Journalist Donald Bostrom, whose August article in the Swedish publication Aftonbladet accused the IDF of harvesting the organs of Palestinians during Operation Cast Lead, has had an apparent change of heart, Army Radio reported on Thursday.
Sources close to Bostrom related that his visit to Israel and the fair dialogues he was involved in caused him to think twice about the whole story, according to the report.
While in Israel for the Dimona media conference, Bostrom was interviewed by multiple Israeli media outlets and heard serious criticism of his article and the accounts of IDF organ theft. It was quickly revealed that Bostrom's account lacked hard facts and relied on accounts from bereaved Palestinian families.
Upon his return to Sweden, Bostrom decided to cancel his participation in the Beirut conference, the goal of which was to slander Israel, the radio station said.
When the Swedish reporter arrived in Israel in early November to attend the conference, he was greeted with protests and jeers by members of the Beitar youth movement.
Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom called the journalist's arrival "a shameful event," and said the conference had "turned itself into a gimmick-laden stage in order to receive media coverage."
Amid criticism of Bostrom's invitation to attend the conference, Dimona Mayor Meir Cohen defended the organizers' decision to invite him. Meir stressed at the time that in Europe, "the street is controlled by negative Palestinian propaganda," and suggested that by ignoring hostile publications instead of confronting them Israel was damaging its own public diplomacy.
Ze'ev Feiner, head of the group that initiated Bostrom's visit, was pleased with the journalist's apparent change of opinion.
"It is no secret that many thought it was not right to invite Bostrom to the Dimona media conference last week. But we now see that the decision to bring him was right and an excellent one from a public relations perspective. It is just a shame that we did not bring him two weeks prior," the radio station quoted Feiner as saying.