Philippe Karsenty on Al-Dura Verdict: ‘A Dark Day for French Democracy and a Dark Day for the Truth’ (INTERVIEW)
Shortly after a French court found him guilty of defamation over his work to expose the now infamous al-Dura hoax, Phillipe Karsenty spoke to The Algemeiner and shared his reaction to the verdict.
“I am very disappointed because I thought that there was a chance that the justice system would find me not guilty of defamation,” he said. “I don’t have the verdict, the written verdict, the argument of the judges, but the verdict was postponed twice so they only found me guilty on the third time,” he said, implying that there is more at play in the case than meets the eye.
Karsenty publicly accused state television network France 2 of falsely depicting the death of a young Palestinian boy, Mohammed al-Dura, in a firefight between Palestinian gunmen and Israeli soldiers. The start of the Second Intifada in which over 1000 Israelis were killed, was largely attributed to the video, which was broadcast September 30, 2000 and circulated throughout the world.
“I think it is a dark day for French democracy and I think it is a dark day for the truth,” Karsenty declared of the verdict, adding optimistically, “and the truth will prevail in the end, I don’t know when, I don’t know how, but I know that it will prevail.”
Karsenty sharply criticized the French justice system and those that participated in what he calls the “covering up” of a “blood libel.”
“I see that some people on the other side are very happy because they are saying it is a day of honor for journalism. It is a day of shame for journalism, and I think it is a day of shame for French democracy which is covering up from the bottom, to each and every level a blood libel,” he said.
“All the journalists aligned behind Enderlin,” he said of Charles Enderlin, the France 2 Jerusalem bureau chief, whom he accused of fabricating parts of the segment, “Sarkozy granted him the Legion of Honor.”
Karsenty came across as disappointed but also hopeful, and said that his work on the case was not over.
“I don’t see where the light comes from,” he continued “but if I would say something I would say ‘gam zu letovah’ (also this is for the best.)”
“I will try and expose this lie of course,” he promised, adding “the thing is I am not sure which way I want to expose it, but I want to expose it of course.”
Asked about his current legal options following the court decision Karsenty mulled: “I can do exactly as France 2 did, go to the French supreme court. But I am not sure that I want to go there firstly because I think that the French judicial system is not fair.”
“Last time I won this case, and even after I won this case the court of appeals didn’t admit the truth, so the judicial way is not the way to have the truth revealed, but was only a tool to force France 2 to bring their argumentation,” he said.
“But it was not useful in getting them to admit the truth,” he concluded.
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.
“I saw that France 2 said that they would be willing to work with any investigation committee. Let’s see what they are talking about, if they are really willing to fight for their good name and fight for the truth,” he challenged, further considering his options.
Speaking about the feedback he has been receiving since the verdict, Karsenty says he has received a lot of support.
“Everybody is very upset, because everybody who has seen the evidence knows it is a hoax,” he shared. “So when you see that the French judicial system is covering it up and even fining me, it is a disgrace.”
Last month, the Israeli government concluded that al-Dura was not harmed by Israeli forces and did not die in the exchange of fire.
“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 in March.
In April this year Karsenty was named on The Algemeiner’s ‘Jewish 100’ list of the “Top 100 People Positively Influencing Jewish Life.”
The Algemeiner wrote of Karsenty at the time: “More than a decade on and Karsenty is still embroiled in the controversy surrounding the Al-Dourah case. A modern day Emile Zola in some respects, he was one of the first to accuse the France 2 television network of airing staged video of the apparent death of a 12-year-old Palestinian boy. Whether in suing or being sued, Karsenty has made the case that some media outlets will go to great lengths to frame Israel as an aggressor and criminal state. Today, Karsenty continues to monitor the media as it errs through his Media-Ratings, which monitors the media in France for bias.”