Jerusalem, Israel; Dan Margalit, one of Israel’s leading news commentators, recently observed that “Holocaust deniers are out, anti-Semites and Jew-haters are in”
This week, a leading journalist from Holland claimed that who said Jews are responsible for the recent outbreak of swine flu. Holland’s largest daily, De Telegraaf, printed the allegations the ongoing global flu pandemic was part of an international Jewish conspiracy to reduce the world’s population, as were previous outbreaks of bird flu and other forms of flu.
De Telegraaf did not report that ten people in Israel have already died of swine flu.
And then there are the Gaza rumors spread in Athens. For the past two months, leading figures of the government, media and labor unions of Greece have organized protests over Israel’s destruction of the Christian hospital in Gaza. Except that there is no Christian hospital in Gaza.
Spreading rumors which denigrate Israel and Jews is not confined to the realm of non-Jews.
For the past several months, Rabbi Arthur Waskow of the Shalom Center in Philadelphia has organized nationwide fasts and protests against Israel’s “blockade” of food and medical supplies to Gaza – except that Israel has imposed no such “blockade” of food and medical supplies to Gaza. Israel has simply restricted the export of substances that could be used in the Gaza war machine, while cooperating with more than 100 humanitarian organizations to assure the steady flow of food and medical supplies into Gaza. Waskow will not answer questions about why he does not come to see the flow of Israeli humanitarian assistance to Gaza for himself.
Meanwhile, this week, the most popular newspaper in Sweden, fabricated an “exposé” this week, in which journalist Donald Bostrom claimed to have interviewed Palestinian families who reported that that Israeli soldiers kills Palestinian children in order to steal their organs for transplanting. At the end, Bostrom wrote: “We know that the need for organs in Israel is very great, that illegal organ trafficking takes place in Israel with the blessing of the authorities, and high-ranking physicians are involved. And we know that young Palestinians have disappeared, been held for five days and subsequently returned secretly at night after their corpses were abused. The time has come to shine a light upon this
Israel lodged a protest with the Swedish authorities over what the Israel Foreign Ministry characterized as an “anti-Semitic article” and demanded that the Swedish government condemn the report.
The Swedish Ambassador to Israel Elisabet Borsin Bonnier immediately issued a sharp condemnation of the article and apologized to the people of Israel.
The Swedish Foreign Ministry, however, disassociated itself from the ambassador’s condemnation.
In the wake of this reversal, Israeli Foreign Minister Lieberman conveyed a pointed protest to Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt. Lieberman also instructed the Foreign Ministry personnel to examine the possibility of revoking the press card held by any representative of Aftonbladet in Israel, and in any case not to assist or cooperate on any matter with the newspaper or its representatives.
“It’s too bad that after the Swedish ambassador to Israel did the right thing and denounced the article, and thereby made it clear that his newspaper does not represent Sweden in any way, that the Swedish Foreign Ministry chose to dissociate itself from the ambassador instead of backing her,” said Lieberman. “The meaning of freedom of the press is the freedom to write the truth, not the freedom to lie and to malign. A country that truly wishes to defend its democratic values must firmly condemn any mendacious articles that smell of anti-Semitism of the kind that was published this week in the Aftonbladet newspaper. It’s unfortunate that the Swedish Foreign Ministry is not becoming involved when the matter is one of a blood libel against the Jews. This is reminiscent of Sweden’s position during World War II, when it also did not become involved. The article written this week is a natural continuation of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and to the blood libels in which Jews were accused of adding the blood of Christian children to Passover matzos.”
Sweden currently chairs the European Union.