Relative of organ donor to Palestinian child berates Swedish tabloid story

Relative of organ donor to Palestinian child berates Swedish tabloid story.

aftonbladet 248 (photo credit: )
aftonbladet 248
(photo credit: )
The cousin of a 2002 terror casualty whose kidney was donated to a young Palestinian girl has reacted angrily to the Swedish tabloid story that IDF soldiers were killing Palestinians to harvest their organs, accusing the journalist of "first rate anti-Semitism," of which "the Third Reich would be proud." Yoni Jesner, a 19-year-old student youth leader from Glasgow, Scotland, was killed in a suicide bomb attack on a No. 4 bus in Tel Aviv in September 2002. He was studying at a yeshiva at the time and planned to return to the UK to study medicine. His cousin, Gideon Black, 26, of London, who is currently residing in Jerusalem, was with Yoni and survived the terrorist attack, sustaining injuries. Yoni died in Ichilov Hospital the day after the bombing from shrapnel wounds to the head. His family agreed to donate one of Yoni's kidneys, which went to seven-year old Palestinian Yasmin Abu Ramila from east Jerusalem, who had waited two years for a suitable organ. Speaking at the time, Yoni's brother Ari said: "The family is very proud that out of this tragic situation and Yoni's death that we were able and Yoni was able to give life to others. I think the most important principle here is that life was given to another human being." "What religion, nationality, race, culture or creed is not what is important here," he added. At the time, the girl's mother, Dina Abu Ramila, said: "I don't know how to thank the family of the victim of the attack. I feel for their pain and thank them for the organ donation that saved my daughter's life." Responding to the controversial article in the Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet in which journalist Donald Bostrom claimed that soldiers were killing Palestinians to sell their organs, Black told The Jerusalem Post the claims were "as abhorrent as they are inaccurate." "When faced with such bombastic baseless criticism of Israel, one can... treat Mr. Bostrom and his cohorts generously, simply treating their research as shoddy and amateurish at best, and seeing their claims as an attention-grabbing attempt to leap forth from Stockholm's journalistic backwaters," Black said. "Alternatively, one can take Bostrom's remarks at face value. A journalist's integrity is rooted in his ability to support his claims. If extensive empirical evidence must be brought before making remarks that cast a shadow over an individual's reputation, then any journalist must be sure to be on solid ground before claiming that foreign soldiers have mutilated human bodies. "[Lack] of such evidence leaves Bostrom guilty of first rate anti-Semitism, the type of which the Third Reich would be proud." Black said that Aftonbladet and its editors were gravely mistaken in choosing to publish the article under the cloak of freedom of speech. "An elementary understanding of the mechanics of free speech appreciates that no constitutional framer intended that [the] free press should be a forum for promulgating spineless racism," he said. "History will throw Aftonbladet's claims [onto] the rotting heap of libelous anti-Semitism, which should have been left in the dark ages yet still troubles us today. "In the meantime, the IDF continues to be a remarkable army that faces a unique set of challenges. Under the most trying conditions it possesses a moral professionalism of which we should be tremendously proud," he added. A charity set up in Yoni's memory, the Yoni Jesner Foundation (, is active in a number of areas that were important to him. One project launched in 2006, the Yoni Jesner Award scheme, encourages young Jewish students to involve themselves in volunteering projects. In June, over 120 students attend the first award ceremony at St. John's Wood Synagogue, northwest London, to celebrate the achievements of students from Jewish secondary schools who completed over 20 hours of volunteering both in and outside the Jewish community.