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Muhammad al-Dura’s Faked Death?

15 May

aldura-stampIt’s the case that seems to never die.

Twelve years after the “shooting of Muhammad al-Dura” on the second day of the Intifada in Gaza, the Israeli government has now concluded that IDF fire did not kill Muhammad al-Dura, and there is even no evidence that the 12-year-old Palestinian boy was injured. In the video – shot by a Palestinian cameraman – al-Dura can be seen moving his arm and leg, with no visible bloodstains.

France-2 television broke the story, with reporter Charles Enderlin describing how the Israelis had shot and killed the young al-Dura. The video clip was the lead story on evening newscasts worldwide, with the iconic image of the boy – huddling behind a cement barrel next to his father – splashed across every front page. The media accepted as “fact” that al-Dura was, in the words of 60 Minutes Australia, “targeted, murdered, by Israeli soldiers,” and Time magazine surmised the chilling scenario that “pleas for Israeli soldiers to cease fire [were] answered with a fusillade of bullets.”

Given the strategic timing at the beginning of the Intifada, it was a PR bonanza for Palestinians in their campaign to generate world sympathy – in the words of 60 Minutes, “one of the most disastrous setbacks Israel has suffered in decades.”

To add fuel to the fire, the Palestinian Authority produced a doctored photomontage of an Israeli soldier lining up his scope and shooting al-Dura at close range – an act of “artistic expression” that the PA’s Ministry of Information said was meant to “convey the truth… and nothing but the truth.” (ARD German Television, March 18, 2002)

Overnight, al-Dura became the Palestinian poster child, driving the nascent Intifada violence to dizzying heights. Days later, as Palestinians lynched two Israelis in Ramallah, the bloodthirsty crowd shouted: “Revenge for the blood of Muhammad al-Dura!” The boy was immortalized in epic poems, postage stamps and streets named in his honor. Over 150 schools in Iran alone were renamed after al-Dura.

There was only one problem. Enderlin, the French correspondent who narrated the al-Dura footage as if he was delivering an eyewitness account, was nowhere near the Netzarim junction that day. The veracity of both the film and the narrative was based solely on the word of the Palestinian cameraman, with no outside verification. It was a 100 percent Palestinian production – stamped with a France-2 voiceover.

Media monitors immediately suspected a fraud. Given the angle of the Israeli position – kitty-corner to the junction – the only way that Israeli bullets could have hit al-Dura was by ricochet. The video, however, shows symmetrical bullet-holes penetrating the wall behind him – indicating a straight hit.

So who fired the shots? An obvious way to solve the mystery would be to examine the bullets lodged in the wall: are they Israeli M-16, or Palestinian Kalashnikov? Inexplicably, there were no bullets to be found. In a filmed interview, Abu Rahma, the cameraman, admitted to having removed the bullets from the wall. When questioned about what he discovered – and why a cameraman would be involved in ballistics activities in the first place – Abu Rahma flashed a sinister smile and said: “We have some secrets for ourselves.”

As this information came to light, intelligent people not prone to conspiracy theories were becoming increasingly convinced that al-Dura was actually shot by Palestinians. Israeli M-16 bullets are smaller (5.56 caliber) than the Palestinian Kalashnikov (7.62 caliber); in a later reenactment, M-16 bullets fired from the Israeli position were unable to replicate the bullet holes that hit the cement barrel in the video; they merely pinged off its surface. When France-2 allowed award-winning producer Daniel Leconte and other senior French journalists to view all 27 minutes of the raw footage, Leconte concluded: “The only ones who could [have] hit the child were the Palestinians from their position. If they had been Israeli bullets, they would be very strange bullets because they would have needed to go around the corner.”

Bustling Stage of Alfresco Cinema

And then the levee broke:

Professor Richard Landes of Boston University discovered “outtakes” – hours of additional footage shot that same day at the Netzarim junction. These tapes – produced by more than a dozen Palestinian cameramen working for Reuters, Associated Press and other networks – depict a variety of unmistakably staged battle scenes. One clip shows a group of Palestinian men running with rifles, then shooting through an archway, Rambo-style. One would assume that the Palestinians were in the heat of battle, firing on Israelis. Yet the unedited footage shows that the archway leads to nothing more than a brick wall. No Israelis, no battle. Just a dramatic, contrived production, what Landes calls “a bustling stage of alfresco cinema.” (seconddraft.org)

Incredibly, the following day Enderlin and France-2 broadcast this sequence of men firing into the brick wall as if it were real news footage.

Other videotape from that day at the junction shows Palestinian actors in multiple roles: Palestinian fighters are carted off to an ambulance, despite showing no signs of injury. Other men fall in apparent agony, then get up, dust themselves off, and re-enter the action. “Emergency evacuation crews” are seen laughing and goofing around – while Palestinian schoolgirls stroll merrily through the scene.

Suspicious of a hoax, Professor Landes tracked down France-2’s Enderlin and together they viewed some of the outtakes. During one obviously faked scene of an ambulance evacuation, Enderlin shrugged it off as a matter of course. The Arabs “do that all the time,” he said. “It’s their cultural style. They exaggerate.”

The hoax was now clear. That day at the junction provided the perfect combination of dramatic factors: a terrified young boy, clinging to his frantic father, apparently shot in cold blood – the ultimate image of “Israeli aggressor and Palestinian victim.” Best of all, since there was no Western presence at the junction that day, staging this scene required only the cooperation of Palestinian camera crews. France-2’s Enderlin – seduced by the lure of a major international scoop – ignored the obvious deficiencies in the credibility of Palestinian cameraman Abu Rahma, who once declared, “I went into journalism to carry on the fight for my people.”

Upon viewing the raw footage, Luc Rosenzweig, former editor-in-chief of France’s daily Le Monde, called this the “almost perfect media crime.”

Distressing Possibilities

As the story unfolded, other journalists conducted their own investigations and found the inconsistencies between fact and fiction too great to discount. Esther Schapira, a German television producer, traveled to Israel convinced of IDF guilt – and came away concluding that the boy had been killed by Palestinians. James Fallows, one of America’s most respected journalists, documented in The Atlantic Monthly how he reached the same conclusion. And Jean-Claude Schlinger, an adviser on ballistic and forensic evidence in French courts for 20 years, recreated the shooting and concluded that al-Dura could not have been shot by Israeli gunfire.

Was France-2 duped? Enderlin, at his meeting with Professor Landes, drew a map of Netzarim junction that placed the Israeli position on the wrong side of the road. Landes says: “This indicated one of two equally distressing possibilities”: Either that Enderlin “understood so little of what had happened that day that he didn’t even know the most basic elements of the layout of the scene.” Or alternatively, he was outright lying – and must have assumed that Landes “was so little informed that he could get away with it.”

French journalist Claude Weill Raynal defended Enderlin with the following bit of logic: “[People are] so shocked that fake images were used and edited in Gaza, but this happens all the time everywhere on television, and no TV journalist in the field or film editor would be shocked.” In other words, Palestinian photo fraud is so commonplace, there’s no reason to get excited.

For this exceptional piece of propaganda disguised as camera work, Abu Rahma was nominated by MSNBC for “Picture of the Year,” and received various “Journalist of the Year” honors including the coveted Rory Peck award from the Sony Corporation. He achieved legendary status in Arab circles and went on speaking engagements around the world.

[Meanwhile, the boy’s father, Jamal al-Dura, was engaging in his own bit of media manipulation. He held a press conference where he lifted his shirt to show journalists the scars on his chest as “proof” that Israeli soldiers had fired on him. In truth, these scars were the result of tendon transplant surgery that Jamal had undergone years earlier at an Israeli hospital, after being severely wounded by a Palestinian thug. Dr. David Yehuda, the surgeon who operated on Jamal, recognized the scars: “His wounds are not bullet wounds, but were produced by two things – first, the knife of the Palestinian who cut him, and second, my knife that fixed him. He faked the case.” Jamal had displayed the height of ingratitude: After being saved by an Israeli doctor, he turned that around to foist a libel on the Jews.]

Pallywood

The PR bonanza sparked by Muhammad al-Dura gave birth to Pallywood, a cottage industry dedicated to producing Palestinian propaganda films. When Palestinian officials alleged that Israel was using radioactive uranium and nerve gas against civilians, official PA television broadcast fake “news footage” of “victims” plagued by vomiting and convulsions. Another clip from state-run Palestinian TV used actors to depict Israeli soldiers “raping and murdering” a Palestinian girl in front of her horrified parents.

So this is what Israel is fighting against: Palestinians generate video footage of “Israeli atrocities,” then obscure the evidence to ensure that Palestinian “eyewitnesses” remain as the only source of information. The media then pronounces Israel guilty until proven innocent. By the time Israel can gather the facts, the party is over.

These iconic images create a “record of events” that forms the historical narrative for generations to come. Consider the four reels of footage from the Warsaw Ghetto discovered after World War II, which for decades served as the authentic resource for Holocaust scholars. At least until 1998, when a fifth reel turned up – showing outtakes of the ghetto scenes – proving the “historical record” to be a staged fraud.

Once an image sears into the public consciousness, it is almost impossible to undo. According to Hany Farid, a Dartmouth professor and expert on digital photography, on a neurological level the brain tends to reduce each major historical era into a single emotional image that encapsulates the complex story: raising the Flag on Iwo Jima, the Vietnamese Napalm girl, facing the tank in Tiananmen Square, electrocution wires at Abu Ghraib prison – and Muhammad al-Dura.

This is more than just a convenient memory device. Like the medieval blood libels that launched pogroms across Europe, the legend of al-Dura has become the battle cry of violent Muslim extremists committing the most heinous crimes. In an al-Qaeda recruitment film, Osama bin Laden invoked the memory of al-Dura as a call to arms. In Ramallah, the mob that disemboweled two Israeli reservists declared it as “revenge for the blood of Muhammad al-Dura.” And in Daniel Pearl’s beheading video, the killers interwove scenes of al-Dura with the gruesome slitting of Pearl’s throat.

Philippe Karsenty, a French media watchdog, accused France-2 of fraud, the discredited Enderlin tried to shift the blame by calling this “a campaign designed to harass foreign correspondents,” and – in an amazing show of chutzpah – sued Karsenty for libel. The case wound its way through the French legal system – in 2006 France 2 won its case, in 2008 the judgment was overturned by the Paris Court of Appeal; in 2012, France’s high court re-reversed the ruling. And now in the coming days, another French court is expected to rule once again.

This is all on the backdrop of the Israeli government probe concluding that the al-Dura event was rife with fraud. Even Enderlin himself wrote in the French newspaper Le Figaro that his report “may have been hasty,” but was justified because “so many children were being killed.” In other words, fabricating news coverage is acceptable – when used to support some greater, unproven claim against Israel.

Yet when an urban legend starts it is nearly impossible to erase. Everyone knows that before Columbus sailed to the New World, scientists thought the world was flat. Not true. It was only in 1828 that novelist Washington Irving popularized the flat-earth fable in his best-selling biography of Columbus. Writers of American history then picked up the story, and since textbooks tend to be clones of each other, Irving’s little hoax persists to this day.

So too, “the shooting of Muhammad al-Dura” has become a permanent part of the lexicon – a 21st century version of the Flat Earth Society. As Mark Twain said, “A lie told well is immortal.”

Tragically, these lies are more than just factual inaccuracies or a PR issue. These myths remain firmly engraved in Palestinian lore, fomenting an atmosphere of mistrust that will linger for decades, and that ultimately undermine the possibility of peaceful coexistence. As one Palestinian woman said on camera regarding another hoax (the Jenin “massacre”): “We’ll never forget this massacre. This is similar to the Holocaust. We will teach our generations not to forget this.”

Hooray for Pallywood.

Déjà Vu in Gaza?

18 Nov

It’s all so eerily familiar. A war that began a few weeks after Barack Obama’s presidential election. Gazans had been raining hundreds of Qassam rockets onto southern Israeli towns, along with long-range missiles supplied by the mad mullahs of Iran. With just 15 seconds to run into a shelter before impact, the rockets sowed panic in streets and schools. The danger reached ludicrous proportions and it was time to stop playing Islamic Roulette.

Four years ago, Israel launched “Operation Cast lead” to stop the rockets from Gaza. Now here we are again, this time with Operation Pillar of Defense (Amud Anan). Little has changed. On the heels of a U.S. presidential election, nearly 500 rockets have struck Israel from Gaza. One million Israelis are living in bomb shelters and Iranian-made Fajir missiles have put Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and 50 percent of Israel’s population within striking range.

Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system has successfully intercepted another 150 rockets. Yet the system is not fool-proof; dozens of Israelis have been injured and three civilians were killed when a Hamas rocket hit their home in the town of Kiryat Malachi.

For now, people of good will are backing Israel’s right to self-defense. The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution in support of Israel, and the U.S. State Department – with a historically Arabist bent – was unequivocal: “The onus is on Hamas to stop its rocket attacks.” Even traditionally hostile Europeans – perhaps fearing that their own capitals may one day be similarly targeted – are affirming “Israel’s right to live without fear of attack.”

For its part, Israel has decimated over 100 rocket production and launching facilities in Gaza. As well, Israel eliminated arch-terrorist Ahmed Jabari, the commander-in-chief of Hamas terror activity who directed a decade of rockets, bombings, and the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit.

Where all this will end is a terrifying unknown. The Middle East is far more volatile than it was four years ago: Syria is immersed in a bloody civil war; Hizbollah positions have been strengthened in Lebanon; Egypt is now run by the Muslim Brotherhood; anti-government riots have erupted in Jordan; and Iran is four years closer to possessing an atomic bomb.

What can we do?

1) Stay informed, and redouble efforts to assist Israel’s PR effort.

2) Strengthen our commitment to Jewish values.

3) Pray for the welfare of Israeli soldiers and all of Israel’s citizens.

We do not have the option of passively standing by. Israel is in real danger and we need everyone on board. The verse (2-Kings 3:27) implies that if our enemies show great devotion and self-sacrifice for their cause, that obligates us to do the same.

For the purpose of education and activism, here are four key points to know:

(1) CNN reporter shills as a mouthpiece for jihadist terror.

For media monitors, CNN has long been the gargoyle in an already-ugly media crowd. In a variety of ways – whether it’s CNN founder Ted Turner labeling Israeli defensive actions “terror”; or CNN’s Senior Editor of Mideast Affairs, Octavia Nasr, expressing her sadness over the passing of a Hezbollah terror leader; or Palestinian spokeswoman Diana Buttu asserting unchallenged on CNN that Qassam rockets (with their 7,000 metal ball bearings and 20 pounds of TNT) contain “no explosive warhead” – CNN too often seems on the cusp of pro-Palestinian activism.

This time around, CNN seems headed down the same path. A video report by Zain Verjee, the London-based anchor of CNN’s World Report, sounds like she’d be more comfortable on Hamas TV, as she discards all semblance of objectivity and assumes the role of disdainful challenger. Note specifically:

• 0:57 – “How do these air strikes bring peace and quiet?”

• 2:00 – “Fifteen children are wounded – these aren’t targeted operations!”

• 3:46 – “Aren’t you making an already bad situation worse?”

The good news is that Israel has a superb spokesman in Mark Regev, a native of Australia who displays remarkable articulation and composure in the face of these CNN taunts. Keep your eye on CNN and in the meantime, click here to complain about Verjee’s horribly biased video report.

(2) Beyond rockets and planes, this is a Social Media war.

The days are over when terrorists disseminate their hatred via a spooky video cassette sent to Al Jazeera. Today, you can simply “follow” Hamas missile squads on Twitter’s @alqassambrigade, or surf http://www.qassam.ps where you even have the option of selecting your favorite color scheme. More nefariously, Palestinian rocket-launching teams now use Google Earth to select their civilian targets.

Israel has traditionally been behind the curve when it comes to public diplomacy – the infamous “hasbara.” In trying to influence world opinion, the government’s standard mode has been a cacophony of competing – and sometimes contradictory – messages from various spokespeople in the Government Press Office, IDF, Foreign Ministry and Defense Ministry.

This time it’s different. Israel is prepared, quick, concise and – believe it or not – “media savvy.” The Ministry of Public Diplomacy is coordinating an aggressive campaign under the banner, “Israel Under Fire.”

The IDF has issued a series of successful viral campaigns, such as a Facebook graphic which depicts the Statue of Liberty and other international landmarks being swamped by missiles. The message: “What would you do?”

After killing terror chieftain Jabari, the IDF immediately posted a YouTube video of the targeted strike. It has been viewed 4 million times, sending an important message to three different audiences:

• A warning to militants in Gaza: “We can get you anywhere, anytime.”

• An appeasing message to the Israeli public: “We will not remain helpless in the face of repeated rocket attacks.”

• A reassurance to those concerned with collateral damage: “We can strike with utmost precision.”

This is a genuine Social Media War. On the heels of the Jabari strike, IDF tweeted a direct warning to his Hamas comrades; Hamas then tweeted back its own threat:

Get involved. Follow the Israel Defense Forces at: Website, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr. And most importantly: Share!

(3) Bias in the New York Times – what else is new?

The New York Times has dark stains going all the way back to the Holocaust, when its gross under-reporting of events crippled efforts to generate public support for helping to save millions of Jews.

Now in Gaza, the Times is playing loose with the facts. A Times editorial insists that Hamas “has mostly adhered to an informal cease-fire with Israel after the war there in the winter of 2008-09.” Would someone please explain how that jives with the fact that Hamas launched 650 rocket attacks in 2011 and nearly 1,000 this year alone?

Meanwhile, Times’ correspondents Fares Akram and Isabel Kershner profess to be doubtful of events, saying that the Israeli military operation is “in response to what Israel called repeated rocket attacks.” In the eyes of the Times, the launching of hundreds of rockets from Gaza is not a fact, but rather “what Israel called repeated rocket attacks.”

The Times is also uncertain about the nature of Hamas, saying it is “regarded by Israel as a terrorist group sworn to Israel’s destruction.”

According to the Times, only Israel regards Hamas as a terrorist group. Why does the Times ignore that Hamas is also listed as a terrorist group by the European Union, United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, and United Kingdom?

As for the assertion that Hamas is “regarded by Israel as … sworn to Israel’s destruction,” is the Times somehow unaware of the Hamas Charter which cites the destruction of Israel as its primary objective? Does the Times not believe Hamas foreign minister Mahmoud Zahar when he declares: “Nobody among our sons and grandsons will accept Israel as a legal state… Israel is a foreign body. Not in this generation, not in the next generation, will we accept it here”?

So far, we’ve at least been spared the fairy tales from the rocket barrage of four years ago when the Times published the Hamas claim that “We did not intentionally target civilians. We were targeting military bases, but the primitive weapons make mistakes.”

This calls to mind the words of Mark Twain: While there are laws to protect freedom of the press, there are unfortunately none to protect people from the press.

(4) The Pallywood industry of false claims.

When it comes to civilians casualties, no one play it like they do in Gaza. Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic notes how Hamas “prevents the burial, or even preparation of the bodies for burial, until the bodies are used as props in the Palestinian Passion Play. Once, in Khan Younis [Gaza], I actually saw gunmen unwrap a shrouded body, carry it a hundred yards and position it atop a pile of rubble – and then wait a half-hour until photographers showed. It was one of the more horrible things I’ve seen in my life. And it’s typical of Hamas.”

Hamas has taken the initiative in promoting fake casualties. On Twitter, @AlqassamBrigade uploaded the photo of a “Palestinian child wounded in an Israeli air strike.” Astute media monitors noted that in truth, the photo is of a child injured last month in the Syrian civil war.

Meanwhile, AFP/Getty issued a photo of a Palestinian man picking up a doll lying on shattered glass. Was this scene genuine? It’s possible. But with such a rare confluence of elements – the man’s hand a split-second from the pristine doll perfectly positioned in the rubble – logic rejects the likelihood that the photojournalist “just happened” to be down on the floor in perfect position at the precise moment. It’s simply too good to be true.

In a classic case of “fauxtography,”BBC and others posted footage of a “badly injured” man being carried away to safety by five other men. Thirty seconds later the man is shown – miraculously – walking around, healthy as a lark. (See the clip here, and watch till 2:42.)

In the meantime, Hamas has been desperately fabricating achievements: falsely claiming to have hit Israel’s parliament in Jerusalem, to have struck down an Israeli drone, and to have killed several soldiers in a jeep.

To be sure, as Hamas registers more losses in the military confrontation and thus becomes more desperate to win the media war, we can expect more attempts to orchestrate events. As Professor Richard Landes has predicted:

Whether by Israeli accident or Hamas engineering, expect a spectacular civilian massacre in the coming days, followed by an orgy of Pallywood photography, amplified by a compliant Western media, and even greater fury in the streets of the Muslim and Western world. It’s in the Hamas playbook.

Four years ago, the U.N. school in Jabalya, Gaza provided fodder for an alleged massacre (later disproven). This time, expect Hamas to hang on just long enough to score those coveted PR points. After all, events in Gaza appear to be happening all over again.

Fake Gaza Art

11 Sep

The “demonize Israel” campaign was in full swing last week in Ontario, Canada, with an exhibit of “Gaza Children’s Artwork” at an event called MuslimFest.

There’s nothing wrong with that. Except in this case, the “art” was not drawn by children at all, but rather by sophisticated artists trying to mimic a child’s style, in order to better pull at the heartstrings of a Western audience.

The unanimous opinion of experts is that these drawings – which depict various scenes of “Israeli brutality” – are far too sophisticated to have been drawn by children. The symbolism, detail, coloring and motifs all indicate the work of trained artists imitating the style of a child. Note, for example, how the dynamic brushstrokes are well conceived and controlled, and how the people are drawn in a clear single-line outline. No child does that.

Here’s another clear indication this is a big fake: One would think that a children’s art exhibit would eagerly publicize the names of the artists and elaborate on their own personal stories – which is often more compelling than the art. Yet for some bizarre reason, none of the drawings are signed, and none of the “artists” in this exhibit are named.

One anti-Israel website tried to explain away this omission, claiming that the art was often drawn and painted in the dark, due to limited electricity and frequent power outages as a result of the “Israeli siege of Gaza.”

Hmmm… So kids can spend an hour drawing an intricate picture, but can’t find the ten seconds to write their own names?

The crazy thing is that Festivals and Events Ontario, a non-profit organization that supports various public festivals in Canada, gave a $40,000 grant to MuslimFest.

Honestly, none of this surprises me. Remember Muhammed al-Dura, the staged scene of a 12-year-old Palestinian boy allegedly caught in crossfire and killed at the beginning of the second Intifada? Now in Ontario, visitors to a public art festival are subject to the same kind of scam. It’s all part of what I call “Pallywood,” a cottage industry dedicated to producing Palestinian propaganda materials designed to demonize Israel.

(HT: Elder of Ziyon)

CNN’s Rachel Corrie Photo Fraud – Times of Israel

2 Sep

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Much has been written about how the Rachel Corrie case was handled in the courtroom. Yet all the while, a more subtle judgment has been taking place in the court of public opinion.

So while the Israeli court ruled that Corrie’s 2003 death was an accident – given that the bulldozer driver was unable to detect Corrie’s presence – that ruling did not stop CNN from promoting the canard that Corrie was “intentionally murdered.”

In describing the verdict, a CNN video report depicted Corrie standing in plain view of an Israeli bulldozer, with a megaphone in hand, as CNN reporter Frederik Pleitgen intoned: “These photos show the moments before she was killed.”

READ THE WHOLE THING –>  http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/photo-fraud-cnn-resurrects-the-rachel-corrie-libel/

Resurrected: The Rachel Corrie Libel

28 Aug

It was a horrible tragedy. In March 2003, Rachel Corrie, a 23-year-old American, was hanging out in Gaza, trying her hand at “pro-Palestinian activism.” One day, as an Israeli bulldozer was dismantling tunnels used by Gazans to smuggle weapons, Corrie decided to protest. She positioned herself in a trench, in a spot invisible to the Israeli bulldozer driver, and was accidentally crushed to death.

Testifying under oath, the bulldozer driver said he did not realize he had run over Corrie until he heard what had happened over the radio network.

Pro-Palestinian activists seized the opportunity to promote Corrie’s death as a blood libel, accusing Israel of intentional murder. As George Rishmawi, director of the group that sponsored Corrie’s stay in Gaza, told the San Francisco Chronicle (July 14, 2004): Placing American students in danger is good for the Palestinian cause because “if some of these foreign volunteers get shot or even killed, then the international media will sit up and take notice.”

On Tuesday, an Israeli civil court ruled that Rachel Corrie’s death was indeed an accident.

“The death of Rachel Corrie is without a doubt a tragic accident,” the state prosecutor’s office said in a statement. “As the verdict states – the driver of the bulldozer and his commander had a very limited field of vision, such that they had no possibility of seeing Ms. Corrie and thus are exonerated of any blame for negligence.”

Explaining the court’s ruling, judge Oded Gershon said Corrie’s death was “the result of an accident she brought upon herself.” Corrie was in closed military area, with entry forbidden to civilians. The area was the site of daily gunfire by snipers, missile fire and IED explosions. The United States government had issued a travel warning against American citizens visiting the Gaza Strip.

“She did not distance herself from the area, as any thinking person would have done,” the judge ruled.

Yet the media is refusing to let go of the “intentional murder” canard. In reporting the court’s verdict, NBC News published this photo showing Corrie standing in plain view of an Israeli bulldozer, with a megaphone in hand.

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U.S. citizen Rachel Corrie, 23, speaks through a megaphone to an Israeli army bulldozer before she was killed in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip on March 16, 2003. (NBC News / Reuters)

Objectively speaking, this photo makes it difficult to believe that the Israeli driver did not see Rachel Corrie. Indeed, the wording of the caption – “before she was killed in Rafah” – emphasizes the idea that at the moment she was crushed, Corrie was clearly visible, standing with a megaphone.

But that is one huge pack of lies.

The truth is that this photo was taken hours before the incident. At the time of the accident, Rachel Corrie was without a megaphone and was in a hidden position.

This second photo, taken minutes after the accident, shows Corrie bleeding on the ground:

Any honest journalist can see that the second photo shows a different bulldozer. Note the large rust stain on the right side of the bulldozer’s blade, in contrast to the megaphone photo. Additionally, this second bulldozer has more narrow, double-glazed windows and an 8-foot-tall bulldozer blade that greatly obscures driver visibility.

This cannot be passed off as merely an honest mistake. The exact same “mistake” was made nine years ago and the media was called out on it. CNN’s original 2003 report used the “creative chronology” – and I got them to issue a retraction. The Christian Science Monitor took the false chronology one step further by distributing the earlier photo of Corrie with the megaphone, claiming that the photo was taken “moments before it ran her over.”

So while this photo fraud has been well-documented in David & Goliath, the media – due either to anti-Israel bias, or to pure sloppiness – continues to promote the blood libel of Israel intentionally murdering Americans.

Today an Israeli court of law spoke the truth. We await the day when the truth will likewise prevail in the court of world opinion.

UPDATE: Two days after this article was posted, I was contacted by an editor at NBC News saying they’d changed the caption to: “U.S. citizen Rachel Corrie, 23, speaks through a megaphone to an Israeli army bulldozer on the day she was killed in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on March 16, 2003.”

Al-Dura Discredited, Again

26 Feb

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Remember the case of Muhammad al-Dura, the 12-year-old boy who was shot by unknown gunmen, which the media assumed to be Israeli soldiers? Al-Dura became an icon of the Palestinian Intifada.

A lesser-known aspect of this story is that the boy’s father, Jamal al-Dura, engaged in his own bit of media manipulation. Shortly after the incident, he held a press conference where he lifted his shirt to show journalists the scars on his chest as “proof” that Israeli soldiers had fired on him. In truth, these scars were the result of tendon transplant surgery that Jamal had undergone years earlier at an Israeli hospital, after being severely wounded by Palestinian thugs.

Dr. David Yehuda, the surgeon who operated on Jamal, recognized the scars:

“His wounds are not bullet wounds, but were produced by two things – first, the knife of the Palestinian who cut him, and second, my knife that fixed him. He faked the case.”

Jamal had displayed the height of ingratitude: After being saved by an Israeli doctor, he turned that around to foist a libel on the Jews.

If that wasn’t enough chutzpah, Jamal then sued the Israeli doctor for slander!

The case has been winding its way through the French courts, and last week the French Supreme Court finally ruled in favor of the Israeli doctor.

Jamal al-Dura thus joins Oscar Wilde and Alger Hiss in the pantheon of those who brought libel suits – and ended up destroying their own reputations.

A small bit of justice in this very disturbing case.