To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.
Philippe Karsenty is a tall, handsome, charming, and very determined gentleman.
Karsenty, a 41-year-old former stockbroker, media analyst, and founder of Media-Ratings, came to America on a lecture and media tour shortly after his interim victory in a Paris courtroom in the matter of Mohammed al-Dura, the 12-year-old Palestinian boy allegedly killed by Israeli army gunfire.
The state-owned TV channel France 2 sued him for defamation when Karsenty insisted its airing of a very brief portion of the 27 minutes of raw footage constituted a blood libel. The event occurred on September 30, 2000 at the Netzarim Junction and al-Dura became the Face that launched more than a thousand Islamist riots, anti-Israeli petitions, and successful and intercepted Palestinian suicide bombings.
This past September, almost seven years later, a Paris judge finally ordered that France 2 turn over the film to the court by November 14. The trial itself is set for February 27, 2008.
Karsenty recently visited me one afternoon and he returned two days later to speak at a gathering to honor him at my home. Among those I invited was a direct descendent of Captain Alfred Dreyfus (my friend and neighbor, Gilles Dreyfus).
Karsenty is a hero who would not allow me to introduce him as one. He interrupted me each time he thought I was about to do so. He said he was “just doing the right thing and standing up for the truth” – the implication being that anyone can do so.
He is right, but only a handful of people actually do – or continue to do once they find themselves on trial and very much alone. Karsenty and I are both correct – he is a hero, but mainly because such heroes are scarce; they are forced to work alone as they assume their bone-crushing historical burden. Organizations do not support them.
Indeed, organizations sometimes obstruct and sabotage their own heroes. Such collective bodies do not intervene even when it might be in their national or organizational interest to do so. What they do instead is stand down, slander, or showcase the hero in an exploitative way – and then rush to take credit when the hero crosses the finish line at the end of a long, hard race.
Karsenty is willing to name some names, namely that of Israel’s Ambassador to France, Danny Shek, who not only would not give him a fair hearing but who refused to shake his hand at a party. He also names Charles Enderlin, (a Jew and an Israeli) who is France 2’s bureau chief in Jerusalem and who recorded the voice-over for the al-Dura program. According to the Jerusalem Post, “Danny Shek enjoys warms relations with Enderlin.”
Karsenty’s comment: ”Such treason by an ambassador should have him fired forever from the Israeli foreign ministry.”
Perhaps American Jewish organizations active in France have other priorities and are willing to sacrifice heroic and symbolic cases like Karsenty’s in order to gain other objectives. Perhaps they fail to understand the importance of the al-Dura matter or even want it to be forgotten in order to protect their access to power, photo opportunities or “money shots.”
Nevertheless, Karsenty is agonized – outraged – by the decision of those American Jewish organizations that have chosen not to support him and that in fact have worked with those who actively oppose him.
Good people allow evil to triumph merely by doing nothing. Most Israeli intellectuals have remained silent about this case. On October 2, Natan Sharansky (whom I respect and with whom I have been privileged to work) finally wrote an important piece about it in the Wall Street Journal. Karsenty said he “is happy – even thrilled – to have the support of such an important public figure.”
I quietly note two things: First, that Sharansky came forward only after the Parisian judge ordered the raw footage turned over to the court; after the IDF finally demanded the raw footage; after the Israeli government proclaimed that now believes the event was staged; and after the Israeli Shurat HaDin Law Center announced it would sue Charles Enderlin and request that the Israeli Government Press Office cancel his Israeli press credentials.
Second, I note that Sharansky is the only major internationally recognized voice of conscience to have come forward. Elie Wiesel has said nothing. Former president Bill Clinton, who publicly mourned the presumed death of al-Dura has remained silent, as have former presidents Carter and Bush.
About the Author: Dr. Phyllis Chesler is a professor emerita of psychology, a Middle East Forum fellow, and the author of fifteen books including “Women and Madness” (1972), “The New Anti-Semitism” (2003), and her latest, “An American Bride in Kabul” (2013). Her articles are archived at www.phyllis-chesler.com.
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
My son is seventeen; he didn’t want to talk about what happened, or give any details of the Rosh Yeshiva’s words of chizuk.
All involved in the Ferguson debate should learn the laws pertinent to non-Jews: the Noahide Laws.
Prominent Jewish leaders acknowledged that their predecessors had mistreated the Bergson Group.
Hamas’s love for death tried to have as many Palestinian civilians killed as possible
Israel recognizes the fabrication called a Palestinian nation; So what do we want from the Swedes?
Arab attacking Jews in the land date back a century, long before Israel was created or in control.
Creativity without clarity is not sufficient for writing. I am eternally thankful to Hashem for his gift to me.
Golden presents a compelling saga of poor but determined immigrants who fled pogroms and harsh conditions in their homelands for a better life in a land of opportunity.
It seems to us that while the Jewish entitlement to the land of Israel transcends the Holocaust, the Jewish experience during that tragic time is the most solid of foundations for these “national rights.”
Too many self-styled civil rights activists seemed determined to force, by their relentless pressure, an indictment regardless of what an investigation might turn up.
Unfortunately, at present, the rabbinate does not play a positive role in preventing abuse.
Few of the volunteers were experienced sailors, (Greenfield had been in the Merchant Marine). Few were Zionists.
My good colleague Kay is wrong about the early demise of conspiracy theories and blood libels against the Jews.
“I am surprised those Zionists are not outside protesting,” says one woman.
“Miral” is a film that has garnered an inordinate amount of media attention. In interviews, the director, Julian Schnabel, defends his right to tell the Palestinian “narrative” for what he claims is the first time. He seems not to know that many others before him have specialized in this particular line of work.
Our beloved, miraculous Jewish state is under siege.
It was assumed that the ceaseless persecution of the Jews in exile would cease once we again had our own sovereign homeland, our own army, navy, and air force.
In 1947-1948 I lived in Boro Park where, against parental and rabbinic advice, I joined a Zionist group. By 1950 I was packing machine-gun parts for Israel in a home not far from the Young Israel. But what I did as a child does not compare to what my friend and colleague David Gutmann did for love of Zion at that very time on the dangerous open seas.
Reality has become somewhat Scandinavian. It grows dark early and it is bitterly cold here in New York City and over a good portion of our fair land. Our Prince of Peace (The Norwegian Nobel, not the noble variety) is not yet asking whether “to be or not to be.” Perhaps he is not entirely convinced that “that is the question.”
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/an-unassuming-hero-standing-up-for-truth/2007/10/24/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: