In the summer of 1992, Ehud Olmert, then minister of health, tried to address the issue of organ shortage by launching a big campaign aimed at having the Israeli public register for postmortal organ donation. Half a million pamphlets were spread in local newspapers. Ehud Olmert himself was the first person to sign up. A couple of weeks later the Jerusalem Post reported that the campaign was a success. No fewer than 35 000 people had signed up.Donald Bostrom, Aftonbladet, August 17, 2009 (Translation)
While the campaign was running, young Palestinian men started to disappear from villages in the West Bank and Gaza. After five days Israeli soldiers would bring them back dead, with their bodies ripped open.
JERUSALEM — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel urged the Swedish government on Sunday to condemn an article in a Swedish newspaper last week accusing the Israeli Army of harvesting organs from Palestinians wounded or killed by soldiers.
Mr. Netanyahu told ministers at a cabinet meeting on Sunday that the article, published in the Swedish daily newspaper Aftonbladet, was “outrageous” and compared it to a “blood libel,” referring to medieval anti-Semitic accusations that Jews ritually killed gentile children and collected their blood.
Yuval Steinitz, the Israeli finance minister, said: “Whoever does not distance himself from a blood libel such as this may not be so welcome now in Israel. We have a crisis until the government of Sweden understands otherwise.”
“Israel is under assault,” said Daniel Seaman, director of Israel’s Government Press Office. The Aftonbladet article, he said, was part of a “premeditated campaign to vilify the State of Israel.” He added that anti-Semitic blood libels had led in the past to pogroms and attacks against Jews. “We cannot afford to turn the other way.”
Isabel Kershner, New York Times, August 23, 2009
Allegations that Israel plunders and trafficks Palestinians' organs are ugly, false, and harmful to peace efforts. No less dangerous—such libels spread.
Rational and responsible editorial judgment would have discarded Mr. Bostrom's surreal story at the outset. Such judgment would also have considered the real world effects of inciting yet more enmity in a volatile conflict, stoking misconceptions and raising greater hurdles to reconciliation.
But Aftonbladet's view of the parties involved appears strikingly crude, perceiving a realm populated by evil stick-figure Israelis preying mercilessly on romanticized Palestinian "stone-throwers." One cannot in this context forget Aftonbladet's unsavory pro-Nazi sentiments during the Hitler regime. This past seems to have done little to inoculate the paper against related bigotries today.
In an age of diminishing communication barriers, when false images and ideas can mislead hundreds of millions of people in minutes, it is more important than ever to reinforce the tenets of honorable journalism, and to expose malfeasance for all to see.
Andrea Levin, Wall Street Journal, October 14, 2009
Israel has admitted that pathologists harvested organs from dead Palestinians, and others without the consent of their families – a practice that it said ended in the 1990s, it emerged at the weekend.
The admission, by the former head of the country's forensic institute, followed a furious row prompted by a Swedish newspaper reporting that Israel was killing Palestinians in order to use their organs – a charge that Israel denied and called "antisemitic".
Israel's health ministry said all harvesting was now done with permission. "The guidelines at that time were not clear," it said
Ian Black, Guardian, December 20, 2009
... may I take this opportunity of emphasizing that there is no cannibalism in the British Navy. Absolutely none, and when I say none, I mean there is a certain amount, more than we are prepared to admit, but all new ratings are warned that if they wake up in the morning and find toothmarks at all anywhere on their bodies, they're to tell me immediately so that I can immediately take every measure to hush the whole thing up. And, finally, necrophilia is right out.Vice Admiral Sir John Cunningham, Monty Python's Flying Circus