A leading Swedish newspaper reported this week that Israeli soldiers are abducting Palestinians in order to steal their organs, a claim that prompted furious condemnation and accusations of anti-Semitic blood libel from a rival publication.
"They plunder the organs of our sons," read the headline in Sweden's largest daily newspaper, the left-leaning Aftonbladet, which devoted a double spread in its cultural section to the article.
(Click here for the original article in Swedish)
The report quotes Palestinian claims that young men from the West Bank and Gaza Strip had been seized by the Israel Defense Forces, and their bodies returned to the families with missing organs.
"'Our sons are used as involuntary organ donors,' relatives of Khaled from Nablus said to me, as did the mother of Raed from Jenin as well as the uncles of Machmod and Nafes from Gaza, who all had disappeared for a few days and returned by night, dead and autopsied," writes author Donald Boström in his report.
Boström's article makes a link to the recent exposure of an alleged crime syndicate in New Jersey. The syndicate includes several American rabbis, and one Levy Izhak Rosenbaum, who faces charges of conspiring to broker the sale of a human kidney for a transplant. ...
But the liberal Sydsvenskan - southern Sweden's major daily - had harsh criticism for the rival paper, running an opinion piece under the headline "Antisemitbladet" (a play on the name Aftonbladet).
"We have heard the story before, in one form or the other. It follows the traditional pattern of conspiracy theory: a great number of loose threads that the theorist tempts the reader to tie into a neat knot without having been provided with any proven connection whatsoever," writes leading columnist Mats Skogkär of Sydsvenskan.
"Whispers in the dark. Anonymous sources. Rumors. That is all it takes. After all we all know what they [the Jews] are like, don't we: inhuman, hardened. Capable of anything," the opinion piece says. "Now all that remains is the defense, equally predictable: 'Anti-Semitism' No, no, just criticism of Israel."
Read full coverage of this story in Ha'aretz.
This latest blood libel joins an all too long list of false charges and accusations against Israel and the IDF and would not look out of place on a neo-Nazi website or the pages of the infamous Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
While this article may have been published in Swedish, previous experience shows that even such outlandish stories take on a life of their own as translations appear on the Internet preserved for Israel's enemies to dig up in the battle to delegitimize and demonize the Jewish state.
Even though credible rebuttals may appear, as was the case with the Jenin "massacre" and The Independent's "secret uranium bombs" (see HonestReporting's Big Lies interactive resource), these stories continue to fester online and, sadly, it is likely to be the case with Aftonbladet's disgraceful article.
Such a disgusting excuse for journalism is bound to create outrage. While understandable, we ask that your e-mails to Aftonbladet's Editor-in-Chief Jan Helin - firstname.lastname@example.org - are as considered as possible under the circumstances and do not descend to the gutter level that this "newspaper" has sunk. Demand a retraction and an apology so that this story does not go unchallenged and unanswered.