al khabar 248.88.
(photo credit: )
The anti-Semitic blogosphere and many Arab and Muslim media outlets are aflutter in recent days over accusations of an international Jewish conspiracy to kidnap Algerian children and harvest their organs.
Unlike the multiple conspiracy theories about Jews circulating among radical fringe organizations online, this one seems to be gaining momentum on mainstream Arab and Muslim Web sites.
According to the story, first reported by Algeria's Al-Khabar daily, bands of Moroccans and Algerians have allegedly been roaming the streets of Algeria's cities kidnapping young children, who are then transported across the border into Morocco. From the Moroccan city of Oujda, the children are then purportedly sold to Israelis and American Jews, who then harvest their organs for sale in Israel and the United States. The organs are said to fetch anywhere from $20,000 to $100,000.
The source for the Al-Khabar report seems to be a Dr. Mustafa Khayatti, head of the Algerian National Committee for the Development of Health Research. Khayatti reportedly claimed that several Jews were arrested in New York in connection with the trade. He claimed Interpol knew of the situation and was leading the investigation into the abductions.
"The arrest of Jewish organ trafficking gangs does not mean that the danger has gone; top officials and specialists in this issue assert that there are other Jewish gangs who remain active in several Arab countries," Khayatti was quoted as saying.
Picking up on the Algerian report, the official Iranian news agency PressTV claimed that the Jewish group "is said to be connected to Israeli Rabbi Levi Rosenbaum, who was recently arrested in New Jersey for the direct involvement in importing human organs."
The report also ran without scrutiny on certain American news outlets, including the Web site of the California-based American Arab weekly Watan.
With its rapid online dissemination, the report has begun to draw fire from those worried about the ease with which such a story, lacking any evidence, can spread in the Muslim world.
The report "sounds as [though] Dr. Khayatti is well connected within the FBI and has access to Interpol documents," but this was not the case, wrote Hassan Masiky, a reporter for the American Moroccan news service MoroccoBoard.com.
"Needless to say, neither Al-Khabar nor PressTV provided a source for their story, other than an obscure low-level Algerian bureaucrat," Masiky complained.
"What is dangerous in this work of fantasy is the plot to package the true story of the arrest of Rabbi Levi Rosenbaum in New Jersey with the nonsense, nightmarish tale out of Algeria," he said.
Masiky noted that the Algerian-Moroccan border was closed and carefully watched by the countries' armies. It was therefore difficult to ascertain how such a plan could be implemented without help from the Algerian state.
"To their credit, the Algerian authorities, up until now, did not ask their Moroccan counterparts for an official investigation, as most Algerians ask themselves: Who are these kidnapped children? Where are their parents? Who conducts these organ harvesting operations? How are the children and the organs transported from Morocco to Israel? And more importantly, how can the Algerian army allow such illicit traffic to go unabated?" Masiky wrote.
The Iranian PressTV noted in its coverage that the report followed claims made in the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet last month of an IDF conspiracy to harvest organs from kidnapped Palestinians.
The connection indicated "a possible link between the Israeli military and the mafia of human organs detected in the US," the Iranian report said.
Aftonbladet, too, did not offer evidence in its article, relying on claims by a handful of Palestinians who spoke to the reporter.