Donald Boström, a Swedish photographer who worked in the West Bank in 1992, was tipped off by UN officials to follow the bloody trail of Israeli soldiers who had kidnapped young Palestinians and returned their dead bodies five days later "with a slit from the abdomen up to the chin." The families in the West Bank and in Gaza felt that they knew exactly what had happened: "Our sons were used as involuntary organ donors; they disappeared for a number of days only to be returned in the dark of night, dead and autopsied. Why did they keep their bodies for five days before letting us bury them? What happened to their bodies in the meantime? Why are they performing autopsies, against our will, when the cause of death is obvious? Why were their bodies returned at night time? Why was this done with a military escort? Why was the area closed off during the funeral? Why was the power supply interrupted?"
These questions continued to haunt Boström. He took gruesome pictures of the returned bodies. Like Vanunu, he smuggled his films abroad. When back in Sweden, he offered the story to Dagens Nyheter, a liberal newspaper which, incidentally, is owned by the Jewish Bonnier family. DN refused to publish it. The story was laid to rest until now, when the Social Democrat newspaper Aftonbladet decided to let it run.
In Israel, the reaction was hysterical. The country is in danger of busting its guts in rage. Huge pressure has been exerted upon Swedish authorities to condemn the newspaper, to punish the offending author and to beg forgiveness. The Swedish Ambassador in Tel Aviv, a member of the rich and influential Jewish family Bonnier who incidentally own the majority of Swedish newspapers, TV networks and cinemas, expressed her 'shock and disapproval' on a website. Her speedy acceptance of the Tel Aviv diktat misfired. The Swedish government disavowed her interference with the freedom of Swedish press; the editors of Aftonbladet insisted on their right to say what they find fit and called for an international inquiry.
Carl Bildt, the Swedish Foreign Minister, was discomfited by Israel's intention to cancel his scheduled visit and had already written in a blog that "such articles can cause anti-Semitism, and instigation is against the Swedish law". However, he did not cry uncle in the way Netanyahu and Lieberman had demanded, while indomitable Aftonbladet Culture Editor Åsa Linderborg, the true hero of the drama, had sent two of her correspondents to the area of crime. They confirmed Boströms findings. Unprepared for such steadfastness, the rage and hysterics in Tel Aviv rather subsided, facing united front of Swedish public opinion.
It is easier to express 'outrage about the old canard' than to answer the questions posed by Bostrom. The facts are disturbing, and the accusations are not new. There were too many reports of such goings on, beside the cases mentioned by the Aftonbladet. Knesset Members Ahmed Tibi and Hashem Mahmid accused the Abu Kabir institute of forensic medicine of expropriating the inner parts of Palestinian corpses. They said that Palestinian doctors have complained about receiving the bodies of their dead emptied of their innards. Israeli newspapers reported that in 2007 three Palestinian teenagers were killed near Khan Younes in Gaza Strip and their bodies were returned to their parents all cut and brutalised six days later. Israel often does not even return the dead bodies of Palestinians to their families but has them buried in a secret cemetery. This causes even more suspicions.
Worse, it fits into a larger pattern.
All over the world, Israel and Israelis are involved in trafficking human flesh, this modern form of cannibalism. Beside the case of the New Jersey ring mentioned in the Boström's article, there are plenty others.
- Turkey: An Israeli professor Zaki Shapira was arrested in Turkey for allegedly cutting into live Turks for spare parts, reported the notoriously anti-Semitic paper Jerusalem Post.
- South Africa: Another anti-Semitic paper, the New York Times, reported on an Israeli trafficking ring active from South Africa to Brazil.
- Brazil: An Israeli officer, Gedalya Tauber, was arrested in Brazil for inducing the poor to part with their body parts. He spilled the beans about activity of his fellow countrymen.
- The Ukraine: The Jerusalem Post reported the arrest of "an Israeli illegal organ-smuggling ring" that flew their donors and recipients to the Ukraine.
This lack of moral inhibitions allowed a leading Chabad rabbi, Yitzhak Ginzburgh, to give his religious permission to a Jew to take a liver from a goy even without his consent. He said that "a Jew is entitled to extract the liver from a goy if he needs it, for the life of a Jew is more valuable than the life of a goy, likewise the life of a goy is more valuable than the life of an animal."
Modern Israelis have forgotten their faith, but have retained this lack of inhibition. An Israeli business newspaper, The Marker, has published an opinion piece by an Israeli lawyer justifying the trade in body organs, for "organs are just commodity, and so they can be bought and sold like any commodity in an open market".
The distance between kidneys bought and snatched is not that big: if organs are "just a commodity", surely it is permissible to take them from Palestinians, just as it is 'permitted' to take from Palestinians centuries-old olive trees while building the Wall.
Indignation is easy, but it is not so easy to prove that the Israelis, who do not hesitate to break arms and legs and pour napalm on schoolchildren, do draw a line about getting some profit from Palestinian innards. Aftonbladet's demand for an international enquiry is reasonable: if the Israelis have done nothing wrong (beyond murdering hundreds of young men), they have nothing to fear from an international investigation. Yet Israel refused UN enquiry commissions permission to visit Jenin after the 2002 massacre and Gaza after the 2009 massacre.
For Israel, the most upsetting part of this affair was the breach made in the wall. I do not mean the monstrous Sharon's Wall protecting the biggest Jewish ghetto in the Middle East, but the wall of media control which protects it overseas. Jews buy media all over the world not for fun, and not for profit, but for the influence it has over minds. This is the case in Sweden, where members of its tiny Jewish community own newspapers, magazines, publishing houses and even Swedish Hollywood - Svensk Filmindustri AB. This media actively promotes the neo-liberal policies of privatisation, commodification, immigrant influx, dismantling the welfare state - in short, policies that are good for wealthy Jews.
Israeli representatives work hard to keep reporting from the Middle East under their control. A few years ago, the leading radical left magazine Ordfront published a thoughtful piece Israeli Regime Directs Swedish Media by Johannes Wahlström, telling of Israeli meddling with the Swedish press, of Israeli officials going to newspaper editors and to correspondents. In that article Donald Boström tells of the dreadful story he wanted to tell, but he couldn't get through the wall of pro-Israeli censorship in the Swedish media.
Israel is not the only country suspected of such nefarious activities. Carla del Ponte, chief prosecutor at the Hague tribunal for Balkan crimes, wrote in her 2008 book The Hunt: Me and War Criminals that under the aegis of the Kosovo Liberation Army, this ally of NATO and the US, hundreds of young Serb prisoners were allegedly taken by truck from Kosovo to northern Albania where their organs were removed. Some prisoners were sewn up after having kidneys removed until the moment they were killed for other vital organs. Carla del Ponte had seen the house where such surgeries were done and had met with the people involved, one of whom "personally made an organ delivery" to an Albanian airport for transport abroad.
However, Carla del Ponte's accusation against Albanians did not cause such a stir, and nobody condemned her as "anti-Albanian", nor would she care if somebody had, for it is perfectly all right to be anti-anybody as long as not anti-Jewish. The Jews have a potent weapon in their "anti-Semitism" label. Or do they?
Could it be that the useful-for-Israel fear of anti-Semitism does not work like a charm anymore? This is possible. The Cairo speech of Obama apparently has had no direct consequences; Obama tried to apply pressure to Israel in order to freeze the settlements, but in vain. Did he fail? It is too early to judge, as Zhou Enlai was wont to say. Such changes rarely occur by the wave of a magic wand ... they take time. Recent publications on the Jewish criminal gang in New Jersey, attacks on Goldman Sachs, medals for Mary Robinson and Desmond Tutu, an award to Felicia Langer, the collapse of the pro-Jewish socialist party and the appearance of an anti-zionist party in France, the Boström article in Aftonbladet - all are small and separate incidents, but together they imply that the change is coming. Swedes, French, Germans and even New Jerseyans are no longer afraid of Washington coming at them like sixteen tons in defence of Zionists, as would have been the case in the days of George W. Bush. Obama even refused to appoint a new anti-anti-semitic commissar.
This thought frightens the Tel Aviv government more than anything. If today they let the Swedes get away with it, tomorrow there will be somebody else, and then the fear of the Jews will be assigned to the category of unmanly unrealistic fears, like fear of mice.
More importantly, Israeli outrage is a proof that - despite approval for it by radical Cabbalists and neoliberals - transplantation of human organs is an immoral dreadful thing, too close to cannibalism, and we all know that. Yes, it is awful if Israeli soldiers tear kidneys out of Palestinians and kill them afterwards. But it is equally awful, if a kind doctor removes a kidney out of a Detroit mechanic whose house was repossessed by a gentle banker, or out of a Ukrainian worker who was sacked by a polite oligarch, or out of an Indian farmer who has to pay his debt to Monsanto. Every poor man on the planet is a Palestinian - though the means of his dispossession may vary. This kind of thing should be stopped. The human body is sacred. These operations are too expensive and can't be justified. Mankind should overcome its fear of death. We live and we die. There is no reason to waste thousands of dollars prolonging a life by expensive operations if this money can be used for feeding the starving. More about this later...