Karsenty came to public attention when he was sued for libel by France 2 after accusing the network of broadcasting staged footage of Mohammed al-Dura’s shooting death during a gun fight in Gaza in 2000. France 2 originally won the case, but the judgment was overturned by a Paris court in May 2008.
One would assume that would be sufficient victory needed to lay it all to rest. But a decade after al-Dura, an intrepid Karsenty insists the fight to clear Israel’s name is far from over.
Visiting Israel in February on yet another tireless round of campaigning, he was riding the high of a favorable Haaretz op-ed piece penned in January by military analyst Reuven Pedatzur. Pedatzur praised Karsenty’s relentless al-Dura investigations and accused Israel’s government of neglect. “Mohammed al-Dura — Israel’s greatest PR failure,” the title railed.
Karsenty agrees with the sentiment and his confidence is bolstered by support also flowing forth from Jerusalem Post columnist Caroline Glick.
Israel’s foreign ministry has taken a “‘let’s forget about this entire affair — we don’t care’ attitude instead of fighting for the truth,” Karsenty states as we sit together in the lobby of Tel Aviv’s David Intercontinental Hotel. “But the affair and its implications are far from over.”
Because as he continues traveling the world and airing al-Dura footage clips that he says prove the shooting was staged, the analyst arrived in Israel to be met with what he describes as complacent and patronizing apathy.
“RAI is running an anti-Israel documentary in the coming weeks that will further disseminate the Israeli blood libel. The BBC ran a documentary, Generation Jihad, earlier this month that included a suggestion al Dura was faked,” Karsenty explains.
“A decent human being doesn’t want to live a fraudulent life of fraudulent claims. Two years after winning my trial, the very government that should be supporting me is undermining my efforts.”
Karsenty says Israel’s officials have a responsibility to clear the country’s good name. But in fact, his understanding is that foreign ministry front people have been given directives to not support him.
Particularly embarrassing, Karsenty says, is being asked by public figures outside Israel about the government’s lack of support. During a recent meeting, Claude Guéant, the general secretary to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, was incredulous. “Gueant said: ‘If the material was faked, why is the government not backing you?’ What do I answer? And what do I tell people who ask why Israel’s ambassador to Belgium says it’s time to forget about al-Dura? Abroad people are fighting for Israel’s good name and the state is undermining that.”
One could argue that Karsenty has taken the al-Dura affair too far. A decade is a decade, after all. He won his case and gained support for the hoax theory. German documentary maker Esther Schapira broadcast not one but two documentaries skeptical of al-Dura’s principal players. “There was a claim of three bullets to the child — 15 fired on him and his father altogether — but no blood,” she reported. Her latest documentary, The Child, the Death and the Truth: The Mystery of the Palestinian Boy Mohammed Al-Dura, was broadcast on German national television and beyond last year.
Why not give it a rest already?
“Because the Goldstone Report is the son of Mohammed al-Dura,” he coolly replies.
Had the Israeli government done a proper job of staunching the slander ten years ago, he explains, the worst blood libel in history against the state wouldn’t have persisted. Like a cancer spreading from an appendage to the entire body, Karsenty says, the UN Human Rights Council’s anti-Israel report is a direct product of al-Dura and packs a particularly powerful punch because it was created and defended by a Jew. “Just like Charles Enderlin. They are both Jews,” Karsenty deadpans. “The media lies, the Arabs lie, Israel does nothing, and nobody challenges the libel.”
Hence his personal mission: stop the slander he says endangers Israelis traveling abroad and Jews living outside Israel by bringing grassroots and intellectuals onboard his campaign and re-bolstering declining international support. A decline he fears will lead to decreased funding and political support and ultimately result in an unsustainable world for the Zionist state.
“Israel won’t meet its end by bombing campaigns. It will be a political death led by the UN, the EU, and diplomats,” he theorizes.
If there’s an end-goal for Karsenty, it’s a France 2 apology to Israel forced by the French government.
Looks like it’s time to usher in a few more decades of campaigning.
Karsenty disagrees, saying France 2 will “definitely admit fraud” as the pressure mounts higher and higher because “there is no substitute for the truth.”
Call me a naysayer.