Phyllis Chesler interviews the man who helped expose the Al Dura hoax, Philippe Karsenty:
Philippe Karsenty is tall, handsome, charming–and very determined; un homme, tres serieux (a very serious gentleman).
[I met Mr. Karsenty at the Herzliya conference last year, and can vouch for that..]
Karsenty, a 41 year-old former stockbroker, media analyst, and founder of Media-Ratings, came to America on a lecture and media tour shortly after his interim victory in a Paris courtroom in the matter of the Al Dura Hoax. The state owned TV channel, France 2, sued him for defamation when Karsenty insisted that their airing of a brief (55-59 second) portion of the (27 minutes of raw footage) constituted a Blood Libel. The staged event took place on September 30, 2000 at the Netzarim Junction and became the Face that launched far more than a thousand Islamist riots, anti-Israeli petitions, and successful and intercepted Palestinian suicide bombings.
This past September, almost seven years later, a Paris judge finally ordered that France 2 turn over the film to the court by November 14th. The trial itself is set for February 27th of 2008.
Karsenty recently visited me one afternoon and he returned two days later to speak at a gathering to honor him at my home. Among those whom I invited were a direct descendent of Captain Alfred Dreyfus (my friend and neighbor, Gilles Dreyfus) and yes, I took a photo of us all. After all, the Al Dura case exemplifies how powerful a single photo can be.
In my opinion, Karsenty is a hero who would not allow me to introduce him as one. Karsenty interrupted me each time he thought I was about to do so. He said that he is “just doing the right thing and standing up for the truth” –the implication being that anyone can do so.
He is right, but only a handful of people do so–or continue to do so once they find themselves on trial and very much alone. Thus, I believe that Karsenty and I are both correct. He IS a hero but mainly because such heroes are scarce; they are forced to “work alone” as they assume their bone-crushing historical burden. Organizations do not support them.
Indeed, organizations sometimes obstruct and sabotage their own heroes. Such collective bodies do not intervene even when it might be in their national or organizational interest to do so. What they do instead is stand down, slander, or showcase the hero in an exploitative way–and then rush to take credit when the hero crosses the finish line at the end of a long, hard race…
…When asked why he is doing this–since anti-Semitic anti-Zionists will only continue to defame Israel; exposure will not stop them, he usually tells people this: “Sir, did you shave yesterday? And you will shave again tomorrow? Why bother?” And then he says: “It is important to stand up for the truth, no matter the cost. That should not make you a hero.”
“He said that he is “just doing the right thing and standing up for the truth” –the implication being that anyone can do so”
That’s true – if more people took that advice, the truth-tellers would be in the majority, and the process wouldn’t be so difficult.
Sometimes, organizations and people don’t know how to look after their own interests.
RICHARD LANDES has more on the Al Dura Hoax and its effects