Monday, May 27, 2013

  • Monday, May 27, 2013
  • Elder of Ziyon
Given all the time people have spent on the case of the Al Dura hoax, it is newsworthy when someone discovers something new.

But Arnold Roth at This Ongoing War noticed something fascinating:

In "22-May-13: The post-Al Durah period: the challenges are starting to become sharper", we quoted Israeli journalist Ben Caspit's valuable analysis of the Al Durah Affair and of the role and responsibilities of the news-reporting media. 

Here's a key quote

The truth is a vital commodity, especially where we are. If we didn’t kill Muhammad al-Durrah, then I want to know that. If he wasn’t injured in the film clip screened by France 2, then I want to know that too... I have a lot of respect for correspondent Charles Enderlin from France 2, but as someone familiar with all the details at a very high resolution, I believe that he never should have determined that the al-Durrah boy was dead, as long as he had a video clip which showed him still alive. That footage was put into deep storage. It was censored and disappeared, only to show up again this week in the report by the Israeli Commission of Inquiry. A responsible journalist never would have broadcasted the footage without also showing the doubt, the full picture, and all of the details relevant to the story. [Source]
Today, this afternoon, in going back over some of the things we know about Charles Enderlin and France2, we came across something quite extraordinary. Enderlin, France2's man in Israel, the one who personally edited the original Al Durah "killing" footage that went to air all over the world on September 30, 2000, was interviewed in Haaretz on November 1, 2007, to mark the seventh anniversary, more or less, of the events that we know as the Al Durah Affair.

It's a long interview with Haaretz reporter Adi Schwartz, and it appears in both the Hebrew and English editions. Both are still online today: the Hebrew ("בואו נראה את זה שוב") here and the English ("In the footsteps of the al-Dura controversy") here.

The reporter, after reviewing the controversy about who fired at the Al Durahs and the way in which parts of the media made up their minds, asks Enderlin:
In hindsight, is it possible that you were too hasty that evening?
Here's the Haaretz English version of the answer:
I don't think so. Besides, the moment I saw that nobody was asking me anything officially, I started feeling more strongly that the story was true.
And here is the Haaretz Hebrew version of the Enderlin response to the same question:
לא חושב. אם לא הייתי אומר שהילד והאב היו קורבנות לירי שבא מכיוון עמדת צה"ל, בעזה היו אומרים, איך אנדרלן לא אומר שזה צה"ל? 
 We'll translate the Hebrew for you. 
I don’t think so. If I had not said that the boy and the father were victims of gunfire emanating from the direction of the Israeli position, in Gaza they would have said “How come Enderlin doesn’t say it was the IDF?"
Got that? It's a helpful insight into how news sometimes gets reported by certain kinds of journalists and channels.

To remind us all, Charles Enderlin was in his Jerusalem office when those events took place in Gaza on September 30, 2000. The sum total of the visual evidence he had was video material sent to him by digital transfer from a stringer in Gaza. Its source was a Palestinian Arab cameraman, Talal Abu Rahma. Did Enderlin thoroughly check it to satisfy himself that it was an authentic record of what it claimed to be - the cold-blooded and deliberate killing of a child and the wounding of the father by Israeli forces? Given what most of us know about the relative accuracy of factual reporting on the two sides of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinian Arabs, did he harbour any doubts at all? Did he seek independent verification? A second opinion? A third? Did he speak with any of the other video photographers out there at Netzarim? Or to their agencies?

The answer, which we have not seen reported anywhere else in all these years (correct us please if we're wrong on this), is this: evidently he felt he could not go off and check because (our understanding of his plain Hebrew words) what would they then say about him, Enderlin, over there in Gaza? 
Roth then goes on to contrast how painstakingly the media vetted the footage of the Woolwich terror attack videos to ensure accuracy. Enderlin, by contrast, told Ha'aretz that he assumed it was accurate - and any investigation he would have mounted would have made him look bad to people in Gaza!

Ha'aretz seems to have deliberately sanitized this part of the interview for its English speaking audience, which is most probably why it was not noticed until last week.

We have seen reporters and NGOs consistently take Palestinian Arab accusations of Israeli crimes at their word without doing the least amount of fact checking. That's just the way things happen in Israel and the territories. Enderlin, by his own admission, was upholding the journalistic double standards of not bothering to double check the facts when they fit so well with the anti-Israel narrative.

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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 18 years and 38,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.

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