French Media Analyst Philippe Karsenty Found Guilty of Defamation in Al-Dura Hoax Case
French media analyst Philippe Karsenty was found guilty Wednesday by a French court of defamation for accusing a state television network of falsely depicting the death of a young Palestinian boy in a firefight between Palestinian gunmen and Israeli soldiers, the Times of Israel reports.
The footage of the boy, Mohammed al-Dura, was aired by the France 2 network. The start of the Second Intifada in which over 1000 Israelis were killed, was largely attributed to the video, which was circulated throughout the world.
A Paris court fined Karsenty 7,000 euros claiming that he falsely accused the network’s Jerusalem bureau chief, Charles Enderlin, of fabricating parts of the segment.
In an interview with The Algemeiner Karsenty expressed his disappointment. “I think it is a dark day for French democracy and I think it is a dark day for the truth,” he said.
French-Jewish artist and activist Ron Agam told The Algemeiner that the whole case was a set up.
“Karsenty never had a chance here. The television station is a government outfit and the unions are anti-Israeli. This entire judgement is not about justice, but about defending the indefensible,” he said.
“It is comparable to one of the biggest lies of the republic, it is a shame that the French justice system cant see the truth and they are hiding behind lies,” he added.
The report, broadcast September 30, 2000, showed al -Dura and his father caught between the gunfire of Israeli troops and Palestinian terror operatives in the Gaza Strip. It then cut to the boy slumped in his father’s lap. The report blamed Israeli forces for the alleged death.
Karsenty was convicted of libel in 2006, but the judgment was overturned on appeal in 2008. France 2 appealed that appeal at the “Cour de cassation,” France’s highest court, and last year the court annulled the 2008 acquittal.
“In September 2007, a French court instructed the TV channel to hand over the entire, unedited footage shot that day, thus reopening the case. In the full video, Muhammad al-Dura can be seen waving his hand, moving his leg and without any visible bloodstains, despite claims made during the news report that the boy had died,” reported Ynet news.
Last month, the Israeli government concluded that al-Dura was not harmed by Israeli forces and did not die in the exchange of fire.
At the time Karsenty welcomed news of the report, telling The Algemeiner: “Now that this scientific report will be released it is very good news. The next step will be for the French public TV, owned and financed by the French state, to admit responsibility for their role in producing the worst blood libel of our times.”