Swedish journalist defends organ 'blood libel' in Israel

The Swedish journalist who accused the IDF of killing Palestinian youths to harvest their organs claimed this week that he never wrote that the Palestinians were intentionally killed for that purpose.

Daniel Bostrom’s report, published two months ago in Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet, caused a diplomatic row between Israel and Sweden. His accusations were linked to the arrest of a Jewish man in New York suspected of illegal organ trafficking. The IDF denied all the allegations.

Bostrom’s invitation to speak at the Dimona Media Conference this week was widely attacked in Israel and the government withdrew financial backing for the conference.

In Aftonbladet Bostrom wrote that while the Israeli government was running a campaign encouraging Israelis to sign organ donor cards, “young Palestinian men started to disappear from villages in the West Bank and Gaza. After five days, Israeli soldiers would bring them back dead, with their bodies ripped open. Talk of the bodies terrified the population of the occupied territories. There were rumours of a dramatic increase in young men disappearing, with ensuing nightly funerals of autopsied bodies. I was in the area at the time, working on a book. On several occasions I was approached by UN staff concerned about the developments. The persons contacting me said that organ theft definitely occurred but that they were prevented from doing anything about it.”

Bostrom wrote that he had interviewed “many” Palestinian families whose sons had been killed in this way but in the report he specifically mentions only one family.

Asked at the conference why he had accused the IDF of killing Palestinians for their organs, he replied: “I never wrote that and didn’t claim that IDF soldiers killed Palestinians to harvest their organs. I wrote that Palestinian families are claiming that is the case.”

He accused the media of distorting his report and accusing him of antisemitism for political purposes.

“There isn’t one rumour or lie in the report,” claimed Bostrom this week. “It is all based on facts […] you can’t demand special standards from my report.

“It is known that there is an international problem of organ trafficking and I mentioned many countries, including Israel. My report has one conclusion, that we should continue investigating the Palestinian allegations.”

    Last updated: 4:42pm, November 5 2009