"Blood libel": IDF organ trafficking claim

By Jessica Elgot, August 19, 2009
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Deputy FM Daniel Ayalon has called the claim "blood libel"

Deputy FM Daniel Ayalon has called the claim "blood libel"

A Swedish newspaper has claimed that IDF soldiers murdered Palestinian youths to sell their organs, prompting a shocked Israeli government to call the suggestion a “blood libel.”

The Israeli Foreign Ministry called the article in the Swedish daily Aftonbladet “a shocking example of Israel’s demonisation.”

The paper, which is Sweden's biggest-selling daily, ran the headline "They plunder the organs of our sons" and a double-page spread devoted to the article.

The article, published on Monday, referred to last month’s American organ trafficking case and Levy Izhak Rosenbaum, one of those involved in the New Jersey fraud swoop last month where members of the Syrian-Jewish community were among those arrested.

I can see a correlation between recent statements made in Sweden and this article. This is outright blood libel.

Deputy FM Daniel Ayalon

Journalist Donald Boström wrote that the Israeli government did nothing about organ trafficking and that Palestinian youths were snatched from villages in the night, dismembered and buried.

Mr Bostrom identified the first victim as Bilal Ahmad Ranian from Nablus who was “shot for throwing stones at IDF soldiers”.

Mr Ranian's body was then apparently returned to his village five days later with a scar running from the face down to the stomach.

Other Palestinians were quoted in the article saying their children had been murdered for their organs and the paper hinted that this could lead to an Israeli war crimes investigation.

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon has filed a formal grievance with the Swedish government, demanding government censure.

Mr Ayalon said: “It cannot wash its hands of this one. This is a private publication, true, even if it is an antisemitic one, but I can see a correlation between recent statements made in Sweden and this article. This is outright blood libel.”

Sweden’s ambassador to Israel, Elisabet Borsiin Bonnier, was quick to denounce the article.

She said: "The article is as shocking and appalling to us Swedes, as it is to Israeli citizens. We share the dismay expressed by Israeli government representatives, media and the Israeli public. This embassy cannot but clearly distance itself from it. “

The ambassador added: "Just as in Israel, freedom of the press prevails in Sweden. However, freedom of the press and freedom of expression are freedoms which carry a certain responsibility. It falls on the editor-in-chief of any given newspaper."

Last updated: 12:46pm, August 19 2009