Home
In this issue
April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Sept. 12, 2005 / 8 Elul, 5765

When pictures lie

By David Gelernter


Printer Friendly Version

Email this article



A TV report that helped fuel the deadly Palestinian intifada appears to be false. So how is truth supposed to compete with a video fraud?


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | A 55-SECOND video report, produced in 2000 by a French TV station and distributed free of charge around the world, has caused untold injury and grief to Israeli civilians. This month, the French author Nidra Poller analyzes the evidence in Commentary magazine and shows that the video is a fraud — "an almost perfect media crime," the retired French journalist Luc Rosenzweig calls it. That Poller's piece is conclusive is merely my own judgment, of course. But we are all required to make such judgments, in the light of such reports.


There is a wider story here also. We are vulnerable to video lies. Against purposeful lies, truth has never been so helpless, so weakly defended.


More than 500 Israeli civilians have been killed in the intifada, the Palestinian uprising that began five years ago. They were ordinary people chatting on a bus, eating ice cream in a restaurant; suddenly, a bright flash. The next moment the walls are spattered with blood and the bomb's hellish odor fills the air. Some people are blinded, others are cut to pieces. Parents living the worst seconds of their lives cast about wildly for their children in the screaming, smoky chaos.


What explains such bestial crimes? The reported death of a Palestinian child, Mohammed Dura, in Gaza did as much as anything else to ignite the current uprising. In the short video segment produced on Sept. 30, 2000, and distributed immediately, a state-owned French television station called France 2 accused the Israeli army of deliberately shooting and killing the 12-year-old.


You may remember the footage: A man and boy crouch in fear. Shots hit a wall far from the pair; a final round of gunfire kicks up a dust cloud that hides father and son, who are "targets of gunfire from Israeli positions," says the voice-over. When the dust clears, the boy is stretched at the man's feet. The voice says that he is dead.


This version of the story was retold around the world — and it has figured in countless wall posters, an Al Qaeda recruiting video, an epic poem. Last June an aspiring suicide bomber was arrested on her way to a hospital — to kill Israeli children, she said, in memory of Mohammed Dura.


But, according to the Commentary article, the video is a fraud. The footage itself is ambiguous, the alleged main event hidden by dust. The voice-over is what makes us understand what we are seeing. It comes from Charles Enderlin, a correspondent at France 2 (and a French Jew who became an Israeli citizen 20 years ago). Enderlin has never claimed to have been anywhere near the scene of the alleged shooting. His Palestinian cameraman told him the story.


Lots of supporting evidence was supposed to back up the cameraman's story — more footage of the supposed father and son pinned by Israeli fire, footage showing the child's death throes. France 2 has since admitted, according to Poller, that no such footage exists.


The voice-over reports that the child is dead, yet the rest of the segment — which wasn't aired but survives — shows the child propping himself on an elbow, shading his eyes with his hands. Poller saw the tape.


A boy named Mohammed Dura did die in a Gaza hospital that fateful Sept. 30. His face doesn't match the face in the video. Presented with these facts, France 2 officials said that "they would look into the matter."


In early 2005, Enderlin published an article in the French newspaper Le Figaro. His report "may have been hasty," he wrote, but was justified because "so many children were being killed." (But the intifada had barely started; "so many children" were not being killed — not yet.)


What did happen? Chances are we will never know for sure. But Poller reports that outtakes she saw show phony battle scenes staged by Palestinians. Painstaking analysis done by students at the Israeli Military Academy found the same actors playing multiple roles: "The injured and dead jump up, dust themselves off, play at offensive combat."


Poller's article raises far more doubts about the report's authenticity than I can list here. But disproving a video report is much harder than getting people to believe it. You must convince people that their own eyes and ears have deceived them. They must follow the twists and turns of your logical argument, do their own thinking, reach their own conclusions. Give people an opportunity to switch off their brains and they will grab it.


How can cautious, painstaking truth compete with brazen video lies? If the report turns out to be just what it looks like, a despicable fake, who will produce another 55-second video telling the truth? Which TV stations will broadcast it? Where does Israel go to get its reputation back? What will it all matter to grief-stricken Israelis whose children, husbands, mothers and fathers have died in acts sparked by the Dura story?


The rational response is to insist fiercely on the transcendent importance of truth. Yet today we often hear that there is no truth. There are only competing narratives, we are told, all equally true or false.


Yet the truth of what happened on Sept. 30, 2000, is critical to the way the world works, the way people behave. The pictures we were shown and the story we were told is true or false, not both. Enderlin, France 2 and the larger media establishment have an obligation to tell us which it is. Because lies can kill. Lies do kill.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.



Yale professor David Gelernter is a senior fellow at the Shalem Center, Jerusalem. To comment, please click here.


ARCHIVES



© 2005, Los Angeles Times. Distributed by Los Angeles Times Syndicate