Paris Blues Free Speech for Me But Not for You
"It's hard being loved by idiots." Muslim chiding French magazine Charlie Hebdo defends freedom of speech...sometimes. by Nidra Poller, PJM Paris editor
March 26, 2007 - 12:19 pm
Philippe Val, editorial director of Charlie Hebdo [A French satirical and political weekly magazine] wrote a moving op-ed for the WSJ on the eve of the judgment in the “modern blasphemy” case brought against the satirical review by the French branch of the Muslim Brotherhood (UOIF) and Dalil Boubaker the “moderate” imam of the Paris Mosque, jointly offended by publication of the Danish cartoons,. “A great deal is at stake,” writes Val, “for free speech in France and Europe, in the outcome of this trial.”
The case was heard last month in the 17e Correctionnel familiar to PJ Media readers who followed the al Dura trials. Having failed in attempts at prior censorship, the plaintiffs hoped to punish Charlie Hebdo for outrageously disrespecting Islam and the prophet. Val asks why Jacques Chirac sent his own lawyer, Ma√Ætre Francis Szpiner, to represent the Paris Mosque. Was he hoping to “nurture his friendships in the Middle East and win arms contracts for France, while at home playing to Muslim public opinion…?”
Intellectuals, journalists, political leaders, and the major presidential candidates openly and enthusiastically backed Val in his defense of “freedom of speech in a law-abiding state.” When religion steps out from the private sphere to act on the public stage, says Val, it should not be immune to criticism. Reaching out to a wide audience in the pages of a prestigious international daily, Val rightfully invites concern for an issue that goes beyond his own particular lawsuit: “This trial is important for all the forms of expression that should flourish in democracy: painting, cinema, literature, journalism…”
A laudable, refreshing, courageous stand in the landscape of Eurabia where certain Muslim elements are determined to impose one of the basic tenets of shari’a-the prohibition of blasphemy…against Islam. One would not be surprised, then, to find Charlie Hebdo in the same fearless posture when fellow citizens who dared to criticize a renowned French journalist and a state-owned TV network are sued for defamation. Especially when the journalist in question is the author of another global jihad specialty: blood libel against Israel (= the Jews).
Wrong. It would seem that Charlie Hebdo puts the Muslims of the Danish cartoon controversy in the same bag with the Jews of the Mohamed al Dura affair and defends the right of journalists, in both cases, to criticize or mock a religion…or accuse it of child murder.
In December, Charlie Hebdo featured a two-page interview with Charles Enderlin (“Tsahal has become a State within the State” 6 December 2006) on the occasion of the publication of the latest in his series of heavy as a brick know-it-all books, Les Ann√©es perdues, Intifada et guerres au Proche-Orient (2001-2006) [The lost years, Intifada and wars in the Middle East 2001-2006]. The silver platter interview is abundantly illustrated with vulgar cartoons, any one of which is more insulting than all the Mohamed sketches put together and multiplied by a factor of 100. The how-wonderful-is-Enderlin spread was published smack in the middle of the al Dura trials…which attracted virtually no attention from French journalists or citizens, no moral support from major political figures, no feedback on foreign coverage of the affair.
The Lost Years is one of those rubber wall indictments of Israel that can bounce back any number of atrocities committed by Palestinians and prove that they never would have happened if Israel had not induced them. The arguments are rigged, the hypotheses are rigged, the descriptions are rigged, there is no depth and no logic. Just that automatic bounce.
An omniscient Charles Enderlin knew all along but now the facts have leaked out for all to see, the evidence is irrefutable: the Israeli army has accomplished the most clever putsch in history. Silent and undetectable. In fact, the army has been running the show, sabotaging endless opportunities for peace with the brave good-hearted Palestinians, dragging Israel into a downward spiral to disaster. Enderlin claims that PM Ehud Barak ordered the army to use a light hand during the first four months of the “Intifada” but they simply disobeyed. As a result, 60 Palestinians were killed and only 6 Israelis. The “Intifada” went on, the army falsely accused Arafat of fostering terrorism while depriving him of the means to suppress it, and bonked him in revenge for attacks committed by Hamas.
Enderlin gives a stunning example Tsahal’s irresponsible behavior: General “Antonisini” [I kid you not, that's Anthony Zinni, transcribed by the Charlie Hebdo journalists] is well on his way to negotiating a truce when suddenly Hamas does the Park Hotel Passover attack and bingo, the undisciplined Israeli army counter-attacks without a pause for reflection. Within 48 hours the territories are reoccupied, the PA’s authority is demolished.
Asked how the political echelon could allow the army to impose its will, Enderlin explains that Barak let them have their way and Sharon “closed his eyes” because the army’s aggressive tactics suited him– he wanted to get rid of Arafat and weaken the PA. But things are starting to change. Olmert is getting the upper hand because of Tsahal’s failure in Lebanon this summer.
The Jewish community, according to Enderlin, wants to believe that Israel’s army is ethical. The truth is, since 2000 they’ve had a free hand to kill civilians.
How do they get away with it? Good PR.
For example, they convinced everyone that the “wall” has cut down terrorist attacks by 80%. Enderlin knows better. It’s the West Bank checkpoints. The Palestinians can’t go from one town to another without passing through checkpoints. [So it's the cruel heartless unjustifiable Nazi apartheid checkpoints and not the cruel heartless unjustifiable Nazi apartheid wall that is stopping 80% of the "suicide" attacks?]
And now we come to the best part of the interview. The Israelis are so clever and devious, they bamboozle everyone–the soldiers are brainwashed into thinking that they have to “fight terrorists” and Israeli citizens have to believe that the army is fighting terrorists, and that’s why “…there has to be a war against images that are intensely negative and damaging to the Israeli cause. That, to a certain extent, is what happened in the Mohamed al Dura case.”
Let us remember that Charles Enderlin and France 2 retract–when challenged–the accusation that the Palestinian boy was killed by Israeli soldiers. Since they insist that he was shot to death, it means that he was or might have been killed by Palestinian gunmen. How would that damage the Israeli cause? The truth, far from damaging the Israeli cause, would be a lifesaver, a turning point, the beginning of a salutary operation that would help not only Israel but the free world in its defense against global jihad. Enderlin admitted as much in the early stages of the affair when he declared that he had no intention of participating in a “whitewash of the Israeli army.” What whitewash? An impartial investigation of the al Dura report!
Charlie Hebdo serves the next question to order: was the al Dura affair an issue in Israel? Enderlin gives them the tune he’s been singing for seven years: Israeli authorities never asked for any evidence [false], they know “our work” is serious [ask Danny Seaman, chairman of the Government Press Office], “in the field I have the confidence of all the protagonists [what's that supposed to mean?]. Enderlin, who obviously doesn’t read PJ Media, tells Charlie Hebdo who doesn’t know us either, that the whole thing is a Franco-French affair, a defamation operation, a shocking Stalinist offensive. “We had to go back and ask the boy’s father to show his scars! To prove he wasn’t faking!”
The friendly interviewers understand: “They won’t forgive you for filming what became the emblematic image of the Intifada?”
Ingenuous, Enderlin replies that Talal Abu Rahme didn’t know, when he shot the scene, that it was going to be a “strong image.” Citing the case of the BBC he assures his gullible audience that the Israelis don’t hesitate to sanction media misdeeds. And shows his shiny medal. “I have never had the slightest problem.”
The interview concludes on a bright note for Israel– there is no existential threat on the horizon. Palestinian and Lebanese leaders alike know that if they kidnap or kill an Israeli soldier, the Israeli army can bombard their capital to smithereens or shut off the electricity. As for the Iranian bomb, they don’t have one yet and when they do “it might develop into a situation of mutual dissuasion.” The score so far, he says, is clear: 3,000 Palestinians deaths to 1,000 Israelis.
A brief inset in the lower right hand corner of the second page presents “The affair of the young Mohamed al-Dura.” “The twelve year-old Palestinian boy was killed by an Israeli bullet” and became the symbol of the “new Intifada.” France 2 and Charles Enderlin, accused of trickery and manipulation, sued for defamation. On October 19th, the 17e Correctionel condemned Media-ratings for propagating the “rumor of a ‘montage’ to discredit the Israeli army.”
As we see from the glorious interview with the ace France 2 reporter, only a right wing extremist Zionist could imagine that Charles Enderlin could have sought to discredit the Israeli army.
PS: March 22nd 2007, Philippe Val, editorial director of Charlie Hebdo, is acquitted [see my release] but the Court puts a pinch on freedom of expression when it comes to the Prophet Mohamed. More on that in the next edition of Paris Blues.