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Posted in: Anti-Semitism, Culture Wars & Censorship, Israel

Published on May 21, 2008 by Phyllis Chesler

Written for Pajamas Media

"Stop the Israel Bashing in the Media and the Jews Will No Longer Be Hated."

An Interview with the Triumphant Phillipe Karsent


Newsflash: Read Karsenty's own statment at Pajamas Media.

Well, our era's Dreyfus has just been vindicated. Or, as an Israeli website[2] would have it: "Pigs Fly Over the Eiffel Tower." See my previous interview with Karsenty HERE.

A few hours ago, a French Appeals Court finally decided that Phillipe Karsenty did not libel Charles Enderlin of France's Channel 2 in the matter of Mohammed Al-Dura. One wonders whether the world which was so eager to lap up the base, visual propaganda against Israel, will now just as eagerly lap up the truth. Somehow, I doubt it. Even if the world's mainstream media now covers this legal victory widely, respectfully, and accurately, it may still not be able to reverse the revulsion towards Israel that this staged photo of the twelve year-old Mohammed al-Dura, (allegedly shot to death by Israeli soldiers), managed to provoke–and to keep on provoking as it was repeatedly aired, copied onto tee shirts, coffee mugs, posters, and banners at demonstrations.

Primed to believe the worst about Israelis, this staged event at the Netzarim Junction has already done its vast and dirty work. Can a carefully rendered legal decision–many words on the page–compete with a soul-stirring staged photo in the Arab speaking world? How about in the Israel-bashing French speaking world? How about in America's mainstream media?

Can the families of all the Israelis who were murdered and maimed during the Al-Aqsa intifada sue France's Channel 2 and Charles Enderlin for money damages? Enderlin and his Palestinian cameraman knowingly perpetrated a hoax. Having just lost, Enderlin is now vowing to appeal the decision. (Enderlin-the-guilty is the one who sued Karsenty for "libel"). As the excellent Professor Richard Landes notes in his ongoing coverage of this case on his blogsite Augean Stables: "Those whom the gods would destroy, first they drive mad."

I spoke to Karsenty just hours before the decision. Here is some of our conversation.

Q: You expect the decision to come down later today, yes?

A: Yes, now, I'm back in Paris, expecting the verdict in 6 hours. (sent at 12:51 AM). The outcome will be known in few hours. You'll hear from me.

Q: Has there been a change in the perception of your case among the French, European, or Israeli media? Among intellectuals? Among politicians? Has anyone surprised or disappointed you?

A: The perception has changed in the intellectual sphere because a great intellectual like Elisabeth Levy took the case seriously and went around to expose it to all the French intellectuals.The president of the CRIF (Richard Prasquier) surprised me by his strong and active support. There are too many people to mention for the disappointments…

Q: Assuming the judge finds for you and against Enderlin: What do you expect will happen next? What would you like to see happen?

A: Whatever would be the judges' verdict, it's important that this step is just one on the path to decency and dignity for Europe and its media outlets. We'll have to analyze very precisely the written conclusion of the judges to see what their real opinion is. From that starting point, we'll move forward and try to address our weakest points in order to make sure one day the truth will come to the general public. My only goal on this story is to have France 2 admit its mistake and correct the news on prime time and ask TVs of the world to correct the news.

Q: How has fighting this case changed you? How has it continued to effect your family and social life? Your political and intellectual conclusions?

A: This fight has changed me a lot because it helped me to understand that the world was not a fairy tale (I believed it before…) and that people can lie and cover others people lies without shame.During the first years of this fight, I was disinvited from many ceremonies and parties. Things have changed when some US organizations paid attention to the fight and when some people agreed to consider and monitor our evidence.

Q: Do you believe that the Jews must leave France? Europe?

A: I don't believe that Jews must leave France or Europe now. But, it is a question that has to be addressed by the European authorities pretty soon. Jews can't live in fortresses like they now have to do. Synagogues are protected like banks, or even better. This is not acceptable. And the only reason is because of the brainwashing (Israel bashing) that European people are subjected to. Stop the anti-Israel propaganda in the media and the people will stop hating the Jews. If this cannot be done, then the Jews will have to leave, sooner or later. This particular case of the media propaganda will may be solved soon if media start to correct their bias, starting with the al Dura fraud.

Q: I understand that you are working on a film about your struggle. Why document your struggle in a film? When do you think such a film will come out?

A: It is important to document this struggle in a film for our people now, and for our children, that they understand how such an anti-Semitic lie (easy to prove) was so fast to grow in everybody's mind at the beginning of the 21st century. And how it was (and is still) difficult to have people admit. If we work hard enough, the film will come out in 2010.

Q: Has President Sarkozy indicated any willingness to help?

A: I had 2 meetings at the Elysée (French White House) and both of them concluded with: you're 100% right, it's 100 % staged. Nothing came out from those meetings.


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