Israel aghast at Swedish report on IDF

Foreign Ministry furious after newspaper claims soldiers abduct Palestinians to steal their organs.

soldiers 248.88 ap (photo credit: AP)
soldiers 248.88 ap
(photo credit: AP)
Israeli Ambassador to Sweden Benny Dagan was expected to speak to the Swedish Foreign Ministry on Wednesday to protest the publication of an article in the country's newspaper Aftonbladet that accused IDF soldiers of abducting Palestinians to steal their organs. Meanwhile, Government Press Office director Danny Siman told Army Radio that the anti-Israel article was not surprising and that the author was known for his anti-Semitic views. Zvi Mazal, former Israeli ambassador to Sweden, told the radio station that Sweden could not be defined as an anti-Semitic country. "This is not true, although there are large forces that are very anti-Israeli," he said. "On a daily basis, one can see the type of writing against Israel which stems from an admiration for Palestinians and radical Islam." The Foreign Ministry responded furiously on Tuesday to the story, saying it was a grotesque throwback to the blood libels of the Middle Ages. Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor characterized the story as "racist hysteria at its worst." "No one should tolerate such a demonizing piece of medieval blood libel that surely encourages hate crimes against Jews," Palmor said. "This is a shame to freedom of expression, and all Swedes should reject it unconditionally." Israel's embassy in Stockholm was expected to issue a sharp denunciation. In the story, headlined "They plunder the organs of our sons," and accompanied by a gruesome photograph, Palestinians are quoted as saying IDF soldiers kidnapped their sons and stole organs. Haaretz quoted Donald Bostrom as writing the following: "'Our sons are used as involuntary organ donors,' relatives of Khaled from Nablus said to me, as did the mother of Raed from Jenin, as well as the uncles of Machmod and Nafes from Gaza, who all had disappeared for a few days and returned by night, dead and autopsied." The article makes reference to the recent arrests in New Jersey of several US Jews, including rabbis, for a number of alleged crimes, including brokering the sale of organs for transplant. The story also cites allegations of similar instances of organ-snatching in 1992, during the first intifada. The Foreign Ministry was not the only party aghast at the story, and smelling the stench of anti-Semitism. A competing newspaper, Sydsvenskan, ran an op-ed on the story under the headline "Antisemitbladet," in an obvious reference to Aftonbladet's name. "Whispers in the dark. Anonymous sources. Rumors," wrote Swedish columnist Mats Skogkär. "That is all it takes. After all, we all know what they [the Jews] are like, don't we: inhuman, hardened. Capable of anything. Now all that remains is the defense, equally predictable: 'Anti-Semitism? No, no, just criticism of Israel.'"