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May 01, 2011

Israeli Surgeon Loses in French Court Ruling on Al Dura Case

Ha'aretz reports today:

A French court on Friday ruled against Israeli orthopedic surgeon David Yehuda, who was sued for slander by Jamal al-Dura, the father of Mohammed al-Dura, the slain 12-year-old Palestinian boy who became a powerful symbol of the second intifada.

Al-Dura had sued Yehuda for libel after the doctor, who operated on him in 1994, exposed details from his medical file in order to back claims that the elder al-Dura's scars were the result of surgery - and not caused by the IDF fire that killed his son in September, 2000. . . .

Yehuda, who, together with the reporter and editor of the Jewish News Weekly, was ordered to pay a fine of several thousand Euros in compensation, said he would appeal the sentence. "In the past two years I've been fighting the State of Israel's just war. This is a terrible scam," he told the media. "I feel hurt and a personal sense of insult. Again they are trampling and twisting the truth. I can already see the negative results and a new wave of hatred out of Europe. "I expected integrity from France and from the judges, but this is disgusting. Another wave of terror attacks may result from this decision," he added.

Posted by TS at May 1, 2011 04:30 AM


Question 1) Who is paying Mohammed al Durah Snr's considerable expenses in this matter.
Question 2) How did al Durah persuade a French court they had jurisdiction over an Arab vs. Israeli libel case.

Posted by: David Guy at May 1, 2011 03:48 PM

I'd like to request more information on this if possible. I'm particularly interested in relevant medical records and the French court's justification for their ruling.

News reports following Yehuda's initial announcement claimed that "[Yehuda and colleagues] are ready and willing to testify to this in any court." Current reports indicate that Israel is funding his defense. Based on this I would assume he has very convincing evidence.

Yet a French court has found him guilty of slander? I am never shocked by anti-Semitism or ignorance regarding Israel, but I doubt this alone could result in the ruling. Was there some new evidence that swayed the court? Or perhaps attacks against the validity of the medical records caused the matter to devolve into a case of he said/she said?

Posted by: anon at May 1, 2011 05:05 PM

This is nothing less than a second Dreyfus affair. The advanced democracy of France proves that it suffers simultaneously from a Mediterranean shame culture; a Soviet-like, official-truth-enforcing justice; and an indifferent, cowardly establishment.

Posted by: fgdilly at May 2, 2011 10:24 AM

One poster asks how a French court had jurisdiction over what appears strickly
an Israeli-Palestinian matter? Perhaps the subsequent goings on in France trumped another
venue? Someone who knows should comment.
Also, exactly what law did the doctor violate
I ask, with reference to the father? That seems
the crux of this.

Posted by: Noah Lev at May 9, 2011 07:02 PM

It's a French matter because the defamation happened in France, in the magazine Actualité Juive (Jewish News). The law violated was the (French) Law on the Freedom of the Press of 1881. See for details on the case, and for a summary of the law. The bottom line is that the claims against al Durah were ruled to be beyond the limits of legitimate commentary.

Posted by: ChrisO at May 15, 2011 07:17 AM

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