"Legitimate criticism" of Israel reached new lows of depravity in Sweden when Sweden's leading daily newspaper revived the medieval blood libel accusation against the IDF. in a sensational article titled ""Our sons plundered for their organs"(Swedish article is here: aftonbladet.se/kultur/article5652583.ab). Based on this accusation, "Anti-Zionist" Web sites and e-mail lists are hurrying to circulate the "news" that the IDF kills Palestinian Arabs in order to extract their organs for transplants.
The reporter, one Donald Bostrom, assembled a farrago of unrelated stories about illegal organ trafficking from Israel, including a story about the arrest of a New York Jew engaged in selling kidneys contrary to Israeli law. He used hearsay and rumor from Palestinians about the fate of relatives killed during the Intifada:
I was in the area and worked on a book when I several times was contacted by UN staff who were concerned about the development. Those who contacted me felt that body theft actually took place, but that they were unable to act. On behalf of a television company, I then went around and spoke to a large number of Palestinian families in the West Bank and Gaza....
"'Our sons are used as involuntary organ donors,' relatives of Khaled from Nablus said to me, as did the mother of Raed from Jenin as well as the uncles of Machmod and Nafes from Gaza, who all had disappeared for a few days and returned by night, dead and autopsied. - Why did they keep the bodies up to five days before we can bury them? What happened to the bodies in the meantime? And why is the autopsy when the cause of death is obvious, and in all cases against our will? And why are the bodies returned at night?".
Evidently, the rumors spread due to ignorance of forensic autopsy procedures and Jew hate, encouraged by UN personnel. Bostrom described in detail the case of one Bilal Achmed Ghanian, 19, whose body was returned after autopsy after he was killed in 1992. It is probable, but unclear, that the victims were dead when they were evacuated. Of course, organs cannot be harvested from cadavers. Bostrom quoted an IDF denial and explanation that the autopsies were routine, but Bostrom implied that the denial is false:
The routine autopsy of killed Palestinians, as told by the army spokesman is not true in reality in the Occupied Territories. .
The use of rumor and hearsay, and more especially the unrelated material about illegal organ traffic, make it clear that Bostrom set out to intentionally libel Israel and the Jewish people. The Israeli ambassador lodged a strong protest, but this can hardly be a deterrent to people like Bostrom. If a similar report about Muslims had been published in a Scandinavian journal, wouldn't there be violent world wide demonstrations as there were after the Danish Muhammad cartoons?
Swedish Jews claim Bostrom is a known anti-Semite and AftonBladet has published similar articles. The Swedish Embassy in Israel has apologized, but a culture editor of Aftonbladet told Haaretz that the publication stands by the story and insists on an "international investigation" of the alleged nefarious Jewish activities.
The libel of organ stealing is not new and may have originated with Yasser Arafat himself. According to a 2002 Honest Reporting article:
the Islamic Association for Palestine reported that Yasser Arafat "has accused the Israeli apartheid regime of murdering Palestinian children and youths and extricating their vital organs for organ transplants."
It is one thing when racist Palestinian leaders make accusations of Jewish blood libel
, but quite another phenomenon and much more ominous when they appear in a respected northern European "Nordic" country journal. It seems that there are no longer any real limits to what may be published under the guise of supposedly "legitimate criticism of Israel." A competing Swedish newspaper has published a horrified editorial.The liberal Sydsvenskan - southern Sweden's major daily ran an opinion piece of Mats Skogkär called "Antisemitbladet" (a play on the name Aftonbladet):
"We have heard the story before, in one form or the other. It follows the traditional pattern of conspiracy theory: a great number of loose threads that the theorist tempts the reader to tie into a neat knot without having been provided with any proven connection whatsoever..."
"Whispers in the dark. Anonymous sources. Rumors. That is all it takes. After all we all know what they [the Jews] are like, don't we: inhuman, hardened. Capable of anything," the opinion piece says. "Now all that remains is the defense, equally predictable: 'Anti-Semitism' No, no, just criticism of Israel."
The tale is not told in a cultural vacuum of course. The stories of Bilal Achmed Ghanian and the others are backed by a rich European tradition of "legitimate criticism" of Jew
s. They have joined the European pantheon of fraudulent blood libel martys, which includes numerous "saints" revered by the Catholic church for many years, such as Saint Andreas of Rinn
, Saint Simon of Trent
, and Saint Hugh of Lincoln. Aftonbladet has carried on in a more modern tradition of Nordic journalism, illustrated by the following twentieth century cartoon from the Westdeutchen Beobachter, also considered "legitimate criticism" by its defenders:
Labels: Anti-Semitism, Anti-Zionism, Human Rights, IDF, Media, Palestinians