The Definition of Incitement

Posted by John Rosenthal

French authorities are fond of accusing media in other countries of “incitement”. As I discussed on the old Trans-Int, French Minister of Defense Michelle Alliot-Marie brandished the charge, for instance, when Ivorian media in November 2004 reported on a massacre of Ivorian civilians by the French military. Some weeks later, nonetheless, Alliot-Marie would be forced to concede that Ivorian civilians had indeed been killed by French fire. (For a look back on the so-called “Hotel Ivoire” incident on its one-year anniversary, see my “The Black Tuesday of the French Army”.)

But these same authorities do nothing to control incitement in France’s own state-owned media – notably anti-American and anti-Israeli incitement: such, for instance, as that constituted by the infamous France2 report of the alleged Israeli killing of the 12-year-old “boy-martyr” Muhammad al-Dura at Netzarim Junction on September 30, 2000. Though France2 officials have in the meanwhile admitted that their attribution of the boy’s death to Israeli Army fire was likely erroneous, France2 has yet to broadcast a public rectification or seriously to address the doubts concerning the authenticity of the France2 video footage that allegedly documented the episode. (For details, see the Trans-Int Dossier on the “Al-Dura/France2 Affair” .)

To appreciate the effects of this incitement, consider the following excerpt from an interview with one “Moussa”, a young Algerian who has lived in France for roughly the last decade and is currently serving time in a French prison. “Moussa” is suspected of being a member of Al-Qaeda and has been charged with participating in an Al-Qaeda plot.

Islam is what saves us from the West, from America, from all those who commit injustices against Muslims and oppress them: like Israel oppresses the Palestinian people. One sees on the television how the Israeli Army, with the help of America, mistreats the youth of the Intifada. When I see that, I want to go fight against them, against the Americans, against all those who repress Islam.

The excerpt is taken from Farhad Khosrokhavar’s new book Quand Al-Qaïda parle: Témoignages derrière les barreaux – “Al-Qaeda Talks: Testimonials from Behind Bars”.

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