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April 9, 2015 4:04 pm

French Activist Praises Retirement of ‘Al Durah Hoax’ Architect Charles Enderlin

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Jamal and Mohammed al-Dura take cover in the Gaza Strip in 2000. Photo: France 2.

With reports that veteran France 2 reporter Charles Enderlin is stepping down from his job, the French-Jewish activist who spearheaded claims he falsely accused Israel in the death of a 12-year-old boy back in 2000 is relieved to see him go.

Phillipe Karsenty spoke to The Algemeiner regarding Enderlin’s departure from the state television network, though he expressed disappointment it was not over ethical issues regarding the infamous report on the death of Mohammed al-Dura.

“This is good news but it has nothing to do with any desire of the French authorities to stop incitement against Israel and the Jews. Enderlin is leaving his job because he is retiring. He will reach 70 years old in October 2015 and he doesn’t have the right to keep on working in a French public company, which France 2 is,” he said.

The 70-year-old Franco-Israeli correspondent will be replaced as France 2‘s bureau chief in Israel by reporter Franck Genauzeau. Karsenty noted that Enderlin’s “replacement by someone who doesn’t have any track record of anti-Israel or antisemitism is good news too,” and could allow the network to prove it doesn’t engage in systematic anti-Israel bias.

“From Genauzeau’s future attitude, we will know if Enderlin’s constant incitement against Israel was his own decision or if it was a state oriented political decision,” he said.

Karsenty and Enderlin have been entangled in a series of legal battles over the years, after Karsenty charged that Enderlin’s story on the death of the Palestinian child had been staged. The report, which aired on September 30, 2000, showed al-Dura and his father Jamal caught in the middle of a gunfight in the Gaza Strip. It then cut to the boy slumped in his father’s lap. The news piece blamed Israeli forces for the alleged  death and was a major turning point in the Second Intifada.

Karsenty was convicted of libel in 2006, but the judgment was overturned on appeal in 2008. Israel’s Yediot Ahronot reported that “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, Mohammad 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.”

France 2 appealed that appeal at the “Cour de cassation,” France’s highest court, and in 2012 the court dismissed the evidence on technical grounds and annulled the 2008 acquittal.

In 2013, a committee established by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to investigate al-Dura’s death determined that the Israeli forces could not have been responsible for the shooting, adding that the video was likely staged. That same year, a French court found Karsenty guilty of defamation against the television network and fined him 7,000 euros. Nevertheless, he says he will continue to hold Enderlin accountable.

“Concerning Enderlin, the battle is still on and unless he admits that al-Dura was a hoax, we will keep on following our job of naming and shaming,” he said.

“And don’t forget, there are many opportunities waiting for him in Israel, so many NGOs funded by the EU and other anti-Israel bodies who would be happy to hire him to promote his anti-Israel propaganda,” he said.

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  • Karel

    I find it interesting that Mr Karsenty, a French national who lives in France, would criticize Mr. Enderlin, an Israeli-French national who lives in Israel. Does Mr. Karsenty enjoy attacking Israeli citizens living in Israel?

    • Jonathan Sellem

      I am surprised to see Algemeiner omit a very important information here – that Philippe Karsenty is being sued after threatening a journalist in France. The municipality of Neuilly, where he serves as counsellor, strictly forbade him to make any mention of his title following his threatening a journalist.

    • Ruth Muskat

      Being an Israeli citizen does not guaranty honesty. I have seen the whole France 2 clip. Karsenty bravely fought against the French establishment to say Enderlin and France 2 had made a false case. The final decision of French courts against Karsenty on ‘a technicality” shows how tough it is to fight the French establishment. I strongly suggest that those criticizing Karsenty look at the actual evidence and at the fact that Enderlin never apologized in the face of clear evidence.

  • Karel

    Charles Enderlin is an award-winning journalist who earned the respect of both French and foreign journalists. Such a thing cannot be said of Mr. Karsenty, who was sentenced by French courts for defamation and libel.

    • Alain Levy

      Charles Enderlin is a distinguished journalist and an Israeli Jewish citizen who served in Tsahal.

      Philippe Karsenty is a French national who has been repeatedly sentenced by French courts and who never served in Tsahal. He never bothered moving to Israel either. He does not have a good image in the French Jewish community.

  • robert davis

    That is good news indeed and congratulations to KARSENTY who proceeded endlessly his brave fight against that enderlin rabble supported by leftwing medias and government. If an israeli was to put a bullet in his head I would not be overly sad.

  • HaroldT38

    It is a blot on the Israeli government that Enderling was never kicked out of Israel.

  • Harry Greenblatt

    I’m surprised no one mentioned at that time that the boy would not be crouching on the outside, rather he would be covered by his father’s body.

  • Daniel Birnbaum

    Your article overlooks important aspects of the Al-Dura affair.

    1) You omit to mention that the French television reporter Charles Enderlin is no anti-Semite, but a Jew and an Israeli

    2) The perpetrator of the hoax is Phillipe Karsenty. In the immediate aftermath of the murder of the Al-Dura boy, the Israeli
    general Giora Eiland admitted to reporters: “It seems that the
    boy was hit by our fire.” This is corroborated by photos appearing in the conservative French-Jewish weekly L’Arche.

    3) Again, your biased and incomplete reporting omits to mention that all of Karsenty’s pretenses have been roundly refuted in books by the French-Jewish lawyer and media expert Guillaume Weill-Raynal, who denounces Karsenty in these terms: “It is Karsenty who has perpetrated a hoax while feigning to foil one.”