Monthly Archives: June 2013

Karsenty fined 7000 Euro for Defamation

This is a victory of a state owned press using its immense financial and political resources to bully independent critics. in principle, this is bad news for freedom of speech (which as Brandeis famously pointed out demands that we have a thick skin, and which Charles Enderlin famously does not have). Given the terrible damage that Al Durah did – a poster-boy for the linked phenomena of virulent anti-Semitism and global Jihad – this decision is nothing short of suicidal for a Western democracy.

For further details see posts at

Conning the Public: The Clash between Lethal Journalism and Journalistic Ethics

One of the most salient features of lethal journalism is the stark conflict between journalistic ethics and the actions of journalists who purvey lethal narratives as news. Given the (inexplicably?) overriding commitment of some journalists to these narratives no matter how obviously false, they must avoid facing up to their professional commitments to accuracy and fairness. Often this leads to a situation of a “public secret” in which they privately admit things (they’re intimidated, the Palestinians stage stuff all the time) which they publicly deny.

CAMERA has a brief video about just this kind of situation. For reasons that perhaps only he (and Bob Simon) can explain, the public face of the station – “if you make a mistake, own up to it” is the opposite of the way they make their sausages. Is the man a hypocrite? Does he not know what he’s doing? Does he think it doesn’t matter when the subject of the mistake is Israel? Is he, like Charles Enderlin, someone who pushes cognitive dissonance to the point of dissociation?


By the way, the comment about Bethlehem surrounded by wall and therefore an open-air prison is only the most egregious of errors in Simon’s report, which is a classic example of lethal journalism disguised as investigative journalism.

Landes, “Save the Children of Palestine”: Talk in LA on Al Durah

I’ll be speaking in LA on the Al Durah affair, especially on its effects, the day before the French court’s decision. The title is meant both seriously and sarcastically (taken from an Al Awda subject line). Some people objected. I guess if I were to do it again, I’d call it “Save the Palestinian children”…

Please tell anyone who’s in the LA area whom you know who might be interested about the talk.

EVENT: Save the children of Palestine – with Richard Landes, June 25

– JUNE 12, 2013

The Israeli government recently issued a report in which they not only claimed the Israel Defense Forces had not killed Muhammad al Durah, but that there is no evidence in the video footage of his death. Almost thirteen years (too) late, many, even Zionists, considered this non-news. On the contrary, the lateness of the report reflects some startling issues that everyone, even those highly critical of Israel, need to consider. In fact, the long delay in Israelis response derived in part from an overwhelming consensus among journalists that “a boy died on camera,” which Israeli officials were reluctant to contradict without seeming like conspiracy theorists.

What makes this consensus that the boy died (and that the IDF killed him) so remarkable is that the empirical evidence decisively confutes the claims of the journalist who broke the story, Charles Enderlin, and the cameraman who filmed the event, and yet their claims have dominated public perceptions to this day, even though their “story” has been extraordinarily destructive not just to Israelis, but to anyone who favors civil society. Indeed, this may be one of the longest-lasting and damaging media hoaxes that the world has witnessed in the era of modern journalism.

This talk will look at the wide range of destructive effects this “lethal narrative” has caused, the reason why a school of lethal journalism, led by French-Israeli correspondent Charles Enderlin has been able to dominate the entire field of Middle East journalism for the last thirteen years… and counting, and what can be done to change the dynamics involved.

Richard Landes is a professor of medieval history at BU. His work focuses on the role of religion in shaping and transforming the relationships between elites and commoners in various cultures, in particular the impact of “demotic religiosity” which prizes equality before the law, dignity of manual labor, and access to sacred texts and divinity for all believers.

In 2011 he published two volumes, Heave on Earth: The Variety of the Millennial Experience with a final chapter on Global Jihad, and he co-edited a volume on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion with Steven Katz: The Paranoid Apocalypse: A Hundred Year Retrospective on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, for which he wrote three chapters.

From 1996-2003, Landes directed the Center for Millennial Studies at Boston University.

He is currently completing the book he set aside in order to write Heaven on Earth, that is, a study of the role of millennialism in the shaping of the first thousand years of Christian history: While God Tarried: Disappointed Millennialism from Jesus to the Peace of God, 33-1033. At the same time he is writing a more contemporary book entitled: They’re so Smart cause We’re so Stupid: A Medievalist’s Guide to the 21st Century.

Landes has written and lectured widely on millennialism, especially in the medieval period, and more recently on the role of communications technology – from the invention of writing to modern media – in shaping public awareness and discussion, and, in some cases, in establishing and maintaining civil society. His work on the apocalyptic currents that built up during the approach to 2000 has led him to focus on Global Jihad as a) an apocalyptic millennial movement of exceptional destructive potential; and b) a new religious movement whose relationship to the internet may parallel that of Protestantism to printing.

In 2005 Landes launched a media-oversight project called The Second Draft in which he proposes to look at what the news media calls their “first draft of history.” Since January 2005 he has been blogging at The Augean Stables, a name chosen to describe the current condition of the Mainstream News Media in the West. When he has completed his book on medieval history he plans to write a They’re so Smart Because We’re so Stupid: A Medievalist’s Guide to the 21st Century.

History professor at Boston University and director/co-founder of the Center for Millennial Studies, who became involved in 2003 when, after reading James Fallows’ article in The Atlantic Monthly, he went to Paris where Nidra Poller introduced him to MENA’s Gerard Huber. Landes subsequently met with Shahaf and was shown the raw footage of the event by Charles Enderlin. Convinced that the entire scene was staged, Landes has produced a series of documentaries about the event entitled, According to Palestinian Sources: Pallywood, Al Durah, and Icon of Hatred.


Please join us for this important event.  Because the truth matters…

$15 per person – cash or check at the door

You can also register by email to [email protected]
(Please indicate Professor Richard Landes in the subject line)


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