The Magazine

He Didn't Give at the Office

Remember that picture of Yasser Arafat, blood donor?

Feb 4, 2008, Vol. 13, No. 20 • By SCOTT W. JOHNSON
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Reuters's Ahmed Jadallah, for his part, is clearly on the team he's covering. Reuters itself helpfully advises visitors that Jadallah "shoots reportages of Palestinian funerals and Israeli violence" almost daily. Israeli authorities have barred him from going to Reuters's main office in Jerusalem. Reuters also ingenuously discloses: "He sees it as his mission to have the world see the despair of the Palestinian people." And, we can fairly assume, the benefactions of their late chairman.

So we can perhaps be grateful for Enderlin's retrospective, however tardy, on one of Yasser Arafat's trivial deceptions, foisted on readers all over the world by credulous news services. Nevertheless, it should be noted that sophisticated consumers of news from that part of the world didn't much need Enderlin's help to tumble to this particular Arafat hoax. At the time the photographs were published in 2001, Middle East Forum scholar Ronni Gordon Stillman observed in a column for National Review Online: "Can journalists really be fooled by these Kodak moments? It's difficult to imagine. And yet, Arafat's condolences to the American people were broadcast far and wide, with no mention that on that same day the Palestinian Authority's newspaper praised suicide bombers as 'the noble successors of their noble predecessors .  .  . the salt of the earth, the engines of history .  .  . the most honorable people among us.' "

Unfortunately, Saul Bellow's epigram looks like an eternal verity: "A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep."

Scott W. Johnson is a Minneapolis attorney and contributor to the blog Power Line.