Israeli Organ Harvesting – The New “Blood Libel”?

Last week Sweden’s largest daily newspaper published an article containing shocking material: testimony and circumstantial evidence indicating that Israelis may have been harvesting internal organs from Palestinian prisoners without consent for many years.

Worse yet, some of the information reported in the article suggests that in some instances Palestinians may have been captured with this macabre purpose in mind.

In the article, “Our sons plundered for their organs,” veteran journalist Donald Bostrom writes that Palestinians “harbor strong suspicions against Israel for seizing young men and having them serve as the country’s organ reserve – a very serious accusation, with enough question marks to motivate the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to start an investigation about possible war crimes.”1/

An army of Israeli officials and apologists immediately went into high gear, calling both Bostrom and the newspaper’s editors “anti-Semitic.” The Israeli foreign minister was reportedly “aghast” and termed it “a demonizing piece of blood libel.” An Israeli official called it “hate porn.”

Commentary magazine wrote that the story was “merely the tip of the iceberg in terms of European funded and promoted anti-Israel hate.” Numerous people likened the article to the medieval “blood libel,” (widely refuted stories that Jews killed people to use their blood in religious rituals). Even some pro-Palestinian writers joined in the criticism, expressing skepticism.

The fact is, however, that substantiated evidence of public and private organ trafficking and theft, and allegations of worse, have been widely reported for many years. Given such context, the Swedish charges become far more plausible than might otherwise be the case and suggest that an investigation could well turn up significant information.

Below are a few examples of previous reports on this topic.

Israel’s first heart transplant

Israel’s very first, historic heart transplant used a heart removed from a living patient without consent or consulting his family.

In December 1968 a man named Avraham Sadegat (the New York Times seems to give his name as A Savgat) (2) died two days after a stroke, even though his family had been told he was “doing well.”

After initially refusing to release his body, the Israeli hospital where he was being treated finally turned the man’s body over to his family. They discovered that his upper body was wrapped in bandages; an odd situation, they felt, for someone who had suffered a stroke.

When they removed the bandages, they discovered that the chest cavity was stuffed with bandages, and the heart was missing.

During this time, the headline-making Israeli heart transplant had occurred. After their initial shock, the man’s wife and brother began to put the two events together and demanded answers.

The hospital at first denied that Sadegat’s heart had been used in the headline-making transplant, but the family raised a media storm and eventually applied to three cabinet ministers. Finally, weeks later and after the family had signed a document promising not to sue, the hospital admitted that Sadagat’s heart had been used.

The hospital explained that it had abided by Israeli law, which allowed organs to be harvested without the family’s consent. (3) (The United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime includes the extraction of organs in its definition of human exploitation.)

Indications that the removal of Sadagat’s heart was the actual cause of death went unaddressed.

Director of forensic medicine on missing organs

A 1990 article in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs entitled “Autopsies and Executions” by Mary Barrett reports on the grotesque killings of young Palestinians. It includes an interview with Dr. Hatem Abu Ghazalch, the former chief health official for the West Bank under Jordanian administration and director of forensic medicine and autopsies.

Barrett asks him about “the widespread anxiety over organ thefts which has gripped Gaza and the West Bank since the intifada began in December of 1987.”

He responded:

“There are indications that for one reason or another, organs, especially eyes and kidneys, were removed from the bodies during the first year or year and a half. There were just too many reports by credible people for there to be nothing happening. If someone is shot in the head and comes home in a plastic bag without internal organs, what will people assume?” (4)

Mysterious Scottish death

In 1998 a Scot named Alisdair Sinclair died under questionable circumstances while in Israeli custody at Ben Gurion airport.

His family was informed of the death and, according to a report in J Weekly, “…told they had three weeks to come up with about $4,900 to fly Sinclair’s corpse home. [Alisdair’s brother] says the Israelis seemed to be pushing a different option: burying Sinclair in a Christian cemetery in Israel, at a cost of about $1,300.”

The family scraped up the money, brought the body home, and had an autopsy performed at the University of Glasgow. It turned out that Alisdair’s heart and a tiny throat bone were missing. At this point the British Embassy filed a complaint with Israel.

The J report states:

“A heart said to be Sinclair’s was subsequently repatriated to Britain, free of charge. James wanted the [Israeli] Forensic Institute to pay for a DNA test to confirm that this heart was indeed their brother’s, but the Institute’s director, Professor Jehuda Hiss refused, citing the prohibitive cost, estimated by some sources at $1,500.”

Despite repeated requests from the British Embassy for the Israeli pathologist’s and police reports, Israeli officials refused to release either. (5,6,7)

Israeli government officials raise questions

Palestinian journalist Khalid Amayreh reports in an article in CCUN:

“In January, 2002, an Israeli cabinet minister tacitly admitted that organs taken from the bodies of Palestinian victims might have been used for transplants in Jewish patients without the knowledge of the Palestinian victims’ families.

“The minister, Nessim Dahan, said in response to a question by an Arab Knesset member that he couldn’t deny or confirm that organs of Palestinian youths and children killed by the Israeli army were taken out for transplants or scientific research.

“‘I couldn’t say for sure that something like that didn’t happen.’”

Amayreh writes that the Knesset member who posed the question said that he “had received ‘credible evidence proving that Israeli doctors at the forensic institute of Abu Kabir extracted such vital organs as the heart, kidneys, and liver from the bodies of Palestinian youth and children killed by the Israeli army in Gaza and the West Bank.” (8)

Israel’s chief pathologist removed from post for stealing body parts

For a number of years there were allegations that Israel’s leading pathologist was stealing body parts. In 2001 the Israeli national news service reported:

“… the parents of soldier Ze’ev Buzgallo who was killed in a Golan Heights military training accident, are filing a petition with the High Court of Justice calling for the immediate suspension of Dr. Yehuda Hiss and that criminal charges be filed against him. Hiss serves as the director of the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute….According to the parents, the body of their son was used for medical experimentation without their consent, experiments authorized by Hiss. (9)

In 2002 the service reported:

“The revelation of illegally stored body parts in the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute has prompted MK Anat Maor, chairman of the Knesset Science Committee, to demand the immediate suspension of the director, Prof. Yehuda Hiss.”

Alisdair Sinclair’s death had first alerted authorities to Hiss’s malfeasance in 1998, though nothing was done for years. The Forward reported:

“In 2001, an Israeli Health Ministry investigation found that Hiss had been involved for years in taking body parts, such as legs, ovaries and testicles, without family permission during autopsies, and selling them to medical schools for use in research and training. He was appointed chief pathologist in 1988. Hiss was never charged with any crime, but in 2004 he was forced to step down from running the state morgue, following years of complaints.” (10)

Harvesting kidneys from impoverished communities

According to the Economist, a kidney racket flourished in South Africa between 2001 and 2003. “Donors were recruited in Brazil, Israel and Romania with offers of $5,000-20,000 to visit Durban and forfeit a kidney. The 109 recipients, mainly Israelis, each paid up to $120,000 for a “transplant holiday”; they pretended they were relatives of the donors and that no cash changed hands.” (11)

In 2004 a legislative commission in Brazil reported, “At least 30 Brazilians have sold their kidneys to an international human organ trafficking ring for transplants performed in South Africa, with Israel providing most of the funding.”

According to an IPS report: “The recipients were mostly Israelis, who receive health insurance reimbursements of 70,000 to 80,000 dollars for life-saving medical procedures performed abroad.”

IPS reports:

The Brazilians were recruited in Brazil’s most impoverished neighbourhoods and were paid $10,000 per kidney, “but as ‘supply’ increased, the payments fell as low as 3,000 dollars.” The trafficking had been organized by a retired Israeli police officer, who said “he did not think he was committing a crime, given that the transaction is considered legal by his country’s government.”

The Israeli embassy issued a statement denying any participation by the Israeli government in the illegal trade of human organs but said it did recognize that its citizens, in emergency cases, could undergo organ transplants in other countries, “in a legal manner, complying with international norms,” and with the financial support of their medical insurance.

However, IPS reports that the commission chair termed the Israeli stance “at the very least ‘anti-ethical’, adding that trafficking can only take place on a major scale if there is a major source of financing, such as the Israeli health system.” He went on to state that the resources provided by the Israeli health system “were a determining factor” that allowed the network to function. (12)

Tel Aviv hospital head promotes organ trafficking

IPS goes on to report:

“Nancy Scheper-Hughes, who heads the Organs Watch project at the U.S. University of California, Berkeley, testified to the Pernambuco legislative commission that international trafficking of human organs began some 12 years ago, promoted by Zacki Shapira, former director of a hospital in Tel Aviv.

“Shapira performed more than 300 kidney transplants, sometimes accompanying his patients to other countries, such as Turkey. The recipients are very wealthy or have very good health insurance, and the ‘donors’ are very poor people from Eastern Europe, Philippines and other developing countries, said Scheper-Hughes, who specialises in medical anthropology.”

Israel prosecutes organ traffickers

In 2007 Israel’s Ha’aretz newspaper reported that two men confessed to persuading “Arabs from the Galilee and central Israel who were developmentally challenged or mentally ill to agree to have a kidney removed for payment.” They then would refuse to pay them.

The paper reported that the two were part of a criminal ring that included an Israeli surgeon. According to the indictment, the surgeon sold the kidneys he harvested for between $125,000 and $135,000. (13)

Earlier that year another Israeli newspaper, the Jerusalem Post, reported that ten members of an Israeli organ smuggling ring targeting Ukrainians had been arrested. (14)

In still another 2007 story, the Jerusalem Post reported that “Professor Zaki Shapira, one of Israel’s leading transplant surgeons, was arrested in Turkey on Thursday on suspicion of involvement in an organ trafficking ring. According to the report, the transplants were arranged in Turkey and took place at private hospitals in Istanbul.”

Israeli organ trafficking comes to the U.S.?

In July of this year even US media reported on the arrest of Levy Izhak Rosenbaum, from Brooklyn, recently arrested by federal officials in a massive corruption sweep in New Jersey that netted mayors, government officials and a number of prominent rabbis. Bostrom opens his article with this incident.

According to the federal complaint, Rosenbaum, who has close ties to Israel, said that he had been involved in the illegal sale of kidneys for 10 years. A US Attorney explained: “His business was to entice vulnerable people to give up a kidney for $10,000 which he would turn around and sell for $160,000.” (15)

This is reportedly the first case of international organ trafficking in the U.S.

University of California anthropologist and organ trade expert Nancy Scheper-Hughes, who informed the FBI about Rosenbaum seven years ago, says she heard reports that he had held donors at gunpoint to ensure they followed through on agreements to “donate” their organs. (16)

Israel’s organ donor problems

Israel has an extraordinarily small number of willing organ donors. According to the Israeli news service Ynet, “the percentage of organs donated among Jews is the lowest of all the ethnic groups… In western countries, some 30 per cent of the population have organ donor cards. In Israel, in contrast, four percent of the population holds such cards. (17)

“According to statistics from the Health Ministry’s website, in 2001, 88 Israelis died waiting for a transplant because of a lack of donor organs. In the same year, 180 Israelis were brain dead, and their organs could have been used for transplant, but only 80 of their relatives agreed to donate their organs.”

According to Ynet, the low incidence of donors is related to “religious reasons.” In 2006 there was an uproar when an Israeli hospital known for its compliance with Jewish law performed a transplant operation using an Israeli donor. The week before, “a similar incident occurred, but since the patient was not Jewish it passed silently.” (18, 19)

The Swedish article reports that ‘Israel has repeatedly been under fire for its unethical ways of dealing with organs and transplants. France was among the countries that ceased organ collaboration with Israel in the 1990s. Jerusalem Post wrote that “the rest of the European countries are expected to follow France’s example shortly.”

“Half of the kidneys transplanted to Israelis since the beginning of the 2000s have been bought illegally from Turkey, Eastern Europe or Latin America. Israeli health authorities have full knowledge of this business but do nothing to stop it. At a conference in 2003 it was shown that Israel is the only western country with a medical profession that doesn’t condemn the illegal organ trade. The country takes no legal measures against doctors participating in the illegal business – on the contrary, chief medical officers of Israel’s big hospitals are involved in most of the illegal transplants, according to Dagens Nyheter (December 5, 2003).”

To fill this need former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, then health minister of Israel, organized a big donor campaign in the summer of 1992, but while the number of donors skyrocketed, need still greatly surpassed supply.

Palestinian disappearances increase

Bostrom, who earlier wrote of all this in his 2001 book Inshallah, (20) reports in his recent article:

“While the campaign was running, young Palestinian men started to disappear from villages in the West Bank and Gaza. After five days Israeli soldiers would bring them back dead, with their bodies ripped open.

“Talk of the bodies terrified the population of the occupied territories. There were rumors of a dramatic increase of young men disappearing, with ensuing nightly funerals of autopsied bodies.”

“I was in the area at the time, working on a book. On several occasions I was approached by UN staff concerned about the developments. The persons contacting me said that organ theft definitely occurred but that they were prevented from doing anything about it. On an assignment from a broadcasting network I then travelled around interviewing a great number of Palestinian families in the West Bank and Gaza – meeting parents who told of how their sons had been deprived of organs before being killed.”

He describes the case of 19-year-old Bilal Achmed Ghanan, shot by Israeli forces invading his village.

“The first shot hit him in the chest. According to villagers who witnessed the incident he was subsequently shot with one bullet in each leg. Two soldiers then ran down from the carpentry workshop and shot Bilal once in the stomach. Finally, they grabbed him by his feet and dragged him up the twenty stone steps of the workshop stair… Israeli soldiers loading the badly wounded Bilal in a jeep and driving him to the outskirts of the village, where a military helicopter waited. The boy was flown to a destination unknown to his family.”

Five days later he was returned, “dead and wrapped up in green hospital fabric.” Bostrom reports that as the body was lowered into the grave, his chest was exposed and onlookers could see that he was stitched up from his stomach to his head. Bostrom writes that this was not the first time people had seen such a thing.

“The families in the West Bank and in Gaza felt that they knew exactly what had happened: “Our sons are used as involuntary organ donors,” relatives of Khaled from Nablus told me, as did the mother of Raed from Jenin and the uncles of Machmod and Nafes from Gaza, who had all disappeared for a number of days only to return at night, dead and autopsied.”

Why autopsies?

Bostrom describes the questions that families asked:

“Why are they keeping the bodies for up to five days before they let us bury them? What happened to the bodies during that time? Why are they performing autopsy, against our will, when the cause of death is obvious? Why are the bodies returned at night? Why is it done with a military escort? Why is the area closed off during the funeral? Why is the electricity interrupted?”

Israel’s answer was that all Palestinians who were killed were routinely autopsied. However, Bostrom points out that of the133 Palestinians who were killed that year, only 69 were autopsied.

He goes on to write:

“We know that Israel has a great need for organs, that there is a vast and illegal trade of organs which has been running for many years now, that the authorities are aware of it and that doctors in managing positions at the big hospitals participate, as well as civil servants at various levels. We also know that young Palestinian men disappeared, that they were brought back after five days, at night, under tremendous secrecy, stitched back together after having been cut from abdomen to chin.

It’s time to bring clarity to this macabre business, to shed light on what is going on and what has taken place in the territories occupied by Israel since the Intifada began.” (21)

The new “Blood Libel”?

In scanning through the reaction to Bostrom’s report, one is struck by the multitude of charges that his article is a new version of the old anti-Semitic “blood libel.” Given that fact, it is interesting to examine a 2007 book by Israel’s preeminent expert on medieval Jewish history, and what happened to him.

The author is Bar-Ilan professor (and rabbi) Ariel Toaff, son of the former chief rabbi of Rome, a religious leader so famous that an Israeli journalist writes that Toaff’s father “is to Italian Jewry as the Eiffel Tower is to Paris.” Ariel Toaff, himself, is considered “one of the greatest scholars in his field.” (22, 23)

In February 2007 the Israeli and Italian media were abuzz (though most of the U.S. media somehow missed it) with news that Professor Toaff had written a book entitled “Pasque di Sangue” (“Blood Passovers”) (24) containing evidence that there “was a factual basis for some of the medieval blood libels against the Jews.”

Based on 35 years of research, Toaff had concluded that there were at least a few, possibly many, real incidents.

In an interview with an Italian newspaper (the book was published in Italy), Toaff says:

“My research shows that in the Middle Ages, a group of fundamentalist Jews did not respect the biblical prohibition and used blood for healing. It is just one group of Jews, who belonged to the communities that suffered the severest persecution during the Crusades. From this trauma came a passion for revenge that in some cases led to responses, among them ritual murder of Christian children.” (25)

(Incidentally, an earlier book containing similar findings was published some years ago, also by an Israeli professor, Israel Shahak, of whom Noam Chomsky once wrote, “Shahak is an outstanding scholar, with remarkable insight and depth of knowledge. His work is informed and penetrating, a contribution of great value.” ) (26)

Professor Toaff was immediately attacked from all sides, including pressure orchestrated by Anti-Defamation League chairman Abe Foxman, but Toaff stood by his 35 years of research, announcing:

“I will not give up my devotion to the truth and academic freedom even if the world crucifies me… One shouldn’t be afraid to tell the truth.”

Before long, however, under relentless public and private pressure, Toaff had recanted, withdrawn his book, and promised to give all profits that had already accrued (the book had been flying off Italian bookshelves) to Foxman’s Anti-Defamation League. A year later he published a “revised version.”

Donald Bostrom’s experience seems to be a repeat of what Professor Toaff endured: calumny, vituperation, and defamation. Bostrom has received death threats as well, perhaps an experience that Professor Toaff also shared.

If Israel is innocent of organ plundering accusations, or if its culpability is considerably less than Bostrom and others suggest, it should welcome honest investigations that would clear it of wrongdoing. Instead, the government and its advocates are working to suppress all debate and crush those whose questions and conclusions they find threatening.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, rather than responding to calls for an investigation, is demanding that the Swedish government abandon its commitment to a free press and condemn the article. The Israeli press office, apparently in retaliation and to prevent additional investigation, is refusing to give press credentials to reporters from the offending newspaper.

Just as in the case of the rampage against Jenin, the attack on the USS liberty, the massacre of Gaza, the crushing of Rachel Corrie, the torture of American citizens, and a multitude of other examples, Israel is using its considerable, worldwide resources to interfere with the investigative process.

It is difficult to conclude that it has nothing to hide.

REF: COUNTERPUNCH
Alison Weir is executive director of If Americans Knew. A version of this article containing citations and additional information is available at http://ifamericansknew/cur_sit/sweden.html

Notes.

1/ There are two English translations; this article uses the first:
http://www.tlaxcala.es/pp.asp?reference=8390&lg=en
http://www.theoccidentalobserver.net/authors/SwedishTrans.html

The original Swedish article in Aftonbladet can be viewed at
http://www.aftonbladet.se/kultur/article5652583.ab

2/ New York Times, Feb. 3, 1969, p. 8, Column 6 (53 words)
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1046041.html

3/ 40 years after Israel’s first transplant, donor’s family says his heart was stolen
By Dana Weiler-Polak, Haaretz Correspondent, Dec. 14, 2008
http://www.wrmea.com/backissues/0490/9004021.htm

4/ Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, April 1990, Page 21, The Intifada: Autopsies and Executions
http://www.jweekly.com/

5/ October 30, 1998,Bizarre death of Scottish tourist involves suicide, missing heart
by NETTY C. GROSS, Jerusalem Post Service
http://www.forward.com/articles/112915/

6/ The Forward, Illicit Body-Part Sales Present Widespread Problem, By Rebecca Dube, Aug. 26, 2009
http://www.mail-archive.com/ctrl@listserv.aol.com/msg114437.html

7/ Masons, Muslims, Templars, Jews, Henry and Dolly.
http://ccun.org/Opinion

8/ Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding, Khalid Amayreh, August 20, 2009

9/ http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/Flash.aspx/12699

10/ http://www.forward.com/articles/112915/

11/ http://www.economist.com/

12/ The Economist, Organ transplants: The gap between supply and demand, Oct. 9, 2008

12/http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=22524
BRAZIL: Poor Sell Organs to Trans-Atlantic Trafficking Ring
By Mario Osava, IPS, Feb. 23, 2004

13/ http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/935092.html
Haaretz, Two Haifa men sentenced to jail for organ trafficking, By Fadi Eyadat, Dec. 18, 2007

14/ http://www.jpost.com/Police uncover illegal organ trade ring
By REBECCA ANNA STOIL, July 23, 2007

15/ http://www.thestar.com/news/world/article/671687
Sting rocks U.S. transplant industry, David Porter, Carla K. Johnson, ASSOCIATED PRESS, july 25, 2009

16/ http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1102799.html
U.S. Professor: I told FBI about kidney trafficking 7 years ago
By Natasha Mozgovaya, Haaretz Correspondent, August, 3, 2009

17/ http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3388529,00.html
A mitzvah called organ donation, Efrat Shapira-Rosenberg, 10.6.07

18/ http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3265889,00.html
Orthodox in uproar over organ donation incident, Neta Sela, 06.22.06

19/ http://www.israelshamir.net/English/Body_Snatchers.htm
The Return of the Body Snatchers, By Israel Shamir,

20/ http://www.bokus.com/b/9789170370939.html

21/ http://www.tlaxcala.es/pp.asp?reference=8390&lg=en

22/ http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/829381.html
Ha’aretz. The Wayward Son, by Adi Schwartz, March 1, 2007

23/ http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/824152.html
Ha’aaretz, Bar-Ilan to order professor to explain research behind blood libel book
By Ofri Ilani, Haaretz Service and The Associated Press, Feb 11, 2007

24/ http://www.bloodpassover.com/toafftableofcontents.htm
Israeli writer Israel Shamir reports that some years ago “…a leading Chabad rabbi, Yitzhak Ginzburgh, gave his religious permission for a Jew to take a liver from a non-Jew 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.’

25/ http://haaretz.com/hasen/spages/824152.html
Haaretz, Bar Ilan to order professor to explain research behind blood libel book, by Ofri Hani, Feb. 11, 2007.

26. http://www.wrmea.com/archives/august-september01/0108011.html
Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, August/September 2001, page 11, In Memoriam: Israel Shahak (1933-2001), By Norton Mezvinsky

Israel denounces Sweden’s silence on IDF organ harvest article (Israel is the only “democracy” that do not respect other countries laws and press. supprise?)

sraeli officials demanded that the Swedish government denounce a recent article by a top Swedish newspaper alleging that Israel Defense Forces soldiers kill Palestinian civilians in order to harvest their organs.

On Friday, the Israeli Ambassador to Sweden Benny Dagan met with Deputy Foreign Minister of the Scandinavian country and urged his government to issue a denunciation of the article. Deputy Foreign Minister Frank Belfrage emphasized his country’s freedom of speech and how it limits the ability of the government to respond to articles in the media.

Dagan rebuffed Belfrage’s explanation, saying that in the past the Swedish government responded to similar articles and their reluctance to do so in this case has made it unclear what their stance is.

The stance of the Swedish deputy foreign minister was backed up on Saturday by the country’s prime minister.

A Netanyahu aide said that “Israel does not wish to infringe upon the freedom of the press in Sweden. However, as much as the Swedish press is entitled to freedom, the Swedish government should enjoy the freedom of denouncing such reports.”

The article claims that as far back as 1992, the IDF had removed organs from Palestinian youths killed in clashes. It also makes a link to an alleged crime syndicate in New Jersey, which includes several members of the American Jewish community, as well as one Levy Izhak Rosenbaum, who faces charges of conspiring to broker the sale of a human kidney for a transplant.

Belfrage told Dagan that Bildt had responded to the article in a blog entry, which Dagan told him was not sufficient because it is unclear in a blog whether or not he is speaking as a private citizen or as the foreign minister.

Dagan then told Belfrage that the historical legacy of the Holocaust made the issue all the more important to Israelis, in that hateful words and anti-Semitism can often evolve into violent actions. Dagan also expressed his fear that the article could lead to violence against Jews.

Dagan told Belfrage that Israel believes the responsibility for cooling tensions over the article lies with the Swedish government, and said it was imperative for Sweden to resolve the crisis before the country’s Foreign Minister Carl Bildt visits Israel on September 10th.

The meeting had been scheduled before the article was published, officials in the Swedish foreign ministry told local news agencies on Friday that it would now be used to address the escalating tension between the two countries.

Swedish officials said Thursday that comments by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman in response to the article “had aroused anger” in Stockholm.

The article in Sweden’s biggest-selling newspaper, first reported internationally by Haaretz.com on Tuesday, has sparked fierce widespread debate both in Sweden and abroad.

Lieberman on Thursday criticized Sweden for not intervening in “the blood libel against Jews.” He said that “the affair is reminiscent of the state’s [Sweden’s] stand during World War II, when it also did not intervene.”

On Thursday, Bildt rejected Israeli calls for an official condemnation of the article.

Lieberman had asked Bildt to print a a state rebuttal to the piece. Dagan was expected to make a similar request during his meeting with Swedish Foreign Ministry officials.

Bildt denied the request, however, writing in a blog post late Thursday that he would not condemn the article as “freedom of expression is part of the Swedish constitution.”

“Freedom of expression and press freedom are very strong in our constitution by tradition. And that strong protection has served our democracy and our country well,” Bildt wrote.

“If I were engaged in editing all strange debate contributions in different media I probably wouldn’t have time to do much else.”

Bildt said he understood why the article stirred strong emotions in Israel, but said basic values in society are best protected by free discussion.

The article has enraged Israeli officials, who called it blatantly racist and said it played on vile anti-Semitic themes.

Bildt, meanwhile, says the rejection of anti-Semitism is “the only issue on which there has ever been complete unity in the Swedish parliament.”

Israeli measures

The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem had been doubtful that the Swedish government would publish a condemnation of the article, and was considering other measures. One idea is to cancel an upcoming visit by Bildt to Israel, set take place in 10 days.

Another idea was to allow Bildt to make the visit, but to use the trip as a well publicized criticism of the article, and for Israeli officials to refuse to speak with him about any subject other than the article.

Foreign Ministry officials the crisis would not end without official Swedish condemnation of the article.

Lieberman has informed Foreign Ministry employees to consider the cancellation of government press cards given to Aftonbladet reporters in Israel, as well as to refuse to assist the paper in any way whatsoever in covering Israeli news.

It also emerged Thursday that Defense Minister Ehud Barak is considering a libel lawsuit against Donald Boström, the writer of the article. Boström has reportedly been trying to publish a version of the article about Israel harvesting organs since 1992.

The Swedish government on Thursday distanced itself from a statement by its ambassador to Israel, in which she criticized the article saying that “the condemnation was solely the judgment of the embassy [in Tel Aviv], and designed for an Israeli audience.” The comments came in a statement released Thursday by the Swedish Foreign Ministry.

“The article in the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet is as shocking and appalling to us Swedes, as it is to Israeli citizens,” said Ambassador Elisabet Borsiin Bonnier on Wednesday.

“Just as in Israel, freedom of the press prevails in Sweden,” Bonnier said. “However, freedom of the press and freedom of expression are freedoms which carry a certain responsibility.”

Ref: Haaretz

Also read:

Israel fury at Sweden organ claim

Israel is to lodge an official complaint with Sweden over claims in a newspaper that Israeli soldiers killed Palestinians to sell their organs.

….

Amazing as it is, it´s true!

Israel is bulling another country to think, act and talk as Israel wants. Everyone that do not do what Israel wants is a “palestinian”. Everyone that the jews + zionist do not like is an antisemite. Meanwhile the ethnical cleansing of Palestine  and the israeli organ theafts countinues.

But let´s not talk about that.

Facts are boring when  you are an israeli.

/a


Israeli organ trafficking: They plunder the organs of our sons

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.
Boström also cites an incident of alleged organ snatching from 1992, during the time of the first Palestinian intifada. He says that the IDF seized a young man known for throwing stones at Israeli troops in the Nablus area, who was shot in the chest, both legs, and the stomach before being taken to a military helicopter which transported him to “a place unknown to his loved ones”.

Five nights later, Boström says, the young man’s body was returned, wrapped in green hospital sheets.

“The sharp sounds from the shovels were mixed with the occasional laughter from the soldiers who were joking with each other, waiting to go home. When Bilal was put into his grave, his chest was revealed and suddenly it became clear to the present what abuse he had been put through. Bilal was far from the only one who was buried cut-up from his stomach to his chin and the speculations about the reason why had already started,” he writes.

REf: Haaretz

Also read Israeli Organ Harvesting – The New “Blood Libel”? and Israeli Bodysnatchers – Story Puts Israeli Government in Frenzied Denial Mode

ISRAELI ORGAN TRAFFICKING: Two Haifa men sentenced to jail for organ trafficking

Prof. Yehuda Hiss, the director of the Institute of Forensic Medicine at Abu Kabir was under police investigation in 2002 for removing organs from deceased persons without familial consent. He was dismissed by the Health Ministry for a while until Hiss agreed to a plea bargain. He admitted to being involved in the removal of body parts from 125 bodies and was reprimanded for this.


T
he stories about Palestinian Intifada dead arriving home with organs removed began soon after the outbreak of the Intifada in 1987. Palestinian pathologist Dr Hatem Abu Ghazaleh said there were many credible reports about this.
Roughly at the same time there was a flurry of news about successful transplants. It scared many people. And now we have the revelations about an organ traficking network with brokers in the USA, Turkey, Brazil and South Africa. The don of the whole operation is one Ilan Peri in Israel. Whether it is a matter of perception or fact, the question of organ theft should be addressed.

Ref: Haaretz comment

Two Haifa men sentenced to jail for organ trafficking

In a precedent-setting ruling yesterday the Haifa District Court yesterday sentenced two Haifa men to jail for trafficking in humans for the purpose of harvesting their organs.

John Allan (formerly Mohammad Gheit), 59, was sentenced to four years in jail with a three-year suspended sentence. Allan was also ordered to pay each of his six victims NIS 15,000. Hassan Zakhalka, 32, was sentenced to 20 months in prison and 12 months suspended sentence for aiding and abetting human trafficking for the harvest of organs.
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This is the first time an Israeli court has issued a conviction for this offense, based on a law passed at the end of last year.

The pair confessed to the charges against them in a plea bargain with the prosecution.

Allan and Zakhalka admitted that at the end of 2006, they persuaded Arabs from the Galilee and central Israel who were developmentally challenged or mentally ill to agree to have a kidney removed for payment. They located their victims by placing ads in the newspaper offering money for organ donation. According to the indictment, the pair gave false information to the donors, and also pressured and threatened them to give up their kidney. After the surgery, Allan and Zakhalka did not pay the donors as promised.

One of the victims was an illiterate 32-year-old single mother from an Arab village in central Israel. The pair told her she would undergo a simple operation, and she would be back on her feet in two days. At one point, the woman changed her mind, and in response Allan and Zakhalka threatened to report her to the police, telling her it was a crime to agree to donate a kidney. Like the other victims, the woman was flown to Ukraine where she underwent the surgery. When she returned home, the victims refused to pay her the $7,000 they had promised her.

Allan and Zakhalka were part of a criminal ring that included an Israeli surgeon, Dr. Michael Zis, who also worked at Assaf Harofeh Medical Center. According to the indictment, Zis sold the kidneys he harvested for between $125,000 and $135,000, of which Allan received $10,000 dollars. The State Prosecutor’s Office is preparing an extradition order against Zis, who is being held in prison in Ukraine.

The conviction of Allan and Zakhalka was made possible by an amendment to the criminal code that was passed in October 2006, which added a number of clauses prohibiting trafficking in humans for the purpose of harvesting organs. Judges Josef Elron, Ron Sokol and Menahem Raniel decided to accept the plea bargain because they said clear legal interpretation had not yet been formulated with regard to the crime of human trafficking for the purpose of harvesting organs, Lacking such clear interpretation of the clause, they said, “the parties might be dragged into presenting much complex evidence.”

Ref. Haaretz

Also read… Israel-Ukraine Organ Trafficking Ring, Romania probes Israeli adoption agency link in organ trafficking and Israeli suspected of organ trafficking

VIDEO: US Kids Organs to feed Israel´s Health System + Jew goes ballistic on reporter over rabbi arrests

“In 2002 the then State Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein ordered the police to investigate the head of the Institute of Forensice Medicine at Abu Kabir Prof. Yehuda Hiss because of suspected corruption and maladministration related to theft of organs.
This came after a growing list of relatives of deceased Jewish Israelis (among them Israeli soldiers) discovered that their loved ones had organs removed without consent. There was a long list of charges against Hiss ranging from unethical behaviour as a medical professional to criminal acts such as the illegal sale of and dealings in organs and body parts, removing organs from deceased persons without consent, and misrepresenting organs in returned bodies.
This did not even involve Palestinians, only Jewish Israelis.
The stories about Palestinian Intifada dead arriving home from Abu Kabir with their organs removed (for which there is hard evidence) begin to circulate widely in the 1990s.”

Ref: Comment from Haaretz

The Israel’s kidney theft ring

I’m talking about the kidneys offered by an “organist” named Izzy Rosenbaum. The FBI scooped him up in a corruption probe that focused on pay-offs to New Jersey pols (nothing surprising about that) and money laundering by prominent rabbis:

The probe also uncovered Levy Izhak Rosenbaum of Brooklyn, who is accused of conspiring to broker the sale of a human kidney for a transplant. According to the complaint, Rosenbaum said he had been brokering sale of kidneys for 10 years.

“His business was to entice vulnerable people to give up a kidney for $10,000 which he would turn around and sell for $160,000,” said Marra.

Marra is a US attorney involved with the case. News accounts like the one quoted above have led the public to believe that the “donors” were both willing and compensated, and that this operation was purely private. But good evidence indicates that the matter is far, far more troubling.

The kidneys were “donated” at gunpoint by unwilling victims.

Police uncover illegal organ trade ring

Nine suspected members of an illegal organ-smuggling ring had their remands extended by the Nazareth Magistrate’s Court on Monday morning.
The model of a human kidney.

The model of a human kidney.
Photo: AP [file] , AP
SLIDESHOW: Israel & Region  |  World

Police were tipped off about the ring by a northern resident in her 30s who claimed that she had been operated on in the Ukraine but had not received the full payment promised her for her kidney.

Following that complaint, the Amakim District Central Investigative Unit (ADCIU) began to explore intelligence leads, and unearthed a number of possible cases in which the same group of people was involved.

During the investigation, police employed an undercover agent who responded to a newspaper advertisement and established contact with the criminal network.

Ref: Jpost

Was a Scotsman Murdered That A Israeli Might Live?

Moreover, [Jerusalem District Court Judge Ruth] Orr was well within her rights to be skeptical of the pathological findings of [government pathologist Dr. Yehuda] Hiss, who has long been the subject of controversy as director of Israel Institute for Forensic Medicine, at Abu Kabir.  Last November, a local Tel Aviv paper  Ha’ir ran a 12-page expose of Abu Kabir and revealed how the national lab allows medical students to practice on bodies sent there for autopsies, and transfers body parts for transplants without permission from the family of the deceased.

The family of Alastair Sinclair, a Scottish tourist who hanged himself in an Israeli jail, was forced to bring suit for the return of missing body parts.

University of Glasgow pathologists who did an autopsy at the request of Sinclair’s family, found that it had been returned without a heart (which they suspect was used for a transplant) and without the crucial bone needed to confirm the claim that he died from hanging.

REF: Israelis deep into organ trafficing

During the first ten months of the year, 26 donors contributed to 91 recipients.  The donors included traffic-accident fatalities, operating-room deaths, and seven-year-old Ali Jawarish of Bethlehem, accidentally shot by IDF soldiers during riots outside Rachel’s Tomb.  He was pronounced brain-dead on Nov. 15; his organs were transplanted into three Israeli-Arab teenagers the next day.  Nearly half the donors during the first six months of 1997 were  gastarbeiter whose families overseas gave their consent by telephone — sometimes in return for Health Ministry funding to fly the corpse home.

Israel Is Deep Into Organ Trafficking

Israel has recently become something of a pariah in the transplant world.  Without a strong culture of organ donation and under the pressure of angry transplant candidates, the Ministry of Health has refused to crack down on the country’s multi-million dollar business in transplant tourism that arranges junkets from dialysis clinics in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv to medical centres in Europe and the United States.

“Why should we Israelis be made to travel to third world clinics to get the kidneys we need to survive from the bodies of peasants, soldiers, or guest workers who may be in worse physical shape than ourselves?” a 71-year-old “kidney buyer” from Tel Aviv asked me rhetorically.  “Organs should be seen as a human, not as a national resource.”  It was good to see “Avirham,” an elderly gentleman, alive and happy with his revitalizing 22-year-old “peasant” kidney.  And his living donor?  “A peasant, without anything!” he replied.  “Do you have any idea what $1,000, let alone $5,000 means in the life of a peasant?”

For most bio-ethicists, the “slippery slope” in transplant medicine begins with the emergence of a black market in organs and tissue sales.  For the anthropologist, it emerges much earlier: the first time a frail and ailing human looks at another living person and realizes that inside that other body is something that can prolong his or her life.  The desire is articulated: “I want that; I need that even more than you.”  In terms of transplants, the kidney has emerged as the ultimate fetish, promising to satisfy the most basic of human desires — that for life, vitality and élan.

The sale of human organs and tissues requires that certain disadvantaged individuals and populations have been reduced to the role of “suppliers.”  It is a scenario in which bodies are dismembered, transported, processed and sold in the interests of a more socially advantaged population of organ and tissue receivers.  I use the word “fetish” advisedly to conjure up the displaced magical energy that is invested in the strangely animate kidney.  Avirham, who flew from Jerusalem to Georgia for his kidney, explained why he would never tolerate a donation from a corpse: “That kidney is practically dead.  It was probably pinned down under the wheels of a car for several hours…  I was able to see my donor.  He was young, healthy, strong.  Just what I was hoping for.”

Nancy Scheper-Hughes, The Organ of Last Resort, UNESCO, The Courier, July/August 2001 http://www.unesco.org/courier/2001_07/uk/doss34.htm