by Micha Roded
A Swedish journalist working for a major tabloid heard from Palestinians a rumor that in the 90's the Israeli army killed Palestinians and then took their organs for transplants. He had no verification of this rumor, nor did he try to verify it, cross reference, or even approach the Israeli army for comment. He just put it in a book and in his paper. Then later, when he heard in the news that a group of Jewish Americans were arrested and charged with the buying and selling organs for transplants, the connection was obvious to him -- Jews, so he reported the rumor again.
Now some might say that this story bears certain vague similiarities to the antisemitic blood Libels of old. In the distant past, history tells us, Jews were accused, based on false rumors, of the killing of Christian children for the purpose of consuming their blood. They would be wrong. This is not a little like blood Libel. It is blood Libel, pure and simple.
However in this case the blood Libel was accompanied by another less traditional libel -- the democracy/freedom of the press/free speech libel.
A major Swedish newspaper prints a blood Libel .
And indeed, the Swedish ambassador in
Under the circumstances I think we Jews have no choice but to apologize to
Perhaps I'm being unfair. After all, the above paragraph is clearly written in hyperbole and sarcasm, isn't it? That was what I thought when I wrote it. But apparently in the prestigious
For the record, although I support the freedom of press of Danish newspapers to publish cartoons of Muhammad, and oppose any violence against the cartoonists, I am willing to state that in my opinion publishing these cartoons in the paper was wrong. It was unnecessary hate-mongering. But what do I know? I'm just an over-sensitive Israeli and Jew.
I would also add that it is regrettable that even in this clear cut case the Israeli government handled things poorly, playing right into the hands of the Swedish libels. We should learn how to use the kind of cool understated but barbed diplomatic language the Swedes use so well. A clear statement saying that we regret to see such Blood Libel published in Sweden, and hope that it does not represent Sweden, and that we regret that the Swedish government prefered to condemn the sensible and sensitive acts of its ambassador while clearly suppporting the hate speech of said newspaper, should have sufficed, I think.
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