With reports that veteran France 2 reporter Charles Enderlin is stepping down from his job, the French-Jewish activist who spearheaded claims he falsely accused Israel in the death of a 12-year-old boy back in 2000 is relieved to see him go.
Phillipe Karsenty spoke to The Algemeiner regarding Enderlin’s departure from the state television network, though he expressed disappointment it was not over ethical issues regarding the infamous report on the death of Mohammed al-Dura.
“This is good news but it has nothing to do with any desire of the French authorities to stop incitement against Israel and the Jews. Enderlin is leaving his job because he is retiring. He will reach 70 years old in October 2015 and he doesn’t have the right to keep on working in a French public company, which France 2 is,” he said.
The 70-year-old Franco-Israeli correspondent will be replaced as France 2‘s bureau chief in Israel by reporter Franck Genauzeau. Karsenty noted that Enderlin’s “replacement by someone who doesn’t have any track record of anti-Israel or antisemitism is good news too,” and could allow the network to prove it doesn’t engage in systematic anti-Israel bias.
“From Genauzeau’s future attitude, we will know if Enderlin’s constant incitement against Israel was his own decision or if it was a state oriented political decision,” he said.
Karsenty and Enderlin have been entangled in a series of legal battles over the years, after Karsenty charged that Enderlin’s story on the death of the Palestinian child had been staged. The report, which aired on September 30, 2000, showed al-Dura and his father Jamal caught in the middle of a gunfight in the Gaza Strip. It then cut to the boy slumped in his father’s lap. The news piece blamed Israeli forces for the alleged death and was a major turning point in the Second Intifada.
Karsenty was convicted of libel in 2006, but the judgment was overturned on appeal in 2008. Israel’s Yediot Ahronot reported that “In September 2007, a French court instructed the TV channel to hand over the entire, unedited footage shot that day, thus reopening the case. In the full video, Mohammad al-Dura can be seen waving his hand, moving his leg and without any visible bloodstains, despite claims made during the news report that the boy had died.”
France 2 appealed that appeal at the “Cour de cassation,” France’s highest court, and in 2012 the court dismissed the evidence on technical grounds and annulled the 2008 acquittal.
In 2013, a committee established by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to investigate al-Dura’s death determined that the Israeli forces could not have been responsible for the shooting, adding that the video was likely staged. That same year, a French court found Karsenty guilty of defamation against the television network and fined him 7,000 euros. Nevertheless, he says he will continue to hold Enderlin accountable.
“Concerning Enderlin, the battle is still on and unless he admits that al-Dura was a hoax, we will keep on following our job of naming and shaming,” he said.
“And don’t forget, there are many opportunities waiting for him in Israel, so many NGOs funded by the EU and other anti-Israel bodies who would be happy to hire him to promote his anti-Israel propaganda,” he said.