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We did not abandon Philippe Karsenty
Jerusalem Post - Jerusalem
Author: Seaman, Daniel
Date: Jun 26, 2008
Start Page: 16
Section: Opinion
Abstract (Document Summary)

This situation was disingenuously presented by France 2 to further suggest that Israel agreed with the premise of its report. Before that, it repeatedly pointed to Israel's original acceptance of responsibility for the incident as an indicator of the report's accuracy. All along, France 2 failed to reveal that Israel's primary position was based solely on the France 2 edited report, its officials not having been given the opportunity to verify the facts independently before responding.

The analysis and findings were presented to the prime minister's foreign media adviser, Dr. Ra'anan Gissin, and then to myself in early 2001. After reviewing dozens of hours of materials, and only after all our questions had been addressed to our satisfaction, was our initial skepticism transformed into confidence that there was no basis for the accusations leveled against Israel in the France 2 story. Armed with that knowledge, both Gissin and I, as official representatives of the State of Israel, challenged the integrity of the France 2 report in several media interviews.

FRANCE 2's libel case against Philippe Karsenty put Israel in an awkward position. Israel could not appear to be meddling in the legal proceedings taking place in France, both for diplomatic reasons and out of genuine respect for and trust in the judicial process of a fellow democratic country. At the same time, Israel's reluctance to openly side with Karsenty was misrepresented by France 2 as a validation of its claims. Therefore, Israel's official position on this matter was made public in September 2007 through a Government Press Office statement approved by the Prime Minister's Office and defended by the attorney- general's representatives in the Supreme Court.

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