On Friday, Charles Johnson and I will be interviewed together by French Channel 2. Normally this wouldn’t be such a big deal (except to us, maybe), but an article has appeared in the New York Times this morning that adds a certain je ne sais quoi to the event.
Inexplicably buried in the Business Section, it is the first Times report that I know of (after four years) about the strange Mohammed al-Dura case. For those who don’t recall, Mohammed was the twelve-year old boy whose terrified face went round the world as his father hid him from Israeli bullets at the beginning of Intifada II. The image was in many ways the symbol of the Palestinian “resistance” and even became the subject of stamps in Egypt and Tunisia.
But the problem is, for a long time now, many people have been insisting that the image is a fake, a “Pallywood” propaganda production, and that the boy was hiding from bullets fired by the Palestinians themselves. These charges have been accompanied by considerable evidence detailed in this article and elsewhere. But a cordon of silence (oddly not dissimilar to the Eason Jordan Affair) was formed by the French press surrounding the event. It was not broken until quite recently and rather tentatively in Le Figaro.
Now here’s where Charles and my interview fits in. The primary promulgator and source of the Mohammed al-Dura tape was France 2. Perhaps we will be able to get answer to the following question posed in the Times:
“That image has had great influence,” said Daniel Leconte, a former correspondent for France 2. “If this image does not mean what we were told, it is necessary to find the truth.”
As we say in French, je me demande.