Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Bollinger, Corrigan and Peachfuzz: A Lesson in Navigation

Columbia University’s invitation, uninvitation, reinvitation absurd appearance of Ahmadinejad, and the show of refreshing but futile hostility toward him by Lee Bollinger the president of the university, has now passed into history. I've been trying to give my thoughts shape for a few days now. The whole thing was so ill considered from the beginning and has come to such a chaotic and inconclusive end that I was originally going to call this post The Ghost of “Wrong Way” Corrigan, as a reference to the epic reversals of direction and Lee Bollinger’s blind launch into a foggy night and his journey in a direction opposite to his intention. But then I read about the original “wrong way” guy, Douglas Corrigan, and I realized that the comparison was invalid.
Douglas Wrong Way Corrigan
Thanks to Wikipedia I learned that it was most likely that Mr. Corrigan had gone exactly where he had intended to go. Corrigan, it seems, had been an accomplished flyer, aviation mechanic and navigator on that foggy day that he took off from New York city headed for California and wound up a few dozen hours later in Ireland. Although he never admitted it publicly, the probable real story was that there was no chance that his diversion was an accident. In fact, he was one of the crew who had helped prepare Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis for the flight to Paris. It seems that Corrigan had applied for permission to make a trans-Atlantic flight and been denied. So, although to end of his life he never admitted it, most knowledgable observers are of the opinion that when he left New York with a flight plan for California and ended up in Ireland, he was just doing what he wanted to do and daring anyone to punish him.

Columbia University President, Lee Bollinger
I was pretty surprised that Lee Bollinger put on a good account of his promised “sharp remarks” when he addressed them to Ahmadinejad this past Monday afternoon. Having heard his address at this past spring’s graduation ceremonies, I was expecting something far more equivocal. It is not news to me that his guy can thread the ideological needle. He is smart and he is good at what he does. I just didn’t expect hat he would come out as strongly.

I have to confess that when he began his remarks to the Iranian President by saying, “Today, I feel all the weight of the modern civilized world yearning to express the revulsion at what you stand for,” I was initially impressed and relieved. As I listened, though, it dawned on me that, satisfying as it was to have the well, spoken and charismatic Bollinger give this tin-pot despot a tongue lashing was, as I had myself predicted, not a victory at all.

Much of our earliest and most basic childhood training as westerners teaches that when confronted with the facts and made to listen to them presented, appropriately, cogently and forcefully, it is not possible to deny them. The primacy of ideas, compassion, logic and fair play in our childhood indoctrination is so powerful and pervasive we cannot conceive of another way to experience the world. Thus we believe that all we have to do is find the right way of communicating and any human being is bound to see things the way we do.

I was twelve years old in October of 1960 when Nikita Khrushchev appeared at the UN and became so enraged in the debate that he took off one of his shoes and pounded it on the desk in front of him while he harangued that august assembly. This outburst was very disturbing to children in suburban American. It wasn’t so much the nuclear threat and the ominous cold war rhetoric, it was the spectacle of an adult behaving in ways that we were so thoroughly conditioned to think of as unthinkable for anyone over the age of three that disrupted our sense of what makes the world predictable and safe. I recall vividly, that one day while discussing the incident in class, one of my classmates (one of those pretty, well-dressed little girls with nice manners, I think her name was Deborah) raised her hand and said, “Well, I am going to write him (Khrushchev) a letter and tell him that he should be ashamed of himself”. The invincible confidence of a twelve-year-old girl in her ability to correct and persuade a frothing zealot is sweet and endearing; when you find the same self-absorbed, quixotic confidence in the president of one of the World’s great institutions of learning, it’s not so cute.

Bollinger, like most of the rest of the academic elite, reacts to the Islamist threat with much the same visceral sense of disorientation and threat that had my little classmate Deborah in 6th grade so worked up. In fact, the Caliphate fanaticism of people like Ahmadinejad is so disruptive to the western psyche and world view, that when we come up against a true fanatic like Ahmadinejad, those of us who do not understand that not all human beings have the same training, are unable to cope with the disorientation. This is why otherwise highly intelligent and accomplished people like Bollinger become such easily manipulated dupes; and he stepped right into full “dupe-hood” in the instant that he began addressing Ahmadinejad. Like much of the left, Bollinger is subject to extreme anxiety about the emotions and reasons of those who are self-proclaimed enemies of the west. He says to Ahmadinejad accusingly, “Do you plan on wiping us off the map, too?”

He asks a litany of plaintive “whys”-
Why have women, members of the Baha'i faith, homosexuals and so many of our academic colleagues become targets of persecution in your country?

Why in a letter last week to the secretary general of the U.N. did Akbar Gangi, Iran's leading political dissident, and over 300 public intellectuals, writers and Nobel Laureates express such grave concern that your inflamed dispute with the West is distracting the world's attention from the intolerable conditions your regime has created within Iran? In particular, the use of the Press Law to ban writers for criticizing the ruling system.

Why are you so afraid of Iranian citizens expressing their opinions for change?
Why do you support well-documented terrorist organizations that continue to strike at peace and democracy in the Middle East, destroying lives and civil society in the region?

Can you tell them and us why Iran is fighting a proxy war in Iraq by arming Shi'a militia targeting and killing U.S. troops?

Anyone who has followed Ahmadinejad’s career and speeches already knows the answers to those questions. He has told the world what he believes but very few have listened to him. He is a Caliphate Muslim who believes the advent of the Mahdi is imminent. His vision of the Mahdi is apocalyptical and involves the slaughter and subjugation of all non-believers. He sees himself as a catalyst, or even, an instigator of this process. Bollinger didn’t break any new ground. He didn’t challenge Ahmadinejad’s religious mania. He just indulged the perennial leftist preoccupation with “Why do they hate us?”

They (the left) find Islamist rage, lying, prevarication and violence so unsettling to their infantile sense of what makes the world safe that their first priority is to attempt to regain some feeling of safety and control. Under such stress, people are often reduced to infantile and irrational behavior (why do you hate us? , but why, why?).

Bollinger eventually even tempered his strongest words, as when he said “Let's, then, be clear at the beginning, Mr. President, you exhibit all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator,” He's not calling him a petty and cruel dictator, he's just saying he resembles one. It is as if he is begging Ahmadinejad to explain the unexplainable or to recant his fanaticism on the spot and exchange ideas rationally. It was pathetic really, here is his closing line, “I am only a professor, who is also a university president, and today I feel all the weight of the modern civilized world yearning to express the revulsion at what you stand for. I only wish I could do better”. As I wrote before the event, it would have been better not to have put himself, Columbia and the rest of Western Civilization in that position.

He even alluded to the pernicious defense mechanism of “excessive self criticism” which many leftists indulge in when he said “We at this university have not been shy to protest and challenge the failures of our own government to live by these values; and we won't be shy in criticizing yours.” In order to feel safer in the face of the rage and hatred that they can’t explain, they make believe that it’s the “grown-ups who have to work for a living- President Bush (Bushitler), “The Multinational Corporations and Israel who are the sources of the world’s evil. It seems easier to blame them because, deep down, the lefist knows that they will not harm or scare them in any way. They are under control and subject to the same Western mores that make our society egalitarian and safe. No Columbia has never been “shy to protest and challenge the failures of our own government” why should they be? They are much safer to tweak than the murderous, hair-trigger fanatics and their beliefs which are actually the problem.

Here is a note to the rest of us: “Don’t ever look to a leftist for a positive and competent counter-attack on our enemies. Because even when they get a lot of the rhetoric right, their moral compass is so out of kilter that they fail to make the key connections. Bollinger, so far as I can tell, is as good as it gets as far as intellect and moral compass left of the center but he still strikes the primary chords of all leftist dealings with the Caliphate/Mahdi movement, “I don’t feel safe, you’re frightening me, please tell me (or at least let me believe) you are rational and have reasonable goals.” They never touch on the fact that it is a religious and a cultural hatred that is directed at us- simply because we are what we are and believe what we believe.

I'm with him on one thing, I too wish Bollinger could have done a better job. He went up against a guy who didn’t care about his ideas, his sincerity and the sharpness of his remarks. He was a great tidal wave of liberal Western Indignation but he broke on his guests fanatic, megalomaniacal will. Ahmadinejad absorbed Bollinger’s best shot and still took away exactly what he had wanted to gain from the occasion. He got to sneer in the hallowed halls of the Dhimmi, he gets to go home with the bragging rights of having counted coup on the sincere, deluded infidels of New York City.

No, President Bollinger Bollinger did not come off looking like the educator who will raise up the next generation of leaders for Democracy, he didn’t even come off as anything that might be compared to the iconoclastic, intrepid and capable Wrong Way Corrigan.

No, if anything he was more to be compared with Captain Peter "Wrong Way" Peachfuzz the world’s worst sailor from the old Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon show.

Captain Peter Peachfuzz

Bollinger, in this case, seems to have no idea which end is up. Because he will not ask the right questions, he is like a navigator who refuses to read his compass. He sets out in a direction with the best of intentions and ends up thwarting those very intentions. Like a haunting living version of Captain Peachfuzz, he is a man with a big beautiful ship who cannot bring himself to steer it properly. It brings to mind an eerie Nostradamus-like echo of Captain Peachfuzz’s last voyage. The redoubtable Peachfuzz ended his sailing career by smashing his ship head-on into Lower Manhattan, cleaving into the island, and lodging on Wall Street in the very shadow of what, forty years later would become Ground Zero.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Bollinger the Useful Idiot Invites Ahmadinejad for Sharp Remarks

This was just forwarded to me by my step-daughter who is a recent graduate of Barnard College. I'll comment below.

President Bollinger's Statement About
President Ahmadinejad's Scheduled

On Monday, September 24, the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is scheduled to appear as a speaker on campus. The event is sponsored by the School of International and Public Affairs (see SIPA announcement), which has been in contact with the Iranian Mission to the United Nations. The event will be part of the annual World Leaders Forum, the University-wide initiative intended to further Columbia’s longstanding tradition of serving as a major forum for robust debate, especially on global issues.

In order to have such a University-wide forum, we have insisted that a number of conditions be met, first and foremost that President Ahmadinejad agree to divide his time evenly between delivering remarks and responding to audience questions. I also wanted to be sure the Iranians understood that I would myself introduce the event with a series of sharp challenges to the president on issues including:
the Iranian president’s denial of the Holocaust;
his public call for the destruction of the State of Israel;
his reported support for international terrorism that targets innocent civilians and
American troops; Iran's pursuit of nuclear ambitions in opposition to
international sanction;
his government's widely documented suppression of civil society and particularly of women's rights; and
his government's imprisoning of journalists and scholars, including one of Columbia’s own alumni, Dr. Kian Tajbakhsh (see President Bollinger's prior statement).

I would like to add a few comments on the principles that underlie this event. Columbia, as a community dedicated to learning and scholarship, is committed to confronting ideas—to understand the world as it is and as it might be. To fulfill this mission we must respect and defend the rights of our schools, our deans and our faculty to create programming for academic purposes. Necessarily, on occasion this will bring us into contact with beliefs many, most or even all of us will find offensive and even odious.

We trust our community, including our students, to be fully capable of dealing with these occasions, through the powers of dialogue and reason. I would also like to invoke a major theme in the development of freedom of speech as a central value in our society. It should never be thought that merely to listen to ideas we deplore in any way implies our endorsement of those ideas, or the weakness of our resolve to resist those ideas or our naiveté about the very real dangers inherent in such ideas. It is a critical premise of freedom of speech that we do not honor the dishonorable when we open the public forum to their voices. To hold otherwise would make vigorous debate impossible.

That such a forum could not take place on a university campus in Iran today sharpens the point of what we do here. To commit oneself to a life—and a civil society—prepared to examine critically all ideas arises from a deep faith in the myriad benefits of a long-term process of meeting bad beliefs with better beliefs and hateful words with wiser words.

That faith in freedom has always been and remains today our nation’s most potent weapon against repressive regimes everywhere in the world.

This is America at its best.

Well, he's almost right, It's America at its most vulnerable. President Bollinger might believe that his intention to voice "sharp challenges" to "the President" in his introduction will prevent this from being a public relations victory for this caliphatist, murdering, genocidal thug. But this is always the way with leftist academics who are so used to being able to intimidate American politicians with their "sharp remarks" that they have no idea how impotent and risible they are in the eyes of the Muslim fanatics who view talking as weak and (as they would say) womanly- tantamount to surrender. While women whose only crime is dressing so that they can be recognized as a human female on the street are beaten, molested and arrested by the religious police and men who want to speak freely about the Iranian government are hung in the public squares in Iran President Bollinger feels that it is "America at it's best" to allow this two-bit religious dictator, this organ-grinder monkey of the Mullahs to take the podium of one of the most prestigious Universities in the nation and then strut home with that on his resume.

A few questions for President Bollinger:

Do you think it is even remotely possible that your pathetic little "sharp remarks"will make it into the state-run news in Iran?

Do you understand that his appearance there will be used as a propaganda victory for him at home and that it will feed the fanatical faction's certainty that their victory is inevitable?

How would you feel if you were an Iranian patriot, or simply an Iranian woman with a mind of your own, who was in danger of being arrested at any moment and you saw this tyrant smiling, waving and prevaricating within the ivy covered walls of that great Institution whose name you are lending to him to sully with his posturing?

You say, "I would also like to invoke a major theme in the development of freedom of speech as a central value in our society." You can invoke it if you want but I would answer you by saying that Mr. Ahmadinejad is not a member of our society and he is demonstrably not a subscriber to even the most basic and rudimentary assumptions of a society of free speech. I would propose that the right to free speech is one that America has won over the likes of your guest By insisting that he be granted this right while he denies it to everyone under his rule you are prostituting it for very dubious purpose.

You insist that "we must respect and defend the rights of our schools, our deans and our faculty to create programming for academic purposes." That's all well and good but will you next encourage the medical school to invite the smallpox virus to an afternoon tea and release it for every one to sample? If the "Polly Sci" students at Columbia want to be "...committed to confronting ideas—to understand the world as it is and as it might be...," They can damn well read about this guy in the newspaper and see what he says at the UN, why should you willingly give him the prestige of Columbia for his next Parade in Tehran.

The silliest part of your statement though is this paragraph:

That such a forum could not take place on a university campus in Iran today
sharpens the point of what we do here. To commit oneself to a life—and a civil
society—prepared to examine critically all ideas arises from a deep faith in the
myriad benefits of a long-term process of meeting bad beliefs with better
beliefs and hateful words with wiser words.

When the world attended the 1936 Olympics in Berlin there was much the same kind of rationalization. It was thought that exposure to the Olympic ideals would somehow confront and change the Nazi regime. Of course, it was an idiotic charade in the end- Hitler wasn't interested in ideals he only wanted to promote the next step in his conquest of the world. The "one-worlder" Olympic promoters couldn't step back from their sincere but foolish belief that athletic competition could transcend fanaticism and so were turned into useful idiots.

You, sir, are also a useful idiot. You are ready to play a role (however small and irresolute) in martyring the Iranian people, Israel and Western Civilization in the service of a pathetic misapprehension of what civil discourse in a civil society really is. Civil discourse, President Bollinger, is a two-way street. Your "deep faith" in that "long term process" is indefensible without an appreciation for the fact that when you are not dealing with a fellow believer in that process, you must be exceedingly careful not to allow him to use your openness against you and those who are fellow believers. When you invite a genocidal despot into your University you are inviting death, repression and intolerance into your home. There are no sharp remarks that will take the stench out of the walls.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Yellow Press is Alive and Well and Living in France

Growing up in Liberal Massachusetts, I had been taught that Yellow Press was a right wing device that was invented for arousal and exploitation of the basest emotions in the populace. As I was helping Richard Landes prepare the France2/Enderlin petition (if you have not signed it and forwarded it to everyone you know, please do so!) I made a very interesting discovery.

As the petition (see the preceding two posts) sails past thirty six hundred signatures this morning, I have been thinking about something Charles Enderlin wrote in a January 27, 2005 letter to the French newspaper Le Figaro. He was writing in response to an editorial, written by Denis Jeambar and Daniel Leconte that had appeared in the paper two days before. Jeambar and Leconte were among the hand-picked group of journalists that had been allowed to seen the imprisoned rushes. In their editorial they had debunked Enderlin’s implication that he was protecting the world from seeing the boy’s “unbearable” death agony when he edited the footage for broadcast. In fact, Jeambar and Leconte wrote that there was no such “unbearable” footage and that there was not even any clear proof that the boy was dead or, even shot.

Enderlin replied by reiterating his claim that the scenes he had cut were unbearable and that they showed that the boy was dead. Then he says something very odd and revealingly irrelevant. He writes, “Furthermore, for me, the image corresponded not only to the reality of the situation in Gaza but also to that in the West Bank. The Israeli army responded to the Palestinian uprising with massive firing of live bullets.”

This remark is a tip-off that even Enderlin himself is aware that his false accusation that the IDF shot the boy in cold blooded murder is indefensible (even though he is trying his best to defend it by hiding the evidence, stonewalling and rationalization). More importantly, though, it revels the prototypical attitude of Yellow Journalism.

I remember studying the Spanish American War when I was in High School and learning about how the Pulitzer and Hearst newspapers used the explosion on the battleship Maine to inflame the passions of the nation. I remember too having it drummed into me that it was the tone of the headlines, the nationalism and the strident calls for revenge that made that episode a shameful exercise in jingoism and propaganda. It is only now, contemplating all of that in the light of the al Durah affair and, specifically, in reading Enderlin’s fatuous justification for his accusations that the real shame of Yellow Journalism has become plain to me. Ringing prose, loyalty to one’s country and defiant headlines are not Yellow Press. Yellow press is the subtle, decadent mixture of self-importance and prejudice that leads a journalist to decide that he knows what facts people need to know and what facts are unimportant- even if it means that he reports incorrect facts and hides actual ones.

Yellow Press was born as an outgrowth of Joseph Pulitzer’s vision as a publisher that, in contrast to the generally accepted ideal of impartial journalistic integrity, journalism should be used to as a vehicle of social change. As Wikipedia has it “Pulitzer believed that newspapers were public institutions with a duty to improve society, and he put (his newspaper) The World in the service of social reform.” Of course social reform is one of the early code words for what we today call progressivism and which is, in reality prototypical socialism. Pulitzer was then, as the newspaper establishment in the U.S. is still (with some exceptions) a left-leaning, self-righteous band of socialistic sympathisers.

The New York Times expressed this "social reform at the cost of truth" doctrine of activist journalism best when, in an editorial about the use of faked documents by Dan Rather, that, "Memos on Bush Are Fake but Accurate". Of course the Times was writing in support of Rather and his fatwah asserting the "accuracy" of the faked memos. Americans proved, once again, that we have the freest and most resilient people and government on earth when the blogosphere exposed this travesty and the outcry resulted in the sacking of Rather. Dan Rather was a far more potent media icon here than Enderlin ever was in France so one is left to conclude that it must be an indication of the endemic anti-Semitism and residual leftist western self-hatred that Enderlin and France2 are allowed to hide within and even take aggressive action (as in the law suit against Philippe Karsenty) under the protection of the French government and legal system.

The problem, then, with Yellow Journalism is not the strength of the prose but the intent of the writer. The yellow tinge comes from its purposeful (mis)use of evidence to make points and to influence opinions. It was not the headlines that were the root of the problem, it was the underlying assumptions that led to their being used to elevate lies and misrepresentations to the status of Assumed Truths.

So, it turns out that the last little “justification” that he “tosses off” betrays the corrosive bigotry and prejudice that underlies the blood libel he still defends. Enderlin still believes that he is the sole judge and jury of what Israel was doing in response to the gathering Intifada, that from the comfort of his hotel room and Bureau Chief’s office in Jerusalem, he was entitled to pronounce that, even if this instance was a fake, the accusation against the IDF was deserved because of other, even more imaginary incidents of which he had even less evidence and information. He has, in this simple rationalization, revealed that he is not a journalist but a propagandist of the most corrupt and insidious kind.

For the damage he has done to the profession of journalism alone he deserves to be exposed and the management of France2 must be asked to account for their dereliction in allowing their reputation and facilities to be used and depleted in this way. The release of the rushes in question will begin that process of exposure and accountability.

If you add to the damage Enderlin and France2 have done to journalistic standards, the spurious law suit against Karsenty, the terrible toll of lives lost, terror inspired and savagery rationalized by those false accusations, it is imperative that they be held responsible for, at the very least, an apology and an attempt to reverse some of the effects of this malfeasance.

Once the rushes are released and evaluated, if they show what Jeambar and Leconte say they show and assuming that France has laws against the incitement to violence and libel, there should be legal steps taken to punish Enderlin and France2. The maximum punishment (The incitement to violence, bigotry and terror that Enderlin and France2 have engaged in bear a very strong resemblance to Hate Crimes as defined by French Law. This is from Wikipedia: “In 2003, France enacted penalty-enhancement hate crime laws for crimes motivated by bias against the victim's actual or perceived ethnicity, nation, race, religion, or sexual orientation.”) should be sought, not just because of the grievous results of the al Durah blood libel but also to serve as an example and a deterrent to warn all other journalists that changing facts and fabricating stories to achieve political ends cannot and will not be tolerated.

Friday, September 7, 2007

France2 Unites the World

We are closing in on 2,000 names! The petition advances. Signatures are piling up at a quickening pace. The comments of the signers give clear evidence that this issue is reaching a remarkably broad spectrum of folks on the political continuum. The reason for its wide appeal is that it is a simple plea for fairness. It has stuck a note with every one. Here are some of my favorite comments that people have left with their signatures:

Noga Emanuel, Canada, who looks to me like a fairly moderate conservative, quotes Benjamin Franklin, “Any opinion that cannot be amended by the introduction of new facts is not an opinion but a prejudice.”

Christine Beaumont, clearly a bit more aware of the culture war, writes, “We all need to stop supporting Muslim terrorists, because of the dangers that they pose to Europe.”

Sharon Pinsley of Jaffa, Israel, who is a classic liberal, with what appears to be a strong multicultural bias, still finds the clarity to opine, “I heartily concur with the wording of this petition. As a Jaffa Israeli, I have long worked for equal rights of all citizens of Israel, for the improvement of the plight of Arabic youth, and striving to raise the fund to found a Jewish/Arabic dance company- proof of the dream of coexistence through this universal language.”

Rabbi Tuvia Bolton of Kfar Chabad, Israel “The truth will benefit the entire world, lies will destroy the liars.”

Sal Odierno speaks from a profound but simple common sense, “The Israelis could have killed hundreds, who were within spitting distance, but they didn't. It makes no sense for them to have shot at, much less killed, Muhammad al Durah.”

Mr & Mrs. Scott Romano of Los Angeles, CA The media must STOP manipulating people by spinning, twisting and ignoring the news. Tell the truth. THE WHOLE TRUTH. It's not your job to protect or indict people. Just tell the whole truth. The truth shall set you free.

And my Favorite:
Fatima Sayeed, Michigan “As a Muslim woman, the truth about lies and the hijacking of my religion must be exposed if we are to have peace. Hiding the tapes only makes the whole situation look worse.”

This is clearly a petition for an idea that reaches across many of the barriers that ordinarily separate us into political ghettos so, if you have hesitated to forward it to your nutty Aunt Millicent or your angry Uncle Fred because you don’t know how they will react, hesitate no longer! This on appears to be a unifier- not a divider. Get the word out!

Forward it to all your crazy and diverse friends, family and aquaintances!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Free The Rushes!

Free The Rushes!


Some of you have been wondering why the Breath of the Beast blog has been quiet for the past few weeks. One of the reasons is that I have had the pleasure and honor of being involved in helping with an initiative of tremendous importance. Another reason is that I have been working on some very serious ideas and have outlined several posts about them. Have no fear new posts are coming!

But first- This is exciting!

Before the Pope's remarks, before Gaza Beach, before the Mohammed Cartoons there was Muhammad al Durah, the 12 year old boy the allegation of whose death was one of the first triumphs of the Islamo-rage-aholic/Pallywood/humiliation-a-thon that has sucked in and manipulated the Western Media.

Richard Landes of Second Draft and Augean Stables who, many of you know, is a pioneer debunker of media complicity in the Arab/Islamist/Palestinian offensive of misrepresented and staged news has refocused attention on this prototypical travesty with a new effort to try to get France2 to release all of their video tapes from that fateful days activities.

Here is what we know:

On September 30, 2000, Charles Enderlin alleged that Israeli soldiers intentionally targeted and killed a Palestinian boy at Netzarim Junction. Enderlin, Middle East Correspondent for France2 television, used the footage and testimony of cameraman, Talal abu Rahmah as “proof” of what he claimed to be Israeli savagery

That allegation spread all but instantaneously around the world, sparking explosions of hatred and violence against Israel and Jews. It has been alluded to by Jihadis the world over, from Palestinian suicide bombers to Osama Bin Laden to the executioners of Daniel Pearl, to assorted radical Islamists in Europe.

Landes and others have succeeded in casting serious doubts about the reliability of the France2 report, including exposing compelling evidence that what is claimed to be the child's death in the sequence is mere playacting. There is also evidence of the habitual and unashamed dishonesty of the photographer Talal abu Rahmah .

France2 immediately has released only the 3 minutes of their cameraman's rushes they thought “relevant”, they have consistently refused to release the full "rushes" (all the footage shot by their cameramen) for inspection. They have blocked efforts in the courts to gain their release, and have allowed only screened viewers to see the tapes at their offices. Even some of those hand-picked viewers who have seen these "rushes" think that major sections of their “action sequences” are staged, and that a close look reveals unprofessional journalistic standards both for the cameraman and for the news broadcaster who used his work

Charles Enderlin’s defense for running the story – "it corresponded to the situation in Gaza and the West Bank" – recapitulates the “False but accurate” attitude of many towards the Dan Rather forgery- a weak rationalization of disingenuous journalistic bias.

Keeping the full rushes of an event like this one secret can serve no conceivable purpose, other than to protect a guilty media outlet from being exposed in the act of fraud and libel. The honor and safety of the Israelis and everyone who wish for their fair treatment are endangered thereby. They and their embattled homeland are deprived of the chance to vindicate themselves without the evidence that France2 is withholding.

Richard has introduced a powerful and simple petition at the url below. Its wording and intent is broad and neutral enough that it should attract the sympathy (and deserve the signature) of any but the most blatantly anti-Semitic or radically Islamist reader. Anybody with a sense of fair play has to see the merit in this request. I believe it is of the utmost importance that we get behind this petition. Send it to your friends! Post it on your web sites! Sign It!

Free The Rushes!