August 19, 2009
Israeli army kills Palestinians and harvests their organs: Swedish paper
This fantasy has been advanced by the paranoid Arab press for years. But it's still shocking to see it in a western newspaper.
And it's not hidden away in some dark corner of the newspaper, as Morten Berthelsen and Barak Ravid of Haaretz report:
A leading Swedish newspaper reported this week that Israeli soldiers are abducting Palestinians in order to steal their organs, a claim that prompted furious condemnation and accusations of anti-Semitic blood libel from a rival publication.
"They plunder the organs of our sons," read the headline in Sweden's largest daily newspaper, the left-leaning Aftonbladet, which devoted a double spread in its cultural section to the article.
The report quotes Palestinian claims that young men from the West Bank and Gaza Strip had been seized by the Israel Defense Forces, and their bodies returned to the families with missing organs.
"'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," writes author Donald Boström in his report.
A rival paper published an scathing editorial taking on the blood libel while the Israeli Foreign Office was incredulous that a western paper would fall for such outrageous propaganda:
"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 Foreign Ministry reacted angrily on Tuesday to the report. Ministry spokesperson Yigal Palmor said the newspaper's decision to publish the story is "a mark of disgrace" for the Swedish press.
Maybe we should send the birthers to Sweden. No doubt they'd fit right in.