The Palestinian violence that began in September of 2000 cost over a thousand Israeli lives, and about 4000 Palestinian lives. The violence began with demonstrations on the Temple-Mount al-Aqsa compound that were admittedly stage-managed by Marwan Barghouti, as he admitted an interview with the newspaper Al-Ayyam, London, on September 29, 2001, It was inspired and amplified greatly by the supposed murder of a little child, Muhamad Al Dura, by Israeli troops, on September 30, 2000. France-2 television filmed the child cowering helplessly with his father as the evil Jewish troops shot round after round of semi-automatic fire at him. The films were shown everywhere. Al-Dura's picture appeared everywhere in Gaza and the West Bank, as well as in media around the world. Al-Dura became a martyr to the Palestinian Arab cause, a flame that kindled a huge wave of violence.
The deaths caused by the story of al-Dura were real enough, but in all likelihood, and according to the verdict of a French court of law
, the story of al-Dura itself was fabricated by a Palestinian stringer, Talal Abu Rahma, and willingly "improved" and disseminated by Charles Enderlin of France-2. Without the persistence of a handful of "bloggers," notably Phillipe Karsenty and Richard Landes (Augean Stables
) and a few others others, the lie would not have been exposed.
We should be careful and conservative in interpreting the meaning of the verdict of the French court. It does not mean that there is proof that al-Dura was certainly not killed by Israel. It does mean, however, that it is not libelous to say so. It means that there are reasonable grounds for assuming that the France-2 film was a fabrication. The film was obviously manipulated so as to hide a part of the truth. The narration announced that Al-Dura was dead, when he was still moving. Parts of the film that were not shown, but were produced in court, indicate that the final version was a fabrication. Parts of the film have apparently disappeared and were not shown in court raise even more suspicion. In justice, one is innocent until proven guilty. World media condemned Israel
without any substantial evidence, and helped create a martyr legend that was responsible for many deaths.
The media do not simply report the conflict. They have become actors in the conflict. The probably fabricated death of Al-Dura was only one of several media productions that have had a key role in shaping the conflict. In the Second Lebanon War
, the role of the media in lionizing the Hezbollah and villainizing Israel is well documents (see The Media as a Weapon in Asymmetrical Conflict
. The media may be proud as they view the results of their efforts - the de facto takeover of Lebanon by the Hezbollah
. Following operation Defensive Wall in 2002, the media played a similar role in creating the mythical "Jenin Massacre" in which Israel supposedly "massacred" 500 Palestinians. There is no doubt that international pressure created by the fabricated Jenin "Massacre" influenced decision making in Europe, the United States and Israel.
Unfortunately, exposure of the truth does not prevent repetition of the same fictions, and even perpetuation of the original ones. A few journals published low-key, back page retractions of the 'Jenin Massacre' fable, but the mendacious 'Jenin, Jenin' film continued to win praise and anchored the lie as history. A graduate student, Teddy Katz, created a sensation when he 'exposed' a 'massacre' committed by the Alexandroni brigade at Tantura in 1948. Examination of his evidence, taped interviews, in court showed that Katz had falsified the testimony in his transcripts. There was no massacre. But the 'massacre' made it into the history books and is now cited in Wikipedia and elsewhere. A vicious lie was created from nothing. The exposure of the Jenin farce, and the farcical manipulations of the Hezbollah in Lebanon, did not prevent media from showing fake candle-light meetings held in daylight in Gaza during the recent fabricated electricity shortage. Evidence that the entire 'shortage' was staged appeared in a few Web logs and some lesser journals.
Thus far, Israeli and "Jewish" media are almost alone in reporting the Al-Dura verdict. Among French journals, Liberation
appears to be the only one that gave it any coverage. Watch carefully for this story, and see if it is reported and what space it gets. Media do not like to admit they are wrong. After the event, it makes little difference anyhow. Israel attracted severe criticism because a Palestinian who was denied cancer treatment supposedly died while waiting for security clearance. How many people know that the story was a fabrication, and that the "victim" was 'miraculously resurrected'.
Mendacious inventions will continue to flourish because for the people who spread them, they are all gain and no pain. Muhammad al Harrani, the more recent version of Muhammad al Dura, will not be denied treatment in Israel because of his lie. That would be against medical ethics. The NGO that circulated this rubbish will not lose their tax exempt status or be penalized in any way for participating, knowingly or through negligence, in the lie. The journalists who made certain not to check the story before circulating it, will not suffer any penalties either.
What is at stake is not the al-Dura incident or another incident. The question of Al-Dura will fade into history.An ominous trend has been created, in which the press and willing historians are fabricating reality. In Orwell's 1984, the government fabricated wars that didn't happen, but we have passed 1984. The importance of the virtual media reality is that it has very real consequences. Israel
, and not only Israel, may be defeated as the result of an endless river of spin, manufactured by a greedy and unscrupulous media establishment that is being manipulated by terrorists. Ami Isseroff
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Replies: 1 Comment
I believe it was the great American writer Mark Twain who commented that "a lie can go around the world six times before the truth gets its pants on."
Howard Wolf, Friday, May 23rd
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