Thursday, 20 August 2009

Bildt silent on anti-Semitic article

Not strictly speaking a literary topic, perhaps, but in view of our earlier coverage of the issue of anti-Semitism in Norwegian public and intellectual life, it seems at least consistent to mention the outrage that was provoked by a recent article published in the mainstream Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet which repeated accusations against Israel's defence forces, or sections of them, of murdering Palestinians in order to steal their internal organs.

The article appears to reflect a belief that is common among left wing circles in Sweden, and it has been roundly condemned in some quarters, including Svenska Dagbladet, which has also published in one of its blogs a statement disclosing that the Swedish embassy in Tel Aviv has sent out a message from Ambassador Elisabet Borsiin Bonnier reminding the world that "Aftonbladet's cultural page does not speak for all Swedes", and calling the article "as shocking and appalling to us Swedes as it is to Israeli citizens."

One of the most troubling aspects of the whole affair is possibly the fact that so far Sweden's foreign minister, Carl Bildt, has remained silent on the issue, apparently preferring to make no comment.

Update: the Swedish government has distanced itself from the statement by Elisabet Borsiin Bonnier.

The Jerusalem Post comments that the Aftonbladet item
reads more like an opinion article than a straight journalism piece, and it attempts to connect claims he heard in the West Bank in 1992 that Israeli soldiers were illegally removing organs from Palestinians killed in fighting with a campaign for Israeli organ donors, supposed illegal purchases of organs in Israel in the early 2000s, and the recent story of American Levy Izhak Rosenbaum who was accused of illegally trafficking Israeli organs.