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An Encouraging Start
Nidra Poller of Pajamas Media describes the Paris trial:
There were not many journalists in the courtroom, not many people in the audience…they don’t know what they missed.
It was a beautiful trial. It was held in an atmosphere of respect for justice. Karesenty’s lawyers presented solid arguments and four sincere witnesses. The al-Dura affair, which is so difficult and complicated, was presented in such a way that an outside could follow the arguments. My impression is that the judge started out with what I would call the James Fallows approach, a middle ground position safely installed in the reasonable zone. It is too radical to suggest that the Israelis killed the boy in cold blood, it is too extreme to suggest that the whole thing was a shoddy hoax, so it has to be that he was killed in a crossfire. Never mind that there IS NO CROSSFIRE in the death scene as filmed. So what’s so reasonable about dragging in all that ammunition and gunfire when in fact it is nowhere to be seen.
It is easier to see the hoax than the crossfire.
I think the judge was surprised to hear four different witnesses explain in four different ways how, as a result of extensive investigation and/or analysis they arrived at the conclusion that it was, in all probability, a hoax.
A judge who is not willing to learn stiffens when his position is challenged. And uses his power to stifle dissent. This judge listened. You could see in his eyes, in the expression on his face, that he was taking everything into consideration. Independently of the details of this particular case, whenever a lone individual is accused by an imposing national organism like France Télévisions, it is frightening. The court can take sides, can add its weight to the weight of the accusation, and crush the individual. Today, to my great surprise, I felt that I was in the presence of a commitment to justice....
What astonished me is that France 2 dared to take someone to court over the al-Dura affair and not come up with a single new argument. Everything that was said in court had been said before. It was and still is utterly beside the point.
If what we saw in court was really the trial, France 2 lost. And will certainly appeal the judgment. The only thing that could tip the balance in their favor would be orders from above.
Read Poller's full account. Also encouraged was Richard Landes, who testified. Certainly a hopeful start, but we're mindful of the Yogi Berra Doctrine.
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I don't know what the outcome of the case will be, but I am reassured that external observers realize that France, despite all its defects, is a country where justice exists. Yes, its diplomacy is pro-arab, yes, there is a strong anti-jewish feeling among the arab population in France, all this is true. BUT it is still a rather well-functioning democracy, and there is no reason to doubt that the outcome of this case will be based on the law, and not on political misconceptions or prejudices.