i didn’t see that one coming.
          there’s no question but that not getting “had” is a major concern of the h-s complex. in israel the worst thing in the world (at least in some circles) is “being a freyer.”
          you point to a systematic reversal that in which both libido dominandi and libido despiciendi – trump integrity, self-criticism, taking responsibility.

          • Martin J. Malliet says:

            “Blocking out hindsight” is the key, I think (me saying that to Richard son of David Landes). The Al Aqsa Intifada wasn’t the Al Asqa Intifada at the time, just some unrest stirred up by PM Ariel Sharon. Al Durah was shot on just an ordinary Pallywood working day. Scoopy gets that footage of a child casualty, some luck! Assumption (A1) is programmed as a subroutine in the mind of Scoopy. What can go wrong? Well, there’s always a chance that something does go wrong, of course, but there are also always ways to handle that, backtracking in the light of what transpires when it transpires, in what is in any case a ‘chaotic situation outsiders know nothing about’. And of course, he wasn’t thinking at all that he ‘had the Al Aqsa Intifada Icon’: he’s neither delusional, nor clairvoyant, just a journalist with lots of experience, operating on assumption (A1). I use numbers on purpose, because that’s part of the explanation: he doesn’t have the words ‘fake but accurate’ spelled out in his mind, just the assumption (A1) somehow programmed as a subroutine. That’s all there is to it, I believe. The rest is history (“a mystery in the process of revealing itself” as Eric Voegelin called it).

          • E.G. says:


            The Al Aqsa Intifada wasn’t the Al Asqa Intifada at the time, just some unrest stirred up by PM Ariel Sharon.

            It had been planned before Sharon’s visit. Just to set things right.

            Al Durah was shot on just an ordinary Pallywood working day. Scoopy gets that footage of a child casualty, some luck! Assumption (A1) is programmed as a subroutine in the mind of Scoopy. What can go wrong? Well, there’s always a chance that something does go wrong, of course, but there are also always ways to handle that, backtracking in the light of what transpires when it transpires, in what is in any case a ‘chaotic situation outsiders know nothing about’. And of course, he wasn’t thinking at all that he ‘had the Al Aqsa Intifada Icon’: he’s neither delusional, nor clairvoyant, just a journalist with lots of experience, operating on assumption (A1).

            Very plausible. I’d state it as simply “I got hot stuff – better broadcast it asap, before the others”.
            Most journos working in such conditions crave such stuff, the more dramatic the better, and the actors are giving it to them very willingly. In acts for the camera and in narratives for the notebook (and image captions).
            This game has been recorded and told, it’s no secret.

            But this is not what the trial is about.

    • Martin J. Malliet says:

      Richard, please listen to me. Because it is what I think to be my most valuable contribution, and I’m not sure you got it (or Karsenty and his lawyers) – you’re too immersed for too long already.

      The interpretation (1)->(3)->(2)->(1) DANCE that cleared up my mistake, and which I only understood AFTER rethinking HARD when you mentioned resistance to conspiracy thinking. Because that had NO part in it, it was MUCH simpler. But it must be POINTED OUT, because I’m sure the judges in the court of first instance made exactly that same mistake.

      So I repeat: interpretation (1) means ‘hoax’ and ‘fraud’, and they all mean ‘lie’, and that’s heavy stuff in an accusation made against a respected journalist and news agency; the alternative interpretation everyone has ready at the back of his mind is (3) and NOT (2), that’s the point to grasp. You only start to really see interpretation (2) when you start to see the principal-agent problem, the difference between an ‘agent’ and a ‘source’, and the possibility of the ‘agent’ being a double-agent. Once you get there, Pallywood all of a sudden starts to make a lot of sense. And with some legalese you even come to the conclusion that interpretation (2) is in fact the same as (1) – because even a respected news agency and journalist, or rather, especially a respected news agency and journalist, cannot be allowed to hide behind the back of their cameraman agent to ward off the grave accusation of having broadcast a ‘hoax’, a ‘lie’.

      So, judges who aren’t smart or sympathetic enough to work out interpretation (2) and the principal-agent problem by themselves, will remain stuck in the choice between interpretation (1) and (3), and they will then ALL go for (3), NOT (1). If Karsenty doesn’t point it out very clearly, he may very well lose it.

      PS: I’m not with you in your comment on Enderlin (E2). Enderlin’s reply to you “they’re not that good, I would have spotted it” I believe to be an outright smokescreen: he had spotted it alright, and he had knowingly used it!

    • Martin J. Malliet says:

      On the ‘fake but accurate’ assumption (A1)

      It’s not really arrogance when you’ve started to believe it! It’s a gradual thing: lots of experience, you start to have a feel for things, you can convince yourself that your narrative gives you a good grasp of what happens even when there are no cameras around, and you allow yourself to experiment with Pallywood images. The journalistic standards simply are evacuated by routine. It’s a negative: they’re just gone, forgotten. The most important factor, though: there’s nobody to fight back! The stuff simply goes to the European or American headquarter and is broadcast. It’s not like Washington DC, where lots of people have a stake in watching your every move and fight back when necessary.

      On the scandalous resistance to criticism by France2/Enderlin

      Apart from being the third main argument Karsenty should use in his defence (the first main argument being centered on the corroboration of his criticism, and the second on the motivation of his criticism), Karsenty should also use it to get full compensation for the needless fight he had to put up because of it.

      On the smokescreen emitted by Enderlin before your inquiry (Dostoïevsky-like)

      Although I don’t think one should speculate too much in court about what really happened inside that principal-agent relationship, it is true that I do not really believe that Scoopy was entirely duped by his agent as put forward in interpreation (2) of Karsenty’s accusation (the one to which he should stick by all means). But it’s better to remain somewhat agnostic here, explain maybe what should have happened in that relationship, and then doubt that it did happen.

      He had to suspect a fake scene, he does know about Pallywood after all, but has he sufficiently and forcefully tested the fake hypothesis? That’s what journalistic standards required him to do. But people have strange ways of suspending their beliefs when it suits them: he’s not going to make an effort to convince himself thoroughly that the footage is untrustworthy, and then decide to use it anyway. Eager as he probably was to come out with the story, and with his cameraman forcefully insisting on the truth of the story, and knowing that the Palestinian propagandists in the background were in on the game, why not simply go along with it? The child is probably unharmed, he thinks, what a relief! That may even have facilitated it: he was not dealing with real death, just with an image of death. And then assumption (A1) can be relied on: something of that sort was bound to happen anyway, with that Likudnik Sharon pushing the Palestinians to the wall. And the scoop was his! Free of charge for all to see!

      To you, of course, he cannot simply admit the truth that he willingly used a suspected fake.

      But he can also not pretend and concede to you even the slightest possibility that he was duped by his agent. Yes, pretend, because making that concession to you would not be the truth he holds to his chest. He may be tempted to relieve his conscience by making that kind of concession to you and to become your friend. But if he is a man who knows about power games, he knows that he cannot let himself be tempted. Because then things could start to unravel very quickly, and he could end up being publicly exposed as an incompetent principal who has used a Pallywood fake.

      No way! He must stick to his guns, and uphold the fiction all the way through: “Impossible, I have my agent under control, the story is true, the child is dead”.

      (I have had this explained to me by a military man who knew about power games: “Never, ever, depart from the lie you have started with by making a concession to your adversary”. It’s very convincing advice: it would be making a move on your adversary’s terms, and you can’t know what comes next. If you move your position it must be on your own terms. And the safest thing most of the time is simply to stay put. Let your adversary wear himself out. And that’s what he did over all those 12 years.)

      • Martin says:

        On the ‘fake but accurate’ assumption (A1)

        It’s not really arrogance when you’ve started to believe it! It’s a gradual thing: lots of experience, you start to have a feel for things, you can convince yourself that your narrative gives you a good grasp of what happens even when there are no cameras around, and you allow yourself to experiment with Pallywood images. The journalistic standards simply are evacuated by routine. It’s a negative: they’re just gone, forgotten

        The banality of (journalistic) Evil.

        • Richard Landes says:

          that’s why i call it the augean stables. the media never cleaned, and pallywood and its corollaries are the product of a long-standing incrustation of bad habits.

          • Richard Landes says:

            that’s why i call it the augean stables. the media never cleaned, and pallywood and its corollaries are the product of a long-standing incrustation of bad habits.

            I am at a loss what to propose for countering this media indulgence in corrupt reporting against Israel.

            I saw your suggestion about documenting the pattern that takes Palestinians at their word and Israelis as liars until proven innocent. But even if we do so (as you have been doing in your blogs) how can the truth spread?

            I write at an insignificant weekly Greek newspaper (started a new column on Israel and Greek anti-Semitism 9 weeks ago) where i act qua media watchdog, criticizing the Greek MSM reporting on Israel (an easy one, for they are worse than the Guardian).

            I obviously prefer to concentrate on the most prestigious Greek newspapers, since it is them that affect people’s attitudes on Israel.

            I have found patently false claims in them (e.g. false numbers of Palestinian victims) and the usual slanted coverage (the best-selling Greek daily reported on an incident that one Palestinian victim in Pillar of Defense was pregnant, and immediately after that referred to the three Israeli victims, not mentioning that a female Israeli was pregnant, too: an obvious bias to create sympathy for the Palestinians and to dehumanize Israelis).

            I call them out as harshly as possible, in the (too ambitious, given my and my newspaper’s readership status) hope of initiating a public dialogue.

            But the Greek MSM don’t feel like responding even when called anti-Semites and even when they are accused of having lied.

            They silently brush off the accusations and proceed as usual.

            Come and think of it, why should they respond? If they renounce that they are anti-Semites, then they will have to admit that they just copy/paste a big part of the reporting done by the European MSM. And this would be even more difficult to admit than owning up to anti-Semitism – “call me anything, but not unreliable!”.

            I am in a quandary – meanwhile, i’ll stick to what CAMERA and Honest Reporting do.

          • E.G. says:

            Dionissis Mitropoulos,

            a. Kol HaKavod! (trans. from Hebrew – you deserve all honour!)

            b. Yes, looks like calling names is not effective – actually that’s the MSM game (e.g., branding as Fascists, Reactionaries, Homophobes, Islamophobes…). Indeed, demonstrating lack of reliability could be more effective. Credence/credibility is supposedly a precious journalistic capital.

          • Martin J. Malliet says:

            Dionissis: Have you seen my “Simple interrogation dialogue to reveal anti-semitism (of the new type) in critics of Israel”? At:

            (If you want to discuss, please do it over there and not here.)

            It can certainly be improved, but I still believe that the ‘crime against humanity’ argument can be substantiated and should not be watered down. I also believe that the fundamental assumption, which the interrogation is designed to bring out, is valid: namely that even outspoken European anti-zionists, when pushed in interrogation, do not go to the ultimate conclusion that the Jewish State of Israel should ‘disappear’, not even in theory, as in the theoretical wish that it should never have been created.

            I’m not entirely clear, but my feeling is that Israelis aren’t forceful enough in their defense (don’t want to boldly use that ‘crime against humanity’ argument) to make an impression on those who aren’t already willing to be convinced. And Israeli diplomacy should take the lead, of course, but they seem to have given up on the Europeans altogether. It’s as if Jews are already discouraged before they even get started, by some (understandable) conviction “that they’ve always hated us anyway”.

            So my idea would be: don’t bother to fight all the red herrings, concentrate on the initial contradiction: “If you’re not against Israel as such, why don’t you first tell the Arabs or Palestinians (or even Persians now) who started the war to put an end to it? Before you criticise us for defending ourselves too forcefully? That for all our history we needed to defend ourselves, don’t you think that’s proof enough? You who live in peaceful Norway (or wherever)! And who thinks that the conflict should be settled by negotiated agreement, as between civilised people. Who do you think refused to negotiate, back in 1947-1948?” And don’t hesitate to cut through the crap, don’t hesitate to shout: “You’ve understood nothing! Come back when you have!”

            If you go after the red herrings, you’re lost. That’s what red herrings are for: to distract you and to wear you out.

            Appealing to intererest, as Richard Landes sometimes does – “never forget, Jews are only the first victims of anti-semitism” – is well founded, but also sounding a bit opportunistic, and that’s never all that convincing. Prejudice is a strange thing to fight, you can’t attack it frontally, if you want to push it off balance. Making sure you keep your own balance is certainly the first prerequisite. On that point Israel doesn’t seem to have much of a problem (from my distant point of view). And that’s probably the main reward of the zionist project.

          • Martin J. Malliet says:

            “Questioning style should be adjusted to the interlocutor?” I really think that that is a fundamental mistake. Your questioning style or whatever else should be adjusted to only ONE thing: that what YOU stand for. That’s why keeping your balance is the first prerequisite! Once you’ve done that, and you KNOW what you stand for, everything comes easily. And that it works like that is also part of what philosophers call the “natural social order”. We’ve lost all that ‘science’, maybe not intuitively in natural settings, but intellectually when thinking about it in political settings. By ‘science’ I mean the science of Honoré de Balzac, or Fjodor Dostoïevsky, common sense sociologists faithful to ‘methodological individualism’, without a need for a word like ‘sociology’ (or ‘interlocutor’). Where is the dialogue going, when you’re busy “adjusting your discussion style to the interlocutor”? Down the drain! And what we will end up with is a world full of enraged people shouting at each other solipsistically. We’re almost there already. Just look at what Moishe Pipik aka Mika is coming to. (See also: theories about Jewish canaries in the coal mine.)

          • Martin J. Malliet says:

            Here’s an example of what I think dialogue should look like, and why “adjusting our discussion style to your interlocutor” is a bad idea (or simply unnecessary):

            Imagined response by POTUS to 2006 letter from President Ahmadinejad, a letter that is very similar in content and argumentation style to his speeches at the UN General Assembly (2012 and other years).


            (Western politician’s response: US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice dismissed the letter as “offering nothing new” and the White House said there would be no formal written reply.)

            (Western intellectual’s response: Stokes, Karina, Ahmadinejad’s letter to Bush opens dialogue in Middle Eastern rhetorical style, Journal of Language and Politics, Volume 9, Number 1, 2010, pp. 96-114(19) – Abstract: “Understanding how Middle Eastern rhetoric differs from Western communication can aid in deciphering diplomatic correspondence like the 2006 letter from President Ahmadinejad of Iran. Failure to understand such communications and respond appropriately may result in missed opportunities to avert hostilities or establish effective rapport with other nations. Success in grasping the intent of Iran’s diplomatic overture can provide a basis for creating a response that expresses American sentiments in a way that can be seen as intelligent and appropriate by Middle Eastern recipients. Such correspondence could entail establishing a respectable ethos, arranging content as expected, and emphasizing common values. Knowledge of the Middle Eastern rhetorical tradition can inform a viable understanding for diplomatic correspondence.”)

            (My question: are Western politicians and intellectuals out of their minds? To miss out on such an opportunity to speak, not only to the Iranian President, but to the Iranian people as well, who may need some encouragement?)

            Mr President Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad

            I’m grateful for your letter and the questions you ask. They are good questions, and the answers to them are of the greatest importance. Fortunately, the answers to these questions are also very easy to find. What is very unfortunate, though, is that you cannot find these answers by yourself. Because if you were able to find these answers by yourself, the central question you ask in your letter – “how long must the people of the world pay for the incorrect decisions of some rulers?” – would never have become so pressing!

            Iraq and WMD

            You ask how I can justify the occupation of Iraq (and all the terrible consequences, as well as the heavy burden on our Treasury) “because of the possibility of the existence of WMD” in that country. The answer is simple: Iraq is not simply a “country”, it is a country with a people and a government; and what you call “the possibility of the existence of WMD” is not simply a “possibility”, it is the result of an act of the Iraqi government for which that government is responsible. The Iraqi government could have cooperated with us in order to prove that they had no intention to produce or to possess WMD, in other words, that there was no “possibility of the existence of WMD” in their country.

            But the Iraqi government refused to do so. It is only then that I had to ask myself the question: if the Iraqi government is not prepared to cooperate with us and to show their good faith, how great is the threat posed by that government, which is possibly intent on acquiring WMD? And how representative is that government of the Iraqi people, of whom I naturally assume that they want to live in peace with the rest of the world? Because if that assumption is correct, and I believe it to be correct, an Iraqi government that is representative of the Iraqi people would have cooperated with us and shown their good faith.

            It is only logical that I had to come to the conclusion that the Iraqi government, which refused to cooperate and to prove that they were not intent on acquiring WMD, was not representative of the Iraqi people and was therefore a threat to the rest of the world (and indirectly to the Iraqi people itself). I certainly wish I could have concluded otherwise. But for that the premises would have needed to be different. Not the logic, as you seem to suggest.

            Western oppression and cooperation

            The question isn’t in your letter, but I can hear you ask: why should the Iraqi government, or any other government, have to cooperate with us and show their good faith, when we ask for it? Aren’t they independent?

            I believe that the question to ask rather is: why should they NOT cooperate with us and show their good faith? Even when they are independent?

            Because asking the first question is nothing else but a perverse trick to make a legitimate request for cooperation appear as an illegitimate request for submission. In other words, it is an act of bad faith disguising itself as an act of proud resistance against alleged oppression. Struggle against oppression may be a religious duty for the faithful. But I’m sorry to say, jihad against Western oppression construed in such a fraudulent manner is plainly a scam intended to mislead the faithful. And as you point out correctly yourself, “telling lies is reprehensible in any culture: people do not like to be lied to”, not in Iran, not anywhere else.

            Israel and the Palestinians

            You ask how one can justify the “establishment of a new country with a new people” where it hadn’t existed before, and especially the cost at which it was established. Again, the answer is simple: time doesn’t stand still, and the Jewish people, which wasn’t “new” as you say, wished to establish a Jewish state in Israel at that time.

            The maps may be difficult to find, but there are other sources that indicate that the old Jewish people once had a state or at least a country in Israel. You also correctly assume that the unbelievable murder of a very large number of Jewish people is not only true, but a contributing factor to this wish of the remaining Jewish people to establish a Jewish State in Israel (six million is indeed no more than a rough estimate, but if it turned out that the exact count was only 5,223,119, the murder would be just as unforgivable). Now, when the Jewish people and their representatives had this understandable wish to establish a Jewish state in Israel, they were very conscious of the fact that the land wasn’t just there for them to take, but that the creation of a Jewish state in Israel had to proceed by negotiated agreement with the people already living in the land.

            What happened then goes a long way to explain not only why I continue to support the Jewish State of Israel, but especially why the “cost” at which it was established was so high (and continues to be high). It is the simple fact that the Arab rulers who claimed to be representatives of the people living in the land (a claim that was obviously untrue for at least some of the Jewish and Christian people who were also living in the land) refused to cooperate and to negotiate an agreement (just as Saddam Hussein refused to cooperate and to prove his good faith). They assumed that they had a right proven beyond any doubt to the land in question, and thereby a right to simply reject altogether the wish of the Jewish people to establish a Jewish state in Israel. However, this right to reject the wish of the Jewish people cannot be proven any better than the right of the Jewish people to establish a Jewish state in Israel (there are also no maps of a Palestinian state in that land at that time). Which is to say that the refusal by the Arab rulers to cooperate and to negotiate an agreement was not only a very unfriendly act, it was also unlawful before God, who wants us to find ways to coexist and to live in peace in this only world he gave us.

            It is true, the representatives of the Jewish people, when confronted with the refusal by the Arab rulers to negotiate, did not simply abandon their wish to create a Jewish state in Israel. They went ahead and created the Jewish State of Israel without an agreement. But you must also acknowledge that they didn’t simply take all the land, they just took that part of the land on which they thought that an agreement could have been reached, so that an agreement would still be possible after the fact, an agreement on how to share the land and establish two states, a Jewish state and a Palestinian state, that could prosper together in peace on that same land. They also didn’t simply displace, let alone massacre, the Arab population in their new state, although that population behaved in a rather hostile way following the example of the Arab rulers.

            The real and deplorable “cost” of establishing the Jewish State of Israel thus didn’t simply occur in “the process”, it only occurred when the Arab rulers, in defence of their unproven right to reject negotiations with the Jewish people, decided to make war on the new Jewish State of Israel in order to destroy it. And that was definitely an unlawful and criminal “phenomenon” (to use a word you seem to like a lot). A criminal “phenomenon” for which both the Jewish people and the Palestinian people pay the price until today, and unfortunately will continue to pay the price as long as the Arab (and Persian, I might add) perpetrators of that criminal “phenomenon” will hold on to their hatred of the Jewish State of Israel.

            The people and its rulers

            The central question you ask – “how long must the people of the world pay for the incorrect decisions of some rulers?” – has thus a very simple answer: as long as there are rulers who make incorrect decisions! And you cannot simply assume that the rulers making the incorrect decisions are always the others, and never you yourself! Did that simple reflection ever cross your mind? Did you ever ask yourself how you could do yourself a lot of good for the people of the world paying the price for incorrect decisions? Because if you do not ask yourself that question, the day will come when God will ask you why you never did.

            I for myself am certainly afraid of that day of reckoning. Not because I haven’t asked myself the question. But because I cannot know for certain that I’ve always found the right answer. I said before that the answers I can give to your questions are easy to find. This is only true insofar that it is easy to find answers that are not completely wrong or “incorrect”, to use your words. But it is very possible that the decisions I’ve made were not always the best that I could have made. I only wish, when taking these decisions, that I could meet more often with leaders who are trying hard as well to find the right answers, and less often with leaders who simply content themselves with asking self-righteous questions of others, and of me in particular.

            May God have mercy on our souls.

            Yours sincerely,


            PS: I almost forgot. On the question of Iranian nuclear science: you can deduce from my answers to your other questions that I do not condemn nuclear science as such; it is the good faith of yourself and of other leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran, when it comes to not using that science to develop a nuclear weapons capability, that I ask to be demonstrated. Again, just as it was for Saddam Hussein, it is easy for you to prove your good faith, as there are so many ways to do that. Calling upon the Iranian people to shed their blood as martyrs for the Islamic revolution isn’t one of them, though. This whole “phenomenon” of bloody martyrdom, which was started by the ayatollah Khomeini, but of which you and ayatollah Khamenei also seem to be very fond, strikes me as wholly incompatible with your concern for “the people of the world paying the price for the incorrect decisions of some rulers”. Because it suggests that the Islamic rulers of Iran, including yourself, act upon the principle that the heavier the price they make the people of the world pay for their incorrect decisions, the more glorious these incorrect decisions become in the eye of God! Therefore I must warn you: I do not believe that this repulsive “phenomenon” can be “rationalised or explained” by your faith in the one and only God. I take it to be a clear sign of your godforsaken madness!

            PPS: I can just as well add, so as to spare you the trouble of writing me another letter full of questions, that there is always a way out of this godforsaken madness: it is the way of repentance. I pray, may you find it soon.

  8. Dave says:

    I am not sure from this discussion what factual findings if any have been made by the French courts in this lawsuit. If I read Prof Landes correctly, the issue at the next stage of the appeal proceedings will be a narrow one: did Karsenty libel Enderlin and France 2 by suggesting that they had deliberately or recklessly produced a misleading or inaccurate film about the death of Mohammed al Durah?

    But have the courts reached any conclusion on the underlying facts? Specifically, as to whether the IDF or Palestinian gunmen killed the boy, or whether the former or the latter are more likely to have killed him, or whether he was even killed at all?

    Can anyone clarify this please?

    • E.G. says:


      February 28, 2012

      The French Supreme Court overturns the judgment of the Court of Appeals, rendered on May 21 2008, dismissing the defamation charges against Phillippe Karsenty. The basis of the decision is that the Court of Appeals was wrong to have ordered France 2 to show the complete footage shot the day of the al-Durah incident, on the grounds that a court cannot help the accused prove his innocence. Therefore, another hearing was ordered where the issues could be re-litigated, but without the screening of the France 2 footage.

      • Martin J. Malliet says:

        On the burden of proof in the Enderlin vs Karsenty trial

        This question is only confusing because the plaintiff is a news agency being accused by the defendant of bringing out an untruthful story.

        If we forget about the news agency, it is indeed right that the defendant must “prove his innocence” by proving that his accusation against the plaintiff was founded; it wouldn’t be right to ask the plaintiff to prove a counter-factual, namely that he is NOT what the defendant accused him to be (or to have done or said).

        With the plaintiff being a news agency (in the business of bringing out truthful stories it can back up with proof) accused by the defendant of having brought out an untruthful story, the same rule starts to look strange, because it means that the defendant must now “prove his innocence” by proving a counter-factual (that the story is NOT true), whereas it should now be easy for the plaintiff to prove what isn’t a counter-factual anymore (that the story is true and that he can back it up with proof).

        Frank Van Dun has two articles on natural law jurisprudence that are relevant, starting with the insight that your reputation or credit isn’t your property (it only exists in the judgment of others):

        “Against Libertarian Legalism: a comment on Kinsella and Block” (2003)
        “Natural Law and the Jurisprudence of Freedom” (2004)

        (Bibliography with links at

        PS: The wording in the verdict by the Cour de Cassation “that a court cannot help the accused prove his innocence” is of course very strange, as the whole purpose of justice is to protect the innocent. But in this type of case (libel suit) it makes sense to say that the accused “must prove his innocence”. But that’s not what I remember having read. I remember that the point was that the defendant must prove that he had sufficient ground for making his accusation at the time when he made it, and that evidence obtained after that date was in any case irrelevant. And I think Karsenty himself somewhere said that even if Enderlin today admitted his fraud, theoretically he could still sue Karsenty for libel back in 2004.

        • Martin J. Malliet says:

          “because it means that the defendant must now “prove his innocence” by proving a counter-factual (that the story is NOT true)”

          But the presumption on the part of the court is that the story is true.

          I think that the rationale behind the exemption of plaintiffs from bearing the onus of proof in libel suits rests on considerations unrelated to what you called “counterfactuals” ( maybe it rests on the consideration that the plaintiff should not have to waste resources and time to defend himself against the other party because it was the other party that perturbed the social order by his verbal aggression? And that such behavior should be discouraged by forcing upon hypothetical future slanderers the onus of proof?).

          Just playing the devil’s advocate – literally the devil in our case, considering how Israel is treated by the MSM.

          • Martin J. Malliet says:

            You seem to think that making an accusation per se is a disturbance of the social order, but that’s not the case: only making an UNfounded accusation is a disturbance. And that’s why onus of proof and counter-factuals are exact opposites. Making a founded accusation is not a disturbance, it’s very useful for maintaining the social order, and the accused will leave you in peace, because he knows that the accusation is founded and that you will be able to back it up with proof. Just as unfounded accusations are something a rational man will not do, because he knows that the accused knows that the accusation is unfounded and that the accused will sue him successfully for damages. I think ebay credentials work like this, and I suppose the Antwerp diamond trade also relies heavily on that information logic for reputation and credit. It’s not called a ‘natural social order’ for nothing by natural law philosophers, and it’s quite a sophisticated thing to understand, hence the idea that jurisprudence (law) is a science (and not just legislative or bureaucratic management know-how as it is mostly taught in law school). Go back to Frank Van Dun, it’s interesting and eye-opening (and he’s as good a teacher as Richard Landes).

        • Martin J. Malliet says:

          You seem to think that making an accusation per se is a disturbance of the social order, but that’s not the case: only making an UNfounded accusation is a disturbance.

          Yes, i think that making an accusation is a perturbation of the social order, but, if it is justified (founded), then one should proceed and make it anyway, for the very reasons that you cited (effective deterrence of whatever the object of the justified accusation is, among others).

          By “perturbation” i mean anything that generates tensions. Even justified accusations generate tensions, but they are indispensable for the long-term stability of the society at hand – so as to minimize tensions in the long run.

          I am just expressing my moral and political intuitions here. My basic pertinent moral intuition is that she who makes any claim is the one responsible for proving it – the justification i provided for the onus of proof just came on the spur of the moment, i had never thought in depth about it.

          Go back to Frank Van Dun, it’s interesting and eye-opening (and he’s as good a teacher as Richard Landes).

          I will, thanks for the tip. I am a libertarian myself (the unsophisticated variety, basically motivated by the “please, don’t touch me Ms state” attitude, i haven’t read on the subject), and i love analytic philosophy, so if Van Dun happens to write clearly (not simplistically) i will owe you one good suggestion.

  9. E.G. says:

    Martin J. Malliet,

    Regarding the Ramallah Shoah-denying chief’s treatment of the press, both local and Intl., Khaled Abu Toameh published quite a few articles. Free it isn’t. Nor is it in Hamastan.

    My concern is not as much for Karsenty’s honour. I’m far more concerned about MSM having lost it, inter alia due to their incessant demonisation of Israel. The al Durah libel is a nasty means in this campaign, because it’s patently false. And inaccurate. Anyone who went through basic IDF training knows that this kind of shooting is in total contradiction with the IDF spirit and regulations. By extension, it’s un-Israeli. Scoopy may be interested in defending his honour and reputation, but the issue is the facts he distorts, for the sake of whatever agenda or other considerations on his mind.
    I believe Karsenty’s motives lie with the latter concerns, although he got involved directly by a colleague asking him, the day after Scoopy’s “report” was broadcast “what have you done?!” – a French Jew was being held accountable for the IDF’s “misdeeds”. Well, it’s another Franco-Israeli Jew, and the state organisation he works for that should be held accountable for such a smear that polluted far too many minds on the Planet.

    FYI, Pallywood did not start in 2000, nor did it stop there and then. It’s a cultural thing that was already used (though not in its visual version) during the first Intifada – the 1936-39 “Revolt” and recorded in the Peel commission report (and testimonies).

    Last but not least, proportionality. According to the UN, some 60,000 Syrians, mostly civilians, have been killed between March 15, 2011, and Nov. 30, 2012. That’s about the number of Arabs, mostly military, killed during nearly 65 years of Israeli-Arab conflict, out of which about 6000 are Arab “Palestinians”. About the same number of refugees have been recorded in 1948/9 and 2011-12, fleeing Mandatory Palestine and Syria, respectively. But “world opinion” was only moved by photos of dead Syrian children recycled as Gaza children victims of IDF “Pillar of Defence” operation.
    That’s Israel Double Standard Time.

  10. Martin J. Malliet says:

    Plan of Karsenty’s Defense

    (1) The meaning of the accusation (criticism) and on what it is founded.

    Interpretation (2), explaining why it is different from the usual criticism of flawed reporting as in interpretation (3), the principal-agent problem at the heart of it, which is Pallywood and assumption (A1).

    Then marshalling all the evidence for suspicion of Pallywood (too much for me).

    (2) The motivation of the criticism and why it is important.

    Starting of course from honest reporting and journalistic integrity as its foundation (the obligation never to compromise on journalistic standards). The role of assumption (A1) in allowing the narrative to dominate the facts, especially dissonant facts, and how this can lead to widespread corruption of reporting.

    Probably concentrating on the (A3) narrative: Israeli defensive oppression provoking Palestinian violent resistance; blacking out the possible alternative of Palestinian hateful warmongering provoking more Israeli defensive oppression. With Al Durah a case in point: a Western news agency duped into faking Israeli defensive oppression where there was none, and thereby fueling violent resistance as secretly planned for the Al Aqsa Intifada. (Scoopy may not have been clairvoyant in creating the Al Aqsa Intifada Icon, but it cannot be excluded that some Palestinian strategists had a better overview than he did.)

    (3) The resistance to criticism by France2/Enderlin as a confirmation ex post facto of the legitimacy of the criticism

    Our accusation and criticism should never have led to a legal dispute and a protracted battle before the courts. If France2/Enderling had been willing from the outset to take up our legitimate criticism in good faith, and to examine their reporting and their news gathering procedures accordingly, our goal would have been reached and our criticism would have had a real impact.

    Now all we can win is that the absurd attempt of a respected news agency to silence a media watchdog is warded off, so that at least the legitimacy of our criticism is theoretically acknowledged by the court.

    That’s not much in terms of practical consequences for the dubious media practices we set out to criticise. So that it is only normal that we ask the court to award us full compensation for the cost of the needless legal battle the plaintiff has dragged us into over many years.

    • E.G. says:

      Lovely, except this is not what the trial is about.
      If you bother to read the legal docs, you’ll find out that the problem is whether Karsenty slandered Scoopy or not.
      The elements taken into consideration by the court are the data available to PK at the time, and the nature of the terms PK used in order to criticise Scoopy and his TV chain.

      Scoopy’s knowledge, motives, psychology, ideology, honour, reputation, expertise, etc. are irrelevant. Nor is the fabricated nature of the report he edited/authored. Nor are the consequences of the broadcast and distribution of that report.
      In short, PK has to demonstrate he had good enough reasons to suspect Scoopy’s production, and that the harsh terms he used to publish his suspicions constitute legitimate criticism.

      • Martin J. Malliet says:

        I agree with all you say. And in my view it has to be dealt with under the main argument (1). That’s why I said that my most valuable contribution has been on the interpretation (1)->(3)->(2)->(1) dance, pointing out very clearly to the court that his accusation must be understood as (2) and not (1). Because otherwise the judges will go for (3), as in the first trial, and interpretation (3) is indeed not compatible with the “outrageous” wording of his accusation of having broadcast a hoax, fraud, fake.

        But this is a French court. Arguments (2) and (3) are indeed our points, but the court will like them, if only we solve problem (1) for them first.

        • E.G. says:

          Whether PK wins or not, it won’t be over.
          This trial is one more opportunity to raise public attention to the real problem: corrupt reporting.

          • E.G. says:

            Corrupt reporting at the (mostly Western) taxpayer’s expense: s/he is paying to get fooled.

          • Richard Landes says:

            we need to document a pattern: believe what the palestinians say until proven wrong; doubt and dismiss what the israelis say until proven true, and when that happens, fall silent. Durah journalism in action.

          • E.G. says:

            believe what the palestinians say until proven wrong; doubt and dismiss what the israelis say until proven true, and when that happens, fall silent. Durah journalism in action.

            Report unchecked “Palestinian” narratives as truth, whatever contradicting proof there may be; Report as some discredited narrative what an Israeli from the “wrong” side dares utter. If ever the Israeli narrative gets some empirical support, use all means to discredit and silence it.

          • Martin J. Malliet says:

            E.G.: why don’t you write us a script for “The Hidden But Possibly True Story of Al Durah and the Al Aqsa Intifada”, showing how Palestinian politicians may be a lot smarter than Western journalists and human rights activists think? The ordering of a “child casualty by the IDF” from the Pallywood Studios for propaganda purposes should figure in it, of course. Making it very clear that you believe it to be an hypothetical draft of history, one among other possible second drafts, and not the only second draft you believe in, and that as good conspiracy theorist you want everybody to believe. Please!

          • E.G. says:

            Try improving your reading skills before giving orders.

          • Martin J. Malliet says:

            Orders? Didn’t I say “please”? OK, I can now draw my conclusions.

          • Martin J. Malliet says:

            E.G. (third attempt): Patterns and the second draft of “The Hidden But Possibly True Story of Al Durah and the Al Aqsa Intifada”

            On could try to do the following:

            (1) script the second draft in full and skillfully separate the facts that are blackened out by the usual MSNM narrative based on assumptions (A2-A3) (and mark them accordingly) from the other facts that will be retained in the MSNM narrative (in that way making the ‘pattern’ visible);

            (2) derive intermediate draft from (1) by leaving out the ‘blackened out facts’ (skeleton of MSNM narrative);

            (3) rewrite the initial MSNM draft based on skeleton (2) with appropriate rewording of the retained facts.

            If I were in command of all the relevant facts, I would love to try it myself.

            (I’m not saying it’s an easy thing to do. I wouldn’t make that appeal to you if it were. And this is indeed a mixture of sarcasm and flattery, no need to point it out again.)

  11. Martin J. Malliet says:

    On peer pressure and Catherine Nay

    The Leconte-Jeambar episode showing how peer pressure folded is indeed an important event in the Al Durah Affair itself, i.e. the dispute between Philippe Karsenty and France2/Enderlin on whether the news story was indeed based on a Pallywood fake or not.

    I haven’t tried to read more on how the folding of peer pressure came about, and on whether there was indeed pressure exerted the other way around by France2/Enderlin on their peers.

    Because I think there is another episode of peer pressure that is as important as the other, i.e. the peer pressure that was exerted or not to rectify the Mohammed Al Durah story right after it was broadcast, with the Mohammed Al Durah story having the potential of a clear case of ‘anti-semitic blood libel’ if it had been proven at the time that it was indeed a Pallywood fake.

    Well, to make no fuss about it: it still has that potential, under the same condition, that is that it is proven that the Mohmmed Al Durah story was indeed a Pallywood fake, which can only be done with a confession, by Charles Enderlin and Talal Hassan Abu Rahma.

    But at the time, what did and did not happen ‘peer pressure wise’?

    I mainly remember Catherine Nay’s indignant statement saying that Israel had definitely crossed the line and had “wiped out the crime of the Warsaw ghetto with the crime of Al Durah”.

    Now, what Catherine Nay said in her home when seeing the news we don’t know. The indignant statement on the other hand is a well pondered statement she made to let us know. Catherine Nay is a French grown-up woman and political journalist, and even philosopher. We also know that every little Frenchman learns early in his life “qu’un tort n’en justifie jamais un autre” (two wrongs don’t make aright). So how did Catherine Nay let herself be carried away to make that shameful statement?

    Philippe Karsenty should call her as a witness just to show how important his court trial is; a trial that is, to be clear, not about the truth in the Al Durah Affair, but only about Philippe Karsenty’s right to question the truth as it was stated in the broadcast made by France2/Enderlin.

    • Richard Landes says:

      interesting idea to call her as a witness. reportedly she doesn’t want to talk about it. i actually think this remark is critical. it not only shows a completely deranged notion of morality (replacing a symbol representing the deliberate murder of six million people, including one million children with the picture of one child killed in a cross-fire).

      on one level it’s just sadistic. on another it’s part of a kind of negative replacement theology (the israelis replace the nazis as the evil genocidal racists that the world community hates – Durban), while europeans, at last freed of holocaust guilt can pursue their positive replacement theology of representing the moral cutting edge of the universe. such a combination of moral narcissism and moral sadism will go down in history as a major moment in the moral disorientation of the west in the 21st century, and the opening of a gaping hole through which jihad drove its cognitive tanks.

      as for the peer group pressure that shut up leconte and jeambar, it was reportedly the high sign from jacques attali.

      • Richard Landes says:

        on one level it’s just sadistic. on another it’s part of a kind of negative replacement theology (the israelis replace the nazis as the evil genocidal racists that the world community hates – Durban), while europeans, at last freed of holocaust guilt can pursue their positive replacement theology of representing the moral cutting edge of the universe. such a combination of moral narcissism and moral sadism will go down in history as a major moment in the moral disorientation of the west in the 21st century

        Just to add two more contributing factors, emanating from politicians’ concerns: a predilection to appease the European Muslim minorities so as to avoid Muslim riots, plus a willingness to please oil-producing Arab leaderships.

        • Richard Landes says:

          that doesn’t explain the enthusiasm europeans showed for this. and of course the irony is, they were feeding the riots and the forces seeking to devour them. moral derangement and suicidal stupidity cannot be explained by trying to please/appease an enemy.

          • Richard Landes says:

            that doesn’t explain the enthusiasm europeans showed for this. and of course the irony is, they were feeding the riots and the forces seeking to devour them. moral derangement and suicidal stupidity cannot be explained by trying to please/appease an enemy.

            You are right, the two factors i mentioned are not an explanation of the European penchant for attributing moral equivalence between Nazis and Jews Israelis, or, more generally, for rejoicing in anti-Israel lethal narratives.

            What i had in mind was another phenomenon and would have been better expressed as “two more contributing factors in the perpetuation of MSM anti-Israel bias are the attempts to please Muslim minorities and oil-producing Arab leaders”.

            From my experience in Greece, some Ministers are trying to be cozy with influential journalists and the more prestigious media, and vice versa – a win-win (albeit immoral)cooperation: the media getting inside info, the politicians getting positive coverage and a a chance to push their agenda through the media.

            You are right about the suicidal character of appeasing an intransigent enemy (especially one that is characterized by the honor-shame mindset and, therefore, is bound to interpret appeasement as weakness and view it with contempt and a realization that violence against Europeans is rewarding).

            But i get the feeling that some politicians are concerned with the too-short run, “let them riot after i have left office!” – thus spoke a hypothetical Interior Minister.

            If it is true that said politicians try to push this appeasement agenda through their pals in the media, it makes sense to see them as a factor that helps in the perpetuation of anti-Israel coverage. Sometimes the journalists might not even need an explicit request by the politician, they just know what would be considered by those politicians proper coverage, and oblige.

            But, of course, the deciding factor in the MSM anti-Israel bias must be this eagerness of the European public to hear blood-libels against Israelis – for the reasons you mentioned, alleviating Holocaust guilt and presenting themselves and their European mindset as the cutting edge of morality. After all, the media have to satisfy the (morally perverted, in this case) needs of their audience.

            Actually, my first reply to you was off-topic!

    • E.G. says:

      If memory serves, Nay’s statement was about the al Durah image erasing and replacing the Ghetto child’s one.
      The quote may suffice.

    • Martin J. Malliet says:

      Catherine Nay: “La mort de Mohammed annule, efface celle de l’enfant juif, les mains en l’air devant les SS, dans le ghetto de Varsovie.” (Shortened English translation I’v seen appearing on what is indeed a picture of both children: “This death anuls, erases that of the little boy in the Warsaw Ghetto”.) So she didn’t say it the way I quoted it from memory, but she wasn’t simply talking about images either.

    • Martin J. Malliet says:

      What is significant though, is that she doesn’t mention the criminals, at all; it’s just one death effacing another.

  12. Martin J. Malliet says:

    On integrity, representation and honour

    (It’s the ‘representation’ part that must be worked out much better, so that’s all just for now.)

    Personal integrity -> truthful representation -> public honour = the honourable man in an honourable society.

    Personal corruption -> truthful representation -> public shame = the low-life crook.

    Personal corruption -> untruthful representation -> public honour = the respected and feared power broker (we may think of Scoopy).

    Personal integrity -> truthful representation /untruthful representation (conflict) -> public shame = the honourable man despised by a corrupt society (Socrates)

    (Also posted this somewhere else by mistake, sorry.)

    • Martin J. Malliet says:

      On honour-shame and private-public integrity-corruption

      This should probably go into some other discussion, but I had more in mind than what Richard Landes addresses in his comment. One should probably search in Plato’s dialogues for something he has on that topic. When admitting error or fault as commanded by private integrity can only mean public shame, then there is a problem; but I doubt it that people in such an elementary honour-shame culture really feel the pull of private integrity. Arthur Schopenhauer always worked himself into a frenzy when discussing the honour-code of his barabaric Prussian fellow warriors, because of its callousness and lack of private integrity. ‘Role-distance’ seems to me to be a more useful concept to approach the matter, i.e. creating a distance between my self and the actions and the roles I play, so that I can abandon the latter when learning forces me to do so without having to condemn my self to social annihilation. The other concept is ‘common knowledge’, on which I must be able to count for not having other people condemn me to social annihilation. Role distance is something I can learn by myself through experience. Common knowledge is an entirely different matter (and if I understand him right, Anthony Appiah thinks it’s up to elite groups to make the shift by giving the example – I haven’t read his book ‘The Honor Code’).

      To come back to Charles Enderlin: admitting his bad journalism and making amends by showing that he understands where his failings lie should be the honourable thing for him to do, under peer pressure, with only transitory feelings of shame. But it’s obviously not how peer pressure works in French (intellectual) society. The French are difficult in that respect, and I noticed that they don’t have a common word for ‘self-righteousness’, which must mean something.

    • Martin J. Malliet says:

      More Dostoïevsky

      Private corruption and untruthful representation are signalled by the position from which the person in question argues and acts: not from his inside position (his private integrity, which is lost), but from his outside position (untruthful representation, which he needs to keep the end result, his public honour).

      Just ask yourself how you would react when someone came to question you about your journalistic performance, suggesting that you might have missed something when checking a story. If you have indeed done your best (private integrity), your reaction will be to worry: what have I missed, show me what I have missed, because I can’t believe it, after all I have done to check that story.

      Whereas, when you already know that you have failed to check that story thoroughly, and supposing that you have made up your mind to pull it through whatever happens, your reaction will be to stonewall: is that so (mockingly), go one and teach me something new.

    • Martin J. Malliet says:

      Honour-Shame (and why I never was against it)

      It shouldn’t be abandoned, it should even be revived, in the West, the appeal to honour and the use of shame. The long term fight in developing a civil polity is over what is honourable and what is shameful as such (the problem Anthony Appiah talks about). The fight against corruption in a civil polity is over whether an honourable man can have his truthful self-representation accepted by the public, or whether his adversaries can overrule him with their power of misrepresentation. The corruption of society itself lies in the degree of power exerted by corrupt men who need to misrepresent themselves and others to keep socially alive (on top).

  13. E.G. says

    a. Kol HaKavod! (trans. from Hebrew – you deserve all honour!)

    b. Yes, looks like calling names is not effective – actually that’s the MSM game (e.g., branding as Fascists, Reactionaries, Homophobes, Islamophobes…). Indeed, demonstrating lack of reliability could be more effective. Credence/credibility is supposedly a precious journalistic capital.

    E.G. thanks for the compliment, i mean it.

    But, please, no honor! I have come to despise the concept, given its insidious effect to people’s self-image.

    I do demonstrate their lack of credibility, that’s my major task. It’s just that this does not register with the Greek media because my voice is not loud enough.

    • E.G. says:

      Sometimes it takes a little dissonance to ruin a great harmony.
      There still is a notion of honourable honour ;-)

      It may seem O.T. but it isn’t.
      How do Greeks relate to the ethnic cleansing of Greeks and Turks circa a century ago?
      How were the Greeks from Turkey welcomed?

      • E.G. says:

        Sometimes it takes a little dissonance to ruin a great harmony.

        I take it you mean my voice among the Greek MSM. Let’s hope so.

        There still is a notion of honourable honour

        I hate citing proverbs, but there is a Greek one very apropos (paraphrased a little, with no loss of meaning):

        “He who burns his tongue in soup, starts blowing at yoghurt, too”.

        That’s where i stand with regards to honor.

        How do Greeks relate to the ethnic cleansing of Greeks and Turks circa a century ago?

        They hate the Turkish.

        How were the Greeks from Turkey welcomed?

        I don’t know exactly how, i am useless history-wise, but they were integrated anyway – my grandfather from my mother’s side was such a refugee.

        I completely lack any national conscience. Corny and New Agey as it sounds, i feel a resident of planet Earth. I only make an exception in the case of Israel and support Zionism (with whatever borders) because there has never been any people persecuted so much, plus the Jews are the only ones still under persecution nowadays and they definitely need a country of their own to protect themselves.

        It was this injustice against Israel committed by the Greek Media (repeated again and again, and then again), coupled with the moral mawkishness and smugness of the pro-Palestinian crowd (that is, all of Greece) that awakened the reaction in me and turned me to Israel advocacy the last two years.

        And don’t compliment me again! It’s cost-free for me, the newspaper belongs to daddy so i bear no consequences. I am just acting under an initial healthy psychological response to pretentious moral “heroes” (who disregard the fact that their warped morality perpetuates the suffering of both Israelis and Palestinians), a response that has turned into the habit of defending Israel’s image.

        • E.G. says:

          “He who burns his tongue in soup, starts blowing at yoghurt, too”.
          Same in Hebrew :-) only with hot/cold water.

          I asked about the Greek-Turkish case because if there still are sensitivities about the issue (I know about the great love between the nations), there are examples (as well as false analogies) to be drawn or compared with the Israeli-Arab case. Of course, an even more relevant one is Cyprus.
          One editorial trick often used these days, for better or worse, is describing a situation making the reader think about one context (country), and once he/she is scandalised, let him/her know that that’s the situation in another context. Let me know whether I’m clear enough about it.

          • It won’t work with Greeks, they will say that they condemn both occupations.

          • E.G. says:

            Except that in the Israeli case it is not occupation.
            And that the Arab-Israeli conflict is not territorial. It’s about Human Rights.
            The Jewish people is stripped of its natural rights by a bunch of impostors.

            You can always ask your readers why there was no UNRWA (or a similar agency) to care for the Greeks and Turkish nationals cleansed. In these dire times for Greece it should ring a bell — does the Greek taxpayer still pay her due to the UN to care for the most privileged refugees in History? By UNRWA criteria, you’re a 3rd generation refugee: why can’t you benefit from the same largesse as an Arab under “Palestinian Authority” living in a camp in, say, Jenin? Why did your grandpa have to manage on his own just like the Jews had to? Where’s the equality?

            Were the Greeks “exchanged” compensated for their losses in Turkey? Were the expelled Cypriot Greeks compensated for their losses in Northern Turkey? The Jews who owned properties in Judea-Samaria and Gaza (before 1948) haven’t. Not to mention the ones outside Israel.

            Is there a “Right of Return” for Greeks or Turks? Is there a “Right of Return” for Cypriot Greeks to Northern Cyprus?

            See, there are quite a few issues that can be presented in one context and transposed to another one.

          • Martin J. Malliet says:

            E.G. (another attempt): I find all this interesting, and each time I learn. But what about my gut feeling that these are all red herrings? You can’t educate millions in such excruciating detail! Wouldn’t it be a better strategy to just swamp them with a very simple message? If all Israel defenders started to repeat just one simple message: “You want peace? Make peace! We’ve been waiting for you since 1947-48.”

            I expressed that same gut feeling on another blogpost, at:

          • Martin J. Malliet says:

            The single simple message “you want peace? make peace! we’ve been waiting for you since 1947-48” can be used all way round, for all those who make themselves accessories to the crime, be it before the fact, during the fact, or after the fact, and of whom Eric Voegelin simply said – in his 1964 lectures on “Hitler and the Germans” – that “under common law, they would all be hanged”.

            Take the Europeans (EU governments), by any means your most valuable target. There must be many openings for applying leverage to them. With them, never forget the money angle, they’re in a quandary already, exploit that. And then spring it on them: “You want peace? Make peace! WE’ve been waiting for you since 1947-48. When are YOU going to abandon the criminals?” Like this last thing at the UN General Assembly: how could that happen? Well, more proof of aiding and abetting.

            And that’s what my dialogue was designed for: to make manifest the implicit denial of a crime to which they are accessories since 1947-48.


  14. Martin J. Malliet says:

    Argumentation style for Karsenty’s defense

    I haven’t read all that much of Philippe Karsenty’s advocacy literature, because I find his argumentation style a bit “too French”. By that I mean that he also has this French tendency to use partisan arguments – so and so is on my side” – and appeals to authority – “and they are well respected and outstanding people in their field” (always with an inflation of qualifications, being simply good is never good enough, and you never find out why they are so outstanding).

    Anyway, that’s just to say that if I were Karsenty (and I know that I am not), I would only listen to my lawyers to find out about legalistic pitfalls, and then do the pleading myself, using only ‘natural law’ style arguments in the way I have been doing in this blogpost with comments.

    In that way I would at least be certain that the judges understand what I am about. And I would then count on their common decency to grant me my right.

    Because this trial could still go wrong, and if you look at the previous trials, it’s even the most likely outcome.

    Court of first instance: the Public Ministery (which is the more politicised part of the French justice system as they are part of the executive branch) actually took the opposite stance and pleaded in favour of the defendant (pleading leniency); the sitting judge than overruled the PM and handed the verdict to the plaintiff.

    Court of appeal – first trial: this time it was the opposite, the PM pleaded in favour of upholding the first verdict, and the sitting judges overruled him and gave the verdict to the defendant; that was quite an anomaly.

    (And because the judges had concluded that Karsenty was right, not because he had proven his case a 100%, but because he had proven that his criticism was done in good faith, the France2/Enderlin supporters generally scoffed at the ‘good faith’ argument, as if it meant no more than that “now everybody who PRETENDS to be of good faith can start slandering respected journalists”. It’s quite appalling, sickening even, to read that stuff after the surprise verdict of the first appeal trial.)

    Court of appeal – retrial: I would foresee that the PM will plead again in favour of upholding the first verdict, and that the sitting judges will not make the mistake again that got their verdict invalidated by the Court of cassation, and will simply follow the PM, so that Karsenty will lose it and will be stuck with the verdict by the court of first instance.

    Sad end of story.

    PS: If Philippe Karsenty wants me to, I’m ready to help (meaning: I’m ready to translate the stuff I have written here into French, or even to do some more).

  15. E.G

    Yes, i know that the Palestine Mandate gives Israel the right to settle in the West Bank (and Gaza). I just meant that the analogy with Cyprus would be useless as an attempt to win the Greek minds.

    If you ask me about the conflict, i have come to the conclusion that it is all about Arab/Muslim pride incapable of accepting that they have to acquiesce to their former dhimmis’ right to live in peace anywhere in formerly Islamic land.

    UNRWA and refugee treatment are not that eye-catching subjects. I am still trying to make the case clear that Hamas are not “militants” but terrorists, and that the IDF does not “target” children or civilians, but that their deaths are inadvertent, and a result of Hamas’ cynical strategy to use them as shields in order to maximize its PR benefits. I also try to ridicule the Greek neo-Nazi party “Golden Dawn” (not a very difficult task, given what they say) which is already in the Parliament, current polls give it 15%, and might become the second biggest party in Greece in case we exit the eurozone.

    Here are my first 8 articles (i take pride in my Greek writing style, but they lose awfully lot in any machine translation, the puns, the colloquialisms, the humor, the faux malice, the irony, the tweaked Greek proverbs, all go by the board).

    • E.G. says:

      I’m sorry (and feel dumb) I cannot appreciate the subtleties in your writing.
      (I vividly recall a Greek theatre troupe performing an Aristophanes comedy in Greek at the Caesarea amphitheatre in the 70’s — no surtitles, but I laughed my heart out)
      I hope your readers appreciate them.

      I guess more history (even recent one) oriented people will be sensible to uprooted people’s destinies. Just imagine your fortune (or misery) had you been an UNRWA beneficiary! No Euro-bailout concerns for you. You’d be a protected species, whatever your govt. does, whatever the Nazi (=Hamas) parties do.

  16. Martin J. Malliet says:

    I don’t know if it’s useful, or if more should be done, and by whom. But I wrote to Andrew Gilligan of the Telegraph to attract his attention.

    Al Durah Hoax – France2/Enderlin vs Philippe Karsenty final court battle starts in January 2013

    One can only be appalled by the atmosphere reigning in French public debate on the Al Durah Affair: it is all purely partisan and ideologically motivated shouting, with almost no concern for what it really is about, namely honest reporting and the integrity of journalists on which honest reporting is founded. In that atmosphere, I think that the little victory (the right to criticise France2/Enderlin for having broadcast a false Pallywood report) and the restored honour of Philippe Karsenty, who has alone defended that right for all that time, will become very precious to us, if and when it will be won. Because it can still go wrong, however absurd that may seem: a public news agency, after fighting a protracted legal battle against a media watchdog criticising their flawed reporting on Al Durah, may still be granted the right to silence the watchdog in a French court of law.

    Car cet acharnement ne vise que Philippe Karsenty, et n’a de sens parce que Philippe Karsenty est le seul à faire opposition en France. Le quotidien allemand FAZ l’a bien compris depuis la pétition de 2008 en faveur de Charles Enderlin, et ne s’est pas privé de le dire: “Solidarité aveugle – les journalistes de France soutiennent une falsification.”

    Blinde Solidarität – Frankreichs Journalisten stützen eine Fälschung – 10.06.2008 – Zunächst wurde das Urteil in Frankreich praktisch totgeschwiegen und nur in der internationalen Presse kommentiert. Inzwischen wird es von den französischen Journalisten offen bekämpft: In Paris zirkuliert eine Petition “Für Charles Enderlin”.

    Führte eine Bildmanipulation zur zweiten Intifada? – 26.05.2008 – Streit um Fernsehbilder von Mohammed al-Dura – Moderation: Dina Netz

    Der französische Medienkritiker Philippe Karsenty hatte in der Vergangenheit Zweifel an der Richtigkeit von Bildern geäußert, die ein “France 2”-Korrespondent um die Welt geschickt hatte. Darauf war zu sehen, wie der palästinensische Junge Mohammed al-Dura angeblich erschossen wird von der israelischen Armee. Die Journalistin Esther Schapira hat 2002 einen Fernsehfilm über den Fall Mohammed al-Dura gedreht und damit den Anstoß für Karsentys Recherchen geliefert.

    These two pieces I found in the German press (of 2008) show that Philippe Karsenty’s trial is much better understood over there than in France (due to Esther Schapira’s influence, apparently): they understand the plausibility of an Al Durah fake, and they understand the attempt by the French press to silence the media watchdog.

    But the title of the second piece – “did a falsified image lead to the second intifada” – is still a somewhat naive, and therefore wrong, understanding of how Pallywood works. That’s assumption (A2), the two-dimensional Arabs: Westerners, who otherwise never fail to ask ‘cui bono’, forget to ask that question even when they admit the plausibility of a falsification. So there is still a lot of explaining to do on Pallywood (but thanks to Richard Landes we already have good name for the thing, that should help).

    Is it Karsenty who believes that this Al Durah Affair is bigger than the Dreyfus Affair? He may be right ‘sur le fond’, and I’m prepared to follow him in that opinion, but it hasn’t made the splashes yet to be perceived as such. (From what I can see, it isn’t perceived at all! It’s a pure insider thing.) And that is exactly because of the (A2-A3) narrative to which the MSNM and the public (and by implication the politicians as well) seem to be wedded rather solidly in Europe, so that demonstrating a fake isn’t enough to make people question the accuracy of the narrative.

  17. […] Martin Malliet's Reflections on the Enderlin … – Augean Stables […]

  18. Martin J. Malliet says:

    Cost estimate for clean-up of Augean Stables

    As we should work on the assumption that we will win this case, and take ourselves seriously for taking up such a serious matter as corrupted reporting in the MSNM, we should also work out a basis for our compensation claim.

    We refuse to present this as a meagre claim for compensation of expenses. It’s about the principle of the value of legitimate criticism of corrupted media practices for society at large. That a respected news agency, instead of taking up our criticism in good faith, has done the exact opposite by dragging us before the courts, should be an additional reason for the court, which now has decided that our criticism was indeed legitimate and hence valuable, to give us compensation in regard of the value of that criticism. Because that value of the criticism for society at large is impossible to estimate in any practical way, we accept the approximation of €1m per year since 2000, which makes for a total of €12m.

    We are prepared to swear before the court that we will not use that money on Ferraris or similar trappings of conspicuous consumption, but on the work done by our Karsenty media ratings agency. We can already foresee the following budget of expenses:

    €2m on upgrading of the Karsenty media ratings agency itself;
    €3m on the creation of a worldwide network of media ratings agencies (investment support for existing agencies such as MEMRI, etc);
    €5m on a sustained and worldwide advertising campaign on Al Durah – the first suspected case of anti-semitic blood-libel of the 21st century;
    €2m on the production of a 50-minute infotainment documentary on Pallywood Studios (Middle-East).

    • Martin J. Malliet says:

      Erratum: €1m per year since 2000 (included) makes for a total of €13m (not €12m as written before). The additional €1m is for compensation of past expenses of Philippe Karsenty in the course of this protracted legal battle foisted on him by France2/Enderlin.

  19. Martin J. Malliet says:

    E.G.: Please, can you make an effort and write that script for “The Hidden But Possibly True Story of Al Durah and the Al Aqsa Intifada”, showing how Palestinian politicians may be a lot smarter than Western journalists and human rights activists think? You seem to know a lot about the facts, and I don’t. You should probably start with a summary of the Oslo Peace Process Trojan Horse Accords context to make credible that the Al Aqsa Intifada was indeed planned. Don’t you see how useful that can be for explaining Pallywood? It’s that context that makes it plausible after all. But make clear in your exposition style that this second draft is NOT coming from conspiracy theorists, that’s very important for credibility. It could be very useful for the court trial, and useful later on for the Augean Stables clean-up operation (see my €5m worldwide advertising campaign on ‘Al Durah – the first suspected case of anti-semitic blood-libel of the 21st century’). I’m not joking. Nor presumptuous. I’m very conscious of the fact that the French judges have the last word (as it should be, your Honour).

    • E.G. says:

      Misplaced attempt at sarcasm.

      Try feeding your Canard-WC with this kind of mumbo-jumbo.

      • Martin J. Malliet says:

        Tried. Didn’t want it. He’s just like you.

        • E.G. says:

          Going ad-pseudominem, having no other idea than promoting some Flemish idol?
          Is this a relic of Belgian fortune made in Congo?

      • Martin J. Malliet says:

        One thing with the French I never figured out: as all those finely honed skills for putting down others rarely earn them fame or riches, how come they continue to invest so heavily in them? Fernand Braudel? Deep down they’re just stubborn peasants? “C’est depuis si longtemps déjà qu’on fait fausse route, mieux vaut continuer alors!”

      • Martin J. Malliet says:

        That’s no dialogue when you knowingly use a language I cannot understand!

        • E.G. says:

          Ah mon cher, dialogue is supposed to be enriching. If your Aramaic is perfectible, I provided you with an opportunity to do so.

          Not that I’ve noticed any intention to dialogue in the ad-pseudominem and diatribes you enhanced this blog with.

      • Martin J. Malliet says:

        You’re right. The blog is for other people to read first, and dialogue between commenters comes second. If I have ‘enhanced’ this blog with inappropriate comments, I apologise, and I ask Richard Landes to clean up (which he has the right to do anyway). I’ll back off now, promise. Unless I change my mind, of course. (Was that not Antonin Artaud’s definition of liberty?)

  20. Martin J. Malliet says:

    Worldwide advertising campaign on ‘Al Durah – the first suspected case of anti-semitic blood-libel of the 21st century’ (estimated cost: €5m)

    Suspected is a necessary qualification in all of this: the case cannot be proven except with a confession by the perpetrators.

    But we should also firmly keep in mind that this story should never have been broadcast as it was, even if it were proven beyond any doubt that Pallywood was NOT involved. There is no way that journalistic standards permitted to broadcast that footage with such definitve statements about ‘who did what to whom’, as it was based on no more than the footage and the witness statement from one single source, the Palestinian cameraman agent of France2/Enderlin, from a scene that was, to say the least, chaotic and difficult to oversee. There was no mention of this weakness of the evidence for the story in the broadcast, no qualification whatsoever expressed in words such as “allegedly” and “still to be confirmed”. And there was also no obvious time pressure.

    In other words, if it wasn’t a suspected case of anti-semitic blood-libel, it was an inadvertent case of anti-semitic blood-libel.

    On first sight, that’s a very strange animal: an inadvertent libel case. But once you start to think about it, it explains a lot, not only about the general function of news media (for which inadvertent libel cases are indeed the most common variety), but also about ‘framing narratives’. And especially about the need of journalistic integrity as the foundation of it all, the commitment to scrupulous respect for standards: they, and they alone, can prevent accidents such as inadvertent libel cases from happening, whatever the ‘framing narrative’ may be, neutral or skewed.

    And that leads to another question we haven’t yet asked: what about all those other MSNM outlets that ran the story handed to them free of charge by France2/Enderlin? What about their responsibility? Because they also cannot hide behind France2/Enderlin: the decision to take it from France2/Enderlin and to broadcast it was theirs, and only theirs. The gatekeepers of journalistic standards were also there for them.

    €12m of compensation isn’t that much, in that light. And France2 is always free to share the cost with other MSNM outlets involved in the worldwide broadcast of what is at the very least an inadvertent case of anti-semitic blood libel.

    And there is another point one tends to overlook. That it was indeed anti-semitic blood libel, whether suspected or inadvertent, can be in no doubt whatsoever. Just think about what it did to the mind of a respected political journalist and philosopher such as Catherine Nay: “La mort de Mohammed annule, efface celle de l’enfant juif, les mains en l’air devant les SS, dans le ghetto de Varsovie.” Only libel can wreak such havoc. Or is it the other way around? And is it only receptiveness for anti-semitic libel that can wreak such havoc? But if it is the latter, which seems very plausible, it is only all the more reason to stop anti-semitic blood libel cases, whether inadvertent or suspected, from happening. And only journalistic integrity can do that. Which adds value, I would think, to Philippe Karsenty’s honourable effort do just that: to criticise journalistic corruption.

    No, €12m of compensation isn’t that much, in that light.

    In a way one could say that our focus on Pallywood, which brought on this legal battle in a libel (!) case against Karsenty, the critic (!) of the suspected anti-semitic blood libel case, tends to obscure the wider implications, which one could and should consider to be far more serious. But it is also clear that without suspected Pallywood involvement, they would probably have been swallowed whole. Or am I wrong again? And isn’t it that they have been swallowed whole already? The thing is history! Just think of that!

    Whatever can be done is no more than writing a second draft, and try to feed it into the stream of future history.

    “History is a mystery in the process of revealing itself.” – Eric Voegelin

  21. Martin J. Malliet says:

    On assumptions (A2) “four-dimensional Jews and two-dimensional Arabs/Palestinians/Muslims” and (A3) “desperate Palestinians (David underdogs) resisting forceful Israelis (Goliath oppressors)”

    If one reduces both assumptions to their cores, namely accountability for the Jews of Israel, and sympathy for the Palestinians, what was said before about a priori biases and unforeseeable consequences does not hold anymore, and the conclusion seems inescapable that when used by outsiders to the conflict when construeing narratives for the conflict, these core assumptions include a double bias in favour of one and the same party to the conflict: sympathy for the Palestinians with no accountability, and accountability for the Jews of Israel with no sympathy. That’s heavy stuff.

    And it may very well explain why the origin of the conflict itself, namely the rejection of the State of Israel by the Arabs and later Palestinians, has been completely eliminated from the derived narratives. And that’s even heavier stuff. Because it implies that as long as there is conflict, the Jews of Israel will be held accountable for it, while the Palestinians will earn our sympathy in it. That’s not a recipe for solving a conflict. That’s a recipe for giving the initiator of the conflict free reign to pursue the conflict as long as he is not either definitively defeated or willing to surrender.

    What has to be added to these assumption made by Westerners is the failing by Westerners themselves to make a clear and explicit distinction between conflicts of interests and conflicts of rights; a failing that is in open contradiction with their own Western ‘values’.

    Western ‘values’ (or the Western natural law tradition) do not permit to simply assimilate conflicts of interests and conflicts of rights. Conflicts of interests manifest themselves in’envy’ and ‘envy’ is to be accepted as inevitable in a world of natural inequalities. Conflicts of rights, however, manifest themselves in ‘violent boundary crossings’ (rights violations) that cannot be accepted at all in an order of lawful equality.

    The erosion of Western ‘values’ in the Western world itself can be understood as exactly that blurring of that distinction between interests and rights. And it is brought about by (or leads to?) the increase of state intervention and political arbitration of interests at the detriment of respect for individual rights, horizontal freedom of contract, and hence the order of justice and lawful equality itself.

  22. Martin J. Malliet says:

    Frank Van Dun in “Natural Law, Liberalism, and Christianity” (2001)

    The French Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen of 1789 had still insisted that the state is only a means for the better protection of the natural rights of human beings. The citizen was no more than a ‘legal’ person, a means designed to that end. However, a century later, it was Rousseau’s republicanism, with its collectivist notion of popular sovereignty and its identification of the state and the citizen, that carried the day. In the republican conception, the rights of the citizen were all; the natural rights of men were nothing.

    The denial of natural law is not without its consequences. If the order of the human world is not to be determined by the natural distinctions in a world of separate persons of the same kind, it must be determined by the artificial distinctions produced by partisan ideologies. If order is not to be determined by freedom and equality, it must be determined by servitude or inequality. If the proper relationship of the “I” to the “Other” is not the symmetrical, reciprocal, and horizontal relationship of ius or covenant, it must be the asymmetrical, hegemonic, and vertical relationship of command and obedience. If interpersonal relationships are not to be based on respect for others, that is to say, on justice, then they will be based on disrespect and injustice.

    Unfortunately, over the past century, only a few liberals rose to meet the frontal assault on the moral ontology that was once the foundation of their outlook. Classical liberalism was gradually displaced by various subjectivist and positivist notions that linked liberty to, among other things, an opportunity to do what one wants, a commitment to democracy and constitutional government, a preference for the market, or even some progressive policy mix favouring economic growth and personal autonomy from social relations. As a result, today, liberal thought is mainly reduced to fighting its intellectual battles with an arsenal of weapons devised by and for its opponents.

    With the exception of some neo-Aristotelians, most liberal writers on ethics appear to have abandoned the agent-relative objectivism, i.e., the reality of the person, of the natural-law philosophy for a situation-relative subjectivism that makes the satisfaction of desire into the one moral absolute. Writers on politics and law are so fixated on proving their liberalism by their support for “human rights” that they often fail to see that human rights, unlike natural rights, are really claims to the service of others—claims that must be weighed and rationed by a powerful government capable of mobilising the services and resources of all. “Taking rights seriously” all too often appears as an excuse for not taking persons seriously. Whereas natural rights touch politics at the constitutional level, defining its place and role in the natural order of conviviality, human rights operate at the level of policy-making. They provide at best a basis for critic ising the efficiency and style of the government, but they do not constrain the scope of its coercive and managerial actions. In fact, every human right implies a duty of the government to interfere on its behalf. In that sense, the right to government intervention is the most fundamental, and, in any case, the most stable right in the ever-expanding catalogue of human rights.

    Does classical liberalism have a future to match its past? With “the logic of the world in popular form” in the shape it is in today, classical liberal arguments are not likely to be very effective—if they are understood at all. Nevertheless, in their daily lives and private discussions, people appear to remain generally committed to the common-sense moral ontology of natural law. If, and as long as, that is true, there is a basis from which to attack the high moral and theoretical grounds upon which public and academic speech have erected so many illiberal institutions of mobilisation, control, and manipulation. However, without the support of a popular religion of law and justice, classical liberals will not find it easy to recapture the terrain lost in the past century. And it will be to no avail if they do, if they themselves neglect the moral ontology of the natural order of free and equal persons.

  23. Martin J. Malliet says:

    On fighting prejudice in MSNM reporting on the ‘intractable’ conflict

    Prejudice most of the time manisfests itself not in positively held false beliefs, but in the absence of beliefs or presumptions where you would normally expect them. This means that ‘show, don’t tell’ won’t work. Only telling and pointing out what is missing can help to rectify prejudiced reports.

    The main missing presumptions that are plagueing MSNM reporting on the ‘intractable’ conflict seem to be:
    (0) the missing origin of the conflict (the rejection of the Jewish State of Israel by Arabs and Palestinians);
    (1) the missing presumption of accountability for the Palestinians (A2);
    (3) the missing presumption of sympathy for the Jews of Israel (A3).

    And they are all stacked against Israel, it’s an uphill battle all the way. It’s almost impossible to see how that battle can ever be won. And that’s probably why MSNM reporting is what it is and remains what it is.

    Even discounting completely the supsected Pallywood angle, the Al Durah report by France2/Enderlin is so skewed by prejudice that one can say that it contained in fact no normal news whatsoever.

    It gave no explanation at all why there was indeed a firefight between the Palestinian police who started firing with live ammunition and the Israeli army who riposted. And consequently no clear reason either why the world needed to know the same day that there had been a firefight. The fact that the Palestinian police had started the firefight was mentioned, but as the reason for the firefight was not explained, the ultimate responsibility of the Palestinian police for the child’s death remained equally unexplained.

    The report only existed because of the child casualty, and as it was phrased had no other sense than that of an IDF blood libel.

    Just ask yourself: how would a firefight that was started by the French police with presumedly organised criminals, and that had caused a child casualty, be reported on the French evening news?

    The conclusion seems inescapable: the ‘intractable’ conflict as reported by the MSNM is only ‘intractable’ because it is reported as such through the effect of ‘intractable’ prejudice.

    So that if it were reported in a normal way, asking all the normal questions reporters have normally learned to ask, the conflict would in all probability be far less ‘intractable’. Far less ‘intractable’ not only in the news, but far less ‘intractable’ also on the ground. In all probability.

    [And of all those around the world who did not veto the broadcast of the report apparently nobody wondered why a child hit by assault rifle ammunation coming from the IDF position was not knocked backwards against the wall and had not ended up lying on his back with his head the other way, in the typically unnatural posture of a lifeless body, with lots of blood and gore all around, of the kind that is purposefully avoided in movie violence in order to prevent moviegoers from vomiting in movietheaters.]

    • Martin J. Malliet says:

      Google ‘anti-Israel bias detection engine’ for written MSNM reporting on the Middle East

      One could ask the Google language division whether technology would not already permit to build a ‘bias detection engine’ that would flag and highlight text according to the following colour scheme:

      (P0) in fluorescent RED for the missing origin of the conflict (the rejection of the Jewish State of Israel by Arabs and Palestinians);
      (P1) in fluorescent GREEN for the missing presumption of accountability for the Palestinians (A2);
      (P2) in fluorescent BLUE for the missing presumption of sympathy for the Jews of Israel (A3).

      That would certainly alleviate the task of the ‘Talkback/Comment Israeli Defense Forces’ and save them time for more rewarding pursuits.

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