Monday, February 25, 2008

25-Feb-08: Jenin, Jenin and personal political bias

Two days from now, on February 27, a French appellate court will hand down its decision in Phillipe Karsenty's appeal in the Al-Dura libel suit. France 2 and Charles Enderlin sued Karsenty in 2006 for calling their footage of the alleged shooting of the child, Mohammed Al Dura, a hoax. Many Israelis await this verdict with bated breath. (See "Truth about lethal icon" by one of this blog's authors in Ynet).

The raw film footage was first made public in the appellate court on November 15, 2007. In it, egregious signs of staging and the absence of any evidence of injury or death pointed to foul play by the plaintiffs France 2 and Enderlin.

In 2000, when France 2 first broadcast and distributed 59 seconds of the footage, the Israeli government hastily admitted its guilt for the boy's death. Despite convincing evidence that it erred in that conclusion, Israel has maintained a steadfast silence on the matter ever since. Even the deaths of hundreds of Israeli civilians, murdered by Palestinian terrorists avenging Al-Dura's purported death, failed to stir our leaders to retract that acknowledgment of responsibility. Their silence helped stoke the Second Intifada fires.

Now our government is again bolstering the Palestinian production of lethal cinematic hoaxes. The director of the Tel Aviv Cinematheque, Alon Garbuz, will screen Mohammed Bakri's controversial film "Jenin, Jenin" tonight, coinciding with the eve of the director's libel trial.

Garbuz says he chose to do this as "a show of support" for Bakri whom he invited to the event. The film describes Bakri's version of what happened in Jenin during the Israel Defense Forces Operation Defensive Shield. It was banned by the Israeli Film Ratings Board in 2003 on the grounds that it was libelous and might offend the public.

That decision was subsequently overturned by the Supreme Court which nonetheless labeled the film a "propagandistic lie". Five IDF reservists later brought a civil suit against Bakri and Israel's cinematheques. The latter reached a settlement with the plaintiffs, but Bakri did not.

Garbuz exemplifies the sentiments of many left-wing Israelis who defend Palestinian actions regardless of their immorality. When they do so on their own time and out their own pockets, it is disturbing enough. But when, like Garbuz, they take home generous salaries consisting of Israeli taxpayers' shekels, the very people they seek to malign, then their hypocrisy is showing. Garbuz’ squandering of our taxes on expressions of his personal political bias is untenable.


ee said...

To be quite honest, I stopped my Cinematheque subscription when I moved from Tel Aviv to Givatayim, for practical reasons.
But now I'm glad I did.
A former pupil of my high school was killed in that Jenin incident, so you can imagine what I think of the "facts" related.

The-View-From-Ramot said...

Sadly, people not directly impacted like you seem to be apathetic to liberties of the kind taken by the institution's director. Apathy of that sort in the face of the silliness that characterizes much of the public discourse on terrorism is beyond dangerous. It's life-threatening. Not only that but it's become an essential part of the atmosphere that has created the conditions necessary for a man like Muhammad Bakri, Jenin Jenin's maker, to get away with his distortions and fabrications for years.
"Seven Lies About Jenin" (online at, written in 2002 by Dr David Zangen who, unlike Bakri was there and lived through the actual events, captures the unbearable problem. The film maker's gross lies were greeted by an Israeli audience in the heart of Israel's metropolitan heart with... "thunderous applause". Do you need to be connected personally to a victim of this sort of outrage to see through the manipulation of the "facts" and the "truth"? Maybe. How depressing.

ee said...

Thank you for the link. I will pass it on when needed.