Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Uff da, those Swedes! Ar de galna?
It’s one of those things you don’t expect to happen in modern times – an honest to goodness ‘blood libel’, the kind of thing the characterized the Middle Ages: the notion that Jews use human blood in religious celebrations, use it to make matza, or that Christian children are killed for their blood.
The modern twist was just published in the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet – not a fringe paper, but with a readership of 1.5 million, one of the most popular. They claimed that IDF soldiers execute Arabs in order to harvest their organs and sell them.
The headline read, ‘Ganska Israel’ – (Check Israel) – subtitled, “Our sons were plundered for their organs.”
It was illustrated by a horrible photo, showing a man who looks like he’s sewn up the middle – with a large scar running the whole length of his torso.
Good grief. Have they no shame?
The reporter is a writer named Donald Boström who offered his own eyewitness testimony. Seventeen years ago, in 1992, he says, he witnessed an IDF “raid” on a village. A rioter named Bilal Achmed Ghanaian was shot, severely injured and taken away by an IDF helicopter. Five days later the dead Ghanaian was returned to his family who saw the huge scar.
He goes on to quote numerous Arabs who claim their sons were used as forced organ donors, although he offers no other support for this insane idea.
The newspaper’s editor, Jan Helin, admitted they had no proof that the story was true, but printed it “because it raised questions that needed to be addressed.”
At this point, Bostrom, the author, also admits he doesn’t know if the story is true, and the family of the dead Arab, Ghanaian, said they never suspected such a thing back then, and has no idea whether it’s true now or not.
Asa Linderborg, editor of the newspaper's culture section where the story appeared, told Israel’s Haaretz newspaper that the publication "stands behind the demand for an international inquiry."
"We had many discussions on whether to publish the article or not, and to the best of my knowledge, there are no facts there that are incorrect," Linderborg said. (No ‘facts’ that are ‘incorrect’? Interesting thought.)
The paper’s editor, Helin, rejected criticism of the article, instead accusing his opponents of “using centuries-old anti-Semitic images,” such as that of European blood libels, “in an apparent attempt to get an obviously topical issue off the table.” He insisted that “a strong propaganda machine” was behind the appalled reactions to the story.
Yup. There’s that awesome “Jewish lobby” at work again, this time in Sweden. That’s why Israel is faring so well during the reign of the Community Organizer. It’s because we’re so powerful.
At least Israeli officials are taking a strong united position. Thank-G-d-for-Loose-Canons Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said exactly what he thought. I love this guy. Lieberman called the piece a “disgrace to Swedish journalism”, comparing it to “dark blood libels from the Middle Ages.” He later added that the article was a “natural continuation of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” saying that Sweden’s refusal to disassociate itself from it was reminiscent of its “neutral” stance during the Holocaust.
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz chimed in saying, “The Jewish State cannot ignore manifestations of anti-Semitism, even if they appear in a respectable newspaper. Whoever is not willing to distance himself from such blood libels, may very well not be welcome here in Israel.”
Minister Limor Livnat demanded that the “Swedish government apologize for the blood libel against Israel.”
Welfare Minister Yitzchak Herzog said that this was not a one-time incident, but rather a “media campaign that has been going on for years.”
Even Israel’s Pillsbury Doughboy Defense Minister Ehud Barak was thinking about responding – you KNOW it’s serious when he starts thinking about it. Anyway he’s contemplating a libel lawsuit against Boström, who has apparently been trying to get someone to print his article since 1992.
Of course Lieberman was the one to take action: he told Foreign Ministry employees to consider the cancellation of government press cards given to Aftonbladet reporters in Israel, and to refuse to assist the paper in any way in covering Israeli news.
As far as the Swedish Ambassador is concerned, he offered something he claims is an apology, whereupon the Swedish government distanced themselves from even his limp-wristed comments. “The Ambassador’s condemnation was solely the judgment of the embassy [in Tel Aviv], and designed for an Israeli audience,” they said, which proves one thing for sure. The Swedes have learned something from the Arabs: you say one thing to your home crowd and something else to the foreign press.
Who ever said you have to tell everyone the same story?
One other funny point: Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt wrote on his blog – do you believe this? Foreign policy conducted via blogs? Anyway, he wrote that the Swedish government “cannot get involved in correcting all the strange claims in the media,” asserting, of course, that in Sweden, freedom of the press is enjoyed by everyone.
So one of Bibi’s aids responded: "Israel does not wish to infringe upon the freedom of the press in Sweden. However, as much as the Swedish press is entitled to freedom, the Swedish government should enjoy the freedom of denouncing such reports."
You know? You gotta get up pretty early in the morning to put one over on these kids trained in Talmudic reasoning. Promote that young man, whoever he is!
This isn’t a unique dispute with the Swedes, you know. For the better part of a century, Sweden has always been pretty squishy on the Israeli goose question. They certainly weren’t of much help during the Holocaust.
More recently, six months ago, we tussled before with Swedish journalism. It started when a group of pro-Israel Swedes demonstrated in the Swedish city of Malmo. It was a totally peaceful demonstration, no violence at all – until a gang of Islamists arrived and fired rockets and threw pipe-bombs. Yes, they arrested one attacker, but afterward, southern Sweden’s largest newspaper, Sydsvenskan, headlined its report, “Several arrested during Israel demonstration” reporting that "the anticipated violence did not occur" – as though they’d expected violence from the pro-Israel crowd.
And so today’s battle rages: Sweden – the government, as compared to the Foreign Ministry – won’t apologize.
Our main guy, Avigdor Lieberman, says the incident won’t be over until they do.
I have just one question: How many legions do the Swedes have?