Shahaf concludes: “It was just lie after lie after lie.” He also found several short films shot in the Netzarim area on and around the day of the incident. “They used directors, cameramen and volunteer actors,” he said. “You can see them shooting little horror scenes. Often the director scolds the volunteers for their bad acting. The wounded get up and go back for another take; Palestinian bystanders laugh and applaud.”
The implications of this scandal are enormous, going far beyond a disgraced journalist and his TV station. For France itself, it raises a century-old spectre. In 1894, a Jewish French army captain, Alfred Dreyfus, was convicted for treason on fabricated evidence that he was a spy, in an atmosphere of institutionalised state antisemitism. The al-Dura libel is being seen in some quarters as a second Dreyfus affair — but with Israel playing the role of the defamed army captain.
This perception of France’s revived shame was given fuel by the -extraordinary behaviour of the lower court, which found Karsenty guilty of libel. For most of that trial, it had looked as if France 2 would lose, not least because it had failed to answer any of Karsenty’s allegations. But at the last minute, Enderlin’s team produced a letter to Enderlin from the then French President, Jacques Chirac, extolling him as a brilliant and authoritative journalist. As a result, the three judges promptly found for France 2. This disgraceful piece of political nobbling and judicial grovelling has now been reversed by the higher court. But few in France would realise this — what scant coverage there has been of this judgment managed to suggest that the integrity of the al-Dura footage remained intact.
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