Swedish Jews Tell Israel: ‘Butt Out’
Finally, some sense regarding the Swedish newspaper article claiming the IDF harvested Palestinian organs. And the “sense” comes from an unlikely source: Swedish Jews themselves. They’re telling Avigdor Lieberman and his rightist government to butt out of the entire affair: kol ha-kavod:
Lena Posner, president of the Official Council of Jewish Communities in Sweden, said…that Israel’s demand that Sweden officially condemn the article…”had blown the issue completely out of proportion.”
“No one even noticed the article – which is, incidentally, anti-Semitic and absolutely untruthful – when it was buried in the last pages of Aftonbladet,” Posner explained. “But the Israeli response pushed the journalist who wrote it, Daniel Bostrom, to the front of the stage and into the heart of the Swedish mainstream.”
“What’s even worse is that by making the preposterous demand for a government condemnation, the debate has changed from anti-Semitism to freedom of speech in Sweden: Instead of concentrating on debunking the story, they have made it a freedom of speech issue. The government is not going to condemn the article – freedom of speech here is sacrosanct,” added Posner, who said she could see how the Swedish mainstream media, which at first attacked the tabloid for printing the piece, were now supporting it, based on the principle of preserving the freedom of speech.
Bibi and Yvette may want to ponder these polling figures and understand that if they keep pestering the Swedish government it will only make Israel less popular in Sweden and rally Swedes around a besieged government:
The results of a poll conducted by Svenska Dagbladet showed that 66 per cent of the 1,300 respondents ruled out offering any apology to Israel, 31 percent said the Aftonbladet should apologize, and only 3 percent supported a formal apology by the Swedish government. In addition, 92 percent of the 4,500 participants in a survey taken by the Dagens Nyheter newspaper said that Israel’s demand for an apology was “unreasonable.”
Of course, Lieberman’s pandering on this issue isn’t meant to address Sweden at all. The foreign minister could care less how Israel is seen in Sweden or anywhere else (a strange statement to make about someone whose job it is to care about precisely these things). Nor does he give a fig how this impacts Sweden’s Jews. He cares about how he and his government are perceived within Israeli rightist circles. So this entire escapade is for internal consumption. Wouldn’t be the first time…
35 thoughts on “Swedish Jews Tell Israel: ‘Butt Out’ – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
Comments are published at the sole discretion of the owner.
More for internal consumption. Sweden is not enough.
Lieberman escalates the Israel’s “summer campaign of 2009” by adding to it Norway demanding them not to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Knut Hamsun. Isaac Bashevis Singer described Hamsun as the “father of modern literature”, and King Haakon as Norway’s soul. Well if one wants to piss off the Norwegians that is a clever move.
Quite of an achievement of Lieberman who suggested the bombing of Aswan damn. One could ask is it clever to have such an obviously very unstable character as a foreign minister in an extremely aggressive country packed with (ready) nuclear weapons.
It is impossible understand what Israel believes it will win from these insane escalations. It hardly will make the European press to write less about Israel. Already these latest “Nordic actions” are getting more and more attention.
So it’s ok for muslims to demonstrate in Sweden screaming death to the Jews, death to Israel, open the up the gas chambers again. However if swedish jew’s have a pro-israel demonstration they are threated with violence, have bottles, stones and even knives thrown at them, and all the police say is that that is freedom of expression, and that it would be better if jew’s desist from any pro-Israel demonstration. I still intend to walk around Stockholm or Malmo with my kippah on (skullcap) however I have two new companions, two protector dogs fully trained in protection work, they both each weigh around 140kgs and stand to the shoulders almost 90c/m. so when these firebrand muslim fanatics will try to attack me, we shall see what happens.
I published this comment as it’s so bizarre & its provenance is so questionable that I couldn’t rightfully ban it. But clearly the commenter’s claimed name is fake and prob. all the info in the comment is fake. Note that there isn’t a single link or even evidence provided for any claims. I doubt this commenter has ever gotten any closer to Sweden than riding in a Volvo automobile.
Lieberman’s unsuitability as a government minister goes much further than his threats against neighbouring Egypt. Even convinced Zionists are left queasy by him – Martin Peretz, a passionate Zionist and critic of the peace movement, calls Lieberman a “neo-fascist – a certified gangster – the Israeli equivalent of [Austria’s] Jörg Haider.”
But Peretz was being very unfair to Jorg Haider, who distrusted immigrants (and was villified by Austrians for it), but never threatened to abuse them. Whereas Lieberman is an immigrant himself, keen to personally drown 1000s of natives!
I have long thought it was improper for Israel to claim to speak for Diaspora Jews, and this is a case where the Diaspora has stood up and spoken for itself. Avraham Burg is correct in pointing out that Israel continues to mine the holocaust for a narrative that excuses it from criticism and Israel has smelted and hammered these mined results into a story of ongoing persecution by Europe. And who better than European Jews can determine whether these old Middle Ages stories about Jews can actually do any damage in the 21st century? Apparently, the real damage being done is toward Israel, and not Diaspora Jewry. The metamorphosis of the Jewish blood libel into an Israeli kidney libel may simply demonstrate that the world has stopped hating Jews, and started hating Israel.
Great post, David. It is indeed time for the jewish people around the world (what is referred to in Israel as “diaspora”, a term I disagree with) to stand up and be counted for what they believe in. As time goes on, we see more and more evidence of the widening divergence in values between israel and western values and concepts of civilization that jews living in those country not only share but passionately promote. Values such as inclusiveness, tolerance, justice, anti-bigotry, personal vs public responsibility and openness to other viewpoints. The kind of post-tribal, trans-religious values that one is hard-put to find evidence for in Israel. Whether in the street or among its obviously dysfunctional government ministers.
Note also Tom Segev’s timely rebuttal:
Mr Silverstein, you say Swedish Jews are telling Avigdor Lieberman and his rightist government to butt out of the entire affair:
Thats totally misleading. Ehud Barak who is the furthest thing from a right winger is the one who who is condemming Sweden.
If an Israeli reporter was saying Swedish people were eating Russian children, i would think Richard you would be the first person to condem that.
Actually, it’s not at all misleading to say Swedish Jews are telling Israel to butt out. I quoted the leader of all Swedish Jewry saying that.
As for Barak, only someone with your rightist views could claim he is the “furthest [sic] thing from a right winger.” He actually has many views that are quite right wing regarding the Palestinians & the Occupation. He is only condemning Sweden because he realizes there are political pts to be lost within Israel if he doesn’t. He’s just as cynical as Lieberman & Bibi.
Barak accepted the Clinton parameters to end the conflict.
The Palestinians rejected them.
Even the Swedes can see who the Rejectionists are.
Clinton’s parameters were not satisfactory to the Palestinians nor should they have been. Clinton was not a friend of the Palestinians nor was his proposal.
I warn you once again that this is ground that we’ve been over in this blog multiple times. Nothing bores me more than a pro Israel attempting to revive an argument that’s been done to death here. Do an internal Google search for any topic you intend to discuss & if it’s been written about pls. don’t beat a dead horse. Also, stay on topic. The post is there for a reason & the threads must deal w. the topic of the post.
Sorry, Richard. I replied to Mr. Gold before I saw your reply.
The Palestinians rejected the “Clinton parameters” because they were completely unacceptable to Palestinians, and could never had resulted in a real, independent, sovereign state. Barak accepted them for much the same reasons that the Palestinians rejected them.
And speaking of who are the rejectionists, for seven years the Arab League – that is the organization that consists of all Arab states – has unanimously offered Israel everything it says it wants – peace, formal recognition, and full, normal diplomatic and economic relations. All the Arab league asks of Israel in return is that it comply with international law by ending the occupation, leaving the Palestinians alone to establish their state in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem, and to reach a mutually acceptable settlement of the refugee issue. For seven years Israel has effectively shown the Arab League its middle finger, refusing to even use its proposal as a basis for negotiation. So, who are the rejectionists again?
The article, which started this episode, translated in English
By the way not only Palestinians were suspecting “missing” organs, also some Israelis did (in 2003)
The scandal at Abu Kabir had nothing to do with organ traficking for transplant, but with the failure of the Forensic Institute, under Yehuda Hiss, to return all organs for burial, after autopsy.
Thanks for returning a bit of sanity & clarity to the proceedings.
Oh – I should read the responses before responding myself. I was not familiar with this particular case, but of course with very few exceptions, organs removed from the body after death has occurred are useless for transplantation. Your explanation makes sense of the situation in the Abu Kabir case. As for the allegations in the Swedish article, that story has made the rounds before, and it is no more plausible now than it was in its previous iterations.
Why would his have been autopsied in the first place? My mother shot herself after battling manic depression for over four decades, and there was no autopsy for that. furthermore, considering the prohibition against desecrating corpses in Jewish tradition, it seems particularly odd that someone who’s cause of death was surely obvious would be cut open in Israel. The suggestion that one could simply forget to return the organs sounds rather dubious too.
Neither you nor I know the reasons for an autopsy under given circumstances within a given legal system. Sometimes they are a matter of routine, often they are unnecessary, but performed anyway. Despite the Orthodox, Jewish prohibition against autopsies except in very rare cases, autopsies are performed in Israel as a matter of routine, and are a constant source of tension with the ultra-Orthodox. The Abu Kabir incident was thoroughly investigated, and it was not so much a matter of forgetting to return organs as total chaos and lack of respect for the dead. The director did not feel it was important, and lost his job over it, despite an impressive reputation as a forensic pathologist.
While you are correct in implying I am no legal expert, I do know that performing autopsies for a large percentage of deaths is hardly common, simply because it is inefficient if not anything else. Also, in digging around to see what laws Israel does have against organ trafficking, I found this NYT article from a few years back which states that there aren’t any.
Anyway, I’m curious to know more about what happened at Abu Kabir. What did the investigation conclude was being done with the organs, what is the estimated number of victims, and did anyone suffer legal ramifications for it? I tried digging around for the answers, but what little I found all seems to come from the same source of questionable origin.
I’m afraid I don’t have any source, apart from my own memory of the incident. I recall that organs were found all over the place, some preserved and some simply thrown out. The investigation concluded that the Institute had been mismanaged and complete disrespect shown for the dead and their families. As I mentioned, Hiss was sacked – ending a brilliant career.
So it seems Google failed me, and this Arutz Sheva article was posted in a more recent thread. If that article is correct about what went on at Abu Kabir, if any Palestinians taken by the IDF wound up involved in that, that would be a far more reasonable explanation or the suspicions of Palestinian families reported by Bostrom than the conspiratorial one his article implied.
Body parts found in jars must have been preserved in formaldehyde and were certainly not stolen for transplanation. Most organs must be harvested while the body is still alive or within minutes after death in order to be useful for transplants.
Surely I am not a doctor by profession and have limited knowledge about organ transplants but by using Goggle one can find rather fast that for example murder victims are one of the best sources for organ donations. The notion that only organs from brain dead but living persons can be used is obviously wrong. Surely the pathologists in all countries take specimens of the bodies to be preserved. No doubt of that.
In Israel’s case, where illegal organ trade, favouring it and use of those organs is so widely known, simply denying that nothing happened isn’t “very convincing”. Israel need clear legislation to block illegal organ trade and an international inspection to check what in reality has happened. People like Ilan Peri and Levy Ishak Rosenbaum serve a demand. Believing that they are the only “bad apples” is naive.
I happen to know a little about the illegal organ trade in Israel and the various scandals that have come to light over the years. There has been a lot of evidence of illegal and semi-legal operations involving Israeli brokers and patients (including Palestinian Israelis), but virtually no Israeli or Palestinian “donors”. The trade has all gone on outside Israeli. Were there any significant trade in organs within Israel, Israeli patients would not be flocking all over the world for transplants (legal and illegal), and believe me they are. Israeli law was recently changed to allow “altruistic donations” amid fears that this might create a black market for organs in Israel. So far this has not happened, probably due to the careful vetting process of donors. Neither the allegations that recently appeared in Sweden, nor SimoHurtta’s reinterpretation of the 15-yr-old Abu Kabir scandal have any basis in fact. These are serious allegations and deserve more than just a vague “Israel has an organ shortage and a few Israelis have been involved in organ trafficking” – a statment you could probably make about most industrialised countries in the world. In the absence of such evidence, I suggest we stick to the real bad stuff happening in Israel/Palestine.
Are you Shmuel a neutral witness and source? As we know the lack of organ donations in Israel is caused by the religion, so it is very difficult to create a black market or legal supply of (Jewish) organs in Israel. That is why organs have been and most probably are still harvested from abroad in less developed countries by people like Ilan Peri and those organ transplants operations are done in “co-operative” hospitals.
Israel as a state is equally reluctant to inspect the truth in illegal organ trade and usage of those organs as China is. When the states do not co-operate the evidence is naturally less exact and has to be put together from pieces of information available. There exists illegal organ harvesting in China even the Chinese government doesn’t fully admit it. Same with Israel. Netanyahu just said in UK: “Settlement construction not a land grab”. Equally easy it is for him to say Israel has nothing to hide with organ transplant issues. The problem is that relative few believe what he is saying.
This is the problem with a pariah state like Israel. When a story is fabricated & Israel denies it, no one will believe it because it has lied so many times in the past.
I’m not sure exactly what you mean by a “neutral witness and source”, but I think I’m pretty reliable, and know a thing or two about the transplant and organ situation in a number of countries, including Israel. You are wrong to conclude that the lack of donations in Israel is caused by religion. As in most places, it is caused by ignorance, indifference and aversion to thinking about death. Israel’s donation rate is similar to that of southern European countries, most of which do not have Jewish majorities, to the best of my knowledge.
You really don’t understand the legal or medical situation in Israel. Transplants within Israel are strictly controlled. It would be extremely difficult to find a “cooperative” hospital in Israel. That is why the illegal trade is carried out entirely outside Israel, and it is this trade that is largely (although not completely) ignored by Israel. Your comparison to China is without basis, and your citation of settlement policy is irrelevant.
Back to “neutral” for a moment. I am not an Israeli apologist, and I have no problem whatsover with criticism of Israel. Unfounded criticism however, is counterproductive – a godsend to those who try to dismiss all criticism of Israel as anti-Semitic fabrication.
[comment deleted for violating comment rules]
Mr Silverstein you proved what everyone told me was correct.
Everyone said when you are challenged with facts that rebuke your radical left wing views, you bar the person from posting.
You would be a great dictator.
I told you to read the comment rules so you would understand what is & isn’t permissible here in the comment threads. You blithely decided the rules don’t apply to you. In truth, they apply to everyone including you. When you comment & don’t violate the rules your comments will be published. When you don’t, they won’t.
[comment deleted for violation of comment rules]
I resent the fact that you have called me a liar, This is my family name. My parents fled Aleppo, Syria after riots broke out against the jewish coummunity of Aleppo, Syria in 1947,
culminating in the death of many jewish lives, the torching of synagogues, destruction of homes, & businesses etc.
Many syrian jews left for the USA and Palestine. My parents however settled in Nice, France. Syria became independent from French Rule in 1946. I have been to Sweden many times as it happens, mainly on business.
I have noticeced the difference over the years I have been there. The difference is for the worse, I look for trouble and usually find it, and always do something about it. You seem to sympathize so much for the arab refugees of the former British Mandate of Palestine, however it seems not for the parallel issue of the almost one million Jewish refugees of the Middle East & the Maghrebi States. What about justice for our rights our ‘Naqbah’ The real-estate that we the jews of thearab lands owned was nearly five times that of the State of Israel today. At the end of world war two there was over 50,000,000 world wide refugees, how was it that they were all settled. The arab refugees who numbered below 550,000, with around 170,000 remaining in Israel. after 61 years these refugees are still rotting in refugee camps, as the 22 arab states don’t want them, however are still using them as tools against Israel.
The arabs craeted the problem in the first place, they created two parallel refugee problems, one making life intollerable for jews living in the arab world, and telling the arabs of palestine to get out while the arab armies annihilate the fledgling state of israel, they could then after their victory over the jews return to ntheir former homes and also inherit the homes of the fleeing or dead jews aswell.
I find it interesting that one of the most virulently anti-Muslim, pro settler Jewish community in the U.S. is the Syrian. I concede that Syrians may have a lot of unfinished business w. Muslims because of the mistreatment they suffered in 1947 in Aleppo or wherever else in Syria. But that doesn’t mean that you get the right to impose your own prejudices on the rest of us. Your characterization of Muslims in Sweden is simply bizarre and unverified. You still haven’t provided any proof whatsoever that there is anti-Semitism among Muslims there. And I certainly won’t trust anything you say on the subject until you provide a credible source to support your claim.
You also haven’t provided any proof that there are 1-million Jewish refugees of Arab lands. Arab Jews left these countries for a myriad of reasons, & many did not leave for the reasons Aleppo’s Jews did. For you to lump them all together is a convenient exercise to reinforce your hatred of Muslims and their alleged perfidy. But it’s not convincing in historical terms.
The figure about the value of Arab Jewish real estate is completely unverified & prob. unverifiable. NIce try though.
This is your last bit of anti-Muslim propaganda. If you have a demagogic agenda you’ll have to purvey it somewhere else.
A brief additional note for Mr. Richard Silverstein.
many of the Aleppo Jews were of Spanish origin, who fled to Syria from 1492 under the auspices of the Ottoman Empire. We however are Mizrahi jews, my family have roots in Syria sin biblical times.