French court fines Le Monde journalists for “racist defamation” of Israel

May 30, 2005

* This is an update to several previous dispatches on this list, including France to ban “revolting” anti-Semitic TV broadcasts, and other reports (February 2, 2004) and The Problem with France (September 4, 2003)



“LE MONDE” REPORTERS AND DIRECTORS FOUND GUILTY OF RACIST DEFAMATION AGAINST ISRAEL AND THE JEWS

[Note by Tom Gross]

It is encouraging to see some action on the part of the French authorities in taking steps to clamp down on anti-Semitic articles in the French media. In the article “Israel-Palestine: The Cancer,” the state of Israel and the Jewish people are implicitly compared to Nazi Germany and Tsarist Russia.

Le Monde is one of the most respected newspapers in Europe. Like the New York Times, it is held in high esteem by the liberal establishment. So this judgment, even three years after the article appeared, is significant.

NO SUCH COURT JUDGEMENTS IN BRITAIN

The part of the article for which Le Monde has been fined is reminiscent of articles published on an almost daily basis in the Arab press and in countries such as Spain and in newspapers in Britain such as the Guardian and the Independent.

Yet, perhaps because Jewish community leaders in Britain are so much more timid than those in France, there have been no similar legal steps taken to make the media more accountable in Britain in order to prevent their reporting of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict spilling over into anti-Semitism.

A LONG WAY FROM 9/11

Incidentally, one of the directors of Le Monde who has been fined, Jean-Marie Colombani, was the editor of Le Monde, who the day after 9/11, ran the famous “We Are All Americans” editorial.

-- Tom Gross

[I would again kindly request those journalists who are frequently using extracts from my commentary and notes in their published articles (sometimes without changing a word), without attributing them to me, to kindly do so.]



FRENCH JOURNALISTS DEFAME ISRAEL

French journalists defame Israel
Jewish Telegraph Agency
May 29, 2005

Two reporters and the directors of the Le Monde newspaper were found guilty of racist defamation for an article about Israel.

The Versailles court of appeals ruled on an article that ran June 4, 2002, called “Israel-Palestine: The Cancer.” The court ordered the directors, Edgar Morin and Jean-Marie Colombani, as well as the two authors, to pay a symbolic one Euro in damages to a human-rights alliance and to Lawyers Without Borders, and ordered Le Monde to publish a condemnation of the article.

Two particular passages were cited for their racist character. The first reads, “One has trouble imagining that a nation of refugees, descendants of the people who have suffered the longest period of persecution in the history of humanity, who have suffered the worst possible scorn and humiliation, would be capable of transforming themselves, in two generations, into a dominating people, sure of themselves, and, with the exception of an admirable minority, into a scornful people finding satisfaction in humiliating others.”

The second incriminating citation reads, “The Jews, once subject to an unmerciful rule, now impose their unmerciful rule on the Palestinians.”


All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.